Are you a Smart Girl? No, no – I mean, of course you’re smart. If you’re reading Lydia Mag, then you must be wonderful and brilliant. What I mean is, are you one of Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls? Amy Poehler and her friends, Meredith Walker and Amy Miles, started Smart Girls at the Party a couple of years ago with the goal of creating an online community to entertain and inspire young women to love, accept, and live as their most authentic selves. The site and its YouTube channel, “Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls”, have grown to include a blog, a podcast, several web series, image galleries, public speaking engagements, and a call-to-action campaign.
The site and the web series were originally geared towards kids and teens, but are truly enjoyable by and applicable to all. This is especially true of the content on the YouTube channel. If you have a soul, you’ll love the mission and results of “Operation Nice”. If you’re looking for a role model, you can be sure to find one among Amy’s interview subjects for “Smart Girls at the Party”. And if you’re just lookin’ for some tunes to make you smile, “Meow Meow Music” has you covered.
If you’re too excited to start watching, then head over to the channel and get started! But here’s a list of the main web series you’ll find, and a little information about what to expect:
This series forms the core of the channel’s purpose, featuring Smart Girls of all ages and diverse passions, each of whom is a role model for living authentically in her own way. Artists, activists, volunteers, musicians, writers, scientists, athletes – the spectrum is wide and all the Girls are completely awesome. If you’ve been contemplating a life change and need some inspiration, or just want a shot in the arm to remind you what you really care about, “Smart Girls at the Party” may be just what you need. The discussions are often humorous, but also very sincere – a reminder that in the Smart Girls universe, it’s totally okay (and totally encouraged!) to care deeply about something and act on it.
After watching a few of these, you’ll start hearing that cheery “bah bah bah bah, Ask Amy!” music every time you experience a crisis. And then you’ll remember some lovely sentiment that Amy gave a viewer, some blessedly simple piece of advice that applies, and everything will be alright. (This might be an exaggeration, but Amy really is quite helpful and incredibly compassionate.) As an intense, verging-on-creepy fan of Poehler, I also love the fact that her intimate web cam videos allow us glimpses of the interior of her home. That’s creepy, right? But I can’t help it.
Each instalment of this series features a Smart Girl who is doing something nice in the world; something kind, helpful, creative, brave, or otherwise inspiring. Whether they’re running a dance studio, kicking ass in sports, or overcoming disabilities, these women mean business. And whatever the subject’s passion, the sentiment is contagious – it’s hard to watch an episode of “Operation Nice” and not feel like there’s hope for the world.
The “Girls of the World” series is also awesome. (Notice a theme here?) Smart Girls from all over the globe can send in videos profiling themselves, their communities, their cultures, and their geography, giving viewers a chance to learn all sorts of things about the world and the Smart Girls who occupy it. The series is incredibly unifying, at once calling attention to each Girl’s unique traits and the things that tie us all together – like the fact that trampolines are super fun whether you’re in North America or Northern Ireland, and that even Swedes think IKEA’s a labyrinth. Oh, and the collection of accents and slang in this series is pretty much the best thing ever. Just beware: These bi- and tri-lingual Smart Girls may make you feel like your own language skills are a little lacklustre.
Fun music and cute cats – that’s what this Smart series promises to deliver. And deliver it does in the form of LeRoy the cat and so many funky musicians and guests. I also love how awkward Amy Miles makes the whole thing. She takes on a wide-eyed, soft-spoken host persona, makes stilted conversation with her guests, and interacts in an overly formal way with her “butler” and “maid” (also known as her band members). And the interior decor of her apartment screams “cat-obsessed kindergarten teacher”. It’s all just so great!
If you spend time with all those Smart Girls and are hankering for a little male company, the “Smart Girls” channel has you covered. Once again, Amy’s awesome friends have stepped forward to join the party with “Boys Minute”, a series of manly moments presented for female observation, analysis, and immense enjoyment. I’ve definitely just sat there and watched the “Boys Minute” intro a dozen times in a row, too – its collection of bears, wrestlers, and rock’n’roll Elvis impersonators is just that good. The segments are great too, of course, and feature the Boys doing Boyish things. Ever wanted to be school in advanced napping by Aziz Ansari? Ever wanted to listen to Will Arnett talk about playing video games and football at the same time? Ever wanted to watch Seth Morris get mauled by a tiny puppy? Amy Poehler made it all happen.
“Boy’s Minute” is awesome (there’s that word again) for the same reason a lot of the “Smart Girls” content is: It’s both hilarious and completely sincere. And not to get too philosophical on you, but it also does something to acknowledge the truth of modern masculinity. Maybe a dude can’t tie a tie, or maybe he’s not a muscle-bound jock, but that doesn’t mean he’s not manly. If “Boys Minute” is to be believed, then modern masculinity is more about having a sense of humor, using your strengths, and being self-aware than it is about anything else.
So that’s what you can expect from the web series on the “Smart Girls” web channel. Of course there’s more great content than just these series, though! And new stuff is consistently being added, so don’t forget to check back often. Enjoy! And say hi to LeRoy for me.
Hannah McIlveen is a freelance graphic designer and TV-obsessed writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. She grew up riding horses and reading Roald Dahl books, got an art degree, and then spent the next several years moving around the country and watching television. Her greatest goals in life are to write good stuff, produce a web series, build a house with her husband, and have six cats at once. Hannah has contributed to BitchMagazine.org and is a staff blogger for the soon-to-launch TeenSized.com. She also writes her own daily blog, Click Watch Write. Hannah can be accosted on Twitter @ClickWatchWrite.