Saturday, January 21, 2012

Les Femmes dans la Comédie

All the movie and television industry can talk about these days is the fact that *gasp* women really can be funny. I mean sure people knew that they could do soft comedy that occurred in almost all romantic comedies but never ended up defining the story. But why has it taken so long for people to see that we can bring all the good, raunchy, goofy, and totally unsexy comedy to the table? We've had plenty of women in the past try to show the world what chicks can do: Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, and at some times even Goldie Hawn and Mary Tyler Moore.

And isn't it funny how these women are still considered such legends, but aren't getting the full credit for what they've done for women in comedy. Flash -forward 50 years and you've got the likes of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and other pioneers of female comedy completely changing the landscape for the once limited genre.

Starting with my personal favorite, Tina Fey. Her show 30 Rock is the classic plot of a single, unlucky in love, workaholic in New York City. Here's the thing, however. The show isn't fashion based ( I had the worst time deciding between the Choos and the Milanos), her supporting characters are far from glamorous, and the gags are more than her being splashed by a car driving through a puddle while she's wearing a white shirt.

Personally, one of my favorite things about her kind of comedy is that she focuses on the exact opposite of being likable and "the good guy". In fact, most of the time she's making the horrible decisions (like refusing to stop wearing jeans made by a company owned by Haliburton because, for once, you can't tell that she has unevenly chunky hips). Or how about the episode when her paralleled character, Liz Lemon, eats a sandwich from a southern-style fast-food restaurant willingly and spends the rest of her trip throwing up and looking completely unglamourous doing it. Imagine that.

Another funny lady that has taken the world by storm is the breakout star Kristen Wiig. Though she's been helping the mostly disappointing Saturday Night Live cast clean up their act, or do the opposite, for years, she has only just received recognition for her writing, acting and producing talents of the new female based comedy, Bridesmaids. In my opinion there are many things that make this movie revolutionary, and one of the best comedies of the decade. First is that the cast is almost completely made of women. In fact the main plot is not her Annie's (played by Wiig) love life, but the friendship that she would do anything to fix. That friendship being a bride-to-be. Many at first thought the movie was based all upon Annie's jealousy for her friend getting married and having it more "figured out". Not the case. Hey! if guys can make bro comedy's, chicks can make comedies about a sisterhood.

 All in all, its important that people need to start to see whats actually in women's heads. Bridesmaids shows perfectly that we don't bitch incessantly about shallow and lame things that don't really matter. Even the controversial yet ultimately brilliant scene in the bridal shop when the female characters all get a bit of food poisoning made for a groundbreaking new take on female comedy that was slapstick of course, but understandably real to all women watching.

So how can I conclude? Is it safe to say that in some ways, comediennes like Wiig, Fey, Poehler and the rest have given a new voice and a more comfortable and accessible way of comedy to women everywhere. In fact some of the best conversations I've had with my girlfriends recently was on the subject of poop and how many awkward situations we've had involving it.

Girls need a reason to feel as comfortable as possible to let loose their comedic talents as much as guys have for the last few years. Whether its talking about friendships, jobs, bodily functions or whatever, why should we have to hold back and stick to the basic perfect hair and makeup persona that we've had to deal with for years? Yeah, no thanks.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Character Change

This fateful day is coming closer and closer: My 18th birthday. Most people become excited and enthusiastic about the idea of suddenly being an adult being able to have independence and such. All I can think of is now having to feel more guilty about my parents paying for things. Anyway, sorry about that lame story before. That was definitely a vent. I don't particularly like seeming like a classic boy-obsessed, melodramatic teenage girl. Its so typical (but sometimes it can be an enticing character).

Anyway I wanted to blog today about the interesting role I have taken in the school drama this year. I will be playing the original Gibson Girl, the Marilyn Monroe before Marilyn Monroe even existed, and the biggest excitement of the turn to the 20th century: Ms. Evelyn Nesbit.

Nesbit was a completely new kind of character in the early 20th century. She came out within a scandal and soaked in all of the publicity she could get. A classic romantic crime, her husband killed her lover out of a huge rage and jealously. Afterward, though she had already been living a showgirls life since 15, Evelyn became a huge attraction and almost a Kardashian-esque popularity during a time when our country faced more extreme versions of turmoil and troubles.

Like most people who have had similar boosts to fame, Nesbit eventually fell from the public eye... as a national celebrity. After her fame years, Evelyn took more of a role behind the scenes. Though she had several failed attempts at suicide and overcame drinking and drug problems, Evelyn lived to complete several autobiographies and even take part in directing her own movie, The Girl on the Velvet Swing.

In some ways I look up to Evelyn Nesbit. She was a real personality during this time. She simply spent a majority of her time acting out this character of a lost, publicity loving, bombshell and sold her act to millions, as well as set up a completely new kind of bombshell.

I can only hope that I do her justice on stage.