I don’t think that the satire, in the sketch ‘went wrong’. I think that it brilliantly skewers at least three targets in one shot: Stupid cheerful TV and radio talk-show hosts that don’t understand the malign agendas of their interviewees; Anti-Semites; And all writers of vacuous self-help books. As regards the element of the satire aimed at the anti-Semite, I think that the sketch-writers are saying: ‘we know what you are doing and everyone can see that you are ridiculous’. It’s a very good tactic for dealing with them, isn’t it?
It can’t be helped that ignoramus Jew-haters might enjoy the sketch too, just because they won’t ‘get it’.
I also think that the acting in the sketch is pitch-perfect.
I agree with Michael. It was cold, harsh and funny, nailed anti-semitism, and was sufficiently over the top enough (gratuitously so) that it’s clearly satire. However, the flight recorder one that followed was really bad. So bad it was good and was worth a season of Mayday/Air Crash Investigation.
Plus, Satire is a antiseptic, it’s supposed to sting. And yes, it will occasionally sting back at the people who are supposed to be the beneficiaries of it, as it does here. And because of that, satire is often sacrificed in the name of maintaining civility that isn’t really reciprocated anyway. It’s a shame too because it’s one of the best ways to put unacceptable ideas and their apologists on the run.
Didn’t like it for the same reason as I never liked Borat (I’m referring to his early incarnations — I stopped watching him). I always felt there was an ambiguity, a hovering over the line of identifying with / opposing … I felt the same thing here, although I understand the intentions behind the sketch. I remember reading somewhere that with good satirists there’s often (always?) an element within themselves of the object they’re satirising. If the satire doesn’t work, what they’re dangerously near revealing is a sneaking regard for the object they’re supposed to be mocking. Something, perhaps, like, “I can get away with this, or I’m giving myself permission to do this, because I’m showing that I’m laughing at it — the mask I’m holding up is merely covering a face that’s just the same as the mask”. Maybe?
In no way are the actors or writers here secret sharers of the antisemitic attitudes they’re satirizing here, Brian. After years of reading the Onion newspaper (and seeing their other articles on Jews), and months of watching their videos, I’ve no doubt that this was a send-off of antisemitism, and nothing more.
Oh yes, it’s also a sendup of fatuous morning talk shows and self-help books, but that’s true of the Today Now series overall.