Monday, December 1, 2008

Some Fancy Pageant Walkin'

I've seen nearly every episode of Saturday Night Live since I was allowed to stay up that late. I've been a loyal fan, even through the inexplicable Norm MacDonald period. I was watching when Sinead O'Connor tore that photo. I was watching when a wide-eyed Molly Shannon debuted Mary-Catherine Gallagher. And I was watching when the broadcast was interrupted and Princess Diana was pulled from the car in Paris.

But it was at the turn of the century that things really took off. Tina Fey came out of the writing room and got behind the Weekend Update desk with Jimmy Fallon. I've loved her from the start, this is not bandwagonning.

While I've always loved celebrity culture (I watched Entertainment Tonight while my friends played video games or hung out behind the Catholic school), I'm not necessarily obsessed. I don't really care about meeting famous people and don't finagle my way into film festival parties. But, I want nothing more than to be close, personal friends with Tina Fey.

There is no one funnier. She's smart and deeply nerdy. Her infamous impression of Sarah Palin brought SNL its highest ratings in 15 years. She's relevant in a way that no one else is with all her fingers on the comic pulse of a certain kind of somebody - that blend of biting sarcasm and satire my generation loves so hard. She stood beside John McCain days before the biggest election in history and lambasted his running mate. And I think he liked it. She's charming in an old school way, able to get away with anything.

And then there's 30 Rock. Surreal in all the right ways, outrageous, yet classic and throw-backy, like looking into a funhouse mirror of vintage New York studio life. It's not a hit, even after the Palin thing and her household-name-status, but that's the beauty - It's not for everyone. It runs with Family Guy with wild cut-aways and obscure pop culture references and my biggest fear is an executive-ordered watering-down of Fey's genius in a desperate attempt for ratings. I'd rather see the show go the way of Arrested Development than lose its winking, inside-joke brand of humour. Each episode pushing a little further into Fey's zany geek brain. Alec Baldwin has never been better. The world is a better place with Kenneth in it. Million-watt guest stars (Jennifer Aniston, Oprah, Steve Martin) and Jane Krakowski in black face. I cannot. get. enough.

Click the image to read the fantastic new interview in Vanity Fair. And if you're the type who should be watching 30 Rock, get to it.

1 comment:

  1. JASON. Get out of my head!

    If you haven't already, you need to get on Hulu, and search "Ask Tina" -- she answers, often in 30 Rock flashback-scene costumes, fan submitted questions... sometimes correcting their grammar.

    A week or so ago on 30R, when Liz Lemon says "I just want to jump into a relationship 12 years in -- when you don't have to try anymore, and you both just spend all night goofing on tv and then go to bed without trying any funny business..." I realized I do not want to meet someone like Liz Lemon, but rather, I AM Liz Lemon.

    So, should you ever get a chance to chill with T, HOOK A BROTHER UP.