I recently blazed through all seven seasons of 30 Rock for the second time, laughing my ass off and dreaming about becoming besties with Liz Lemon. I’d love to start Parks and Recreation again too, but I’ll wait until the show is officially over. I want to be Leslie Knope when I grow up. These characters are my heroes. They are strong women in positions of leadership and they have fully-realized, complicated personal lives that often conflict with work. I’m watching my sister spend a year with her new baby while her man goes to work, even though they are both electrical engineers. We’re not done with stories about the problems women face trying to have it all.
And while I don’t identify with all of Liz Lemon’s quirks, like her weird thing with feet and disinterest in sex, she makes me spit milk out my nose when she drops truth bombs like:
“Really? I already have a drink. Do you think he’d buy me mozzarella sticks?”
Replace mozzarella sticks with green onion cakes and that guy has a good chance of sitting with me while I eat green onion cakes. I like buying my own drinks because I don’t expect anything from myself. I do expect my bra to work harder and my eye liner to remain the perfect amount of smoky for at least four hours, but you can’t spend as little as I do on these problems and anticipate professional results.
“Why are my arms so weak? It’s like I did that push-up last year for nothing!”
Right? You mean I have to go to the gym and eat healthy ALL THE TIME? Shut it down, I’m out.
“I did Big Sister in college. That little girl taught me how to use tampons.”
I was in University when my best friend suggested we go to the water park. I lamented that I couldn’t because of my period and she was shocked that I’d never used tampons. It was through her wise tutelage that I learned many things about being a woman. Toni taught me about waxing your lady parts (expect it to itch like crazy when it’s growing back in), how to laugh even when times are tough (dang, they been tough and we still get silly), and she introduced me to green onion cakes (see above). She also gave me my first tampon. Now I use o.b. tampons and I will raid stores to stock up on them when the apocalypse happens. I want to do commercials for o.b., telling the world about how amazing they are. I would be an ambassador for o.b. to developing nations. I would be the Angelina Jolie of tampons.
“It doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived in New York. It’s still fun to look up and pretend all the buildings are giant severed robot penises.”
We’re all thinking it. It takes a brave woman to speak her honest thoughts out loud. I’m thinking about how I wish I had a bra on right now so I could not be thinking about the fact that I didn’t even get properly dressed today. It’s Sunday. Don’t judge me.
“Trying on jeans is my favorite thing! Maybe later I can get a pap smear from an old male doctor.”
Shopping for jeans is THE WORST. Pap smears are scary at first but you get used to it. I remember Toni went for a check-up on her under carriage and the doctor invited in a whole team of students to inspect her vagina. I had a scare a few years ago and had to get a mammogram. That was intimidating at first, especially because young women who get breast cancer aren’t statistically going to recover. But it wasn’t so bad and everything was fine. I still met my lady support team for drinks at the Olive Garden that night. We ate bread and drank martinis with bellies full of pasta. I’m too old for those carb binges now, sadly.
“I don’t need anyone. Because I can do every single thing that a person in a relationship can. Everything. Even zip up my own dress. You know, there are some things that are actually harder to do with two people. Such as monologues.”
Bahaha! In all seriousness, I hate listening to people complain about being single but I also respect the efficiency and support you get from having someone else to split the chores and complaining with. You can get a cat to keep the loneliness at bay but who kills the really big bugs then? Your cat? You wish! There’s also a joke in 30 Rock about a group of women who can’t run the media presentation technology at their awards ceremony. Sadly, that joke applies to me, sometimes. I’m not great with remotes. I blame my sister, the engineer, for never letting me learn as a kid. She took everything apart and operated everything that needed electricity. When I plug things in to charge them, I still pretend that it’s because my device has run out of electrons and needs a fresh batch. I’m a scientist but the truth about how things work is just too complicated. It’s so complicated, it’s basically magic.
“You are my heroine! And by heroine I mean lady hero. I don’t want to inject you and listen to jazz.”
Yes, Liz Lemon, your skill with word play and fart jokes makes you my hero, too.
What I love about Parks and Rec, and Leslie Knope in general, is that the show celebrates success, big and small. Mostly small. In any other comedy, Leslie and her work family would fail to accomplish their weekly plot goals and we’d all laugh at the disaster. But in Pawnee, they pull together. Leslie inspires her team and they teach each other how to live, love, and laugh. Leslie’s passion for politics is like my love of science. I respect her and want to lick her to absorb her powers. It works. That’s science.
Enjoy some Leslie Knope gold moments:
“Why did it take me so long to realize this? There are no consequences to my actions anymore! No matter what I do nothing bad can happen to me. I am like a white male U.S. senator.”
Amen, sister! And those old white guys want to tell women how to manage their reproductive health. We need to destroy them.
“Ann, you poetic and noble land mermaid.”
I just had to go add “mermaid” to my list of super awesome words I don’t use enough.
“Oh that’s weird with us being women and all. You’d think our boobs would be getting in the way.”
Yeah! That only happens when I spill something on my shirt right below the shelf my breasts make and then I can’t see it because of my boobs. Also, buttons on blouses.
“I’ve gotten to know the city councilmen pretty well because of my campaign. If you hear them talking about that blonde pain in the ass, that’s me.”
That’s me, too. My boyfriend often asks me if I’m on a “lady rant” and the answer is usually, “No. What? Psh. Yes.” I just love rules so hard. Rules and microbiology. And peanut butter.
“Jurassic Park. Parks are so great. The parks department needs money. I just did it in three moves.”
“I would like some wine. And oops, my vest popped open. Just like the budget needs to pop open. And you need to pour it into my parks department.”
“Do you have any of those shirts that look wet all the time? Or like a metal bikini. Oh! You know what’s always sexy? Fingerless gloves.”
Ok, Jurassic Park, wine, metal bikini. All other arguments are invalid.
The important part of all this silliness is recognizing the genius of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. These women are my real heroes. Through their comedy and sharp writing, Fey and Poehler address real issues about women and our world. They are changing the way people think and talk about women in comedy. Plus, they’re sexy bitches.
– Roz Y.