There’s no getting around it: Aziz Ansari made things complicated.
That’s the premise of this Saturday Night Live sketch. Babe.net’s lurid account of Ansari behaving horribly during a recent date turned what has seemed to many like a black-and-white situation — root out all sexual predators, wherever they may hide — into a much more nuanced conversation.
Ansari’s built his brand around being a “woke” comedian, but now we’re forced to reckon that public persona against a troubling account from his private life. Watching this pleasant dinner devolve into a series of false starts and endless qualifiers probably rings true for a lot of real conversations that have played out over the past couple weeks.
In reality, #MeToo, #TimesUp, and all the conversations they tie to have never been a binary good vs. evil situation. What the Ansari story actually did was torpedo the notion that rooting out the most vile predators, the Harvey Weinsteins of the world, is all it takes to log a win here.
That’s where this sketch succeeds. SNL wants to remind us all: This stuff is deeply embedded, and nothing is going to change until we’re able to tackle the hard conversations as honestly and openly as we do the easy ones.