“Let’s face it, ladies. In 2018, a ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ is basically our ‘Sex and the City,’ ” comes a voice-over to kick things off. “So whether you’re an Offred or an Ofwarren, you’ll love Hulu’s all-new spinoff show, ‘Handmaids in the City.’ ”
The sketch follows through on its promise, cleverly mashing the two shows together. It features host Amy Schumer with cast members Aidy Bryant, Cecily Strong and Kate McKinnon as a group of gossipy gal pals — only, instead of feeling liberated in New York City, they live in a dystopian future created by author Margaret Atwood in which women are property of the state and are treated like sex slaves in an attempt to repopulate Earth.
Atwood’s 1985 book soared to the top of bestseller lists during the past year, as many found it relevant in the current political culture.
“It’s a show critics are calling ‘so brutal’ and ‘more uplifting than the news,’ ” the voice-over says at one point, adding, “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll say, ‘Oh, my God, this so could be me and my friends with the way things are going.’ ”
The sketch begins with an internal monologue, the way “Sex and the City” generally did.
“As I waited for the girls in downtown Gilead, I was feeling like an uptown gal-ead, and I couldn’t help but wonder: Are women allowed to do anything anymore?” Schumer’s handmaid thinks to herself, before complaining to the gals (handmaids) about the bags under her eyes.
“Oh, stop it,” Strong says. “You know it doesn’t matter what our faces look like.”
“As long as we’re fertile!” Schumer gleefully responds, and everyone begins giggling.
Bryant then says she has found a pretty nifty living situation: “It’s rent-controlled. John controls me, and I don’t pay rent.”
“You’re bad,” Strong says with a wink.
“But not too bad,” Schumer says, laughing, adding that “otherwise you get” — before stopping and pantomiming herself being hanged.
McKinnon’s character then shows up, missing an eye, just like Janine in the show.
“Did you get a little work done?” Schumer wonders.
“Is it that obvious?” McKinnon replies. “This is what I get for reading a newspaper.”
The women all giggle.
“Something really is different about you,” Strong says. “Did you lose weight?”
“I gave birth. Does that count?” comes McKinnon’s reply.
The sketch only gets darker from there, with Bryant talking about eating her rations in silence and crying into her straw bed, and the women talking about which man they now belong to.
“I hate to always talk about our guy problems,” McKinnon says at one point, a nod to a typical “Sex and the City” scene. “But my commanding officer Warren and I are having issues. It’s his ex. His last handmaid hung herself, and he’s just not over it.”
“So you’re saying he’s hung up on her,” Schumer says, cackling with laughter. Immediately, though, a military office behind her takes a stun gun and shoves it into her side.
As electricity courses through her body, Schumer’s voice-over returns: “As I was getting tased, I was shocked at my lack of rights in this new world but amazed by how stunning I look in red.”
Then comes the show’s tagline, a satirical jab at the news: “If you’re not traumatized, then you’re not watching TV.”