A Christmas Gift: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in Sisters

“Would you mind not drinking tonight, so I can let my freak flag fly?” Amy Poehler’s character asks her sister, Kate (Tina Fey), the more freewheeling of the two. This mostly sums up the movie, in which Poehler and Fey’s characters say farewell to the childhood home their parents have put on the market without their knowledge, and throw the rager they never got to as teens. From grocery store run-ins with old frenemies to unlikely romantic pursuits (and all the ways those can go wrong), a battalion of freak flags fly throughout the the film’s two hours. Because it’s Fey and Poehler at the helm, the movie never turns into merely a raunchy lady version of The Hangover, despite mining the same comedy trope of hard-partying thirty-somethings behaving young and badly. Since Sisters is both funny throughout and probably the best holiday-season comedy this year, it’s inspired us to get ready for its release by taking a trip down Poehler-Fey memory lane.  Won’t you join us?

As Bad Awards Show Guests

If you’re on the fence about the assertive, hassling turn the comedians take in Sisters, just think of this moment, from the 2013 Emmy Awards, as a precursor.  Tina and Amy interrupted host Neal Patrick Harris to munch popcorn and heckle him to twerk, while wearing 3D glasses for seemingly inexplicable reasons, which they duly explain in the skit. It’s one of the funnier moments for the Emmys, which never offer too much in the way of solid comedy.

As Weekend Update Hosts

Tina and Amy re-joined Saturday Night Live for a night to celebrate its 40th anniversary, reprising their roles as the Weekend Update skit hosts, along with Jane Curtin. A parade of celebs joined them behind the news desk to re-interpret WU’s most famous guests.  With the exception of Melissa McCarthy recreating Chris Farley’s “motivational speaker” Matt Foley, Tina and Amy eclipse them all, mostly at the humorous expense of SNL (“also joining us, one of the show’s original producers, cocaine”).

As Politicians

It’s only topical to bring out Fey and Poehler as political rivals Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton, respectively. Yeah, we know, that’s so 2008 — if only Palin was still the worst Republican out there!  Palin’s no longer relevant for SNL skewering during this election, and Clinton’s more relevant than ever, but her role’s gone to current SNL-er Kate McKinnon and…Hillary herself. But it’s Fey and Poehler taking on the senator and governor, and Palin’s infamous twang, that have gone down in the pantheon of political harpooning.

As Big Screen Foils (to each other)

Sisters holds funnier promise than 2008’s Baby Mama, the first Poehler and Fey vehicle in which they co-star (even though Mean Girls is a classic, we’re not counting it here, since the actresses’ characters don’t really intersect). Depicting a straight-laced businesswoman (Fey) as her life is undone by her surrogate out of South Philly (Poehler), one the comedy’s funniest aspects is Poehler’s carriage. Whether bouncing on a giant ball at birthing class or sulking in a stroller while Fey gets sold on built-in airbags, Poehler doesn’t even have to have lines to make the scene. If anything, it’s the look on her face as she’s caught peeing in the bathroom sink (after wrestling with and being defeated by a toilet child safety lock) by Fey, her uptight foil, that became the film’s signature.

As [The Best] Award Show Hosts [Of All Time]


Finally, we leave you with the opening monologue from Poehler and Fey at the 2015 Golden Globes.  The pair hosted for three years (the 2013 opener is their most zinger-filled of comedic openers that sets the bar for all award shows, in our opinion.) Safe to say, we'll watch Fey and Poehler do anything, at anytime.


Susannah Edelbaum

Susannah Edelbaum's work has appeared on NPR Berlin, Fast Company, Motherboard, and the Cut, among others. She lives in Berlin, Germany.