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TV: Margaret Cho Joins Tina Fey's Women's College Comedy

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by Inkoo Kang
January 28, 2014 3:31 PM
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Margaret Cho

Tina Fey's 30 Rock has only been off the air for a year, but it feels like a lot longer. TV has never been better, and yet nothing's been able to replace the Lemon-sized hole 30 Rock's departure from the airwaves left in my heart. 

True to workaholic form, Fey has been hard at work trying to get two pilots into the fall schedule. There's the as-yet-untitled Ellie Kemper vehicle on NBC, featuring the doe-eyed comedienne as an escapee from a doomsday cult.  

But as a graduate of a women's college, I'm slightly more interested in Fey's other TV project, the tentatively titled Cabot College. The Fox sitcom centers on a former women's college that has, a la Vassar and Sarah Lawrence, just become coed for the first time. 

Even more promising? The Cabot College team announced yesterday that Margaret Cho would be joining the show as a a series regular, playing "the president of Cabot College who made the difficult decision to admit men into the school. She's further described as a divisive figure on campus and does her best to be welcoming of the male freshmen but is often irritated by their antics," according to THR.

Will the combined forces of Fey and Cho make Cabot College the most feminist show this fall? God, I hope so.

Even if Cabot College doesn't herald a new age of gender equality (a big burden to lay on one TV show), it's supremely exciting to have Cho back in front of (large) audiences. Cho's a trailblazer who headlined the second Asian-American sitcom ever and the first one with a female lead. She's also been a champion of gay rights since her earliest days as a teenage stand-up during the grunge era, and she's been active as a feminist and an anti-racist in her activism and her comedy shows. She's also overgone a dramatic physical transformation in recent years. Those tats? They're real (and they're spectacular).

Best of all, she's hilarious, as she proved with her Emmy-nominated turn as Kim Jong-Il and Kim Jong-Un on 30 Rock. Fey and her team were always great at crafting the right guest spots for its visiting stars (Isabella Rossellini frothing at the mouth about Arby's sandwiches still cracks me up), but Cho was a standout -- a fact Fey clearly recognizes. 

And, of course, it'll be great to see more Asian-American women on TV, especially ones who aren't forced to wear demeaning Sailor Moon costumes by Seth MacFarlane. Cho's new role doesn't seem like it'd let her play outlandish too often -- probably the mode she's best at, as those familiar with the comedienne's "Gwen" and "Mommy" personae know -- but after her addition to the Cabot College cast, I couldn't possibly be more invested in the show. 

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