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The 2010s were a golden age for TV's female rebels

  • In 2012, Two and a Half Men co-creator Lee Aronsohn complained to The Hollywood Reporter that “we’re approaching peak vagina on television, the point of labia saturation…. Enough, ladies. I get it. You have periods.” He made that comment while praising Whitney Cummings, Chelsea Handler and Tina Fey. But as Joy Press notes, "there was no putting that ‘gina back in the bottle. The rogue women of Girls—and soon Broad City, The Mindy Project, Inside Amy Schumer, and Insecure—stretched the audience’s tolerance for 'difficult' women. They also paved the way for the new streaming platforms to make their marks." Press adds: "If you’d told me at the start of this decade that I’d end it struggling to remember all the wild, wigged-out shows made by and about women in the past 10 years—because there have been so many—I’d have shot you a fourth-wall-breaking Fleabag look of wide-eyed astonishment. Of course there was no Fleabag back then, and little prospect that such a gloriously damaged and subversive character would ever be given the keys to a whole TV series, let alone trigger a cascade of awards for creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s mold-breaking writing and acting. Ten years ago Hollywood was patting itself on the back for transforming television into the leading art form of our time. But this new golden age of TV largely limited its gold dust distribution to straight white men: charismatic antiheroes like Tony Soprano, Don Draper, and Walter White, created by famously driven and difficult showrunners like David Chase, Matthew Weiner, and Vince Gilligan. There was nothing on the air then that was anything like Fleabag or shows like Russian Doll, Insecure, Unbelievable, Undone, Dickinson, Vida, Shrill, PEN15, Killing Eve, Dead to Me, Back to Life, Jane the Virgin, The Bisexual, The Morning Show, Better Things, A Black Lady Sketch Show, Catastrophe, GLOW, Transparent, Tuca & Bertie, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Act, or Broad City. And that is just an incomplete list drawn from the past 12 months or so of television."

    TOPICS: Broad City, Fleabag, Girls, Insecure, Inside Amy Schumer, The Mindy Project, PEN15, Lee Aronsohn, Women and TV