oh, this might be a big one.
i recently finished reading bossypants by tina fey. well, i didn’t actually finish it; i think there’s one more chapter about babies or something, but i got the gist of it. it’s funny. it’s very funny. i laughed out loud at times. so there’s that.
i like 30 rock, but i haven’t kept up with it over the last 2-3 seasons. i’d like to say it fell victim to stand up comedy, like so many other shows, but if i’m being honest it started to both bore and bug me. the show was getting to this cartoonish place that i didn’t enjoy. the same thing happened to seinfeld in those last few seasons; the episodes started to feel less smartly madcap and more throw-shit-to-the-wall wAcKy.
(this is also a problem i have with live improv comedy [fey’s background]. i understand that i should go with the flow but i’m not sure why i’m supposed to find a random collection of nonsensical things funny all because it’s happening in a make-believe car.)
basically, i kinda stopped caring what happened to liz lemon and her merry band of kwazy chawackters. once that occurs, it’s going to take illness & a comedy central marathon for me to give a damn again. but i’ve been trying. i’ve started to watch this season’s episodes on hulu. i haven’t laughed out loud much, but i haven’t been disappointed either.
here is where i mention that apparently some critics are also having a problem with 30 rock. (haters gonna hate.) i read this piece on the NPR website a week or so ago. if you don’t feel like clicking, the author says that the relationship between liz & jack has changed dramatically - liz has gone from a strong-willed, occasionally frazzled professional woman to a goofball lady who flails about & constantly seeks the approval of daddy donaghy. (i’m paraphrasing, but just a touch.) i also read this piece on slate that’s titled has liz lemon become “dumbass homer”? OUCH.
today i watched an episode where liz is renegotiating her contract with jack donaghy. she uses a how-to-negotiate guide that was written by jack a decade ago, giving jack a chance to battle himself. as they say, hilarity ensues. here is how the show ends, and pay special attention around the 20:18 mark. (don’t worry, i’ve set the video below to start at 18:48. i think.)
did you see that? did you see how she directly addressed her haters?
that bothers me.
i remember when tina fey won an award, possibly an emmy. in her acceptance speech she responded to internet commenters, using their screen names. it was a smart, biting, funny bit. she had an entire chapter in her book that did the same thing. funny, okay, but by now isn’t she ignoring that kind of thing? i’m sure it feels good to say to critics, “oh yeah? well, in your face! now what?” but does she have to be so…
…SMUG. that’s it, that’s what sometimes bugs me about tina fey and 30 rock. there’s an element of smugness - it’s not there all of the time, but i remember sensing it in the very first episode. that whole “bitch is the new black” thing from SNL’s weekend update back in the days of hillary v. barack was smug as hell. even her response to the recent “tiff” with questo from the roots (where he said on tv that tina fey was “never nice to the roots”) was some smug bullshit. she never actually apologized for what i’m willing to bet was repeat behavior; she just rushed ahead with the hoagie-of-forgiveness bit.
y’know, she’ll cop to it. she’s aware that her confidence level is ridiculously high, sometimes leading her to say stupid stuff, then cutting herself down with that rapier wit of hers. but that ain’t stopping her from appearing snotty at times.
look, i’m a pro-am hater. i’ve got grape haterade racing through my veins (sour grape! whaaaat??) and i don’t HATE tina fey. she’s ridiculously talented and i am learning many things from her, even from afar. things like be good at what you do, then be better. don’t fight against women in your field. believe in your voice. wear sunscreen. whatever. this could be me being envious of how when tina fey strikes back, she’s making a statement for feminism but if it were me, i’d be just another angry black woman. (i hate to go to race, but i wouldn’t be honest if i denied that it plays a small part in my discomfort.) maybe i just wish i had the kind of confidence in myself that she has in herself. i don’t know, man. i’d work with her in a heartbeat, but that smugness keeps me from putting all of my eggs into her basket. clearly i need to keep a few eggs for my own.
in closing, tl;dr.