It’s a pet interest that I’d forgotten about until last weekend’s Paul Rudd-hoted Saturday Night Live: the motif of harmful sensation, or the notion that perceiving a seemingly harmless thing can cause a person to die, become sick or just generally suffer some bad fate that inanimate, non-poisonous, non-bullet-firing things usually don’t cause. A brief who’s who and what’s what of the motif of harmful sensation: Medusa, the evil eye, the Stendhal syndrome, The Stendhal Syndrome, “Gloomy Sunday” (a.k.a. the Hungarian Suicide Song), The Ring, seeing a deity in his or her full-on goddiness, and that Monty Python sketch about the fatally hilarious joke.
Here’s a new one, the digital short “Everyone’s a Critic,” which I also happen to find funny but also far weirder and far more violent than anything I ever expected to see on network television.
And that’s not even touching on the surprisingly high level of homoeroticism in the short and in the whole episode as well.
As another point of interest, I’d like to point out that, unless I’m mistaken, this short marked the debut of the new cast members whose first show was this episode. Abby Elliot played the woman at the auction who pulled the blanket off the painting and then vomited all over herself before dying, and Michaela Watkins played the old Italian woman who slashed her own neck.
If that isn’t a promising start to a career of TV stardom, I don’t know what is.