Pop Culture Analysis

Cookie Prom and Professional Image

Last night’s episode of Super Fun Night was incredible. Though I wasn’t sure about the show before it aired, it has fast become one of the shows I look most forward to each week (along with CommunityParks and Rec, and Modern Family). Kimmie Boubier is my spirit animal.

**Spoilers, obviously, if you haven’t seen the episode. Go watch it. I’ll wait.**

The title of the episode is explained in a flashback: we see young Kimmie, Marika, and Helen-Alice in prom regalia, dejected by the bad experiences they had at their prom. They then decide that cookies will make them feel better, and thus Cookie Prom is born. Every year since then, they’ve celebrated a Cookie Prom to commemorate the event.

Kimmie has a big presentation for Mr. Warner (Bob Saget), and she oversleeps due to a “classic AM/PM mix-up”. Kendall, Richard, and her other coworkers are waiting with Warner in the conference room, and Richard chides his colleague for making a joke about Kimmie being distracted by a window full of pastries. (So that was a cool moment.) As she’s rushing in, she hits a mail cart and rolls Superman-style into the wall. After this, Mr. Warner tells her she has real potential, but she needs to grow up if she ever wants to advance.

Kimmie being Kimmie, she takes this advice to the extreme, changing her hair, her clothes, her voice, and even donning glasses. She asks people to call her Kimberly, and accepts an invitation from Kendall to go to an exclusive club for lunch (Kendall thinks Kimmie is throwing a cocktail party for Mr. Warner and wants an invitation). During the lunch, she blows off Marika and Helen-Alice, which leads them to storm off and leads Kimmie to realize she has hurt her friends’ feelings by belittling Cookie Prom.

This leads us to a touching exchange between Richard and Kimmie (and a hilarious flashback), and Kimmie heads home. Reluctantly, she’s participating in Cookie Prom, but she keeps trying to convince her roommates that it’s childish. It all comes to a head when as she’s refusing to wear the cookie crown, Kendall shows up to what she thinks is a cocktail party. Her reaction leads Kimmie to declare Cookie Prom is for babies and that they all need to grow up. A cookie fight ensues, and it ends with Kimmie being hit in the eye with the cookie crown.

While at the hospital, the girls see a couple of teenagers who are having their own rough night because of boys making fun of them. Kimmie, Marika, and Helen-Alice decide to help these girls exact revenge on the boys by shooting cookie dough at them out of the cookie bazooka Marika designed.

This episode further explores Kimmie’s dilemma of career vs. self. She’s a lawyer in a firm that seems to be successful, so it’s obvious she can be serious when she needs to be. (We never see this side of Kimmie on the show, but I’m not sure we really need to. The exposition implies that on a regular basis, she is successful, like in this episode when Warner compliments her work on a report.) But Kimmie’s personality is such that her default is not inherently serious. Every episode, Kimmie faces a choice between the buttoned down world of people like Kendall and her own world of awkward but successful misfits. And it’s in this facet of Super Fun Night I’m most invested.

It’s no secret that I’m a geek. My cubicle at work is littered with art, postcards from HeroesCon, nerdy buttons, and toys. I plan my vacations around conventions and toy shows, and I put things like movie premieres on my calendar. I’m living geek out loud all the time. And my coworkers know this about me. Those that are Facebook friends  see the pics I take of our recent plastic acquisitions and geeky travels. My work badge is on a Masters of the Universe lanyard. I wear geeky jewelry like my LEGO heart necklace and Darth Vader cameo.

I also happen to be very good at my job. I’m celebrating a decade with my company this summer, and every year I’ve gained a bit more responsibility. This year I’m working on a project that impacts the global organization. And I’ve read countless professional blogs that tell you that people don’t take you seriously if you have toys on your desk, so sometimes I worry about stuff like that. Most of the time, though, I don’t care. The majority of people I work with are in other parts of the country (or world), and I’m very much a product of my environment. It sounds weird, but making my cubicle a little piece of home makes me more productive. (It’s why I’m super productive when I work from home.)

So when I watch Super Fun Night, yes, I’m excited to see Rebel Wilson on my TV every week and I love her wacky adventures, but I think about Kimmie’s dilemma. Because of my interests and the fact that I don’t have kids, I don’t have a ton in common with my colleagues. (Luckily I’m adaptable in conversations, but sometimes I feel like a weirdo.)  It’s never been an issue before (especially now that the leader of my organization is a Star Wars fanatic), but I worry that there will come a day when I’ll be judged more for the Wonder Woman figures on my desk than the quality of my work.

So what about you, gentle readers? Do you fly your geek flag at work or do you flaunt your geekitude only to your fellow geeks? Have you ever been in a situation where expressing yourself with stuff on your desk ever made people treat you differently? Do you think it should? Feel free to share in the comments!

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