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Six Ways of Looking at Olivia Munn July 10, 2010

Posted by Erin Ptah in Fandom.
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I had a dream last night about watching one of Olivia Munn’s segments. Jon threw to her, and she was at some kind of amusement-park water ride, with a big water wheel turning on the right side of the green-screen and a track going down the left that a cartload of people splashed down. The conceit was that she was walking on one of the gears that turned the water wheel, so she was moving in place and kept swaying a bit.

I don’t remember the topic of the segment. Something about fishing? (I don’t think people were fishing in the amusement-park ride….)

*

YOU ARE ALL GOING TO BE DELETED: The Munn Paradox is back to Tiger Beatdown at its best.

As with the last time I linked there, I’m not claiming 100% support of every line. What I’m saying is that it’s subtle, and thoughtful, and manifestly contains Original Thought rather than boilerplate talking points, and with this outlook it does a masterful job of unpacking the wrongness inherent in attacking Olivia Munn for being hot without letting slide the angles that deserve actual criticism, and all of these things make it very much worth your attention.

In short, reading it is like jumping into a cold pool in the middle of a heat wave.

*

By the way, why is it that so many people are complaining “she doesn’t have a record of telling smart/funny jokes”?

I mean…we all realize that she wasn’t hired to be a writer, right? We get that the correspondent bits are scripted by other people, yes? I believe Wyatt and John Oliver are currently pulling double duty as part of the writing staff, but since Olivia isn’t, the burden of coming up with TDS-quality comedy does not fall to her.

Now, according to that article, both Jon and Tina Fey think she’s funny. Since I consider both of those two to be ethereal spirits of wit poured into human vessels, if they believe she deserves a chance, I’m inclined to trust their judgment.

But for the lines written by the dozen or so people whose jobs consist solely of coming up with said quality comedy, all Olivia has to do is nail the delivery. And frankly, hers is already way beyond the wooden monotone and inability-to-turn-his-head that Aasif displayed when he started out — and check him out now.

(Lest someone think I’m singling out Aasif for racial reasons, there are plenty of white correspondents who started off bad and just never got better. Remember Bob Wiltfong? Yeah, me neither.)

*

When looking for new art to invite to Moments of Zen, in between the periodic sweeps for Jon-and/or-Stephen stuff that isn’t there yet, I look up correspondent names.

There is not a single thing on DA for Josh Gad. There are only a handful of things for Rob Riggle, fewer yet for Wyatt or Aasif, and most of this is by TDS fans (many of whom I know). Ditto for Rob Corddry and Ed Helms. There’s nothing at all for Bob Wiltfong or Dan Bakkedahl, except the full-cast collection I drew.

Of the few correspondents who are wildly popular (that is to say, John Oliver, although his name is common enough that there’s a lot of unrelated drek inflating the search results, and Steve Carell), the John art is mostly inspired by his TDS days, and the Steve art by his post-TDS days. John Hodgman probably comes in next, with a lot of Mac+PC fanart and illustrations of hobos and mole-men.

A few days after her first bit, I searched for Olivia Munn art. There’s a ton of it.

A lot of it is classy and well-done and cute and stylish. Some of it is sexy and pinup-y, and I am the last person to complain about sexy pinups of hot geek girls.

Some of the art is really creepy and fetish-y. Which probably says something about parts of her fanbase, but here’s the thing: I’ve seen a lot of the exact same stuff come up in searching for Read or Die artwork for Give Me Back My Book. The actual series, meanwhile, isn’t fetish-based at all, not even in the wink-wink-nudge-nudge way that some moe series are so infamous for. What it is: smart and literary and action-packed and touching. I love it to bits.

So there’s that.

*

I like that she’s hot.

There! I said it! Which is a terribly guilt-inducing admission, because, you know, I do in fact care about lookism and misogyny and the institutionalized sexism of the TV industry and the importance of providing all women equal opportunites and the discomfort brought on by a certain brand of creepy fanboying, and, yes, I very much wish there were more lady-type people of all shapes and sizes and colors and stripes (in the metaphorical sense, although if they do find an actual striped person and want to put her on the air, more power to them) getting face time on my nightly Daily, but PART OF ME IS STILL A SHALLOW LESBIAN FANGIRL WHO SOMETIMES JUST WANTS TO RELAX AND ENJOY THAT THERE IS A PRETTY LADY ON MY TELLY, OKAY? OKAY.

