I love that 'Much Ado About Nothing,' passionate, smart fighting. I love fighting with guys, and that's something that I don't get to see: arguing at a high level with a member of the opposite sex. That didn't really happen that much on 'The Office.' I just like that 'Moonlighting,' Benedick-Beatrice type of thing.
Here's my feeling: For everyone, men and women, it's important to be a feminist. It's important to have female characters. It's wonderful for women to mentor other women, but it's just as important for women to mentor men and vice-versa. In my line of work, having Greg Daniels be such a great mentor to me is fantastic. Finding a writer's assistant, be it a man or a woman, and encouraging them to think with a feminist perspective, is key.
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People talk about confidence without ever bringing up hard work. That's a mistake. I know I sound like some dour older spinster on Downton Abbey who has never felt a man's touch and whose heart has turned to stone, but I don't understand how you could have self-confidence if you don't do the work... I have never, ever, ever, met a high confident person and successful person who is not what a movie would call a 'workaholic.' Because confidence is like respect; you have to earn it.
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Why didn't you talk about whether women are funny or not? I just felt that by commenting on that in any real way, it would be tacit approval of it as a legitimate debate, which it isn't. It would be the same as addressing the issue of 'Should dogs and cats be able to care for our children? They're in the house anyway.' I try not to make it a habit to seriously discuss nonsensical hot-button issues.
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STEVE CARELL IS NICE BUT IT IS SCARY It has been said many times, but it is true: Steve Carell is a very nice guy. His niceness manifests itself mostly in the fact that he never complains. You could screw up a handful of takes outside in 104-degree smog-choked Panorama City heat, and Steve Carell's final words before collapsing of heat stroke would be a friendly and hopeful 'Hey, you think you have that shot yet?' I've always found Steve gentlemanly and private, like a Jane Austen character. The one notable thing about Steve's niceness is that he is also very smart, and that kind of niceness has always made me nervous. When smart people are nice, it's always terrifying, because I know they're taking in everything and thinking all kinds of smart and potentially judgmental things. Steve could never be as funny as he is, or as darkly observational an actor, without having an extremely acute sense of human flaws. As a result, I'm always trying to impress him, in the hope that he'll go home and tell his wife, Nancy, 'Mindy was so funny and cool on set today. She just gets it.' Getting Steve to talk shit was one of the most difficult seven-year challenges, but I was determined to do it. A circle of actors could be in a fun, excoriating conversation about, say, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and you'd shoot Steve an encouraging look that said, 'Hey, come over here; we've made a space for you! We're trashing Dominique Strauss-Kahn to build cast rapport!' and the best he might offer is 'Wow. If all they say about him is true, that is nuts, ' and then politely excuse himself to go to his trailer. That's it. That's all you'd get. Can you believe that? He just would not engage. That is some willpower there. I, on the other hand, hear someone briefly mentioning Rainn, and I'll immediately launch into 'Oh my god, Rainn's so horrible.' But Carell is just one of those infuriating, classy Jane Austen guys. Later I would privately theorize that he never involved himself in gossip because-and I am 99 percent sure of this-he is secretly Perez Hilton.
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(On differences between men and boys) Men know what they want. Men make concrete plans. Men own alarm clocks. Men sleep on a mattress that isn't on the floor. Men tip generously. Men buy new shampoo instead of adding water to a nearly empty bottle of shampoo. Men go to the dentist. Men make reservations. Men go in for a kiss without giving you some long preamble about how they're thinking of kissing you. Men wear clothes that have never been worn by anyone else before.
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There was just Mavis and me, but it never seemed lonely because we never stopped talking. I could have an argument, in earnest, about who was the best 'Kid' in the Hall, without having to explain who they were. One friend with whom you have a lot in common is better than three with whom you struggle to find things to talk about. We never needed best friend gear because I guess with real friends you don't have to make it official. It just is.
I also became familiar with an entirely new category of people: the unhappily married person. They are everywhere, and they are ten thousand times more depressing than a divorced person. My friend Tim, whose name I've changed, obviously, has gotten more and more depressing since he married his girlfriend of seven years. Tim is the kind of guy who corners you at a party to tell you, vehemently, that marriage is work And that you have to work on it constantly. And that going to couples' therapy is not only normal but something that everyone needs to do. Tim has a kind of manic, cult-y look in his eye from paying thousands of dollars to a marriage counselor. He is convinced that his daily work on his marriage, and his acknowledgement that it is basically a living hell, is modern. The result is that he has helped to relieve me of any romantic notions I had about marriage.
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I'm not talking about commitment to romantic relationships. I'm talking about commitment to things: houses, jobs, neighborhoods. Having a job that requires a contract. Paying a mortgage. I think when men hear that women want a commitment, they think it means commitment to a romantic relationship, but that's not it. It's a commitment to not floating around anymore. I want a guy who is entrenched in his own life.
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..I find it incredible impossible not to cry when I hear Stevie Nicks's "Landslide, " especially the lyric: "I've been afraid of changing, because I've built my life around you." I think a good test to see if a human is actually a robot/android/cylon is to have them listen to this song lyric and study their reaction. If they don't cry, you should stab them through the heart. You will find a fusebox.
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Haley and I would talk for hours about which member of 'N Sync we'd want to marry. After long deliberation, the answer was always J. C. Chasez. Joey Fatone's last name was going to be 'Fat One' no matter how great he was, and even though they didn't know at their age that Lance Bass was gay outright, they sensed he'd make a better good friend and confidante. As for Justin Timberlake, well, JT was the coolest and hottest, but too flashy, so we couldn't trust him to be faithful. J. C. Chasez was the smart compromise.
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