FOR A SKETCH centered on sexual desire, it was as much about subtext as sublimation.
So when a “Wonder Woman” spoof finally landed, it was a comedically fertile choice to set it on the same paradise of Themyscira, “island nation of the Amazons,” that opens Gadot’s smash summer hit (the year’s second-biggest domestic film).
Mirroring the movie, the sketch began with Diana (Gadot) training in combat as one of her fellow Amazonian warriors (Leslie Jones) tells Diana that her gifts grow by the day.
The war games are interrupted, though, by two lost, vortex-piercing tourists, played by Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon. The fish-out-of-water women are lesbians and are hoping, with palpable longing, that at least a few of the tall, sculpted denizens on this females-only isle might swing their same way.
Ultimately, Diana is game to experimenting (playing off her character’s sexual naivete in the film), and Gadot and McKinnon lock lips to the audience’s whoops.
Within the context of “Saturday Night Live,” the piece plays like a meta-joke: McKinnon has often drawn the duty of smooching that week’s host or other guests, including the running “Last Call” sketch, with such hosts as Woody Harrelson and Louis C.K. She was also the first openly gay woman to join the late-night comedy cast. (Pete Davidson joked during “Weekend Update” about wanting to kiss the hosts, so perhaps he’d like to take over that task from McKinnon.)
But the sketch also plays off the belief that Wonder Woman must have been romantically involved in this exclusively female paradise. As DC Comics writer Greg Rucka said last year: “By our standards where I am standing . . . Themyscira [Paradise Island] is a queer culture. I’m not hedging that. And anyone who wants to prevaricate on that is being silly.”
Such conversation also points to Wonder Woman’s real-life origins and how her creator, William Moulton Marston, lived a “secret” romantic life with two women, including his wife, in a domestic setting. After his death in 1947, there was speculation about whether Marston’s widow and the other woman, his former student, were themselves involved.
That history is dramatized in the film “Professor Marston & the Wonder Women,” which opens Friday.