The BFFs have given us the best searing comedic commentary on TV for the past three years. It just happened to be on, of all things, an awards show.
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“Good evening and welcome, you bunch of despicable, spoiled, minimally talented brats,” said Tina Fey, greeting the audience at the 72nd—and as co-host Amy Poehler joked, last—Golden Globes on Sunday night.
That biting opener has been reason enough to endure three hours of Hollywood’s pomposity and circumstance, as award hopefuls sit around and get loaded, waiting to be lauded and snubbed. Because for the past three years, viewers have been treated to the best feminist comedy on TV at, of all unlikely places, an awards show. But now that era has drawn to a close. And many of us just got back one Sunday evening a year. Because, with those two gone, is there even a reason to watch? I could have been watching Allison Williams get her ass munched on Girls. But, you know … I’m loyal to my other girls.
Yes, I’ll admit, I was beyond verklempt when Transparent won for best TV comedy—and not just because of Jill Soloway’s speech, which she dedicated to Leelah Alcorn and other young trans people who struggle with their identities, and to her own parent’s coming out, her Moppa. But because her series was truly one of the most honest and moving I’d seen in years. And I was also teary during Common’s emotional acceptance speech for “Glory,” his song for Selma, which he dedicated to civil-rights heroes, and Matt Bomer’s, for A Normal Heart, to AIDS victims—the opposite of Jared Leto’s asinine, flip speech of last year (not to mention his disingenuous Je Suis Charlie Hebdo blather at this ceremony). And then out of nowhere … something lovesexy appeared, as if under a cherry moon: Prince—I mean, what???? PRINCE!
But what we didn’t see is any more props for Selma. Which was, sadly, predictable, because this is how awards committees roll: If 12 Years a Slave was last year’s best film, heaven forefend we reward a Black-themed film two years in a row.
I’ve come to expect that anything great that happens awards-wise feels like a bonus. Just as I read Playboy for the articles (I did, really!), I watched the Golden Globes—I’m referring to the broadcast, people, not making an over-tanning boob joke, though really, WTF was going on last night?—for Amy and Tina. Already I feel bereft of these two longtime BFFs, who delivered acid jokes like, as one friend of mine put it, they could give a flying fuck what anyone thinks. And when you feel like you have that kind of freedom, like you have nothing to lose, your punch lines land like real punches—and they socked it to the audience, both specific people and Hollywood culture, whether or not they were in on the joke.
Amy took aim at Russell Crowe’s criticism of older actresses’ complaints about a lack of roles, when she said, “Boyhood proves that there are still great roles for women over 40—as long as you get hired when you’re under 40.” BOOM! On the subject of Hollywood vanity, as the subject turned to the film Cake, Amy was kind enough to explain to “the Hollywood people” what “cake” is. “Cake is like a—it’s like a fluffy dessert that people eat on their birthdays.” Tina chimed in, “Oh, and birthdays are like a thing people celebrate when they admit that they have aged.”
And though Tina has been digging at Cosby for years, many of us wondered if she and Amy would to go there on Sunday. They most certainly did with a clever Into the Woods zinger, when Amy said, “Cinderella runs from her prince, Rapunzel is thrown from a tower for her prince, and Sleeping Beauty just thought she was getting coffee with Bill Cosby.” One of the most oft-quoted lines of the night resonates like the quintessential feminist battlecry, as they poked fun at George Clooney, the recipient of the Cecil B. “DeBurnt” DeMille award (is he even old enough?). Tina said, “George Clooney married Amal Alamuddin this year. Amal is a human-rights lawyer who worked on the Enron case, was an adviser to Kofi Annan regarding Syria, and was selected for a three-person U.N. commission investigating rules of war violations in the Gaza Strip. So tonight, her husband is getting a lifetime achievement award.”
They even skewered themselves a bit, drawing attention to their differing sexual appetites under the guise of their different taste in men with a rousing game of “Who Would You Rather?” Maybe it seemed like a throwaway joke, two gals talking about guys. But to a 40-something mom, listening to two 40-something mothers of two, I heard something more revealing. When Amy said she liked it “Ruffalo,” and Tina said she preferred someone like filmmaker Richard Linklater, “five minutes, once a year,” I was hearing the kind of brave admissions women disclose after a few drinks. Except they were talking to an audience of inebriated, self-conscious Hollywood people—and millions of viewers. Who may or may not care about two adorable 40-something moms’ libidos. Hey, I care.
And now I am really missing Amy and Tina all over again. Because 30 Rock is long gone, Parks and Recreation is wrapping up soon, and we’ll have to wait until next Christmas to see these two reunited for their movie, Sisters. And something tells me the 73rd Golden Globes isn’t going to be this feminist. Or that an awards show will be feminist or funny for quite some time—if ever again.
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