Have I mentioned how much I adore Maureen Ryan? Because I adore Maureen Ryan a lot, and she makes a critical point about the representation of women in the television industry and the resulting content in her scathing review of I Hate My Teenage Daughter:
Before we all link arms and dance a jig of glee about the number of ladies in the realm of TV comedy, a few reminders are in order: First, this trend is long overdue, given that women have always been funny (yes, even before Tina Fey), and this fall’s uptick in female representation doesn’t erase the fact that, as I explored in this story, the overall number of female writers in the TV industry is shrinking.
Also, the sad fact is, women are as capable of writing a misogynist, soul-killing TV comedy as anyone else. Exhibit A: ‘I Hate My Teenage Daughter,’ a shrieky nightmare that premieres 9:30PM ET on Fox.
Sherry Bilsing-Graham and Ellen Plummer Kreamer are listed as the executive producers of this show, which takes as its premise that people will enjoy seeing two women relentlessly mocked and humiliated by everyone around them. In the unlikely event that that premise strikes you as funny, what’s on display here is so stale and mean-spirited that I urge you to avoid it at all costs.
The entertainment industry doesn’t need token ladies who will write things that conform to male perspectives. It needs a lot of women, some of whom will be one of the guys, some of whom will write stories that explore and illuminate female worlds, some of whom will work in established tropes, and some of whom will lay down new markers. Diversity isn’t about quotas. It’s about perspectives.