Women’s TV Has Anger Issues
October 22, 2008 10:14 AM
Every morning, my Google reader dishes me headlines from every TV trade along with tech, media and entertainment business news. It means that for the past few months I’ve gotten a bird’s-eye view of what’s being talked about in the industry, from new shows and reviews to acquisitions and business moves.
I think the last five New York Times reviews of women’s shows have pointed out a redundant theme. No, it’s not the “I’m rich/I’m cute/I’m stupid” trend driven by people like Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson a few years ago.
Now it’s “I’m rich/I’m vapid/I’m out to get you.”
Same little dogs, same big sunglasses, pursed lips and vapid, elaborate lives. Only now, instead of constantly shopping and walking around with a blank stare, it’s plotting with an evil sneer.
As a viewer, I’m not sure which is worse.
When I bring this up to friends in the industry, they say it’s what the audience wants. To me it seems like a lazy way to create drama and tension. How do you spice up an otherwise boring show or cast? Catfight!
But some of the best, longest-running shows didn’t play on that theme. Just look at “Friends.”
It’s said “Gossip Girl” is one of the CW’s weakest shows in ratings, that it’s only popular on the coasts. I think the cattiness has a lot to do with it.
As a woman, you know that overall, women just aren’t wired like this. Yes, in high school there are always those bitchy, insecure girls who pick on people, but there isn’t a woman I know who is vindictive, plotting or who hates other women. Far larger is the number of women who represent just the opposite.
Think of it as the difference between Janice Dickenson and Oprah Winfrey. Last time I checked, Miley Cyrus was out-earning Heidi and Lauren (of “The Hills”) by a long shot.
Maybe cattiness, anger and hate sells, to a point, but the bigger money sure seems to be in women being good. To a woman, a good woman is cool.