Amy vs. Tina (and Aziz and Mindy)

I love reading memoirs written by entertainment industry professionals. Specifically, actors that live a good portion of their lives in writers’ rooms. They’re all kind of a collection of essays, not too far from this very blog.

bossypants-tina-fey-cover

When I first read Tina Fey’s book, Bossy Pants, I was disappointed but intrigued. It wasn’t very informative. It wasn’t really chronological. I was looking to learn more about 1) Tina as a professional behind the scenes, and 2) Tina as an individual. I didn’t get either of those. Bossypants is narrated by Tina’s onscreen personality – namely, Liz Lemon, her character on her brain child TV show, 30 Rock. The book was a joke. It wasn’t a look into her life, it was another interaction with her persona. This was entertainment.

modern-romance-aziz-ansara-book-cover

Then I read Aziz Ansari’s book, Modern Romance, which is 10% comedy, 90% sociological study fully backed by professionals at accredited universities. This was an awesome book. It very well analyzed today’s dating patterns and set up meaningful comparisons to past dating patterns. I loved this book. Told me very little about media industries, but I didn’t care. The information was there.

mindy

Mindy Kaling’s book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, was exactly what I expected. Mindy’s character on The Office is terribly annoying. She’s such a typical, cripplingly insecure girl. The whole book is a series of essays on her life and her opinions. But you know what, she’s annoying but also likable. I don’t know how she does it. I finished the book and actually learned A TON about her background, her rise to fame, what it takes to be where she is, and what her next steps are. I plan to read her second book.

amy-poehler-yes-please-book-cover

I just finished Amy’s book. Now this one was the biggest disappointment, but also incredibly intriguing, and pretty entertaining. This was just her throwing up random stories and opinions into a book. There are a ton of drug stories. Yes, I guess I learned a little about how she fits into the media industry. Reading Amy’s book made me reevaluate Tina’s book. I really appreciate Tina’s book. Tina didn’t let us see her personality at all. She offered us a construction, but a clever, likable construction that made sense. Amy’s book seemed incredibly genuine in a really unlikable way. She talks about how much she didn’t want to write this book throughout the whole book, especially the beginning. She makes herself seem horribly selfish, insecure, and overall irresponsible. There wasn’t one chapter guided by an intellectual argument or tone. There were moments where I laughed and cried and prayed. It was very real, which is commendable. I was entertained by quite a few of her stories. I feel like I learned a lot about Seth Meyers’s sweet side. However, I was disappointed with the overall quality of the book.

The good news is that Amy’s book made me feel like I can turn this blog into a book. It will be at the same level as Amy’s book if not better (I feel like I have a few intellectual and emotional posts in here (probably more introspectively emotional than intellectual, but still)). I’m feeling pretty good about turning this blog into a book, even if it’s just one copy just for me.

Why did I read all of these books, even though I considered some bad? Because I’m the target audience. I like their shows, so I read their books. I wrote an essay once about the dangers of feeling like an audience member is “friends” with the fictional characters on TV or in books, but this is why we read. We feel connected to the characters. We root for them like real people. In movies, we cry when the couple lives happily ever after. I became comfortable with their likable TV personalities, so much so, that I was willing to pay money to just read some of their opinions because it gave me another medium to experience them as not the characters in their scripted shows, but their characters as celebrities. I’m no celebrity chaser, but I love a good fictional character.  Enough of an audience-character relationship was forged in their scripted shows to make me feel connected enough to be interested in whatever stories they wanted to tell me.

Basically, I thought, “I already like Amy because I like her as Leslie Knope in Parks and Rec, so I’d like to know about her.” It’s the equivalent of “I’d like to watch more episodes of Parks and Rec with Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope.” I bought into Amy as a fictional figure (by that I mean, I don’t know her in real life, so everything I read/see could be a lie).

Similarly, I have a target audience for this blog. I’m hoping that this book is found by my great, great, grandchildren. I hope they read this because they think, “I’m related to her. I’d like to know what she thinks and feels. I’d like to hear some stories from her. I’d like to know what life was like back when she lived.” Hopefully, their relation to me is what makes them interested in my stories.

Basically, Amy kinda sucks and she makes me feel better about my blog. Yay!

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