about

Ask Amy is a web series produced by Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls Network, with new episodes appearing approximately twice monthly. It features writer/producer/actor/comedian Amy Poehler reading aloud a letter from an adolescent female fan and dispensing advice. The video’s low production values and Poehler’s thoughtful, direct-to-camera delivery convey the sense of conversing in the same room with the self-styled mentor. Published online on September 9, 2012, this installment of Ask Amy entitled “Bodies” was an immediate sensation and, one year later, had garnered nearly 375,000 views— more than 7 times the average number of views per Ask Amy installment. In “Bodies,” Amy advises a body issue-beleaguered letter-writer to regard her body with gratitude and to speak to herself as if she were speaking to a beloved daughter or younger sister. See the full transcript here.

discussion

What do you think about Amy’s advice? Do you find it useful, silly, ineffective, empowering, or...? What, if anything, would you also share with letter-writer Mary Kate in order to help her?

Amy declares that very few people have “perfect” bodies. Then she says that all of these “perfectly” proportioned people are movie stars, and they should be movie stars because they’re aesthetically pleasing to look at. What do you think about Amy’s two statements? Do you agree with Amy’s characterization of a “perfect” body? Do movies give viewers the (wrong) impression that “perfect” bodies are common when they’re actually rare? Who should be movie stars? Should stardom be based on one's body? Why? Why not?

In your opinion, what role, if any, should celebrities (like Amy Poehler) play in educating viewers about Hollywood? Are celebrities effective in this type of role? Who else should play a role in this effort?