Saturday Night Live just dropped an unreleased sketch that was cut-for-time from last week’s episode with guest host Natalie Portman. “Cut for time” certainly isn’t code for “not-funny-enough-for-primetime”, because the sketch, a mock-ad for an American Girl-esque line of dolls called “My Little Stepchildren,” is a darkly hilarious product for little girls who want a bit more drama from their toys.
“Most girls like dolls,” the ad begins via voiceover, “but not every girl wants to be a mommy.” It then opens to a collection of young girls sitting around a table with various dolls and quickly shifts focus to one little girl, wearing a black dress and a scowl. “Where’s your doll?” she’s asked. Her reply: “She won’t be joining us.”
Portman, decked out in suburban mom garb, appears on scene introducing the advertised product; My Little Step Children dolls. “I bought my kid a doll and asked her, Lisa are you her mommy?” she explains “And she said, ‘Mommy, where’s the drama in that? I’m her wicked step-mommy.”
The ad then proceeds to highlight all the ways little girls and boys who want to be wicked can mistreat the doll: each comes with a cardboard birth certificate you can lock away in an ornate chest of drawers; then owners can “pretend to ignore questions about the girl’s birth mother,”; they can be sent away to boarding school. All throughout, the actress playing the mini wicked step mom acts icy cold towards the doll and pretending to thro her doll’s “birthmother’s letters into the fire.” As the dolls are made for both boys and girls, a little boy comes onto the screen and confront’s his doll, wagging the massive ring on his fingers and saying “I won; I’ve got your daddy wrapped around my finger.”
Now, is the ad showcasing a stereotypical step-parent? Uhhh yeah. It leans hard into the old cliché of a wife who marries a widower for his wealth and thus treats the child with cold disregard. This sort of portrayal makes it harder for step-parents to bond with their new families, as it continues the soap-opera-movies-villian idea that they’re mean and heartless.