Sunday, April 11, 2010

TV: The Woman Who Loathed Women

If there's a bigger self-hatred pusher than Tina Fey, we've yet to come across him or her. Tina Fey hates women. Tina Fey is ashamed of women. If you didn't get the message before, she spent 90 minutes on NBC last night explaining. The skit that telegraphed just how sad and hollow Fey's artistic life is began with an announcer declaring, "This year, a new network will be unveiled by the woman who changed the face of television." A large "O" appeared on the screen.


The announcer continued, "Because the time has come for the Sarah Palin Network." Thought that "O" was going to stand for Oprah? The woman who did make an announcements about her network last week?

Silly goose! How many African-American woman do you expect Kenan Thompson to portray! He's only one man and he's already doing Whoopi Goldberg, Jennifer Hudson, Lil Kim, Wilma McNabb, Wanda Sykes, Maya Angelou, Star Jones and assorted others.

During the Palin skit, "Todd Palin" -- starring in the TV show Todd! -- tackled Kenan in what was apparently supposed to portray Todd Palin as a racist. Saturday Night Live is never more amusing than when it sees itself as enlightened and possessing the qualities to criticize others for racism. Or to put it another way, "Hello, Saturday Night Live? This is Kettle. You're still awfully White."

The Palin skit wasn't really funny and it wasn't really timely. And, in fact, that pretty much describes the entire broadcast. The opening, for example, was Barack Obama (Fred) urging people to fill out their census forms.

The forms mailed in the envelopes marked "YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW" were due, pay attention, April 1st.

So, for example, the skit might have passed for timely had it aired in March but airing April 10th rendered it dead on arrival.

What do you do when the boat has sailed and you're trying to make a stale joke appear fresh? Slap some sex talk on it. The only trick SNL still has.

Having lost that oily, Shetland Pony hair do, Fey seemed eager to latch onto her own past glory. She re-visited one of her famous moments. For those who don't know, it's the moment that she immediately disowned when the studio releasing Baby Mama informed her that she needed to in order to help the box office. Yes, we're referring to Tina's "Bitch is the new black" skit.

So she was back on Weekend Update for "Women's News." And it was embarrassing, telling and so hideous we still can't stop watching and chuckling.

"Bitch is the new black" (with statements like "Bitches get things done!") was seen as a feminist statement in 2008. (Which is why Tina had to disown it to promote her film -- something she quickly did starting with a Reuters interview and working her way down the news chain.) Though she no doubt expected this one to also be received as such, it had nothing to do with feminism.

For example, one "ladies" was more than enough. But Tina kept latching onto it in one form or another. Not in a humorous manner but in a I-am-so-out-of-touch way. So you got "Ladyland," "a lady curse" and much, much more.

"It's a great time to be a lady in America, We've got a lady Secretary of State, a lady Speaker of the House," she prattled on. But who were the villains, the big bad, in her supposed pro-woman monologue?

Believe it or not: Women.

She worked in two cheating husbands . . . kind of. Sandra Bullock (whom we know and love) was worked in by name as was -- in depth -- the woman who slept with Sandra's husband.

Sandra's husband?

Tina didn't mention him. She ripped apart the woman who, for the record, did not marry Sandra Bullock, did not take a vow to be faithful to Sandra Bullock and has never met Sandra Bullock.

If there's an offense done when someone has an extra-marital affair, we'd argue it's done by the partner having the affair. We rolled our eyes when Elizabeth Edwards tried to portray John Edwards as a virginal cherub taken against his will and ravished by that forceful other woman. We roll our eyes at Tina Fey ripping apart a woman while giving the cheating husband a pass.

It's not feminism.

And it really wasn't funny but, as one former SNL-er said to us on the phone as the (re)broadcast was winding down, it was bitchery.

Full on bitchery.

We'd been talking to friends lately about the lack of value given to females in comedy and how, for example, The New Adventures of Old Christine has, yet again, hit another high water mark this season but that won't be noted or applauded. And we were debating the state of women in comedy and whether any progress had been made.


That was Tina Fey's contribution.

For 90 minutes, she marketed bitchery.

Joan Rivers isn't one of our favorite people but she paved a road in comedy that allowed other women to step on the stage. She isn't the pioneer but she's among them. And what Tina Fey allowed herself to be written into on Saturday demonstrated that we're not only falling backwards, it's worse now than it was then. Because Joan Rivers may have trafficked in bitchy one-liners and jokes, but she owned them, she put them across. Tina Fey was inaudible at various times in the broadcast (a skit where she was thinking to herself in a classroom, the Sarah Palin skit, her Weekend Update skit, etc).

