Earnest TV that doesn't short change women
May 16, 2012 9:46 PM Subscribe
Can you recommend me a TV series that is both earnest and feminist friendly?
posted by Bleusman to media & arts (51 answers total) 48 users marked this as a favorite
Recently, I just caught up with Mad Men. I find it fantastic in the same way I found Six Feet Under revelatory when I first watched it: not only do both series take themselves seriously, providing meaningful insights without overdoing the schmaltz factor, but they both feature strong (well-developed, not necessarily strong personality-wise) female characters. They also feel distinctly earnest, because the shows are never so campy or cloaked in irony that the emotional appeal gets distorted. I really value the ability of television to develop characters so thoroughly, and I believe that television is really well suited - moreso than other forms of media - to provide insight on human relationships. SFU and Mad Men do this in spades. I don't watch comedies that often, but I really enjoy Parks and Recreation because it manages to be funny without squandering that power.
Unfortunately, I've found that a lot of other acclaimed series who achieve that earnestness are centered around men to the point of silencing the female perspective. If a show is going to explore the complexities of human relationships and society, I need for it not to ignore or trivialize women. The Wire was a great series, but the ratio of male characters to female characters is about ten to one. I've only watched a little bit of Breaking Bad, which is similarly a sausage fest. On the other hand, I can't stand what's offered as the quintessential feminist show: the acting on Buffy makes me cringe, and the show is way too campy to have any sort of impact anyway. Comedies seem to be a little more equal-opportunity, but I really can't stand when something is built up to be emotional and then trivialized by a joke. (Community, I'm looking at you.)
I realize this is a little long-winded, but I until I saw Mad Men I forgot how much I could be wowed by a TV series. I'd like to feel that again.