Thursday, September 3, 2015

Saturday Night Live: The Alligator

I love Saturday Night Live. Ask anyone I know and they'll tell you I'm the ultimate SNL nerd. I collect the merchandise, I've camped out to get standby tickets and I've absorbed every bit of knowledge and trivia I could about the show. I often encounter people who tell me that the show isn't funny or that "it used to be really funny but now it sorta sucks". I try to take these comments in stride and to squish my normally argumentative disposition down into my gut. Truth be told most of the people who make these comments often don't or rarely watch the show and are parroting things they've heard from their parents or the endless amounts of op-eds you can find online. However this is as good a medium as any to finally tell them they are wrong and why (one of my favorite things to do).

Saturday Night Live is often referred to as a dinosaur. It relies on more old fashioned ways of producing, especially those popular when live television was a more consistent form of broadcast, and it costs a million dollars an episode because of it. Because of these methods, some of which many deem archaic, it is called a dinosaur, a beacon of the "old ways of doing it". But SNL isn't a dinosaur. Dinosaurs go extinct because they can't face new environments or refuse to evolve. SNL instead is an alligator. Sure it existed in the time of the dinosaurs, or as I like to call it, the 70s, but they learned to adapt and were unafraid to do so, they became ready to enter dangerous situations and tread unforseen territory. While many networks have seen a steep decline since the dawn of the streaming age, SNL was already built for the internet, especially making digital shorts their mark on the web. In addition they have consistently called for innovation, circulating in new players to keep the show fresh and capture a new younger audience. Yes each episode cost a million dollars to make but it doesn't matter because SNL, because of it's nature, almost always captures their time slot in terms of ratings. In a television landscape that calls for the survival of the fittest, SNL has proved to be the head of the foodchain.

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