Is it a genuine satire of woke sensibilities or an actual woke fantasy of what should be? Either way, it’s knee-slapping hilarious, though for entirely different reasons.
A recent entry over at McSweeney’s by Amanda Recupido re-envisions several famous scenes from the iconic romantic comedy “When Harry Met Sally” if the title character Harry (previously played by Billy Crystal) had turned his woke-factor dial up to 11, all of which pack quite a mirthful punch.
For the scene when Harry and Sally drive from the University of Chicago to New York City, Harry’s hilarious observations about male/female differences (“men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way”) have been replaced by his acknowledging that “gender is a construct.”
“I respect the opinions and achievements of all people without sexualizing them for my own personal conquest,” the woke Harry tells Sally. “Also, gender is a construct.”
Later, when Sally tells Harry she will be pursuing journalism, he is entirely supportive instead of derisive. “I know you know this, but don’t let them pay you any less than what you’re worth,” the woke Harry tells Sally. “Even though you have a degree from a competitive school, I understand I have a natural advantage in my career because I’m a cis white hetero man, and I would hate to see your talent be undervalued.”
Of course, Recupido’s reworking of the iconic “I’ll have what she’s having” scene gets the biggest laughs of all. From the piece:
Harry and Sally have a heated discussion at a diner about enthusiastic consent. “I recognize it’s not your place to teach me,” Harry confesses. “But now I understand how to listen better to my partner’s needs. I recognize orgasms happen in many different ways, and sometimes a sexual encounter doesn’t even have to have a goal.” A woman seated nearby orders whatever she damn pleases without worrying what anyone else thinks.
No “I can still smell your perfume on my clothes” moment on New Year’s Eve for this gender-studies-professor-sanctioned rewrite of the Rob Reiner classic. Instead, Harry tells Sally that he will respect her “space” by not performing any “public grand gestures” while giving her time to think about their relationship. Eventually, Sally leaves Harry behind by going to Rome for an international fellowship and gives him a “wagon wheel coffee table.”
After their fight, Harry leaves Sally just one heartfelt message that says, “Hey, I’m sorry I’ve been pushing my emotional labor onto you, and I’ll be right here when you’re ready to talk, but otherwise, I’m going to respect your space. Don’t worry, I won’t pressure you with any public grand gestures or anything.” Sally takes her time to respond, especially since she’s so busy writing investigative pieces on the #MeToo movement.
Sally has an epiphany, and tells Harry how once you realize what you want for the rest of your life, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible, and that’s why she applied for that international fellowship and is moving to Rome. As a parting gift, she buys Harry a wagon wheel coffee table.
Read the full “Woke Harry Met Sally” piece by Amanda Recupido here.