Comedian Amy Poehler is one busy lady these days. She just gave birth to a baby boy, is developing a sitcom for NBC to debut this spring, is still raking in kudos for her impressions of Hillary Clinton on her former show, "Saturday Night Live," and now she's working on becoming an internet star. Amy and two of her friends, Meredith Walker and Amy Miles, have teamed up to produce eight webisodes called "Smart Girls at the Party."
"Smart Girls" consists of seven minute interviews with girls who are according to Poehler, "changing the world, by being themselves." The video clips are part of the ON Networks' stable of shows and focuses on girls with a variety of interests like writing, gardening, yoga and music.
There's Cameron, the 10 year old writer who pens mysteries and paranormal stories. Among other things she talks about what she does to manage writer's block. Sisters Lea and Sarafina like to talk at the same time and both like the color purple.
My personal favorite of the three posted so far is Ruby, the skateboarding feminist. She's already written a book and has very definite ideas about boys and girls.
The interviews are sweet and funny and Poehler brings a wry, subtle humor to the conversations. Though I gotta tell you any minute I expected her to break into full Hillary Clinton mode and interrogate the girls as if they'd been caught with their hands in the cookie jar. The production values are sparse, but that adds to the charm. Each interview ends with a dance party and since the videos are sponsored by Mattel, each video also has Barbie commercial wraparounds.
The invite to Barbie however has some bloggers calling the Queen of Fashion Dolls a party crasher. What with her perfect half inch waist and ridiculously shapely body, as Liz Shannon of New Tee Vee Station puts it:
Smart Girls At the Party also kicks off with a pretty intense paradox: a 30-second ad for Barbie (plus inlaid advertising throughout the episode), which is like finding a fly in one's tasty post-feminist soup. No amount of special-edition Rocket Scientist Barbie playsets will ever be able to erase how the popular doll has symbolized for decades a celebration of "traditional women's roles," and it's a little disappointing to see this brand associated with the program.
What do other bloggers have to say about Poehler's new venture? Well Massachusetts Mom especially likes one aspect of the videos:
"No belly shirts or pregnancies involved. Just regular girls being their awesome selves. How refreshing."
Though Naomi at Jewish Chicks Rock also has reservations about the Barbie sponsorship "aka: unrealistic figures, shapes and sizes of women," she thinks "Smart Girls" is "awesome."
I love the take of of the "Charlie Rose" type of interviewing that they do and that they're interviewing girls about being themselves!
Lili Wilkinson at Thinkings of a Lili is a young lady who loves "Smart Girls" and Barbie's involvement.
Barbie ran for President in 2000, long before Hillary or Palin came on the political scene. Barbie was never defined by her male partners. And Barbie showed us that deformity can be beautiful too. We don't judge Barbie for her scary legs or her twisted pointy feet.
Jessica Shambora at Fortune Magazine liked the site as well.
I know I’m not the demo, but I loved the show. It reminded me of the
power of being young — free to dream and explore without doubts or
I'm with Jessica on this one. With so many destructive images out there, I have no problem with Barbie being a part of something marketed to young girls. That's not just because I was obsessed with her as a child but because she's no longer the sole image of modern womanhood, and in the real world of internet sponsorship, the Mattel deal is a good fit.
When asked in a recent interview by Tubefilter News, who should watch "Smart Girls," Amy answered, "Everyone and their mother."
What do you think?
Megan Smith is the BlogHer Contributing Editor covering Television and Online Video and she thinks Amy Poehler's new series for NBC is gonna generate a whole lot of buzz. Megan's other blogs are Megan's Minute, quirky commentary around the clock, and Video Runway.
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