Monday, December 1, 2008

Dowd Profiles Fey

Maureen Dowd is moonlighting as a celebrity journalist and has a profile of Tina Fey in this month’s Vanity Fair. Most of it chronicles the ugly duckling/rags-to-comedy-gold/My Fair Lady rise from chubby staff writer to pin-up girl for the Mensa set. Or as Maureen quotes another wag:

...the New Yorker staff writer Michael Specter calls “the sex symbol for every man who reads without moving his lips.”
As part of her research, she gets to hang out on the Upper West Side drinking vodka martinis, not exactly heavy lifting. She paints Tina as a ball-buster with a soft side. Tina’s husband is kept on a short leash.
Richmond wades in. “When we were first dating,” he says, harking back to Chicago in 1994, “some of the guys at Second City said, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be a hoot if we go over—”’
”’—over to the Doll House,”’ Fey finishes. “ ‘We’ll go to this strip club ironically.’ I was like, ‘The fuck you will.”’
And Fey still recoils. “It didn’t go great when you came back, did it? I was very angry. It was disrespectful.”
Maureen even slips in a second-hand Rude Name®:
There’s a reason her former S.N.L. pal Colin Quinn dubbed Tina Fey “Herman the German.” She’s a sprite with a Rommel battle plan.
Other literary and pop cultural allusions thrown out include:
  • Leni Riefenstahl the Nazi filmographer
  • Elly May Clampett of The Beverly Hillbillies
  • Sally Bowles from Cabaret
  • Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby
  • Elaine from Seinfeld
  • Mary Richards in The Mary Tyler Moore Show
And of course there are the Sarah Palin references as well as plenty of compare/contrast bits (mostly compare) between Tina and Liz Lemon, her 30 Rock alter ego.

Maureen seems to be carving out a niche as a interviewer of smart and funny celebs. It takes one snarky semi-bitter babe to know one.


ScienceTim said...

It took a while to draw my eyes away from that picture of Tina at the top of the page.

I went ahead and read the whole MoDo article about Tina Fey, because Tina interests me truly, madly, deeply. Something that really struck me was the impression that MoDo is not a terribly good feature writer. Without commenting on her perspicacity as a columnist, she did not do a great job of carrying the longer form. She made sure to intrude herself a good bit, in ways that did not enhance her ability to portray her subject. If Tina is drinking white wine, it really does not enlighten me to learn that MoDo is getting tanked on vodka martinis with Mr. Tina. She could stand to study a really good feature writer (like, say, Weingarten) to see how it's done. I get the impression, however, that it would do no good. A good feature writer writes a good story because he has tracked down a good story to tell. It sounds like MoDo just wanted an excuse to get chummy with Tina Fey.

Grace Nearing said...

She made sure to intrude herself a good bit, in ways that did not enhance her ability to portray her subject.

Ah, but you see, people, issues, events -- the world, generally -- only exist to be intruded upon by MoDo, especially a MoDo getting tanked on vodka martinis.

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