It is my belief that pop culture matters, reality follows fiction. Sometimes it can take a little digging to find TV shows that tell interesting womxn’s stories. But look no further and check out these great comedy and comedy-drama shows.
TV shows from even the not all that distant 90s and early 2000s can feel dated and terrible in their underlying points of view (Friends anyone?). Netflix and Youtube and other streaming platforms have created new opportunities in our age, what does this offer us?
Comedian Tig Notaro plays a version of herself as Tig Bavaro in this semi-autobiographical TV show on Amazon from 2015. Bavaro is forced to stay with her family in America’s South when her mother lands into a coma and will be taken off life support. How does she deal, being so close to family after a long time and what is it like to be queer and in the South? You know there will be funny notes because of, well, Tig Notaro but One Mississippi is also a drama and will warm your heart for sure.
After watching One Mississippi, do also watch the documentary Tig and find out what matches up with Notaro’s real life. Best watched in that order!
The comedy-drama series GLOW created in 2017 is loosely based on the late 80s competitive female wrestling show the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. A group of women come to a casting call and expect to be acting but instead have to audition for GLOW without having a background in wrestling. A wildly different group of women get selected, learn to wrestle and end up competing in all sorts of stereotypical alter egos such as Soviet villain Zoya the Destroya competing against America’s sweetheart next door Liberty Belle. Watch this show for the amazing 80s leotards and hideous-fabulous outfits, and heartwarming camaraderie.
Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch are the creators of GLOW, and the show is co-executive produced by Jenji Kohan who created the shows Orange Is the New Black and Weeds. Marc Maron, who plays the director of the show in GLOW has featured many actors and creatives of the series on his podcast. Lynn Shelton, a filmmaker who directed five episodes of GLOW, sadly passed away recently. Shelton and Maron were in a relationship together. Shelton also directed the new series Little Fires Everywhere starring Reese Witherspoon. Which brings us to..
Big Little Lies
Based on the book of the same name by Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies is a 2017 HBO drama series with comical notes set in the beautiful and wealthy Monterey, California. Reese Witherspoon read the book and decided to turn it into a TV show. She also acts in it, together with stellar performances by Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern and Shailene Woodley.
After a young girl in school says a boy in her class was strangling her, the perfect façades of four women’s lives start falling apart, enemy lines are formed and new friendships are created. Is that the cause of the murder shown in the beginning of Big Little Lies? The book was written as a satire and the series includes the most ridiculous birthday party for a kid to be portrayed on TV. However the show is much more as it shows a convincing multi-faceted story of domestic violence.
A new Liane Moriarty adaption is in the making, based on Nine Perfect Strangers. It sets actors Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy as characters in search for enlightenment at a secluded wellness resort.
Created in 2014 by, and starring Jillian Bell Comedy Central’s Idiot Sitter reflects on modern America as Harvard grad Billie (Charlotte Newhouse) answers a babysitting ad in desperate need for cash. Arriving to a wealthy mansion, Billie soon learns she actually has to train woman-child Gene (Jillian Bell) for a school exam who is under house arrest after misbehaving. If Gene succeeds for the exam, she doesn’t have to go to prison. Gene however has no interest in achieving anything at all and just wants to misbehave some more, dragging Billie into impossible situations.
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
The success and appeal of the Youtube comedy series Awkward Black Girl created in 2011 by Issa Rae was such that Pharell Williams got involved and after season 2 she created the HBO show Insecure. The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl is situated in an office where Issa Rae’s character J has to deal with the strangest (and funniest) of co-workers in awkward situations dealing with life and love. The humor is an out loud laughing-even-by-yourself kind. Awkward Black Girl will not lead to too much procrastination as episodes are a few minutes long. So don’t wait!
Put off watching this because you’ve been put off by the name? Reconsider! What a unique show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is, being a musical comedy drama show with original songs! People often name Glee as a TV musical series, but it doesn’t have original songs! Crazy Ex-Girlfriend does! And they are great songs!
When main character Rebecca Bunch gives up on having romantic relationships, there’s a song where she is planning to get ‘a buttload of cats’.
With the first season starting in 2015, the show was created by and starring Rachel Bloom, who plays Rebecca, a lawyer who moves from New York City to West Covina, California to pursue her high school boyfriend. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is interesting in how it very naturally deals with mental health amongst all other drama subjects such as love and relationships, and so pioneers in that way as well.
Created by and starring Pete Holmes, Crashing is the ‘token bro’ pick on this list and first aired on HBO in 2017.
Ever wonder what it’s like to be broke, single and trying to make it in comedy in New York City? Sounds like a series of crazy, tough and hilarious adventures. And that’s exactly what Crashing is. Sleeping in cars and crashing on couches, main character Pete starts off having to hand out flyers to comedy gigs in order to get stage time.
Aside from that, he is not your average male comedian: he doesn’t use swear words, having had aspirations to be a youth pastor and he looks very clean-cut. This adds a great extra dimension in Peter having to find his way in the business of stand-up.
Looking at this list, it appears to be that shows that creators also star in yield interesting results. In any case there’s plenty of shows to check out created or about women, and let’s hope for many more. Where possible support favorite web shows with your dollars!
Here’s a random assumption, you probably know these: Fleabag, Killing Eve, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, VEEP, Broad City, Don’t Trust The B**** In Apartment 23, Orange Is the New Black, Weeds.
And if you’re wondering what my issue is with the Friends TV series, conduct yourself a little DuckDuckGo internet search.
Heart-warming comedies are my favorite kind of show, but please suggest womxn TV favorites in the comments.
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