t's kind of hard to keep saying that "smart is the new sexy," given how many times we've seen the brainy girl slip off her spectacles, let down her hair, and miraculously turn into a goddess beyond compare. Still, It's fair to say that Tina Fey's success with "30 Rock" -- both as the star and the creator of the show -- has done wonders to raise the prominence of the intelligent-and-beautiful blend of woman. Liz Lemon isn't alone in her field today, what with Dr. Lisa Cuddy turning heads and saving lives on "House," and when you look back and examine their spiritual ancestors, you find that there have been plenty of gorgeous geniuses on the airwaves in the past. Now's your chance to select which one of them you'd prefer to have getting inside your head…and elsewhere.
So spend some time with our 10 "Hot & Smart" nominees below, carefully considering all of their...um, qualifications. Is the aforementioned Ms. Lemon tops among the beautiful and brainy, or does someone outshine her? Perhaps a certain blonde secretary for a Cincinnati-based radio station is worthy of your vote, or one of several nominees from the medical profession? Whomever you choose, choose wisely, and then be sure to come back on Friday, Feb. 27 to see the top vote-getter from this category and to cast your ballot in our next list: "Pretty, Vacant."
Lisa Edelstein, "House"
Those skirts! Those sweaters! You wouldn't necessarily expect a hospital administrator, let alone a Dean of Medicine at a teaching hospital, to embrace such form-fitting fashions as those favored by Dr. Lisa Cuddy, but there's rarely an occasion when this formidable woman doesn't opt to spotlight her equally formidable figure. But don't let her looks fool you: Dr. Cuddy has a brilliant medical mind, and although she may not always be able to compete with the inestimable genius of her fellow physician, Dr. Gregory House, she's plenty capable when it comes to doling out diagnoses and performing surgeries. Be aware, however, that Dr. Cuddy has a nasty case of baby fever, so as a girlfriend, you may find that she'll be interested in moving things along in the relationship a bit more quickly than you'd prefer. Then again, if you can get Dr. House to tell you about the strip tease she did for him in his drug-addled fantasy (three words: Catholic schoolgirl outfit), you may be fully prepared to provide Cuddy with the child she's always wanted.
Don't miss our 2006 interview with actress Lisa Edelstein!
Tina Fey, "30 Rock"
With her quirky sense of humor, social ineptness and those sexy librarian glasses, Liz Lemon may be the only true-blue nerd on our list. That, of course, is anything but an insult. As the head writer for NBC's "TGS with Tracy Jordan," Liz doesn't have a whole lot of free time to date, and even when she does go out, chances are she'll figure out a way to sabotage the whole thing. But Liz's foibles merely make her that much more endearing, even if the incessant "tick-tick-tick" of her internal clock understandably makes us a little nervous. Then again, there are worse things in life than settling down with an attractive, intelligent and successful woman who loves junk food, "Star Wars" and a good joke. Her boss, Jack Donaghy, still suspects that Liz may be a lesbian, but we're not ashamed to admit that the mere possibility only heightens our interest in her. Plus, she kind of looks like the beautiful (if slightly crazy) Sarah Palin.
Loni Anderson, "WKRP in Cincinnati"
She's fallen head over heels once or twice, and her doorbell plays "Fly Me to the Moon," but the world's most respected receptionist is no romantic. Curvaceous and wasp-wasted enough to compare to a Barbie doll and smart enough to be offered the position of Secretary of the Treasury (literally), Jennifer Marlowe's dating preferences lean toward well-to-do older men with names like "The Admiral"; she enjoys their generosity as well as their tendency to "tire easily." Indeed, Ms. Marlowe seems to get most of her emotional satisfaction from her job, where her beauty, intelligence, and self-possession have rendered her a benign despot – dictating her salary, her (limited) duties, and whatever else she wants to dictate. As the utterly platonic office wife to her ineffectual mama's boy boss, Arthur Carlson, and a very sexy big sister to everyone else, she resolves disputes while having zero problem keeping would-be wolves like salesman Herb Tarlek at howling distance. Sure, she occasionally provides romantic inspiration, though not much more, to potentially more suitable boyfriends like station manager Andy Travis and star DJ Dr. Johnny Fever, but that's as far as it goes. Yes, she'd be an amazing girlfriend or wife to any man – but is any man good enough?
