SNL's "Lesbian Period Drama" is an achingly accurate satire of a recent trend in lesbian films
It's me, I'm Lesbian Monthly. This weekend on Saturday Night Live, guest host Carrie Mulligan joined the ensemble for an above-average episode of the sketch comedy series. The sketch on everyone's lips was "Lesbian Period Drama". In the faux trailer, Mulligan stars as a melancholia-stricken woman from the 1840s who is left in the care of Heidi Gardner's Female Companion. Mulligan (who is only half a Saoirse Ronan away from playing a Victorian lesbian herself in a movie) and Gardner are a spot-on rendition of a slow-burn lesbian period piece, with all the things you need to have one: lots of wind, rocky beaches, damp dark hallways lit with simmering tension.
Satire doesn't always hit the mark, but "Lesbian Period Drama" is certainly in on the joke. This trend has been the talk of queer film Twitter for the last few years. Why are all lesbian movies period pieces lately? Were no lesbians born after the death of Queen Victoria? Will we ever get an answer on this? The LPD sketch addresses many of the issues with the current trend, including the loooong run times and sparse dialogue, so much sad flirting, drawing, obscene amounts of wind, and yes, shockingly graphic sex scenes directed by men. (Portrait of a Lady on Fire gets unfairly dragged into this frackas, as it was directed by and starred a lesbian actor.) Kate McKinnon even shows up as a supporting lesbian character, complete with old-timey tux, who comments on a particularly vigorous love scene. "Gals, it's 1840, I don't think that's been invented yet."
What really seals the deal on "LPD" however, is the fact that it acknowledges that while we complain, we all still watch them. You know you saw Ammonite. Colette. The Favourite. Vita and Virginia. Gentleman Jack.
I know in my heart of hearts, a lesbian wrote this sketch and for that, I stand directly in the salty sea air, my corset cinched, my melancholy dissipating, and say, "thank you."