I find Saturday Night Live amusing about as often as I find million-dollar checks inside my pockets, but this weekend saw the cast and guest host Bill Hader perform a superb send-up of the entire dystopian YA film genre. Granted, none of the jokes and jabs were spotless examples of genius, but it’s easy to keep things goofily generic when The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner are two of the biggest comedic targets. This is The Group Hopper, and he’s about to start hopping from group to group.
In the faux trailer seen above, comedian Pete Davidson plays a knock off of The Maze Runner‘s Thomas, riding in an elevator to Gray World, a metal field surrounded by walls which are themselves surrounded by death fires. The greatest part of this trailer is the abundance of world-specific slang terms. Such as when the one guy tells the main guy that the field is where “the sameys stay until the groupers pass them on to the sorties for sorting.” Plus, you can only kill a lurkie with a zoomerang. But who are we to say that the future won’t indeed introduce useless new words to the post-apocalyptic lexicon?
Hader shows up in the middle as an obvious parody of Elizabeth Banks’ garishly costumed Effie Trinket, and it isn’t quite clear whether we’re looking at a character that’s supposed to be a man or a woman. (“We’ll figure it out.”) We almost have to put up with him for longer, give his costume’s insistence on keeping him stuck in place.
The main character thinks his name is Thero thanks to a tattoo on his back that says “The Hero,” which leads to a nice little Mad fold-in moment involving his back fat. The whole “which group do you fit into” dynamic comes from Divergent, which leads to a Harry Potter joke that we’ve actually already seen before in another spoof. But Saturday Night Live isn’t always known for its keen use of the most original jokes. Maybe these guys were born circumscribers, too.
This is the kind of full-length spoof that I’d definitely spend money on, as it wisely makes fun of moments where the put upon main characters seem to get heavy bags full of equipment thrown at them every few minutes. As well, everything involving the zoomerang was pretty amusing, from its unexplainable appearance to being more of a bomb than a boomerang. It still makes as much sense as most things happening in YA fiction these days.
Which of the YA films do you think deserves a spoof the most? And that Hangover Games bullshit does not count.