Tag Archives: tina fey

Beauty in the Movies: Mean Girls

This week for Beauty in the Movies I ask you to head back to what was either the best or worst time in your life—high school, in the hysterically funny and alarmingly accurate film Mean Girls.

Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) grew up in Africa where she was home-schooled by her research zoologist parents, but at 16 after her mom lands a tenure teaching position she finds herself thrown into a new kind of  jungle; the American high school. Cady quickly learns that the poisonous snakes and carnivorous cats of her former home have nothing on the teenage girls who roam the halls of North Shore High. She is adopted by creative misfits Janice (Lizzy Caplan) and Damien (Daniel Franzese) who give her the low-down on the school’s social hierarchy starting at the top of the food chain with Regina George (Rachel McAdams) and her dim cronies Gretchen Wieners (Lacey Chabert) and Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried), who they’ve aptly nicknamed “The Plastics”. When the Plastics unsurprisingly take an interest in the hot new girl, Janice convinces Cady to infiltrate the group and expose Regina for the evil bitch she really is. She agrees, but being new to the dangerous world of girls she is easy prey for the cruel trickery of The Plastics, especially Regina. Before Cady knows it she is turning into cold, hard, shiny, plastic herself.

There are “plastics” in every school, they are equally worshiped and hated. Some are evil, but most are just lost or trying to fit in and win enough favor to avoid being tortured. I myself can relate so closely to the character of Janice that I find it eerie. It’s comforting to know that girls like me are just as prevalent as girls like Regina George in high schools across the country, most likely Tina Fey was one of them too. Janice is a direct reaction to Regina, she is the antithesis of everything the Plastics represent. While her plan to bring down Regina is fueled by revenge, fighting fire with fire is never a good idea, and although she has the best intentions, it’s hard not to see her, and Damien, as mean girls too.

This film has a great ensemble cast, Tina Fey and other SNL talents deliver laughs as expected (particularly Amy Poehler as Regina’s “cool” mom), McAdams, Chabert and Seyfried eat up the scenery and steal the show with their pitch-perfect teen girl hysterics and bitchery. Watching this film I can’t help but be sad about what has become of Lyndsay Lohan, she is so cute and brimming with potential in this role. Many of us thought this was just the first of many charming performances, but sadly both her career and her personal life seem to have gone downhill since Mean Girls hit theaters. I still remain hopeful that it’s just a phase and the bubbly, bright, redheaded girl onscreen in this movie will leave the tabloid madness behind and make a comeback sometime in the future—stay strong Lyndsay!

Tina Fey wrote her screenplay based on the book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman. Wiseman’s book was written as a guide to help mothers understand the confusing and often brutal world their daughters navigate everyday. Tina Fey is a comic genius and this film proves that. She took instances from the book that many women could relate to and found not only humor in the ridiculous way girls treat each other, but also an opportunity to send a message without seeming preachy. Teenage girls can be ruthless and Mean Girls holds up the mirror, the actions of the girls may seem absurd, but if you’ve spent time with teens—and unfortunately some grown women as well, you know this film is filled with truth.

One of Mean Girls greatest moments comes when Fey’s character attempts to breakthrough to her female students “you’ve got to stop calling each other sluts and whores, it just makes it ok for guys to call you sluts and whores” she begs. Before women can be respected by men, we have to respect one another and see other women as our equals instead of our opponents. It’s a deeply valuable lesson for women of all ages and it simply cannot be repeated often enough. Gossip and name calling are as innocent as a sucker-punch to the face, if we don’t take those abuses seriously then we deserve the sort of leaders that are born of that behavior. The sad part is that, like Cady, most girls and women have a natural instinct to be a friend, but all it takes is one mean girl to put everyone else on the defensive. The best way to deal with a queen bee is not to give her any power and the only way to do that is to be yourself no matter what she thinks of you.

While there are many aspects of the film that could come off as cliché, it wouldn’t be high school without them. Archetypes are more prevalent in high school than anywhere else—the jock, the homecoming queen, the lap-dog, and so on. For some it’s a survival method; stick with the pack, go unnoticed, avoid abuse. For others, it’s the opposite, if you can’t fit in then be as different as possible and embody it to the fullest—the goth, the stoner, the nerd. Most of us fit into some category when we were in high school. Whether we chose our character to blend in, or had it thrust upon us as a way of sticking out, as adults we have learned we can be many things at once. Yes, you can be prom queen and a mathlete at the same time, and it actually makes you more interesting in the end.

At one point Cady comes to the realization that “calling someone else fat doesn’t make you any skinnier” and the same goes for any mean thing you can say about someone, it doesn’t do anything to change why you feel bad about yourself. Which is really the only reason we talk about each other aside from plain old boredom. In the end there is a lesson for all women in this film; stop being so mean to each other. It’s a hard habit to break after so many years of practice and reinforcement, but if we work together instead of tearing one another down there is no doubt we could rule the world.

