Congratulations on surprising the hell out of us, MTV Nation! We were pretty sure we were headed for a final showdown between crotchety Liz Lemon (30 Rock) and crotchy Ilana Glazer (Broad City), but we apparently underestimated the popularity of one Miss Tina Belcher (Bob’s Burgers). Or maybe we miscalculated the appeal of nerdy females — though we really shouldn’t have. We can arguably trace a genealogy of geeky femininity from four-eyed ladies of yore to Liz to Tina: Liz Lemon was a proud refutation of the way women are taught to be sexualized — she preferred spending her evenings alone with her night cheese, thank you very much — while Tina Belcher demonstrates with her zombie-inflected desires that girls with glasses can still make passes. What’s at stake in our Battle of Two Tinas is nothing less than the soul of female body comedy: Humiliated or hopeful? Comfortably bitter or adorably curious? Cringes of recognition or giggles of relatability?
Thanks to everyone who voted in the past two weeks! Please guide our quest for the queen of body humor one last time by voting in each of the polls below. Deadline for voting is 5 p.m. PST Monday, March 22, after which we'll tally it all up and announce THE Queen of Gross-Out Comedy.
Here again is our original explanation for this March-long search:
In the past few years, I’ve watched women sing about period sex, brag about losing three pounds from diarrhea, rap about her best friend’s “broken pussy,” have a homeless man spit in her mouth, be told to lose weight at an audition for “2 Girls 1 Cup,” and yell “This is the happiest day of my life!” at their grandmother’s shiva after their non-romantic soul mate fulfills their shared dream of pegging a dude. A golden age of female body humor is upon us — a comedy epoch that I hope never ends. For millennia, the female figure has been observed, evaluated, and mythologized by men. But today, a great many shows explore what it feels like to inhabit a girl or woman’s body, with all its appetites and expulsions, pleasures and discomforts, excesses and practicalities. As much as we’re sometimes loath to admit it, our bodies are ourselves.
In celebration of the daughters of Portnoy who’ve gone spelunking for humor in every crack and crevice, we’re devoting this month to the search for TV’s queen of body comedy. Each of these female characters is unique and important in her own way, but in the spirit of healthy competition, we’d like to crown one as the girl or woman who best encapsulates existence in a (biologically) female body. To that end, we ask for your help in finding the pop-culture icon who most understands that our bodies are a playground and a freak show, a wonderland and a wayward factory.
Ultimate Nerdfight Bracket: 30 Rock’s Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) vs. Bob’s Burgers’ Tina Belcher (voiced by Dan Mintz)
Liz: 30 Rock took its last bow more than four years ago; it’s the only series in our queen quest that’s not currently on the air. (If you haven’t seen Fey’s classic sitcom yet, get on it immediately.) But there’s no way Liz Lemon wouldn’t be here. Like Inside Amy Schumer’s many Amys, her barely-there foe last week, she’s the everywoman as slightly disgusting — and shruggingly accepting of it because hey, guess what, there are a million other things to take care of first. Liz’s appetite and embarrassments are endless — and 30 Rock is beloved in part for cracking so many deliciously specific jokes about them. But at the (exhausted) end of the day, we continue to identify with Liz because she’s comfortable in compromise.
Liz’s bonus quote: "Who hasn't made mistakes? I once French-kissed a dog at a party to try to impress what turned out to be a very tall 12-year-old."
Tina: Thirteen-year-old Tina Belcher beat out Broad City’s Ilana Glazer — the most formidable contender in this competition, I’d guessed — to go glasses-a-glasses with Liz. Though she’s a friendless underdog in the rest of her life, she deserves credit for continuing to win at puberty. Few could claim a more robust hormone-fueled fantasy life — filled with horses, zombies, and boy butts for miles. She may be shy and hopelessly dorky according to everyone at school, but Tina is a reminder that every teenage girl is a teeming mass of tingling, pulsing lust. We’re so happy to explore that underexplored side of YA sexuality — and we cheer her on during the occasional moments when she finally gets what she wants.
Tina’s bonus quote: “I have a complicated relationship with zombies. They’re dangerous … but I love their swagger.”