Tuesday, December 9, 2008

word play=funny; play about gender performance and race=uncertain.

I just watched the first season of 30 Rock. It has actually made me bust out in a full on LOL. I think it's only been for jokes that are about words, though. Such as the Rural Juror part (the main actress-character stars in a movie called the Rural Juror, but no one in the office can understand her because those words are so stupid. Especially when said next to eachother. Rurrr Jurr is what it sounds like. Hilarious!) and the fake Barbara Walters part with silly words.
And youtube has made it possible for posting:

This bit had me in stitches, I tell you. Even days after I watched it.

Here's my however:
I get that Tina Fey's character is supposed to be super-frumpy and not at all glamorous, which I absolutely appreciate. But I don't appreciate that she's all eats-5-donuts and just loves to eat and omg-where's-the-hot-dog-stand and you-ate-my-blood-donor-cookie-geez. Oh, and she's f'ing teeny-tiny. I find this obnoxious. I think Bitch magazine had an article about this phenomenon a couple years ago actually. I think their article was about how the media love to show pictures of models stuffing their faces to show that hey-this hot lady likes to stuff her face with pizza! She's not afraid to eat! That's great! And that is great - to an extent. What's great is the eating part. Not so much the size 2 part. Not so much the message that eating junk food is awesome unless it turns you into a hippo-you-lazy-fatso.
I don't necessarily think that Tina Fey's character is doing that, exactly, but that's part of it.
She's supposed to be someone who can't perform femininity very successfully. And people say inappropriate things to her all the time about it. And that's what's supposed to be funny. I think that the audience is supposed to be laughing with her character (even though she's often not laughing - more like eye-rolling) instead of laughing with the other people throwing insults. But the thing that bugs me is that I just wish A) that she would actually be performing femininity less-successfully than she is and/or B) that her character would be more feisty about the insults. I realize that this is just a sitcom, but I wish it were smarter.
Secondly, there is an episode with Wayne Brady staring as a romantic interest of Tina Fey's character, but it turns out that he is super boring and nerdy (in a boring way) when they actually go on a date, so she breaks it off. Okay. I'm just going to give you a second to think about what happens next. Go ahead. Guess. (first clue: Wayne Brady is a Black actor) (second clue: White lady wants to break off date with Black man.)
If you guessed that he accused her of ending it because he's Black, you're right!!! I know! So unpredictable! And it's funny because black people always play the race card when everyone knows that the situation isn't even racist!
Is there an emoticon that can express my lack of enthusiasm? : |
Lessons learned: Women can still be hot even if they aren't dumb and petty (like normal women) and awesome if they like donuts (but aren't like those lazy, unhealthy fat ladies). Black people imagine racism. Oh, and word games really are funny.


amy_d said...

ah! i netflixed the first season as well, but got disk 3 rather than one...so i didn't see the episode with brady in it...that said: yes! i completely agree with yr analysis of fey's character. i want to like her, i really do. but she seems to fall short of feminism every time. S and i were just talking about this the other day in regards to Mean Girls. How was that movie feminist? At no point in time is there an analysis of the socialization of girls, rather simply the product of that socialization. So it's these mean girls' faults for being mean and they just need to stop being mean and then all their silly girl problems will go away. argh... come on.

Little Ms Whatshertights said...

i completely agree too!! this show is constantly giving me mixed messages. first, it will do something really smart and humourous and i'll get excited. then it will do something really stupid, anti-feminist, and offensive and i'll get mad. i'm so annoyed.

i was addicted to season one but after season two starts with all this horrible fat-phobic, "fat is funny" bullshit (even though it might pretend to be making a smart commentary about women in the public eye esp. the tv world) i've lost interest and focused all my energy on The Office. wtf, tina fey. seriously. wtf. she disappoints me with her watered down, palatable-to-the-mainstream feminism.

mtmdays said...

I agree three! Though, for good race commentary, Tracy Jordan seems to hit it right on. Liz Lemon seems to be a "LIPeral" with good intentions which always get her in trouble. I like that she points that out, but there aren't any characters to take her to task for it, like, say, the Wayne Brady character, who is just portrayed as obnoxious - not a good foil for liz lemon. Curb your enthusiasm does this, but way better since everyone else is a foil for Larry David, esp. his wife who plays a smart, dedicated, patient liberal to his paranoid, neurotic, jackass. Also, Wanda Sykes is there to keep him in check. Or, like the office, where most people in the office are there to keep Michael in check.