Thursday, September 22, 2011


The written media has become lazy. Case in point: the newly-minted word adorkable This hybrid is apparently self-explanatory. I disagree. It may be an amalgam of adorable and dorky, or adorable and funky, or adorable and quirky.  In the interest of accuracy I checked Wikipedia where it doesn't rate a mention. 

Therefore,  I will elaborate.

The adorkable actress as a TV or movie character is always female and is pretty enough to be deemed extremely interesting, almost hot, except for her unique ability to be unaware of her own hotness, resulting in goofy non-sexually threatening behavior. Apparently adorkable women are too goofy to remember to check a mirror. The adorkables speak in a sing-songy, word over word slurring kind of way meant to remind us of a pre-pubescent child who has all the promise of life ahead of her.

I cut my eyeteeth on TV characters like this at a time when writers took more effort to explain and flesh out a character's character. Remember Goldie Hawn on Laugh-In? Suzanne Somers as Chrissy on Three's Company? These women were practically the springboard for every dumb blonde joke told in the seventies. Imagine our surprise when we realized years later that these women were smart, accomplished business women that have successfully kept their careers current.

But I offer this, a blonde cannot be termed adorkable, with one exception--I'll get to that later. That moniker is saved for brunettes only and therefore I offer up to you that I think Mary Tyler Moore, while always elegant and sophisticated had many comical moments that could have been attributed to her naive adorableness. This unique blend of sophistication and cluelessness was the basis for her terrific chemistry with Mr. Grant that was the first sighting of adorkableness more than forty years ago.

Marlo Thomas' character in That Girl  was another classic example, as well. I am aware that many of you under a ceratin age have stopped reading at this point. Two years ago my daughter discovered some old Mary Tyler Moore episodes online. She became instantly addicted to the quirky, brave Mary who paved the way for every woman today who chooses career first, a radical idea in the seventies. We were fascinated by these women and their accomplishments, wished we were them, and enjoyed their idiosyncrasies that made them approachable and friend-worthy. 

Approachable does not equal dumb. Not by a long shot.

Back to the blonde haired exception--Taylor Swift. I'm not a follower, but I was impressed by her self-deprecating and winning turn on Saturday Night Live. She's enormously talented and remarkably self aware for someone who has grown up in the spotlight. Not to mention absolutely adorkable. But I'll add one more thing--she's sharp as a whip, you can see it in her eyes.

So, TV writers, don't be lazy. You can create a sitcom character that we can all adore and  relate to even on her most silly level, she can be blonde and most of all  she can even be smart.

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