Regular readers of this feature know I focus on movies that I think could have starred Asians, but today want to take a slight detour to write about a television series instead. And not just any television series, but what may very well be the most brilliant and funny 30 minutes of TV on the air at the moment…30 Rock.
30 Rock was created by and stars Tina Fey as Liz Lemon–the quirky, smart and slightly neurotic head writer of the fictional Saturday Night Live-esque sketch comedy show where the series is set. Fey, who started her TV career on SNL, has admitted to bringing a lot of autobiographical elements to 30 Rock and that Liz is like herself “five or six years ago when I first started at my job and had to figure out how to deal with big, strong personalities and get through the day, being sort-of scared of everyone… but acting like you’re not scared of everyone.”
I love Fey and I think she’s perfect in the role, but is it just me or does Liz Lemon possess a lot of characteristics that feel very Asian American? And let me take that even one step further–at her very core and essence, isn’t Liz Lemon really…an Asian American male?
Liz is a self-described geek with a Star Wars obsession (she dressed as Princess Leia to get out of jury duty) who is intelligent, ambitious and a talented writer but is insecure and “socially retarded.” She wears glasses, loves food, is often mistaken as gay and didn’t lose her virginity until after college. Here’s how Liz’s boss Jack Donaghy (played by Alec Baldwin) described her: “(a) New York third-wave feminist, college-educated, single-and-pretending-to-be-happy-about-it, overscheduled, undersexed, you buy any magazine that says ‘healthy body image’ on the cover and every two years you take up knitting for…a week.” Just change a few of the phrases like “third-wave feminist” to “third-world activist” and “you take up knitting” to “you give up drinking” and you have your typical Asian American guy, right?
Now before you accuse me of stereotyping Asian American men with my description above, let me also point out what an awesome character Liz Lemon is. She has a biting sardonic humor that always makes her the most interesting person in the room. She has a good heart and is always there to support her friends. And if that’s not enough, she’s “the thinking man’s sex symbol” which is cool, right? The Asian American male version of Liz Lemon could be the thinking woman’s sex symbol, which means you’ll get hit on by Arianna Huffington which, again, is kind of cool, right?
Finally, I want to make it clear that the fact that an ex-girlfriend of mine just told me that the fictional character she thinks I most resemble is Liz Lemon did not influence the writing of this blog entry at all because this ex-girlfriend is clearly mistaken and doesn’t know what she’s talking about. I am nothing like Liz Lemon, damnit! I lost my virginity before I graduated from college and…and…oh blerg! Fine, I’ll return Arianna’s phone call, just leave me alone then. Blerg you all!
Check out Tina Fey’s awesomeness here and tell me an Asian American dude wouldn’t also be awesome in the role:
(Thanks to Offender David for his photoshop skills)