Quite a few of the new improvements can be traced directly
to teaser web series The Big Straight
Hilariously tongue-in-cheek, the straight version of the show
did a great job of spoofing itself and experimenting with the live formula.
While it ripped off The Office in
several ways (with a docu-drama camera, "confessional" footage and an
overall deadpan style), the straight version of BGSS was a successful setup for the second season of the show,
hinting at O’Donnell’s involvement and introducing the new cast members,
Paolo Andino and Colman Domingo.
One feature that hasn’t changed for the new season is the
use of stereotypical humor. In one early sketch, out performers Kate McKinnon and Julie Goldman star as bored lesbians trying to hide
from their exes at a bar. Just about every fashion-related lesbian stereotype
is trotted out as Goldman exclaims, "She’s the one standing by the bar,
short brown hair, glasses, she’s got the V-neck with the tie underneath, a lot
of hair product in the hair, thumb ring, man wallet, and she has a wrist cuff
and a studded belt." The punch line is (of course), "Which one?"
Subtle it isn’t, though Goldman and McKinnon pull it off nicely.
The show has always been more Mad TV than SNL, favoring
physical comedy and cartoonish portrayals to a more deadpan style. Suffice it
to say, an appreciation for this kind of over-the-top approach is essential to
enjoying BGSS, something that isn’t
lost on the producers.
After one particularly bawdy sketch at the end of an
episode, Bono proclaims, "You know, I don’t usually like sketch
comedy." O’Donnell replies, "Really, and?" After a pause, Bono
continues, "And I still don’t like sketch comedy."
It’s actually a fair assessment. The first few episodes dip
into potty humor more than once, and rely heavily on celebrity spoofs along
with the potentially off-putting stereotypes. Some sketches simply fall flat,
like an unfortunately boring setup involving an attractive UPS worker and his
(mostly male) adoring customers. The sketch relies so heavily on sexual
innuendo that it collapses under its own weight within moments.
Another skit based entirely around vomiting fares better,
but certainly dips further into the lowbrow realm. In other words, the show
certainly won’t convert those who don’t care for the format, but those who do
will find a great deal to like.