New fall TV season: Sorry men, it's a woman's world
Women take the lead in new primetime sitcoms this fall, and men are more goofy, incompetent, and powerless than ever before.
Story from Studio 360. Listen to audio for full report.
The new fall TV season is upon us and there's a not so subtle subtext: women rule.
The primetime lineup is dominated by new half-hour comedies featuring women in the lead roles, including HBO's much anticipated "Girls" and network sitcoms "New Girl" starring Zooey Deschanel (FOX), "Two Broke Girls" (CBS) and "Whitney" (NBC).
Hanna Rosin says the trend reflects a new reality in America: the rise of women in the workforce and in higher education.
Rosin's 2010 Atlantic cover story, "The End of Men," described "a new kind of alpha female stirring up anxiety and, occasionally, fear." The article was a popular read among sitcom writers, and it may have helped set the stage for some of the new shows. "Apparently -- this is just at CBS -- 20 producers brought in my story," Rosen told Studio 360's Kurt Andersen.
The Great Recession has hit men hardest and their counterparts on TV are more goofy, incompetent, and powerless than ever before. We've always had lovable male losers, says Rosin, but in shows like "How to be a Gentleman" (CBS), "Last Man Standing," and "Man Up!" (both ABC), "the guys are not kings of their own loser domain, and there are endless numbers of women eating their lunch."
The men are under siege from "sisters, wives, colleagues — all kinds of women who are just traipsing through these shows stomping on the men constantly," Rosen adds.
But while women dominate in the shows, they aren't necessarily portrayed as strong, empowered females.
"These are not power girl shows. Why are they not power girl shows? Because we're not in the 90s -- this isn't a Murphy Brown era. Feminism does not make for good comedic material, maybe," Rosen said.
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