By now it’s been well established that Amy Schumer is doing the comedy equivalent of putting shredded carrots into your kids’ brownies. She’s feeding all of her viewers—not just men—a healthy dose of pointed feminism, but baked inside sketches that are so funny you don’t even taste the bitter truth.
“I’m So Bad” comes out even stronger than last week’s premiere with guns blazing—or at least Schumer tries to have guns blazing. In the episode’s highlight sketch, Schumer takes a turn at a military videogame that her boyfriend says is “just like ‘Call of Duty,’ only way more realistic.” Playing as a female soldier, Schumer’s avatar starts to head out to battle but finds herself being held back in the barracks and raped by a fellow recruit. The laughs come when the game asks if she’d like to report the assault. When Schumer says yes, the game asks, “Did you know he has a family? Does that change your mind about reporting?”
Even outside the game, Schumer’s boyfriend admonishes her for what happened. “That’s never happened to me. You must have pressed the wrong button.” And that sums up the theme Schumer keeps trying to hit home, illustrating the ways women are consistently told (by society, the media, their own friends) how to be happy and popular, and that if we’re still not either of those things, then it must be our own fault.
In a sketch reminiscent of last season’s “Compliments,” in which a group of women refuse to graciously accept compliments from each other, Amy and her friends meet for lunch and lament about how their calorie consumption habits make them “so bad.” (“I can’t get up in the morning without having a calzone.”) So laser-focused are they on food guilt that they casually gloss over things that genuinely make them bad people, like ignoring bridge jumpers or bringing a smoke machine to a burn ward “to see how they’d react.” On the surface, the joke seems to be about how obsessed women can be about their looks, but as Schumer alludes to her in her stand-up, the deeper message is that conversations like these are a natural byproduct of the beauty-first onslaught we get from the media—women’s magazines in particular—and the ways women can’t help falling victim to it.
Continuing this season’s trend of well-cast guest stars, Zach Braff pops up for a sketch that demonstrates how women are sexualized until they’re not, namely after they become a wife and/or mother. A group of male friends play poker and hungrily listen to one guy’s sex story about how he hooked up with a woman from his office, but when Zach starts going into equally graphic detail about sex with his wife, the group is repulsed. The sentiment is clear: That doesn’t count, because she’s not really a woman anymore. She’s a wife who delivers buffalo wings and nachos and chocolate chip cookies, and the idea of her still enjoying sex is, well, disgusting. Leave it to Schumer to turn the tables with a button on the sketch so hilariously vulgar that much of it is left to the imagination behind a torrent of censor bleeps.
The last sketch sets aside gender politics in favor of Schumer lampooning the self-serving superficiality of celebrity charity. After rejecting her attempt at a poster for PETA, which her publicist calls out as a way for female stars to appear nude without looking like whores, she decides to jump on the trend of famous people saying yes to fans who ask them to the prom, even though nobody has actually asked her. One Google search for “Gross Nerd Virgin Loser Prom” later and she’s on her way to a high school in a Cinderella carriage, dressed in a bright pink dress with a purse full of dental dams (not condoms, the kid is still in high school after all). Of course, the only dream she’s making come true is her own: to be the center of attention among hundreds of impressed fans. When her “date” doesn’t even know who she is, Schumer goes on a tirade filled with hilarious meta jokes (“You think you could follow Tosh?”), but is ultimately thrilled with the disastrous press coverage since the photo makes her arms look really skinny.
Overall, “I’m So Bad” is a more sexual episode that the premiere, rounded out by an “Amy Goes Deep” interview with a sex columnist and a commercial parody for a finger-shaped snack called “Finger Blasters” filled with early teenage sexploration innuendo. Blow by blow, it’s also an even funnier outing. It will be interesting to see if Schumer’s able to sustain the trend, but for now I’m eagerly awaiting the next batch of brownies. (I’m SO bad, you guys.)