Why I Care About Role Models

You’d think it would be easy to decide what you want to do with your life. I mean, it is your life. You know what you like, you know what you don’t like. Correct?

Incorrect. Cue flashback sequence.

Growing up in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, a small city near Scranton, I always knew (or had some idea) that I wanted to do something creative. But when the time came to begin looking at colleges and majors, I was at somewhat of a loss. I played music, but I didn’t know if I wanted to pursue it professionally. But other than that, what was I really interested in? Aside from attempting to cut my own hair, of course. Don’t do it! But I digress…

Coincidentally, it was also around this time that The Office (US) had been on NBC for a season and a half and it was the best thing for two reasons: 1. My hometown would be immortalized in television history and 2. The show itself was the best thing.

When the Season 1 DVDs went on sale, I bought them immediately. I watched every single episode over and over before realizing that watching the episodes with commentary was a possibility. I had known that someone out there in the universe wrote the numerous TV shows I watched and loved, but it was amazing to hear Paul Lieberstein and Mindy Kaling and John Krasinski talk about jokes they contributed or whether certain bits were improvised. The season 2 cold open with Dwight and the exercise ball, for example.¬†For some reason, it took hearing these things out loud to realize that “this is their job!”

Now, six years later and armed with a Bachelor’s Degree in Television-Radio, I feel that I have many strong, female writers and performers to look up to. Mindy Kaling, of course, and Tina Fey, Liz Meriwether, Lena Dunham and my own co-workers, both male and female, who are wonderful writers and wonderful people. (Shameless plug: watch the Bob’s Burgers season 2 premiere March 11th on Fox!)

Sure, without these individuals, there’s a chance that I might have, eventually, found the same path I’m on now. But it certainly wouldn’t be the same. And when I told new people I met in college that I was from Scranton, they wouldn’t have been able to reply, “Oh, like The Office!”

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