Thursday, May 10, 2012

television nostalgia reborn

I just love Zooey Daschanel's New Girl on Fox, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.  It's like going back to the days of Friends, without Monica's whining and all the marriage obsession.  This new set of friends is hilarious, dishing out some of the funniest scenes I've seen on television since I don't know when.  And I don't even like cute.  Jess's version of cute is excusable in my opinion.  It's more of a doe-eyed innocent way of looking at the world in an "aw shucks" way that I typically abhore.  

The show is smart, funny and doesn't make fun of females in general, only Jess specifically for her goofiness.  And the fun poked at her is done in a laughing-with-you type of manner.  I wish I had the glass-half-full attitude where I could sing a solution to every sticky situation!  While at first it seemed like she was socially awkward the guys had to save her, I think the show has moved on to show her saving them from their own (mostly drunken) idiocy.  Hence the douchebag jar.  It is, to me, a very human portrayal of a group of friends who embody  characteristics ... good and bad ... of modern young adults for whom you can cheer as good people who help each other.

New Girl 

An early but great feminist critique is at Broad Recognition.

It's so discouraging to see so many modern sit-coms go the way of covert misogyny.  Even my favorite, Big Bang Theory, teeters on the edge of too many anti-women jokes.  Especially via Howard.  He's just smarmy enough to get away with it, though, through his obvious enrapture of Bernadette.  I just wish they didn't have to "dumb down" the intelligence of Bernadette and Amy Farrah-Fowler by drawing them as flighty and a stoic, horny quasi-lesbian, respectively.  It's almost as if they can't just be smart versus Penny's supposed lack of smarts without flawing them some other way.  Not that either personification is actually flawed, just fixed as less than desirable by males.  It just pisses me off, because Big Bang otherwise makes me lol every time I watch.  No matter how many times I've already seen each episode.  I counted during a recent TBS re-run (lol'ed 10 times).  

Most of my viewing habits have gone the way of Modern Family, which was so progressive and wonderful in its infancy.  The female characters are all dependent on male "bread-winners" and fall into stereotypical roles of either the dingy sex-pot, demanding shrew, slutty girl or smart girl.  The males are pigeon-holed into either the blundering dad, his doofus son, an overbearing caregiver patriarch, or patent gay stereotypes for the male same-sex couple.  Manny is the zinger-lined saving grace for the show.

I've said it before, and I'll spew it again ... it's because of women-hating writers like Lee Ahronson.  I honestly believe, in my own conspiratorial paranoia, that he sits around with other Two & a Half Men creative team a$$h@le members who come up with this crap and try to hide it within the dialogue.  "Let's make Claire Dunfy just as cloying as Debra Barone but still cute enough to be lovable."  I didn't want to stop watching Modern Family but made myself boycott it.  Once again, it's one of my little personal protests that nobody notices except me.  I need to feel a sense of doing something to refuse being complicit.  

What we see is what we accept as okay and ignore if we don't make ourselves discrimination what we're watching.  I hate to see so many women who write, "Get over it, you uptight feminists" about things like this and the stupid fascination with utter shite like Shades of Grey.  That's another rant for another day, but it helps make my point.  Women thinking objectification, submission to male dominance, and misogyny's subterfuge of prime time sit-coms are okay is part of the patriarchal system that keep us back in the days before suffrage and the first wave.  We sit idly by and slam each other for what we consider the "other" to be doing wrong.  And there's no easy answer.  Unfortunately, I'm not here to offer miracles.

I choose personal action and turn the channel, turn off the television, or not buy the book when I see it happening.  And I don't do that when I watch New Girl.  So thanks, Liz Meriwether!

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