Amy Schumer is not your feminist savior and she doesn’t want to be. Just after she calls out wage inequality or takes on your most-hated double standard, she’ll come back with a bit that mocks women, too. But that’s OK—it’s wonderful even—because women are a lot more fun to laugh at when it’s a smart, savvy insider like Schumer dispensing the jokes.
The opener here is an advertisement for “ListenAlert,” a hotline primarily for women whose boyfriends do not listen to their quotidian anecdotes with the sort of rapt attentiveness they crave. In some ways, it’s a spiritual successor to 30 Rock’s “Porn for Women” commercial in which a handsome hunk offers to patiently listen to your day.
But even the helpful folks at ListenAlert have their limits: “We will not listen to your dreams. We are not saints.” In the hands of an exclusively male writers’ room, this could easily have devolved into tired caricatures of female hysterics. From Schumer’s crew, however, it feels more knowing than insulting.
If you’ve been binge watching Orange is the New Black, you’ll be happy to see Warden Danny Pearson (Mike Birbiglia) in the next sketch as Amy’s boyfriend. And for anyone who’s ever watched a hometown date on The Bachelor and squirmed at the way in which older brothers can be weirdly sexually protective of their sisters, this is the sketch for you.
Birbiglia meets Amy’s brother, who promptly tells him—once Amy leaves the room, that is—not to “fuck [his] sister in the ass.” The sketch is more absurd than it is smart but the brother’s hysterics bring the bit to a hilarious boiling point.
Birbiglia tries to reassure the brother that he won’t do anything Amy doesn’t want to do, to which he replies, “Oh yeah, she wants it. We’re from Long Island. She’s going to ask for it. A lot.”
Another sketch, another boyfriend, and this time Amy is being visited by several different future versions of herself who warn her that the fate of the universe depends on whether or not she moves in with Travis and/or gives him a blow job.
“Your relationship is somehow the butterfly wings that destroys the course of future events,” one future Amy says, before getting blasted into space bits by an even-further future version of Amy.
There is, refreshingly, no point to the sketch beyond seeing Schumer’s vision of far-future fashion—are those shoulder pads made out of car floormats?—but that’s enough to have fun.
The title sketch “Wingwoman” is the weakest of the night despite great guest turns from Rachel Dratch and Chris Gethard. Dratch plays a forlorn newly-single woman as the married Amy tries to set her up with men at a bar. The men seem more interested in Amy’s enthusiasm than in Dratch’s melancholy—which is good for a guffaw of the “of course” variety—but the sketch doesn’t really get anywhere until Amy starts doing Kegels to Maroon 5 with a guy’s finger in her vagina.
As with the opener, it’s a sketch that takes aim at women—especially at married women who are obnoxiously happy and vivacious around their single friends—but coming from Amy, the joke hits the right spots.
And, finally, we have Schumer’s re-imagining of the Salem witch trials featuring Amy and the delightful Bridget Everett as witches and Colin Quinn as a white-haired judge. In Schumer’s telling, the witches are persecuted because all the men in the town had sex with them and contracted sexually transmitted infections. Jokes about herpes—like “my plough has been riddled with pox”—feel a little season one at this point, but it’s worth the reminder that Schumer can still be deliciously juvenile when she wants to be.
This episode might not be the cleverest entry this season, it might not have any enduring social commentary, but it’s almost all the more lovable for those reasons. This is Amy and crew playing dress up, being silly with friends, and making fun of whoever they want. Is that feminism? Who cares.
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.