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Janeane Garafalo 2.jpeg

A Woman's Tongue Is Her Sword And She Does Not Let It Rust

By Joanna Robinson | Miscellaneous | January 3, 2011 |

By Joanna Robinson | Miscellaneous | January 3, 2011 |

There’s one female archetype that never fails to set my heart a-flutter. I’m not talking about the manic pixie dream girl, Summer Finn and Ramona Flowers can take a powder as far as I’m concerned. I’m talking about fast-talking, no fools-suffering dames. The Sass Mouths. For me, there’s something about a smirk that is way hotter than a smile or a pout and it takes just the right lady to pull it off. For every Janeane Garofalo who ruled the 90’s with her deadpan, sarcastic delivery, there’s a Sarah Silverman who comes off as insufferable and grating.

The sassy mouth skirt had her heyday in the ‘30’s and ‘40’s, but her roots reach as far back as Shakespeare (or, likely, farther…have at thee, medieval scholars). She’s rarely the romantic lead, but when she is, watch out. Her affection is hard won, and only goes to the worthiest chap who can match her wit for wit and spar for spar. With a loud mouth broad, there’s never a danger, as there so often is with the dream girl (manic pixie or otherwise), that her partner will have any illusions about who she is or what she stands for. Alas, I regret the heteronormative nature of the above paragraphs and eagerly await Hollywood’s Sapphic treatment…Sass Mouth Skirts In Love? I’m there.

Aaaaaaand the list you’ve come to expect from a Robinsonian post. I’m sorry, I like lists.

Denise Fleming, “Can’t Hardly Wait”
“Oh, come on! His wardrobe alone leaves him open for public mockery.”


Casey Klein, “Party Down”
“What a completely pointless snap, you numbskull.”


Olive Pendergast, “Easy A”
“Looks like someone’s practicing the mundane activity she’ll be saddled with the rest of her pathetic life.”


Vickie Miner, “Reality Bites”
“Évian is “naïve” spelled backward.”


Hildy Johnson, “His Girl Friday”
“I wouldn’t cover the burning of Rome for you if they were just lighting it up. If I ever lay my two eyes on you again, I’m gonna walk right up to you and hammer on that monkeyed skull of yours ‘til it rings like a Chinese gong!”

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Kim Pine, “Scott Pilgrim”
“Scott, if your life had a face, I would punch it.”


Veronica Mars, “Veronica Mars”
“It’s all fun and games till one of you gets my foot up your ass.”


Beatrice, “Much Ado About Nothing”
“Is it possible disdain should die while she hath such meet food to feed it as Signior Benedick? Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if you come in her presence.”


Joanna Robinson realizes that sometimes a woman’s sword is her sword. Michelle Yeoh taught her that.

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