With eight seasons of Saturday Night Live under her belt, I automatically thought SNL actress Amy Poehler’s new digital TV series would be a spoof or a sketch by the screenshot alone!
I mean, c’mon, as a name generation branding gal, somehow seeing Smart Girls + Party + Barbie in one princess-pop logo was almost too much to bear. My bad…
Amy Poelher’s intent is to “celebrate extraordinary girls who are changing the world by being themselves,” so c’mon, ya gotta love that! Yes, yes, there is indeed irony that the “Smart Girls at the Party” sponsor is Barbie/Mattel, which as products go, feels downright wholesome and career driven compared to the Bratz brigade, (even though there’s even MORE irony with Mattel’s original intent–See lawsuit backstory on Bratz-Barbie kerfluffle) but I’m thrilled that our friends at Fem2.0 scored an exclusive interview with comedic SNL actress Amy Poehler about her digital series via ON Networks aimed at empowering young girls as we continue to wrap our ‘All Things Girl’ series. (the ‘never-ending story’ I know!) and filled me in beyond the buzz and blog of this new digital TV venture.
A sample episode of her show is after the jump, and her full interview is found on both the Fem2.0 blog and on Huffington Post today. In each weekly episode, Poehler interviews a pre-teen girl with “a unique talent, community interest or point of view” in a “lighthearted spirit of humor and fun…We looked for girls that had passions, girls who felt passionate about stuff, no matter what that was.”
I need to delve deeper to see where the show is going for consistency, but to me, any ‘raise the bar’ content that celebrates kids’ ability to ‘break out’ of pop culture look-alike-lockstep is to be wildly applauded even if there IS some whiplash on the sponsorship front. (been there, done that with my Dove/Axe/”Unilever disrobed” post, but again, I’m a ‘net gain’ gal!)
If this new mom of a one-month old (NBC bio shot of Amy Poehler at left) is concerned about media messages being sent to girls enough to dedicate an entire program to encourage indie thinking and role models for tweens it CLEARLY reinforces our mission and tactics here at Shaping Youth to ‘use the power of media for positive change,’ flipping the media content in a healthier direction.
Concentrating on REAL people over media “sheeple” —reality over reality shows—and holistic beauty rather than invisibility and the shame game of trying to morph into some twisted ‘Barbie-esque’ beauty ideal of societal ‘shoulds’ (Well Hello, Dolly…there’s that irony again!) seems like a ‘net gain’ indeed…We’ll see…If it’s just ‘brandwashing’ I’ll be brooding. I’m optimistic though, as my favorite quote from Amy Poehler’s interview is when writer Marianne Schnall (co-founder of EcoMall, E.D. of Feminist) asks Amy about her tween TV host style, and she replies,
“I would say my interview style is Morley Safer meets Kermit the Frog, with a dash of Christiane Amanpour. And a pinch of Dinah Shore wrapped in the shell of Lois Lane. My goal is to be the Edward R. Murrow of girls.”
When asked how Amy Poehler and gal pals Meredith Walker (producer) and Amy Miles (musical director) NAMED the show and format, she said,
“…The idea came out of us wishing we had a time machine so we could go back to the younger versions of ourselves and let them know it was gonna be ok.
We wanted to do a show that we would have wanted to watch at that age. And we knew we wanted to have a dance party at the end. We basically started with the dance party and worked backwards…”
“…Girls have to fight against a lot of the same stuff we did growing up…peer pressure, exploitation, etc. But what worries me the most is this trend that caring about something isn’t cool. That it’s better to comment on something than to commit to it. That it’s so much cooler to be unmotivated and indifferent. Our culture can get so snarky and ironic sometimes and we kind of wanted Smart Girls to celebrate the opposite of that.”
But much like People Shaping Youth Honoree Danica McKellar’s Kiss My Math takes the glamorama pink think to “show pre-algebra who’s boss” with tips for preteen middle school math angst (she also used the Hollywood-celeb style for her “Math Doesn’t Suck”) it appears Amy Poehler is on the same page…using media to shuffle the deck among the preteens at risk of being defined by media before they can define themselves.
Brava, Amy…I’ll be interested to see how this all evolves… Hope we can help out in some way to pay it forward into mainstream mindshifting for healthier personas! Here’s a clip from one of their recent episodes.
Episode of Smart Girls At the Party Recently with “Ruby”
Handful of related preteen posts on Shaping Youth