It's only a slight exaggeration to say that my life was forever changed in the spring of 2002, when I first saw Wet Hot American Summer. Among other things (like how it's the perfect movie to watch with a fellow camp counselor bff, which I did, and how Paul Rudd will always amaze me in any role), it was also the first time Amy Poehler's work resonated with me. Her hardcore announcement to the wannabe theater kids to "be prepared, be enthusiastic, and leave your bullsh*t attitude and baggage at the door because WE DON'T NEED IT!" is pretty much my life motto (or at least, the life motto I'm striving for. It's not always easy to leave a BS attitude at the door since my kiddo's hats are piled up there, but alas, I'm trying.)
If, back in 2002, I'd known what was to come from Amy Poehler, I probably would have been a bit more aggressive with showing the film to my friends and ordering them to "pay attention to Susie!" The more Poehler performs, the more she speaks to me as a young(ish) mom, trying to blend family with a career and ambitions of my own. She is, in fact, one of my favorite celebrity moms and celebrities in general and humans in general and basically she's just the best at everything she is. Let's take a stroll down memory lane and take a look at some of her career highlights, and I'll tell you a little more about what I mean. Oh, but first, here's that WHAS clip because you can never see this enough, and it's a really nice way to start off everything:
OK, I think we're ready to proceed now.
She Wrote A Book Called 'Yes Please'
While Yes, Please left me feeling like she is, and always will be, way cooler than me and like my only chance at friendship was to win some sort of contest that required her to spend time with me, her unapologetic way of going after her goals, the adorable chapter by Seth Meyers, and her words on motherhood took my Woman Crush to a whole new level. Oh, and she totally endorses nannies. That's how she does it, friends.
She Gave Iconic Performances On 'SNL'
Can you imagine doing of an impression of one of the most powerful ladies on the planet as she stood next to you? Or how about hosting "Weekend Update" and publicly skewering politicians and newsmakers on a regular basis? Or rapping about Sarah Palin while a jillion months pregnant? This woman is fearless. And here I am, scared to use those plastic changing tables in public bathrooms.
She Co-Founded Smart Girls At The Party
An organization "dedicated to helping young people cultivate their authentic selves," SGATP is also responsible for the #AskHerMore hashtag and subsequent conversation about sexism on the red carpet. If you aren't yet familiar with the Smart Girls community, one of my personal favorites is Poehler's Lenny interview with 12-year-old Broadway sensation Sydney Lucas.
Everything Leslie Knope, Always And Forever
You didn't watch Parks and Rec and idolize Leslie Knope, Feminist Icon like the rest of us? Oh Ann, you're so sweet, innocent, and pretty. She's part Girl Scout/part Jessie Spano/part lady badass who constantly knocks down barriers so fiercely, it's like she didn't even see they were there in the first place.
She Was Voice Of Joy In 'Inside Out'
I can't really say much more about this one because thinking about Bing Bong still hurts a little too much.
She Defined The Mom We Love To Mock In 'Mean Girls'
OK, so I love a great Mean Girls reference as much as the next person, but I'm aware that they are everywhere. That said, it's important that we recognize Poehler's portrayal here because I think the reason she nailed it is because she was smart enough to exaggerate the stereotype and make it laughable. I'm not cool enough to be as cool as Regina's mom, but Poehler makes me feel more than OK about it.
Her Award Show Appearances
Whether she's hosting, being nominated, or winning, Poehler always brings something special to the game, often poking fun at the glitz and glamour routine that Hollywood is known for. It's a brilliant yet inoffensive way to remind the masses, and her fellow moms, that what we're seeing is not real.
Her Harvard Commencement Address
Poehler drops so much knowledge that applies to motherhood that any summary I could provide you would not do her justice. Specifically, she nails the themes of "you can't do it alone," facing fear, embracing community, listening, staying in the moment, taking risks, saying "I don't know," and saying yes. Just watch it, trust me.
Thank you, SNL and its genius lady players, for this glorious portrayal of motherhood.
Images: Paramount Pictures; Giphy(8)