Nobody had a better year than Tina Fey (including President-Elect Barack Obama, whose reward will be the opportunity to clean up the ever-deepening mess left by his predecessor). Fey surpassed all known standards in just how successful an entertainer could be with brilliant comedic performances that crackled with social and poitical commentary.
Fey is the creative force behind NBC’s 30 Rock, a show both popular and critically acclaimed. Her character, Liz Lemon, is an achieving woman attempting to manage a nearly unmanageable “Saturday Night Live” conceit. As played by Fey, Lemon is sharp and compassionate, as well as confused and insightful. Lemon carries a realistic acceptance of her position on constantly shifting ground. She is an icon for women juggling professional success and personal chaos. Liz Lemon makes no apologies for who she is. In a high school reunion episode, “The Revenge of the Wrath of the Nerd,” Lemon bids farewell to her former White Haven classmates with, “You know what? Suck it, you whittling IHOP monkeys.”
That would seem to be enough for one woman. But then came Sarah Palin. Fey’s impersonation of Palin on various episodes of Saturday Night Live marked some of the greatest comedy in the show’s storied history. At times, Fey was indistinguishable from Palin. Through a fusion of comic genius and comic existentialism, Fey effectively parodied a woman who was a parody in and of herself. No easy task, and one worthy of recognition in the form of The Hangover’s Person of the Year.
If you don’t believe it, see for yourself: