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!”