I just finished Bossypants, and I really liked it, and I recommend it. However, I wish the reviews I'd read hadn't been all "I PEED MYSELF MULTIPLE TIMES JUST READING THE TITLE," because it's a bad idea to go into ANYTHING expecting to be dead with laughter. I DID laugh, and often, but more than that I came away liking Tina Fey. Well, which I already DID from episodes of 30 Rock and from her famous impressions of Sarah P., whose name I prefer not become a search result on this site.
As I was reading, I was piling up things I wanted to tell you about the book. Some were mild whiny complaints: I wanted a big fat photo section in the middle; there was a chapter about her dad but not about her mom, and I wanted more about her mom as soon as I read that her mom made barfing sounds when she heard that a former president had personally telephoned her daughter. And there were many praises: the overall balance of show-business and personal, upbringing and current life, jokes and not-jokes; the photos sprinkled through the text; behind-the-scenes peeks; the extremely funny and also extremely touching mother's prayer thing.
But ALL THAT got puffed right out of my head by her final chapter, which ASKED ADVICE about what she should do with her "final five minutes." That is, she's over 40 and she has a 5-year-old TV show: should she try for another baby (giving up the show that might not go on much longer anyway) or should she continue work on the show (giving up on another child).
Well! I would be HAPPY to give input! I would never ever have given an opinion on it unless I were asked (Ha ha! total lie. But I might not have actually titled a post as if it were a topic for general discussion, if she hadn't asked for general discussion on the topic). My opinion is that she should have another baby. I have no idea if she's a good mother; I have no idea if another baby will push her past her personal brink of stress. But I DO know I would like more Tiny Fey genes in the population, and I am willing to risk her sanity to get them.
Also, I think the situation she sets up (baby OR show) is not quite the way she's agitating about it. Sometimes on the baby name blog, we get a question from someone who is losing her mind with panic: NO NAME works, not one single name! But it turns out that most of the problem is that the parents have set things up impossibly: they're requiring that the name meet two or more incompatible standards. And the standards are totally self-imposed and unnecessary---and often unrealistic (for example, their tastes are 100% Top 50 names, but they arbitrarily insist on a name outside the Top 500).
Where was I? Oh, yes. So when Tiny Fey says that she can't have a baby because the show would have to be canceled and 200 people who count on her would be out of work, I wonder if that is entirely the case, or if that is Panic Talk. It MIGHT be the case! It might VERY WELL be the case that if she has a baby, even if she does Worker In A Field maternity leave, the show will be canceled.
But in these dilemmas I think it can be useful to consider how things would go if her estimated absence were involuntary rather than voluntary. If, for example, she were in a car accident and were forced to spend, say, one month in heavy, three-quarters-comatose, totally-not-working-at-all-not-even-to-answer-a-quick-question recovery---would the entire show actually be CANCELED? just, on the spot? She's the most crucial member on the entire thing, but would they be literally unable to find a way to coast for a month? My guess is no, they could find a way. I don't know what that way would be, because I have zero experience with that industry, but...timing it for a part of the year they're not working so much, if such a part exists? making shows ahead? skipping a couple of shows and doing re-runs those weeks with an awwwww-inspiring photo of the newborn reason for it? having a few famous guest directors/writers and making a big deal of it like it's fun to see how someone else would run things, which it in fact would be? doing a couple of crappy shows and just living with that because it'll be back to normal soon? doing amusingly crappy shows where the actors keep stalling out and then saying funny things about how they can't function without Liz and how without her they feel like they can't even talk and don't even know where to stand in a room? getting Amy Poehler to sub and have everyone just call her Liz and act natural about it?
And she did two movies while also doing the show. So it seems like there is some wiggle-room for doing activities in addition to her 30 Rock duties, and that it's not "If one more thing is added, the show is gone."
Besides, as she points out, it's pretty rare for a show to last longer than five years. The worst-case scenario here, I think, is that she'd give up on the idea of a baby, and then the show would have one more season---ending right around the time the baby would have been born, but now the ovaries have shut up shop.
So that is my input: go with having the baby, if it is not already too late; take the Field Worker maternity leave; hire the second babysitter; make the problem of "but what about the show?" a group problem (as it would be if there had been a car accident) rather than a personal "Everyone is counting on me" problem. This is a pretty smart group of people she's working with, and my guess is that they have solved many problems well together on other occasions.
UNLESS: deep down she doesn't really want another baby, but needs a solid reason in order to (1) put her mind at rest and (2) get everyone off her back about it. In which case, I say don't have another baby, because if she did, the entire television show would have to be canceled, and none of those 200 people would ever find work in the industry again. Maybe this hypothetical second baby wouldn't have children anyway, removing the issue about genes lasting longer than a television show: perhaps he/she will ALSO be too crucial to a television show to take time off to have children. It's important for the good of the many (the aforementioned 200, plus TV viewers) to outweigh the good of the few (Tiny Fey, her family, and those positively affected by the genes later on), and this resolves the dilemma.
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