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Entertainment Weekly


SNL host Ryan Gosling exposes the real problem with Avatar: Papyrus

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There’s plenty to fret about when it comes to Avatar, James Cameron’s “giant international blockbuster” which is set to spawn four sequels in the coming years. But on Saturday Night Live‘s season 43 premiere, host Ryan Gosling provided a stern reminder of what cannot be forgotten most of all: the font used in its logo — namely, Papyrus.

As the episode’s digital short begins, we learn that Steven (Gosling) has been haunted by Avatar‘s use of Papyrus for years. He explains to his therapist (Kate McKinnon) why it gnaws at him, referring vaguely to the graphic designer who made the decision: “He highlighted ‘Avatar,’ he clicked the [font] dropdown menu, and he just randomly selected Papyrus — like a thoughtless child just wandering by a garden and yanking leaves along the way.”

It only gets bleaker for Steven from there, as his therapist nervously informs him that there are more Avatar movies on the way, and that, well, Papyrus still appears to be the typeface of choice. Cue screaming and table-flipping.

The sketch may be the product of a tweet from SNL writer Julio Torres back in May, who essentially expressed the same sentiment as Gosling’s anguished font observer. “Every day I wake up and remember that Avatar, a huge international blockbuster, used Papyrus font for their logo and no one stopped them,” Torres wrote.

Steven attests that use of Papyrus is and should always be limited to “Hookah bars, Shakira merch, [and] off-brand teas.” But with the Avatar brand only getting bigger, and Papyrus still its style of choice, it seems no amount of resistance can stop the ubiquitous font from dominating billboards and TV screens in the years to come.