The women of Saturday Night Live joined this week’s host, Saoirse Ronan, to sing a catchy, pop anthem called “Welcome To Hell.”
Poised as pouting pop princesses, the satirical music video is the most unabashedly honest the show has been about the recent slew of sexual harassment and assault allegations. Rather than letting men off easy, the lyrics lay down some harsh truths that go straight to the heart of the issue: This reality is nothing new for women.
Surrounded by candy, clouds, and cat ears, they make it clear that they are unimpressed by people who think habitual sexual predation of women is a new phenomenon. “This been the damn world,” states Cecily Strong as they are about to break into song. Before the first verse is even over, they call out NBC’s own Matt Lauer when they describe the current climate as “button under the desk bad.” Don’t be fooled by the glossy pop backdrop. Aidy Bryant points out in the post-chorus breakdown that they are not actually a girl group but instead travel in a pack for safety.
With a fistful of keys, Kate McKinnon tousles her hair as she shares, “This is how I walk home at night.” With each passing chorus, they remind viewers that women have been dealing with this dynamic for centuries. As for the question that keeps coming up, why didn’t women speak up sooner? “Well, dang double daddy, we definitely did. For hundreds of years. But I guess no one, like, cared,” Ronan and Bryant sing together as they sit on swings and lick lollipops. Cut to a witch being burned in Salem, MA — oh, right, that’s why. While the video might be sweet, the subject is certainly sinister.
Leslie Jones jumps in to remind everyone that intersectionality should not be forgotten. Sexual harassment and assault affect all women, but some more than others. “You do know that it’s like a million times worse for a woman of color, right?” Without hesitation, they all agree. Understanding the complexity of the problem is a key component in addressing it.
“Now House of Cards is ruined,” Ronan sings in reference to accusations made against Kevin Spacey, ” and that really sucks. Well here’s a list of stuff that’s ruined for us: parking, and walking, and Uber, and ponytails, and bathrobes, and night time, and drinking, and hotels, and vans.” What is one show being canceled when your personal safety is called into question during everyday situations?
Meanwhile, the Weekend Update seems to be overwhelmed by the ever-growing list of offenders. “I almost forgot about this week’s batch of predators,” says co-anchor Colin Jost. “That’s a whole segment of the news, now. Just gotta announce the names every week like Powerball numbers.” If the last couple months seem exhausting, bear in mind the last couple centuries.
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