Maura Tierney, "NewsRadio"
So what if she's a news reporter for one of the lowest-rated news radio stations in New York; it is rare for Lisa Miller to not be the smartest person in the room, and Lisa wields that knowledge -- and her awareness of that knowledge -- both as a sword and a fierce source of pride. She'll even break the law in the interest of advancing said knowledge (she stole a car at 17 because she didn't want to be late to take the SAT.) Funny, then, that for someone so intelligent, Lisa seems to be completely unaware of how pretty she is; she thinks that she's special, sure, but she has no idea that she is in fact spectacular. Or perhaps she's just bluffing on that last point; this is, after all, the same girl that used her game face to win back news anchor Bill McNeal after WNYX owner Jimmy James lost him in a poker game. (She had a pair of sixes, by the way.) Rare is the girl that is smart, modest, good but willing to be bad, and mysterious. If she were ours, we couldn't bring her home to meet Mom fast enough.
Gillian Anderson, "The X-Files"
Smart, tough, beautiful – Scully is an insecure man's worst nightmare. She challenged and contradicted Mulder at every turn, and even though she was usually some version of wrong, it never deterred her. Always the skeptic, she somewhat grounded her partner by demanding some sort of logic and scientific proof. Wrangling Mulder was like herding cats, but Scully might have had a little feline in her as well – she avoided death on several occasions leading to the theory that she was, in fact, immortal. It's more likely that she was just too stubborn to die. She stared down countless psychopaths, supernatural beings, aliens -- you name it -- and always came back for more. This quality -- her fierce and undying loyalty -- was her greatest trait. True, the woman could be a giant pain in the ass, but Fox always knew that she would have his back, and that's why he eventually fell in love with her. And really, who can blame him?
The first five nominees in the "Hot and Smart" category are all worthy objects of our affection, but they certainly aren't the only TV braniacs to win our hearts. Below you'll find five more lovely ladies to consider before placing your vote for Bullz-Eye's "Hot and Smart" TV Girlfriend.
Amy Acker, "Angel"
Only in our wildest dreams were our math or science teachers this adorable. Smart as a whip and humble to boot -- good luck getting her to brag about herself, ever -- Fred Burkle is so irresistible that every one of her co-workers, from the lab techs to the muscle men, harbored some sort of crush on her. (One of those crushes proved to be fatal, but let's not talk about that right now.) You'll forgive her if she seems a little nuts from time to time; spending five years in the alternate universe of Pylea as a "cow" (read: human slave) will do that to a person. And did we mention the Texas accent? Swoon.
Julianna Margulies, "ER"
Guys love sexy nurses. They take care of you when you need help, and the hot ones manage to look great even when wearing ugly scrubs. With her piercing eyes and long, curly black hair, Carol Hathaway certainly fit the bill. She was also a no-nonsense nurse who didn't let doctors or patients push her around. Unfortunately, you'd have to battle Clooney to get her attention.
Dana Delany, "China Beach"
If you're a nurse near the front lines in Vietnam, you have to be tough and smart. If you're also hot, you can count on most patients falling for you. Colleen McMurphy was a sexy Irish tomboy with a great sense of humor who looked fantastic regardless of the circumstances. She was also a great example of the heroic role played by so many nurses during wartime.
Jeri Ryan, "Star Trek: Voyager"
She may have the emotional range of a brick wall, but if there's one cyborg we'd like to have an hour on the holodeck with, it's Seven of Nine. Sure, she wasn't always the prettiest girl in the galaxy -- her time spent with the Borg Collective kept her too busy to worry about personal hygiene -- but by the time she was brought on board the Voyager, cleaned up, and put in a skintight silver catsuit, she was the object of more than just one crewmember's affection. Her intelligence may be the result of an artificial implant, but her body is all natural.
Check out our Jeri Ryan fan page here.
Markie Post, "Night Court"
Yeah, she had a mullet. But you know what that means -- even if crusading attorney Christine Sullivan was all business in the front, she knew how to party in the back. Of course, loosening her inhibitions was easier said than done, as John Larroquette's lecherous Dan Fielding repeatedly discovered during the show's eight-year run, and who could blame him for trying? Smart and career-driven, Christine was everything an '80s woman was supposed to be -- and she was also as blonde and curvy as any randomly chosen centerfold from the decade, giving "approaching the bench" a whole new meaning for "Night Court" fans who knew how to appreciate a nice set of legal briefs.
Now that you've seen our 10 nominees in the "Hot & Smart" category, it's time to make your voice heard by voting for your favorite. If you need to refresh your memory before casting your ballot, click the thumbnails below to revisit each nominee's writeup. Then, come back on Friday, Feb. 27 for the unveiling of the next TV Girlfriends list, "Pretty, Vacant," and to see which character prevailed in the "Hot & Smart" voting.
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