In the Sarah Palin skit, for example, "Sarah" calls Tina Fey's alter ego (30 Rock's Liz Lemmon) freakish because she's "in her late thirties" and has no grandchildren. We're meant to, in that skit, laugh at that archaic characterization.

Is that characterization -- seeing unmarried women as lonely spinsters -- not the same 'humor' Fey repeatedly resorted to during the broadcast?

"Bad" "Sarah Palin" (as played by Tina Fey) mocks unmarried women. Well what about Saturday Night Live? In the classroom skit, she is a lonely and desperate woman. She added wine to her cereal that morning. She sobs uncontrollably in movie theaters alone. But there's a young boy, Jason, in her class. And the whole joke is how she fantiszes about him and wants to give him a bath and maybe do things with him or push him around in a stroller at the mall or . . .

The class (and the audience?) gets to be horrified when she is caught not thinking a thought to herself but singing it aloud (about how Jason is her baby).

If that was one skit, you might overlook it. But it wasn't one skit, was it? We'll provide another example. A mock TV ad from Duncan Hines found Tina Fey (who, remember, in real life is married which adds an even cattier edge to these skits) playing yet another single woman of a certain age. But don't worry, for those lonely, desperate career 'girls,' Duncan Hines is marketing Brownie Husband. You bake it, play with it and then eat it.

It was all so bad that the parody of CBS airing the golf tournament might have been seen as a more 'liberated' character in that the single Ashlyn St. Cloud at least had a sex life. One she couldn't stop bragging about, true, but then you can't serve up 'jokes' about "whores" (Tina warned in her Weekend Update skit that, apparently like the needy, they were always among us) without letting Tina play one?

Yeah, that's the joke. Tiger Woods has had how many lovers come forward, how many women did he cheat on his wife with? And the joke is not Tiger Woods but a 'bimbo' that slept with him? That's the joke?

No, there was nothing feminist about Tina Fey's appearance. It was pure embarrassment and you could hang your head in shame or do like we did and enjoy the fact that each and every day she reveals herself to be not only worthless but a woman filled with an ocean of self-hatred.

Tines has a new flick. And the actor in it pulled in an audience. It might even come in number one for the weekend. But it's not a hit. The studio set a mark that the film had to make by Friday to be a huge hit. It didn't make it. A friend at the studio thought that Saturday numbers might goose it up a bit. Didn't happen. The film may pull off number one for the weekend. But it's going to have a short life.

And we asked why that was at all surprising?

Who does Tina Fey appeal to?

For free, Americans won't even watch her weekly TV show.

Who's going to pay to see her?

And considering she stabbed women in the back to promote Baby Mama, we're surprised she agreed to make her current film. Did she really think those teenage males she courted so heavily on Baby Mama were going to turn out for a film about parents on a Date Night? This is Bye-Bye Love with a little more pizazz.

A quality she did not exhibit on SNL last night. She was a mother visibly ashamed of her child at a school dance, she was a nine inches tall hooker named Lolene, she was a number of things. She was not, however, remotely funny. As the never ending Sarah Palin skit drug on and on, we were not only again reminded how Jami Gertz actually has the looks to pull off a Palin impersonation, we were also finally able to put our finger on who Tina Fey looks like: A more mature Libby Doyle. If Elizabeth Doyle had yellow teeth and a scar running down one side of her face.

Oh, does Tina think that's hurtful?

Does that upset little Tina?

Poor little Tina.

In what world?

In the world we live in, Lindsay Loham is a never ending train wreck, no question about it. But you won't find a lot of Loham jokes in our writing.



Oh, yeah. Tina Fey wrote the screenplay for Mean Girls which starred Lindsay Loham who was able to turn it into a hit film. And her thanks for that from one-time co-star Fey is to have her mother ridiculed on national television?

There was Tina Fey portraying Loham's mother as a drunken slut with chest freckles (marketing a new item called: Checkles). Now we're not close to Loham, we barely know her. But we do know who she considers the source of pain in her life.

It's not her mother. It would be her father who can't stop talking about her, blogging about her, anything to ride her name to fame. And her supposed, alleged 'friend' Tina Fey made fun of her mother on national television, ridiculed the woman.

That's Tina Fey, that's the real Tina Fey. Always letting a man get away with murder while slamming a woman for the least offense. That's Tina Fey, the real Tina Fey. Stabbing everyone who ever helped her along the way in the back and then insisting her bitchery is "humor" and that others need to lighten up.

Women should have long ago grasped from the lack of women (and the over abundance of men) on 30 Rock that Tina Fey is not their friend. Watching her do one skit after another, where she played female stereotypes who were the butt of every joke last night, may have sent the message her low rated sitcom hadn't. Then again, these days not many people bother to watch Saturday Night Live.
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