In One Weekend, Melissa McCarthy Is Making America Great Again

McCarthy mocks Sean Spicer and almost saves the world in just 48 hours

Melting ice caps, endangered species, epic deforestation—not exactly the type of material played for laughs. Which is why Melissa McCarthy’s new Super Bowl ad, which airs on Sunday, is a standout among other big game day efforts, particularly for chronic do-gooders. In roughly one minute, she maniacally dashes back and forth from one cause to the next. (“Whales? I love whales!” McCarthy yells in the beginning of the video, moments before joining—and failing—at a Greenpeace-like protest.)

On Saturday night, McCarthy already made America great again with her brilliant, explosive, must-see impression of Sean Spicer on SNL. She’s bringing it again on Sunday, this time as a hapless activist eager to get involved.

Super Bowl ads are often an effort to reflect the American mood. This year poses a particular challenge for advertisers who may shy away from the political. This ad is a certainly a crowdpleaser, but one that accurately mirrors our collective, looming fatigue of the familiar doomsday scenarios we’ve grown accustomed to. It also captures the overwhelming feeling that we need to do something about it—but can’t get to it all.

What’s more, the spot, which was created by Kia to promote their hybrid car during the biggest football event of the year, succeeds in doing what most causes—and the activists behind those causes—often fail to do: the ad and McCarthy make the serious shit funny. Yes, these are difficult times. No, a Superbowl ad for some hybrid car won’t solve your problems. But the ad certainly speaks to the zeitgeist, where a fair number of concerned citizens feel exhausted and overwhelmed by the world’s problems, and our human instinct to rush to each one with gusto. And we’re not going to stop. McCarthy’s comedic talent, at least, gives us a 72-second nugget of recognition—and hope.

Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

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