Sisterhood Blog

Tina Fey Schools 'Girls'

By Elissa Strauss

  • Print
  • Share Share

Seeing Tina Fey in a spoof of “Girls” on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live wasn’t just exhilarating because Our Lady of Feminist Comedy (pardon the Catholic reference) had returned, but because it also reinforced a world-order in which age and experience yields wisdom, both in humor and in life.

In the skit, Fey plays Hannah’s new roommate, Blerta, an Albanian widow whose past-life of war and poverty makes her a perfect foil for the solipsistic millennial dramas that fuel the show.

Some bon mots from Blerta:

When asked whether Hannah’s aloof ex, Adam, is good enough for her: “You will never do better than this man. He is strong like ox. You are weak and strong and dress like baby.”

After finding out that Jessa had sex with a cab driver without getting paid: “You are unpaid prostitute. You are lower than dog.”

And to the show’s resident JAP and logorrhoea sufferer Shoshana: “Don’t speak. If you speak, they will know you are simple, and if they know you are simple they will drown you in river.”

Obviously the girls on “Girls” are easy targets. The characters and the show’s creators have long been accused of their limited world view, or “first world problems.” But this sketch made me realize something about the show that I hadn’t before — how strangely devoid all of these girls are of anyone older and wiser who could give them a little perspective on their lives.

Sure, girls in their 20s often think they know better than their moms. Been there, done that. But often there is someone — an aunt, an older sibling, a grandparent — who can help them see the bigger picture. Blerta’s role in their lives was a lot like the one that my Grandma Esther had in mine. Her past wasn’t as trauma-filled as Blerta, but still, after a long life of ups and downs she would laugh at me and my “problems” and get me to laugh at myself.

It’s pretty formulaic on shows about friends to have the group essentially be orphaned from their families. I suppose there is just not enough room for all those characters. But for a show that strives for realism, albeit a white, hipster, we’re not exactly sure how you pay the rent one like “Girls,” this family-less existence makes the whole thing way less believable. Blerta, with her layered peasant skirts and Borat accent, brought that absence into relief. Who knows, maybe Dunham took note and Shoshana’s bubbe will show up this season and “Girls” will get a little more golden.

Elissa Strauss, a lead blogger for the Sisterhood, also writes about gender and culture for places like the New York Times, Jezebel and Salon. Follow her on Twitter @elissaavery.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: tina fey, sisterhood, lena dunham, jewish women, girls

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.