Girls who like girls on TV, rejoice: "There's a major uptick this fall in sitcoms about young single women, and, even better, several of these shows were created by female writers," writes New York's Emily Nussbaum. But will it reverse the depressing drop of women onscreen and behind the scenes seen in the last television season?
Nussbaum says there's "an emphasis on hard-edged, worldly women rather than sweet ingenues or nerds" (this, below an illustration dominated by Zooey Deschanel's uber-ingenue face). The same actress/creator, Whitney Cummings, figures in two of them, though it sounds like 2 Broke Girls is the more promising of the two. The best news of all is that the pilot for Girls, the Lena Dunham show on HBO that won't premiere til next year, had her "teary with excitement."
All progress may be episodic, so to speak, and we won't know which of these shows will last. The last television season, which featured multiple narratives of male anxiety over women taking over, just happened to suck for actresses and female writers:
Women comprised 15% of writers on the prime-time dramas, comedies and reality shows on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and the CW, down from 29% in the 2009-10 season, according to the report from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University. In the directing ranks, it found, 11% were women, compared with 16% the previous year.
Women were a quarter of all behind-the-scenes roles, down two percentage points. The proportion of female on-air characters also dropped two percentage points, to 41 percent. Just like our percentage of the population!