The Tina Fey publicity machine of the last couple of weeks has been in full swing. She’s been everywhere to sell her book Bossypants. And clearly, the publicity machine has worked because the book is number one on the best seller list.
A natural place for Tina to work the publicity machine is her old stomping ground Saturday Night Live. This past Saturday she hosted the Mother’s Day episode. If you recall, last year’s episode was hosted by Betty White and it was turned out to be fresh, funny and raunchy. This year, with Fey 6 months pregnant, the show felt really forced with many of the sketches about pregnancy. Now I’d love to see the occasional sketch about pregnancy. That would be quite a change from the usual sketches. But it felt like there were too many sketches on the topic and to top it off none of them were funny. And what was the deal with Maya Rudolph? (who I love) It was like Tina said I don’t want to be the only pregnant woman on stage — let’s get Maya.
The show felt just as bizarre as the Helen Mirren boob episode a couple of weeks ago. It’s as if they didn’t know what to with Tina and the sketches that worked best were the ones were her pregnancy was a non-issue like the Sarah Palin sketch.
Why could SNL write such a good episode for Betty White and then have uncomfortable episodes with Mirren and Fey? Is it that when White at almost 90 plays raunchy it is funny because a 90 year old woman is not considered a sexual being anymore? With Mirren it was painful because her image is so sexualized, and with Fey it was painful because it seemed they just didn’t know what to do with her belly. But it’s not like they haven’t worked with pregnant women before. Amy Poehler was pregnant on the show and she did one of the best pieces EVER by anyone, The Sarah Palin wrap when she was 9 months pregnant.
So it’s not like it can’t be done.
And speaking of Bossypants, I finally finished the book. It kind of felt like a tease. She reels you in and then doesn’t give you too much. I laughed my ass off at times but still don’t feel I learned a lot about Tina. I feel that I learned more about her when I actually heard her voice in her conversation at Google a couple of weeks ago. I like Fey because she takes feminist issues and makes them really accessible to people who otherwise would run fast in the other direction.
One of the excerpts from the book that got a lot of play before its release and was excerpted in the New Yorker was about her ambivalence about having a second child. I very much liked that section especially the part about how as the boss and creator of 30 Rock she felt a lot of responsibility for all the people who worked on the show who she felt would lost their jobs if she decides to have a second kid because she wouldn’t be able to continue the show.
Now we all know that she is having a second baby. And the other news is that 30 Rock will be around next year. Those 200 people still have their jobs — at least for one more year. What Tina did was bring issues related to working moms into the zeitgeist in a new way. It will be interesting to see how long 30 Rock lasts and also if we will see her in any movies in the near future.