Somewhere lying on a couch awaiting a kid to come hand her the remote that’s only a few inches away from her is a black woman twisting her face in an incredulous smirk because she knew this was coming—and she tried to tell y’all.
That woman is portrayed by Robin Thede, creator of HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show. Premiering in August 2019—which now seems like 84 years ago—the black woman-led sketch show starring Thede, Ashley Nicole Black, Gabrielle Dennis and Quinta Brunson memorably showcased one standout on-going sketch involving an apocalypse. Funny enough, not even a whole year ago, it was just something to chuckle at as some far away…thing. Today, in the year of our Overlord 2020? It feels like a fucking premonition.
Experiencing an end-of-the-world catastrophe called “The Event,” the ladies were stuck in the house having to fend for themselves in the post-apocalyptic world. The sketch appeared throughout the season on a rolling basis, with witty and relevant anecdotes about the state of our society.
One of the motifs in the sketch was that each woman had packed a suitcase filled with essentials, with each suitcase reflecting her respective personality. Revisiting the sketch with our shiny new 20/20 prescription hindsight glasses (which we could all have if Medicare 4 All was enacted), it’s pretty safe to say this was definitely ahead of its time.
As Charles Pulliam-Moore noted over at our cousin site, Gizmodo:
The women have wine, and snacks, and hair care products, but it all serves to highlight the grimness of the reality they’re living through. No matter what creature comforts they’ve all managed to bring with them into the house, none of it really matters because the world’s come to an end, and all they’ve really got left is one another.
In an interesting way, the apocalypse turns A Black Lady Sketch Show into something of a metastory because of the way that it makes you reconsider what the interstitials’ relationships to the sketches themselves are. As unconnected and unmoored from reality as the sketches tend to be, it would make a certain kind of sense if they were actually elaborate stories friends told one another as they huddled together in the first hours of a nuclear war.
“None of it really matters.” Wow, where have I heard that before? Oh right, right here in this house, where I and everyone else have been trapped for weeks. When you think of all the people who have asked what day it is, only to realize it doesn’t actually matter because they’re all running together, it sounds pretty damn familiar, doesn’t it?
Back in September, Pulliam-Moore predicted that this narrative would provide rich content for the series’ second season and now, that’s more true than ever. Something that seemed so “unconnected” from reality ended up being the very mirror to our reality in the year 2020. Life is funny, huh? Ha ha.