In the face of the heartbreaking loss of Dan Harmon as cult-hit Community‘s showrunner, we can sleep peacefully knowing that there are still some pretty awesome people out there running the show, and six of them happen to be female. Recently, New York Magazine rounded up a few of these women to talk about what’s new in TV. The table sat Whitney Cummings (Whitney), Nahnatchka Khan (Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23), DeAnn Heline (The Middle), Emily Spivey (Up All Night), Emily Kapnek (Suburgatory), and Liz Meriwether (New Girl).
The group discussed everything from their philosophies on writing for TV to the backlash on the new HBO show, Girls. What were their feelings on the backlash? Meriwether thought that “there’s something about having to defend your right to tell your story that seems a little bit odd to me. I feel like you don’t get that with a lot of guy stuff.” A point well-made. Spivey, instead, attributed the commentary on the show’s lack of diversity on technology: “It’s the anonymity of the Internet and everything. People don’t go on the Internet to say flowery, wonderful things about each other. They go on to rip each other to shreds.”
So, then, what’s different in a female-dominated writer’s room? Heline thinks the profanity actually increases: “We’ve had a lot of male writers come in and say, “Oh, because women were writing the show, I didn’t think the writers’ room would be as raunchy.” And it’s more so.” Meriwether was more sentimental: “It’s so emotional to me just having other writers connect to the show, and become passionate about the characters, and watch people have fights about the characters.” It seems like there really isn’t much of a difference in the writers room, except for the fact that there might be a little more estrogen in the air.
A lot of people have been lauding this new female presence on the air as a new age of woman in TV, with Lee Aronsohn even calling it “peak vagina.” Um, first of all, of that phrase, I just have to say: ew. Also, what would the years before this be, then, peak penis? I don’t think so. Spivey spoke about his lovely quote with the true poetry of a writer: “You know, shows are for humans and movies are for humans. They’re not for men or women, and whether it’s created by a man or woman—hopefully it’s created by a human! And other humans will enjoy it, be they male or female.”
For the full roundtable text, head over to the New York Magazine site here.
(Graphic courtesy of New York Magazine)