Amy Schumer found the early reviews of Inside Amy Schumer season four premiere “disappointing.” I was disappointed with them, too, not because her opening salvo of sketches was particularly excellent—it wasn’t—but because it seemed as if the Trainwreck star was being judged against her newfound fame.
The truth is that Amy Schumer is a lot like the foodie bacon craze—just because she’s on everything now, doesn’t mean she’s not still good. Maybe you’re tired of bacon and that’s your right but it’s still bacon. And just like a strip of cured pork, an episode of Inside Amy Schumer is rarely perfect, with sketches that are often overdone—see the Lin-Manuel Miranda Hamilton bit—or, like the gun safety sketch a little too undercooked.
But the third episode of Inside Amy’s fourth season was perfectly crisp. Here are the five best moments that prove the panic about her fall from grace was premature:
Amy Schumer put her freshly-forged Hollywood connections to good use last night in a biting sketch that points out just how much of the industry’s female talent is wasted on barely-there roles like concerned wife of sniper or concerned wife of trapped coal miner. In clips from a mock awards show, Julianne Moore, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Jennifer Hudson all pick up the phone and beg their imperiled husbands to come home soon, but no one commits quite as thoroughly as Laura Linney in Canadian Sniper, sliding to the floor with a dishrag in her hand while improperly conjugating the verb “to snipe.” Runner-up goes to Gyllenhaal, who completes her phone call while operating a washer with a baby in each arm.
A few weeks ago I wrote that Amy Schumer excels at turning her body into an “inscrutable punchline,” and I wish I had saved that description for this. “Milk, Milk, Lemonade” and “Girl, You Don’t Need Makeup” were some of the best moments from season three so it’s no surprise that “Closer to You” comes through. The song takes the trope of a girlfriend wearing her boyfriend’s shirt to its logical extreme, showing Amy as she turns herself into the mirror image of her lover, shoving a pickle down her boxer briefs, yelling at teenagers on XBox, and lighting her farts on fire. Lyrically, it’s as clever as always—the line about eating his old food “so I poop what you poop” is inspired—but it’s the visuals of Amy losing her own identity that make the sketch. And no image is seared into my mind more than her chomping down on day-old spaghetti straight out of the kitchen trash.
You know Claudia O’Doherty from Trainwreck and her supporting role in Love but, honestly, it’s time for the Australian comedian to get her own show. Her appearance in last night’s sketch about “Guyggles”—Google Glass-styles goggles that women can wear in the office to show them how they need to act to successfully navigate interactions with their male co-workers—was easily the best part of the episode. In particular, her list of archetypes men want from women was spot-on. That list: “Flirty victim, spunky kid sister, nurturing mother but flirty, wounded skank, step-MILF, sexy sex kitten, flirty sex kitten, flirty friend of mom, manic pixie, or Amy Adams.” O’Doherty delivers it effortlessly, with just the perfect mix of sarcasm and cheeriness. Dear Comedy Central or any network, really: Give her a sitcom already, please.
At the end of the “Guyggles” bit, Amy’s black coworker puts on the glasses and the Robocop-esque interface is overloaded by all of the weird expectations and prejudices that her white colleagues project onto her. Highlights include “Forbade daughter from marrying black boyfriend,” “Newly afraid of Beyoncé,” and “Thinks they’re also a minority because they prefer turkey bacon.” For a show that has often seemed pretty narrowly focused on white feminist issues and that has been criticized in the past for its approach to race, it’s an unexpectedly savvy critique. Last year, Schumer apologized for a joke about Hispanic men, saying that she was “evolving as any artist.” This “Guyggles” gag is only a few seconds at the end of a sketch, but it’s a sign that Schumer’s worldview is expanding.
The last sketch of the night had a cute premise: NFL players competing in a fantasy “Schlub League” in which they bet on the day-to-day activities of Joe Schmoes. In other words, it depicted fantasy football in reverse. But there’s a reason football players play football and comedians star on shows like Inside Amy Schumer. With rare exceptions, athletes tend to lack the timing and natural delivery necessary to do comedy. This sketch mostly falls prey to that problem, except when legendary tight end Vernon Davis insults one of the schlubs by saying, “He couldn’t eat pussy even if he dunked it in a jar of Nutella.” If men everywhere delivered sick burns like that to any of their peers who abstained from oral, the world would be a better place.
May Saunders is a professional dog walker living in Minneapolis and an occasional freelance writer. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with her cat, who does not need to be walked. Follow her on Twitter.