Amy Poehler doesn’t answer the biggest question

Sarah Posted by Sarah at April 25, 2019 13:42:48 April 25, 2019 13:42:48

Netflix doesn’t often do big press pushes for their movies—Roma set a standard for awards potential, but outside of that, it’s like Netflix releases one trailer, then bang, the next week the movie is on the platform with little other fanfare. But Amy Poehler’s Wine Country is getting a decent push. Sure, there is only the one trailer, par for the course, but Poehler has been really visible leading up to this movie, which is her feature film debut. She has been in Vanity Fair, along with Wine Country co-star Maya Rudolph, there’s a junket this week, and now she is covering The Hollywood Reporter, talking about this movie and her post-Parks & Rec shift to Hollywood girl boss.

The interview is pretty generically post-Trump “How do you, A WOMAN, feel about this madness?”, but we do learn that Poehler co-owns a wine shop in Brooklyn. (I am single-handedly supporting the rosé aisle in my local wine shop, can I get some shares in that?) And she always comes across as sharp and likeable in that Cool English Teacher way. But one thing she talks about which is interesting is the generation gap in gender politics, and how Gen X ladies are re-learning the language of feminism as a younger generation takes center stage. 

Of producing Broad City she says, “They’d be doing a scene where they would be cleaning an apartment in their underwear. And I’d be like, ‘You know you guys don’t have to be in your underwear.’ And they’d be like, 'We wrote this.’ […] My generation was like, ‘Wear baggy clothes when you improvise, be one of the guys, don’t use your sexuality.’ And women younger than me are like, ‘Uh, my sexuality is my own, I can use it however I want.’”

That reminds me of a bit Poehler and Tina Fey did at the 2013 Golden Globes, when they said Lena Dunham could signal them if she was being “forced” to do nude scenes on Girls. Attitudes change, Poehler isn’t saying anything bad here, but she is acknowledging a generation gap we don’t often talk about. A lot has changed very quickly in the last decade, and we should probably talk more about the generation gap and how progress comes in waves. And if Poehler feels she has to remember not to project her “deep institutionalized misogyny” on younger comedians, well, Abbi Jacobsen and Ilana Glazer only have Broad City because people like Poehler cleared the way. “My hang-ups are not their hang-ups” is a nice way to remember that, especially right now, when it feels like we’re losing ground on many fronts, overall progress has been made. 

But Poehler also says something not so great. Of Louis CK she says, “Women seem to be, unfortunately, the ones that have to have the answers…” No, Amy Poehler should not have to answer for Louis CK just because they’re friends and fellow comedians. But she should have to answer for herself. Poehler and CK have the same manager, Dave Becky, who allegedly used his position and the power that comes with repping the biggest comedian on the planet to pressure women who had, er, unflattering stories about CK to keep quiet. Answer for Louis CK? No. But why do YOU still have Dave Becky as a manager?

That’s a fair question, but there is no follow-up in the interview. Dave Becky is cited as their shared manager, but there is no question about the implications of staying with someone accused of strong-arming victims into silence. I like Amy Poehler, I’m not interested in tearing her down, but I do wonder how Dave Becky fits into her deconstruction of generational gender politics. Is it just more “be one of the guys” thinking? A kind of, don’t rock the boat thing? Or does the business Becky does on her behalf outweigh any moral considerations? This article frames Poehler’s gender musings as post-#MeToo recalibration, but there is no accounting for how #MeToo has, or has not, affected how she does business. I would just like to know how Dave Becky squares with her mission to lift up other women.

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Photos:
Miller Mobley/ THR

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