*

She’s done three pieces so far. I’ve enjoyed them all, not because I sat back and stared at her chest for the duration, but because they were — what’s the word — funny.

I like her expressions. I like her acting ability. I like how she’s not just delivering lines, but performing them; how all her nonverbal cues line up with the spoken words and enhance them, and how she keeps it up just as smoothly even while she’s not talking.

In particular, this:

“It’s like curling up with a bowl of mac’n’cheese and watching an episode of Full House.”

“I get it, I get it. It’s like snuggling up with a Stretch Armstrong to watch a little Courtship of Eddie’s Father.”

“…I don’t know what those words mean.”

was the MOST ADORABLE THING EVER, and, if you did not smile even a tiny bit watching the way Olivia’s face fell — from “I’m making a sweet nostalgic point” to “I don’t understand, but you sound like you’re agreeing, so I will play along” to “no, screw it, I can’t even fake this one” — then you need to get your soul checked.

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Comments»

1. sarcasticsra - July 10, 2010

Ahhh, Tiger Beatdown, that’s much better. Thoughtful and in-depth and not fucking stupid!

Now if only I could fully wipe that godawful mock letter from my mind (“Jon Stewart is our boyfriend!” FFS whyyyyyy), we could be friends again.

I have to catch Olivia Munn’s other segments. I still am very :/ about some of her comments, though, so keeping an open mind is going to be tough.

Only semi-relatedly, it’s very hard for me to find someone attractive when I don’t know anything about them. I generally only start fangirling someone in that way after I know they’re awesome in some other way–funny, smart, a liberal light of my life, etc–which makes for a slight disconnect in my brain when people are all, “She’s just there because she’s hot!” My first response is, of course, “Shut the fuck up, you’re an asshole.” and then my second is, “Wait, she’s hot? Oh yeah, I guess she is pretty. Okay. Anyway, you’re still an asshole.” It’s odd.

Erin Ptah - July 10, 2010

Hear, hear.

Go watch her segments! You will see what I mean about the fluid acting. And, yeah, I’m not big on those comments of hers either, but considering the circumstances I’m not willing to define her by them just yet.

I don’t know if it’s about fangirling per se — I mean, my hard drive has plenty of folders of attractive women in swimsuits, and it isn’t like I would wait in line for their autographs. Someone can start to seem more or less attractive later on if I find out about their views, and full-on fangirling sets in as a result of liking the entire package. That may happen with Olivia eventually, or it may not, but either way it isn’t a prerequisite for enjoying the eye candy.

sarcasticsra - July 10, 2010

Well, there I used “fangirling” as a stand-in for “finding someone attractive”. Generally I can appreciate that someone is exceptionally good-looking but until I know something about them, that means nothing to me. And if I find out they are an asshole, I literally am unable to find them attractive, no matter how pleasing to the eye they may be. I tried to explain this to my roommate, and she didn’t understand, so I figured it was probably another one of those Sara-being-odd things.

2. X - July 10, 2010

I need to get back into watching TDS. This is the first I heard about Olivia Munn joining it. I know her from her Attack of the Show days. She was okay, if written as a bit shallow (same as the co-host). There’s also the question as to whether she’s an actual geek girl or just played one on TV. I always had the unsettling impression she was used by G4 the same way beer ads use women. The TDS does have a history of going for talent over looks alone, so I’m willing to trust their judgment and give her a shot. If she has hidden potential, it’ll be a good chance for her to unleash it.

Also, creepy fanboying? Bah. Most of those other guys are just AMATEURS. XD

Erin Ptah - July 10, 2010

Lay your fears to rest, sir: she is, in fact, an Actual Geek. It has yet to come up on TDS (her first couple of segments have been on straightforwardly political issues), but it’s in her interviews, and evidently it’s the whole theme of her new book.

And while I’ve gotten the general impression that, yes, AotS! used her to cater to fanboys, that’s not what she’s doing on TDS. Head over to the website and watch her segments! I’m not kidding when I gush about the fluidness of her acting. Plus, they’re funny.


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