The Vengeful Polyglot

On Role Models

Posted on: May 3, 2011

Having finished Bossypants in just over a day, I’m finally ready to select Tiny Fey as my official celebrity idol. I don’t think she intentionally set out to be the role model for disenfranchised twenty-something girl gamer nerds, but neither do I think she would reject it, so there you go.

My personal fascination probably started with 30 Rock. I was originally in the unfortunate situation of never having fully understood that 30 Rock and 3rd Rock from the Sun were different shows. My mom would invite me to watch with her, and I would give her this vaguely puzzled look like “Why are you watching that, of all things?” I wasn’t too familiar with Tina Fey from Saturday Night Live, so I had no context to make me think that, yeah, the shows were probably different, but eventually she got me to sit down and try it out. It was at that point I found my other half. I finally realized what I wanted to be when I grew up. The answer was so simple. I wanted to be Liz Lemon.

It started small. After watching 30 Rock for a couple years, I suddenly looked at Tina Fey and thought, hey, her hair is kind of like mine! I’d like mine to be short like that. They always say you should bring in a celebrity photo when you get your hair done, and I had always gone with Debra Messing. I thought this would be a nice change. When I went in, my hairdresser looked at the photo I brought, and I think he was honestly relieved. I was finally going for something attainable! This is how Tina Fey became my new fashion icon.

If you’re reading this, you have probably figured out that I know next to nothing about celebrities or fashion or much of anything in pop culture not having to do with nerds. See my above 30 Rock/3rd Rock mix-up. I’ve always been vaguely disillusioned with celebrities. I just didn’t get what the big deal was. I never participated in those giggly girl conversations about which hot male lead everyone would like to date because I’m fairly realistic. I was busy going after someone attainable. Now, characters… that’s another story. I never thought Robert Downey Jr. was even remotely attractive until he played Tony Stark and Sherlock Holmes. Intelligence is my number one basis for attractiveness (“funny” is a close second), so this is probably not surprising. Rob Lowe in West Wing is another example. Rewrite the same birthday message 50 times to get it just right? Oh yeah, that’s hot. The actors themselves, though? No way. Way too much cocaine there. Outside of the characters, I’m just not interested. Even Aaron Sorkin, who I admire for his talent at writing the West Wing is way too much of a mess for me to find interesting in isolation.

Tiny Fey is different. Liz Lemon and Tiny Fey are not so different. Intelligent, witty, hilarious. It’s credit to Tina Fey’s writing that she was able to make a character as hilarious as Liz. She hits every one of my requirements for adoration. She’s also kind of awkward and nerdy, and not ashamed of it. She’s got a lot of confidence for someone who is so honest about being non-standard. Having read her writing, I’m even more sure. This is the first time my enjoyment and identification with a character has crossed over to the creator, as well. (I’m sure she’s honored.)

I can do awkward. I’m way awkward. I’m about as good at looking hip and sensual as Liz Lemon is. And let’s be frank: I’m stodgy. The original song the graphic at the top there is based on makes me cringe. I’m never going to be a drunken party girl. When I hear Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance,” sure, I want to dance, but I also think, “Dear god, lady. Continuing to dance is not going to help you find your keys or your phone! What must your parents think?!” I’m just not fun that way. That’s what makes Liz Lemon so great. She’s cooler than that. She doesn’t care if she’s not out party hopping on a Saturday night. Sometimes (or all the time) it’s okay to just work on the night cheese.

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1 Response to "On Role Models"

I really love this one. Your writing is great and you are right. You may be Liz Lemon.

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Blog by a programmer cum linguist cum writer cum total geek. One who pretentiously uses "cum" in place of any other logical connectives. Direct questions to the Ask Lauren page!

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