Amy Schumer's brilliant '12 Angry Men' episode just won television
The current season of Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer is so on point. Schumer and her show have always been hilarious, but over the course of this season she’s elevated her shtick to legend status. From her takedown of rape culture in the “Football Town Nights” skit, to her skewering of how actresses “age out” of being attractive, to taking on birth control restrictions, Schumer’s blend of hilarious comedy and strong statements make her both an incredibly unique voice and an incredibly awesome one. Last night’s episode didn’t break her awesome streak, in fact, it surpassed it.
During this week’s episode, Schumer set her sights on those who don’t think she’s “hot” enough for TV. The episode, “12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer,” is a vast departure from her usual format, opting for one episode-length segment rather than short skits. Playing on the classic film 12 Angry Men, the episode is a nearly shot-for-shot remake that puts Amy on trial, with the jurors deciding if she’s hot enough to have her own show. It’s perfect. Schumer also calls upon a spot-on cast of men to hash it out — Paul Giamatti, John Hawkes, Vincent Kartheiser, and Jeff Goldblum, among others.
The episode is the second time Schumer has been in the director’s seat on the show. Season 2’s “Focus Group” sketch was the first, which also took on public perception of women on TV. It’s something that hits close to home for Schumer, according to the show’s co-creator Dan Powell.
“In Amy’s experiences, and even my experiences looking at comments online, there’s just so much attention paid to Amy’s appearance over her comedy, whereas that’s just not something that male comics generally have to deal with,” he told Indiewire. “It’s an added thing that Amy has to deal with in her career as a comic, and it’s certainly a response to that.”
Much like “Football Town Nights,” Schumer herself has less airtime in this episode than in others. But her presence is still very much felt as 12 men debate whether or not she’s sexy enough to be on TV. They comment on things like Schumer’s “potato face” and “cabbage patch-like features.”
Although it’s funny, cruel, and completely absurd, it’s also a very cutting commentary about sexism in TV, and the ridiculous way we talk about women and their bodies. What’s more, when Schumer is in the episode she plays it bright and cheery, excitedly talking to the judge after he mistakes her for a garden gnome and being just thrilled when she’s finally told she’s been cleared to have her show. She never challenges the validity of the case against her, just waits for a decision. It’s a clever dig at the way we accept destructive narratives about how hot women need to be just to justify their place.
Critics are raving about the episode, with praise for both the incredible remake of the source material and the important message behind it. As The Daily Beast points out, the latest episode is a prime example of Schumer’s, “unparalleled ability to be brashly feminist and throw middle fingers at cultural norms with very gender-specific comedy, all while not alienating her audience.”
In this clip, Jeff Goldblum, Paul Giamatti, John Hawkes and others debate Amy’s hotness. The video is definitely NSFW, but it’s a must-see! And yes, watch the entire episode. It’s TV history in the making.