Baby mama drama 2.0: infertile ground.
Last year we were bashed over the head with the idea that getting unintentionally knocked up could be the highlight of any lucky girl's life. In a totally textbook moment of backlash, pregnancy became the newest form self-help, a quick fix to any problem. Get sperminated, and you'll find love and maturity (Juno and Knocked Up), inner strength and confidence (Waitress) and renewed public attention and admiration (Jamie Lynn Spears, Nicole Richie, Jessica Alba).
This year we're reminded that if our lady parts aren't functioning the way they're supposed to (i.e., if we're failing as women because of our genetics or because we've wasted too much time on our lousy careers), fear not! A brood of rugrats could be within our reach, if only we want 'em badly enough and are wealthy enough to pay for them. And according to movie-makers, TV execs, magazine editors and our very own mothers, we should want motherhood more than anything. We should hunger for stretch marks and sleepless nights because motherhood is becoming synonymous with femininity. More and more, there's no womanhood without motherhood, as the latest crop of shows, movies and articles warns.
|A very pregnant Salma Hayek.|
On Friday, Fox premiered its sitcom The Return of Jezebel James, helmed by Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and co-starring increasingly un-indie indie queen Parker Posey and Six Feet Under's Lauren Ambrose. The combination sounds promising, but the acting too broad, the laugh track irritating and the premise both far-fetched and preachy.
Posey's a single, mid-30s career gal with a busted uterus and a voracious appetite for her very own infant; Ambrose is the broke sister who'll carry the baby for a price and a place to crash. We're supposed to have sympathy for Posey's barren singleton, but her desperation feels forced. Does she really want a kid, or does she simply covet the newest "it" accessory?
In the same vein as Jezebel James, the big-screen Baby Mama, due out next month, stars Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. In this surrogacy story, single, mid-30s career gal Fey pays working-class Poehler to carry her fertilized egg. Based on the trailer alone (and Fey's impeccable track record), I'm guessing Baby Mama is a billion times funnier than Jezebel. Still, its premise is disturbing when positioned as part of a greater trend of fear-mongering among the burgeoning population of unmarried, baby-less women who've grown up in a culture that's told us we can be anything we want, and do anything we dream.
Suddenly, though, we're informed that our dreams of independence and vocational success should be redirected to prenatal yoga classes and falling into the Baby Gap. Suddenly, we're instructed to avert our personal finances from contraceptives, shoes and 401(k)s to fertility treatments, strangers' sperm and freezing our eggs for future use.
Other infertility tales trying to freak out non-moms: It took Sex and the City's Charlotte six seasons to boast the baby bump she's sporting in the upcoming movie. The latest issue of Glamour (the one with cover girl Salma Hayek raving about being an unmarried mommy) highlights a Gossip Girl writer who's getting artificially inseminated before her 40th birthday. And then there's that Boston Globe editorial from early March that advises women, "If you are past your early twenties, and you're single and want to have children, you need to find a partner now."
Why don't I just quit my job now, dedicate 40 hours a week to having unprotected sex, and figure out later how I'll afford all those fuzzy onesies (and my gas bill)?
Last year motherhood was a mistake made right, an unexpected surprise, an accidental means to fulfillment. This year motherhood is a yearning and an ambition, a desirable, feasible and, what's more, seemingly mandatory goal for any chick, regardless of her marital status, age or the health of her reproductive system--though noticeably not regardless of her class, as it can cost tons of money to have a baby when your body just won't cooperate.
It's not that I'm anti-motherhood (I would love to be one ... someday), but this transition from unplanned to anything-it-takes pregnancy trope is beyond troubling. We've worked hard to achieve success beyond procreation or vacuuming in pearls. Don't get scared back into the kitchen, ladies.
In other news ...
Nicky Hilton's the latest celebrity skeleton to lie about not having an eating disorder. Next she'll be hospitalized for "exhaustion" and the become "just friends" with a male model. Brit Brit's on a weekly allowance of $1,500, which doesn't last long when you've got so many Cheetos and hair extensions to buy. Scarlett Johansson went old-school and auctioned off a dream date for charity. Her companionship went for close to $40,000, which Eliot Spitzer calls "a bargain," a Penn undergrad calls "tuition" and I call "half a decade of rent checks." I should really buy already. The CW, which recently cut its entire comedy department, is working on a 90210 spin-off series for the fall (like Newport Harbor to Laguna Beach?). Rob Thomas, the mastermind behind Veronica Mars, has signed on to write the pilot. New episodes of MTV's The Hills start Monday at 10pm. The Pinkberry craving's kicking in already. Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna), a tearjerker about a kid crossing the Mexican border to find his mom in L.A., gets a limited release this Friday (not yet at the Ritz, but soon). The trailer's been making me cry for the past few months, so bring tissues. Also, winter is over! Spring is here! Translation: New music at last! Tuesday gave us the self-titled debut from Crystal Castles (check 'em out Saturday at Making Time); Get Awkward (I already am, thanks) by Be Your Own Pet, America's answer to the Grates; Destroyer's Trouble in Dreams, which has a lot to live up to after Rubies; and best of all, She & Him's Volume One, a charming collaboration between veteran songmaker M. Ward and actress/new girl-crush Zooey Deschanel, who'll forever be remembered as the big sister from Almost Famous. Volume One is so gorgeous in such an understated way, a winsome combination of Carole King, Hem and Ronnie Spector. In other words, it's tr�s Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins, but, I dunno, somehow better.