As our favorite sitcoms near their season finales, many of the major television networks are preparing to hook audiences with a new set of fall shows. And as the trailers and promos for some of these upcoming sitcoms slowly roll out, the question arises: what does TV’s new line up say about women?
Women are the center of attention among fall’s new slew of shows, often starring as the anchors of the story instead of being relegated to a supporting role. From NBC’s “The Playboy Club” to ABC’s “Charlie’s Angels” and latest pickup, “PanAm,” women are playing central roles in television’s latest offerings gaining more prominent roles and screen time than they have in years.
The visibility has extended to some actresses of color who have landed roles on some of the most anticipated fall shows. “Angels” and “Playboy” club both feature black actresses, one veteran and one fairly new to the game. Playing a former detective turned dirty cop, Annie Ilonzeh’s character, Kate, is redeemed by Charlie joining the trio of gorgeous women fighting crime and humid weather hair. On “Playboy” Naturi Naughton resumes her role from last season’s “Mad Men” as, Brenda, the chocolate bunny who dreams of becoming the first ever African-American centerfold.
But even with the rise of women on the small screen, many are critiquing the fall line up, saying television’s new offerings bring with it sexist undertones, an homage to “the way we were.”
In her latest column for The New York Times, Maureen Doud argues that the network’s fall lineup, for all its featuring of women, ultimately falls short. Doud claims that even with the new breed of heroines starring in fall’s upcoming shows, “nostalgic TV shows” are merely putting “a feminist spin on the jiggle.”
“The networks have picked up an extraordinary number of shows by and about strong, modern women… But Hollywood is a world ruled by men, and this season, amid economic anxieties, those men want to indulge in some retro fantasies about hot, subservient babes.”
Watching the promos and trailers for many of the upcoming shows, it’s hard to argue with her. While there were little expectations for “Playboy” to feature women role models, many have expressed disappointment that the second Drew Barrymore produced spin on “Angels” is more testosterone appealing than feminist fueled. But are critics like Doud simply nitpicking, ignoring the forest of women in lead roles for the sake of a few trees and scantily clad scenes?
What’s your take on the depictions of women in television’s new fall line up? Tell us what you think Clutchettes- share your thoughts!