October 16, 2009 at 9:46 am , by Lisa M. Gerry
Yesterday, a friend of mine sent me a link to this New York Times article about the show 30 Rock. As a devotee to the show, and comedy in particular, she was curious to know what I thought of the harsh criticism of Tina Fey’s acting ability. While I find Tina Fey hilarious, I am all for people critiquing performances—I might not agree with your opinion, but I appreciate you expressing it. I do, however, take major issue that in an effort to knock Fey’s performance, she was pitted against another comedienne, Amy Poehler. Here is an excerpt from the article:
“…The other striking thing about the new season [of 30 Rock], especially when seen in the same Thursday night lineup as “Parks and Recreation,” is the acting limitations of its star and creator, Tina Fey. Ms. Fey is one of the funniest comedy writers on television and a gifted mimic (Sarah Palin), and she is at her worst playing a comic version of herself…That disconnect is all the more obvious this season because Amy Poehler, Ms. Fey’s former co-star on “Saturday Night Live,” is so deliciously believable as a rural version of Liz: Leslie Knope… Ms. Poehler is not as distinguished a writer as Ms. Fey, but she is a more supple comedian, and she is thoroughly at ease in the role of an adorably deluded and ridiculous single woman…”
I am a huge fan of Amy Poehler, but even the compliments given to her feel demeaned by having them come at the expense of another woman, and a friend no less. I think you’d be hard pressed to find an example where the strengths and weaknesses of two male actors are directly compared like this. And then there’s Britney Spears v. Christina Aguilera, Team Aniston and Team Jolie, and celeb weeklies’ “Who Wore it Best?” Bottom line: This tired “lady vs. lady” is good for no one. If there is an argument to be made about a person’s abilities, it can surely be made without conjuring up the archaic catfight.