Saturday Night Live is being taken to task this week after airing a commercial parody that showed guest host Dakota Johnson (50 Shades of Grey) joining up with ISIS.
Based on a recent Toyota commercial that shows a young girl’s father dropping her off to join the Army, the show repurposed the premise to show a father (Taran Killam) dropping his daughter (Johnson) off to join ISIS.
The sketch was likely inspired by recent reports of three British girls and one Canadian girl leaving their homes to join the organization, and showed Johnson riding off with an ISIS representative played by Kyle Mooney.
And finally, the clincher:
Not surprisingly, a large swath of the show’s viewership was not pleased. However, cast member and “ISIS Dad” Killam stood by the sketch in a tweet yesterday afternoon.
Proud of this. Freedom to mock is our greatest weapon. Thanks to the writers who asked not to be mentioned by name. https://t.co/FjdX9xGewX
— taran killam (@TaranKillam) March 1, 2015
Satire or not, many viewers were still unsettled by the parody commercial’s implications.
"It's only ISIS" Not funny SNL, not funny at all especially to military moms whose kids are in the fight #SNL#militarymoms
— Elaine Brye (@MommaBrye) March 1, 2015
I'm still sick to my stomach about that ISIS skit. God I hope friends/family of those burned alive or decapitated weren't watching. #SNL
— JayhawkMama (@JHawkintheSouth) March 1, 2015
I think the ISIS skit was over the line. Not funny, guys … some things are not joke material. That was really, REALLY bad. #SNL
— DieselFarina (@DieselFarina) March 1, 2015
Then, of course, others spoke out in defense of the sketch’s satirical elements:
If you were deeply offended by that great SNL ISIS sketch, I urge you to go backpacking alone on the Syrian border. Bring bibles.
— Kurt Metzger (@kurtmetzger) March 1, 2015
See, this is why you had to enjoy the llamas and the dress while you could. Because "people are offended by SNL ISIS sketch" is a thing.
— Mike Tunison (@xmasape) March 1, 2015
People are honestly offended by the ISIS #SNL sketch? If you've been a long time fan & you're not familiar with satire – turn off your tv.
— Samantha (@SamanthaNWho) March 1, 2015
In the end, we’re playing right into their hands – institutions like SNL exist to be talked about and remain relevant in popular culture. While they don’t always nail everything with pinpoint accuracy (and good lord are those opening sketches long), at least we are talking about it, aren’t we?