How Amy Schumer's Trainwreck made me realize being too PC is bad for comedy
The first trailer for Judd Apatow and Amy Schumer's new film, Trainwreck, was released today and, admittedly, my brain snapped into dissection mode upon viewing.
Immediately, I criticized the film for being just another gross-out rom-com with an anti-monogamy, alcoholic woman who claims to be "modern," but really just has daddy issues and self-image problems because she's "pretty-ish and not gorgeous." The concept is sexist because it oversimplifies gender inequality, the writing makes Schumer's character seem trashy and when she ultimately falls for Bill Hader's character, it implies that the only thing that saved her was settling down with a man. The fact that Schumer adds the "girls don't understand sports" element to the plot just adds insult to injury. Basically, I found the movie's title to be fitting, because the film is an anti-feminist train wreck.
My mind is trained to scream, "Yeah, yeah, we get it. You're fighting gender stereotypes by acting like a man and overtly saying you don't want to settle down and get married, but then ultimately fall in love. It's insulting our intelligence, Schumer!" And so it did.
Then, all of the sudden, something snapped and I had an epiphany: What the f*** am I thinking?
This movie has so many things that I love. I have respect for Schumer's stand-up, I'm enamored of Hader and I'm obsessed with Apatow. I celebrate his entire collection and I have watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Wanderlust, Pineapple Express, Get Him to the Greek and Bridesmaids at least 50 times and Knocked Up even more than those, despite the fact that its star, Katherine Heigl, called it sexist. I worship Freaks and Geeks like it's a religion and have worn out my Undeclared DVDs. I loved This is 40 even though it scared the shit out of me, and I'm counting the minutes 'til his new Pee Wee movies comes out. I was proud of myself for way longer than I'm willing to admit after I tweeted Apatow and he actually acknowledged my statement as humorous by retweeting it.
The comedy of Schumer, Hader and Apatow has made me laugh, cry and has even seen me through tough times in my life. The fact that I would even attempt to criticize any of their work is downright shameful.
Even more ironic is my attack on Schumer for creating a female character who doesn't like sports. I, myself, am completely disinterested in sports and would even go so far as to say that I loathe football. I count the Sundays during the season until it's over and I can regain control of my living room on the weekends. Despite my hate, I consider myself both athletic and progressive.
It's troubling that I felt the need to attack Trainwreck for being anti-feminist, when in reality it's the definition of feminism. It's written by, and stars, Schumer and is said to be loosely based on events that took place in her life. Who am I to criticize her story and her art? Schumer is a strong, ballsy, independent woman who has held her own in comedy, which everyone knows is a man's world. I should be supporting every effort she makes, not picking apart what she has to say.
I, by far, am not the only woman, or man, to have similar reactions to films, TV shows or jokes as of late. So what gives? Historically, comedy has been offensive. Making light of uncomfortable situations in our world and the human condition is the crux of what makes us laugh. It seems like the meat of what we're allowed to comment on or make fun of is diminishing by the day. Are we so obsessed with being PC that we're willing to kill comedy?
Comedy — more specifically, dry comedy — has made me who I am, and I'm disappointed that I've tried to take that away from myself.
In his Golden Globes acceptance speech this year, Billy Bob Thornton said, "These days you get in a lot of trouble no matter what you say. You know what I mean? You can say anything in the world and get in trouble. I know this for a fact. So I'm just gonna say, 'Thank you.'"
Thornton's speech may have come off a tad awkward, but he's on to something. Not to say that nothing is sacred and people don't cross lines, but we can't say anything anymore without offending someone. Maybe it's always been that way and the internet has just made us more aware, but if we get too sucked in to analyzing everything, we're going to suffocate art, entertainment and self-expression into non-existence.
Watch the Trainwreck trailer below.
Image: JoBlo Movie Trailers/YouTube