Why Debbie From Barb And Star Go To Vista Del Mar Looks So Familiar

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single terrible person. Barb and Star go to Vista Del Mar because they want to escape their stifling lives at home. Their job at Jennifer Convertibles has gone under, and they've been kicked out of their Talking Club for lying about it. But the Talking Club seems terrible, mostly because it's controlled by the dreaded Debbie. Debbie sets the Talking Club agenda, and the other women in the club are helpless to stand up to her. Debbie rules Talking Club with an iron fist, locking people out literally and metaphorically. But why does she look so familiar?

Debbie is played by star Kirsten Wiig's former "Saturday Night Live" coworker Vanessa Bayer. Bayer was on the show for seven years, and pops up in the projects of many folks in the greater Broadway Video alliance. She's snogged Kristen Stewart, played the classic rom-com best friend, and a crooked cop. Here's where you might have seen Vanessa Bayer.

Bayer was on SNL, which is pretty cool

Vanessa Bayer joined "Saturday Night Live" in 2010, along with Paul Brittain, Taran Killam, and Jay Pharaoh. She immediately started getting noticed in recurring sketches like "The Miley Cyrus Show." Bayer plays Cyrus, and her catchphrase is commenting that everything is "pretty cool." Other standout characters of Bayer's include Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy, Brecky the former porn star who wants to make sponsored content, meteorologist Dawn Lazarus, and Rachel from "Friends." In that last role, Bayer plays up Jennifer Aniston's ticks: constantly touching her hair, and interrupting herself by saying "hey!" or "Yeah!" Bayer even did her version of Rachel in front of Aniston in a "Weekend Update" desk segment.

Some of Bayer's most enduring work on the show — at least in terms of meme generation — came in the "Totinos" sketches. Bayer plays a generic commercial wife, who has to make food for her "hungry guys" as they watch the game. In one, she discovers that her hungry guys have been turned into some sort of unthinking monsters. But the most iconic "Totinos" sketch juxtaposes the trappings of a commercial with the aching longing of a French lesbian awakening movie. Bayer's unnamed protagonist falls under the spell of Kristen Stewart's Sabine. They fall in love while the hungry guys go without pizza rolls. Bayer left the show in 2017, after seven years and an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.

Enabling a Trainwreck

In the 2015 Amy Schumer comedy "Trainwreck," Bayer plays the classic rom-com best friend, Nikki. The film follows magazine writer Amy (played by Amy Schumer), who internalizes a lot about non-monogamy and substance abuse. She eventually falls for sweetie pie sports doctor Aaron (Bill Hader), but sabotages herself as the relationship begins to get serious. The film also stars Brie Larson as Amy's sister, Colin Quinn as her father, and LeBron James as himself.

Nikki works at the same magazine as Amy. Her giant smile hides fear, something Bayer excels at doing. She can hide anything behind a smile. "She's so specifically good at smiling through pain," Aidy Bryant said in Vulture of her "SNL" and "Shrill" co-star. "She has hate in her eyes through a smile, and that was the perfect vibe." Nikki is the kind of BFF that enables Amy's worst behavior. She doesn't check her on her drinking, her self-destructive habits, or her love-phobia. She's an incredible contrast to the movie's male BFF, LeBron James, who hilariously displays high emotional intelligence and a receptive attitude toward intimacy.

Evie the emotional vampire

Bayer guested in a Season 1 episode of "What We Do in the Shadows," in which she played an emotional energy vampire named Evie. Based on the film by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, "What We Do in the Shadows" is a mockumentary that follows four vampires and their familiar in modern-day Staten Island. There's the Vlad the Impaler-esque Nandor the Relentless (Kayvan Novak), his human familiar Guillermo (Harvey Guillén), devoted eternal couple Nadja and Lazlo (Natasia Demetriou and Matt Berry), and energy vampire Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch).

As an energy vampire, Colin Robinson feeds by wasting people's time with inane conversation. He gets most of his sustenance working an office job, where he's everyone's least favorite coworker. That is, until Evie shows up at his place of work in Episode 3. Evie feeds off sympathy, and being a bummer is how she chows down. At first, Evie and Colin butt heads over the same food source. But they eventually join forces, both as vampires and romantically. It doesn't work out, and we leave Evie feigning dismay over their mutual and amicable breakup so that she can feed on the sympathy of strangers.

She played a beat cop on Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Bayer had a longer run in Season 7 of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." She played another Debbie — Debbie Fogle, the somewhat incompetent partner of Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher) after he gets demoted to uniformed officer. Holt, eager to get back into command, is always pushing Debbie to go outside her comfort zone. Even after Holt is reinstated as captain, Debbie remains mousy and disinterested in change. She is eventually pushed by Boyle ("State" alum Joe Lo Truglio) to come out of her shell. Unfortunately, her plan for coming out of her shell is to steal cocaine and guns from evidence and sell them to a drug dealer. 

"Brooklyn Nine-Nine" has been praised by critics and viewers for its diverse cast and good vibes. Alas, it's also a cute sitcom about the police, which is why the show has been retooling ever since the Black Lives Matter protests made policing a more complicated topic to satirize. We have faith the show's creative team will be able to chart a new path forward, however.