Emilio Cavallini stretch dress
120 EUR - pret-a-beaute.com

Juicy Couture velour top
149 EUR - jades24.com

Red Herring wrap top
22 GBP - debenhams.com

Pringle of Scotland argyle top
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Black top
$77 - wildfoxcouture.com

Red Herring red top
17 GBP - debenhams.com

Love Moschino cap sleeve top
135 GBP - harveynichols.com

Juicy couture pants
130 EUR - luisaviaroma.com

Marc Jacobs tweed skirt
$495 - net-a-porter.com

Old navy skirt
$7.97 - oldnavy.gap.com

TopShop leather skirt
$125 - topshop.com

Tiered skirt
20 GBP - binbin.net

Maje tiered ruffle skirt
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Abercrombie Fitch polka dot skirt
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Christian louboutin shoes
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Nine West black pump shoes
$40 - nordstrom.com

Cherry bag
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Louis Vuitton multicolor handbag
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PikaPika round necklace
$115 - yesstyle.com

Rue21 hoop earring
$6.99 - rue21.com

Handmade jewelry
$49 - peggyli.com

Heart belt
$32 - topshop.com

dELiAs > Nail Polish >
$4.50 - delias.com

rabbit ears
3.50 GBP - sillyjokes.co.uk

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Beauty on Television: 30 Rock

I wasn’t going to do a Beauty in the Movies this week, what with Thanksgiving and my turkey hangover and all, but I decided I would just keep it light and simple instead. A friend recently told me he watches 30 Rock each night before bed because it makes him happy, so I gave it a try myself and I have to say, laughing before sleeping is a great idea.

If you haven’t had the chance to fall in love with 30 Rock yet, do yourself a favor and watch it streaming on Netflix or borrow the DVDs from someone, because this show is best watched in bulk, 21 minutes is never enough. 30 Rock follows Liz Lemon, head writer of sketch comedy show TGS (The Girlie Show) and her life behind the scenes as she tries to keep things together on and off set. 30 Rock is a character driven comedy, and the more you know about these people the funnier they are, which also means you can watch each episode several times and keep finding new things to laugh at.

In her day-to-day life, lonely lady Liz Lemon must balance her controlling (but needy) boss, Vice President of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming, Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin), her self-centered (also needy) friend and star of TGS Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) and the other (bigger) star of TGS Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan), who also happens to be incredibly needy and mostly insane too. Liz often turns to Kenneth, the morally perfect, endearingly dense NBC page, (Jack McBrayer) to help quell the madness in the studio.

As she tries to please everyone, and stay in the good graces of her lazy apathetic staff of writers, Liz also attempts to have a love life and often finds herself eating dozens of doughnuts alone in her apartment as her biological clock ticks away. Liz has been known to steal baby shoes, hallucinate Oprah, and eat a $54 dollar steak in under three minutes. In many ways Liz Lemon is a modern incarnation of Mary Tyler Moore, a single career-gal in the big city surrounded by crazy characters that constantly keep her on her toes.

30 Rock is pretty darn perfect, the one part that can get a bit trying is the way Tina Fey’s attractiveness is downplayed. It’s kind of like Rachel Leigh Cook in She’s All That, put some glasses on her and viola, she looks like a troll—oh no wait, she just looks like a pretty girl in glasses. Obviously nothing about the show is meant to be taken all that seriously, and Tina Fey has become something of a sex symbol, so I certainly hope there isn’t anyone at home who believes Liz is as unattractive as the show pretends. It does make you wonder what would happen if the character had been played by an actress who wasn’t conventionally attractive, suddenly those jokes would be less funny and more cruel. Calling beautiful women ugly and making jokes about their bodily functions are both SNL trademarks so it’s no surprise that as a former head writer for that show some of those jokes have found their way on to 30 Rock, but unlike SNL this show has a lot more going for it than toilet humor.

Tina Fey recently received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and all you have to do is watch a few episodes of 30 Rock to understand why. The woman has the talent and smarts to write comedy that appeals to everyone, it’s too bad there aren’t more comedians like her. Luckily for us 30 Rock has been renewed for a sixth season, and since the show seems to get better with each episode, that’s definitely something to look forward to.

Alright, now you can go eat your leftovers, and have a great weekend!

30 Rock: Liz Lemon

30 Rock: Liz Lemon by justinez featuring striped scarves

Cashmere V Neck Sweater
70 GBP - uniqlo.co.uk
V neck sweater »

Purple pretty camisole
15 GBP - debenhams.com
Purple jacket »

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