SNL’s ‘The Californians’: Brilliant in an Ocean of Terrible
With the recent departures of Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg, Saturday Night Live is all but done as an entertaining late-night variety show. However, one redeeming piece of comedy that SNL has been airing: a two-part (so far) skit called “The Californians,” mocking, yes, its namesake. It’s making fun of the space somewhere between The OC, The Real Housewives of Orange County, and The Hills. Although I should be mildly insulted as a native Angeleno, I find myself in hysterical laughter, and here’s why:
The freeways. “The Californians” gets it right. In L.A., it’s all about driving. The characters, apart from all being blonde (or bottle blonde) all have one thing in common: they’re obsessed with how to get from point A to point B, and what freeways you must use to get there. As someone who has lived and driven in L.A for the last five years, I can tell you that this is not only a reality, it’s a painful one at that. Avoiding the freeway is akin to preventing your heel from getting stuck in a crack on the sidewalk. Try as hard as you might, it will still happen, and it will suck. An episode on Carmegeddon Part II, which awaits us this summer, would be inspired. Oh, the possibilities.
The accents. The accents and inflections on “The Californians” are wrong, but humorously so. The writers emphasize that long, slow exaggerated Valley speak which exists in some form but not nearly as much as the rest of the country thinks. Maybe this is more of an Orange County phenomenon, but I sort of doubt that as well given my familiarity with the aforementioned Housewives. Whatever the case, the results of the Callleeeforneeeannn accent are so haaalarrrreeeuuss I can hardly staaannnd it. Is this what New Yorkers really think of us? Note to SNL, if you want to get it right, make everything sound like a question. That inflection, or so I’m told, is what we really sound like.
The plot line. On “The Californians,” the only thing to do is drink Californian wine, eat organic salad, sit in California oak chairs, and have a paternity crisis (prompted by a hilarious guest star, Mick Jagger). On “The Californians,” everyone is cheating on everyone, sleeping with exes, etc. Oh, and Kenan Thompson is randomly roaming around with frosted tips. Sounds typical right? When you think of the most salacious, adultery-heavy areas of the country, you think L.A. right? With all that bottle blonde to go around, who could help themselves? When you think of your Dad marrying your ex-girlfriend, where else but Lala land? With all the despair and hard times encapsulating the rest of the country, it’s good to know that in sunny California, it’s still about booze, beaches and blue skies.
Future episode arcs have so much potential. Think of the guest stars that could spice up an episode: A popular actor could play Stewart’s former lover/best friend. Any blonde actress could star as Devin’s ex-girlfriend who starts a catfight with Karina. An indie host could sub as a new girlfriend for Kenan Thompson’s character, Trey. A sexy male host could have fun as a hot gardener having an affair with the maid. Hilarity will ensue.
I really hope that we are in for some more episodes of “The Californians”, which is by far the best reason to try to sit through SNL these days. Stereotyping when done exactly right has a great comedic effect. So, take the 210 to the 134 to the 101 to the 405 to the Santa Monica exit straight down to Ocean, and cool off with “The Californians.” Trust me, I’m your broooo, bro.