TV Sitcom

‘Living Single’ and ‘Girlfriends’: The Roots of Sex Positivity for Black Women on TV

livingsingle poster

There were never any shows that centered happy, single, child-free Black women that prioritized good sex as part of successful living. That is until two television shows came on the scene, ‘Living Single’ (1993-1998, created by Yvette Lee Bowser) and ‘Girlfriends’ (2000-2007, created by Mara Brock Akil).

Slaying Dudes and Stealing Hearts: The Tell-All Sexuality of Mindy Lahiri

0320Mindy4

Sex positivity, for instance, is frequently presented in an oversimplified, inaccurate package of rampant promiscuity and generally assigned to a side female character, like a free-spirited best friend or sister. Meanwhile, the main character frequently serves as the antithesis to said behavior who is later rewarded with “true love.”

Geraldine Granger, the Vicar at Large: Fat Positivity in ‘The Vicar of Dibley’

unnamed

Because of their position in the church as a figure that facilitates human connection to a higher power, people usually disconnect priest, vicars, etc. from human emotions. Being sexless or promiscuous is also attributed to female characters in media who are fat, or overweight…

One of the exciting things about ‘The Vicar of Dibley’ is that Geraldine is not a sexless and humorless character—as a vicar and a woman with a fat body.

‘Fresh Off the Boat’s Jessica Huang Is Loud, Abrasive, Intense, and Exactly What We Need

Fresh Off the Boat’s Jessica Huang, played by Constance Wu

I don’t want to jump the gun here, since the show has only been on now for a month and a half, but Jessica Huang might just be my new favorite female character. Why? Because she is hilarious, brilliant, incredibly sarcastic, and because she refuses to let anyone get away with anything. Basically, because I see myself in her and I love it. What can I say? I’m naturally egotistical.

Why We Love Janice and Why We Love to Hate Janice

janice-gif-2

Is Chandler going somewhere, just minding his own business? Chances are that Janice is just around the corner. As Janice once put it, “You seek me out. Something deep in your soul calls out to me like a foghorn. Jaaa-nice. Jaaa-nice.”

Family, Friendship, and Getting By: The Two Mrs. Harts of ‘Reba’

It took Reba several seasons to warm up to BJ's manic energy.

Like many of us, I’m a child of divorce, and I saw firsthand the lasting effects of infidelity and separation. For years, I’ve turned on ‘Reba’ because I find it comforting; everything from the stills of the cluttered kitchen to Reba’s adorable southern twang make me feel very tranquil as I clean or type on my laptop. I detect similarities to my own experiences, such as living in close proximity to a parent’s ex or a father who seems to abandon his former life for a newer, shinier one. ‘Reba’ normalizes these experiences and reminds viewers that every family has its issues.

The Awesome Women of ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’

The cast of 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine'

Aside from the great characters, female and otherwise, I also want to give props to ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ for being a sitcom set in Brooklyn that isn’t all about white people. In fact, more than half the regular cast are people of color. Even more refreshingly, ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ doesn’t take a ‘Puzzle Place’ approach to diversity where one-and-done token characters fill each “slot” and make room for more white people. And aside from being more like the real world, avoiding tokenism allows for stronger characters who aren’t required to be the sole representative of a supposedly monolithic race. Rosa Diaz is not the be all and end all of Latina women on this show, there’s Amy Santiago one desk over, and they’re completely different. Their race is a part of their character, but not the point of their character.

Defending Dawn Summers: From One Kid Sister to Another

OK, sure, my big sister didn’t have superpowers, and as far as I know she did not save the world even one time, much less “a lot.” But from my perspective as her bratty little sister, I felt like I could never escape her long and intimidating shadow. I could never be as smart as her, as special as her; I couldn’t hope to collect even a fraction the awards and accolades she racked up through high school. And she didn’t even properly counteract her super smarts with social awkwardness: she always had a tight group of friends and the romantic affections of cute boys. She was the pride and joy of my family, and I always felt like an also-ran. Trust me: this makes it very hard to not be at least a little bratty and whiny.

Six Lessons Lisa Simpson Taught Me

the-simpsons-lisa-simpson-20090507143004_412x232

…Lisa takes a stand against the sexism spouting from the mouth of the new talking Malibu Stacy doll. Frustrated with the doll’s collection of sexist catchphrases that include “Let’s bake some cookies for the boys,” “Thinking too much gives you wrinkles,” and “My name’s Stacy, but you can call me *wolf whistle*,” Lisa collaborates with the creator of Malibu Stacy to create their own talking doll, Lisa Lionheart. When Malibu Stacy outsells Lisa Lionheart, our creator feels temporarily dejected, until she hears her own voice speaking behind her: “Trust in yourself and you can achieve anything.” She turns to see a girl her age hold a Lisa Lionheart doll in her hand and smile.

Older Women Week: How ‘Golden Girls’ Shaped My Feminism

Golden Girls Written by Megan Kearns | A version of this article originally appeared at The Opinioness of the World.  A child of the 80s, I grew up watching TV shows like Murder She Wrote and Love Boat. Living with my grandparents for 6 years clearly influenced my television viewing habits! But my favorite series […]

Older Women Week: Aging and Existential Crisis in ‘3rd Rock from the Sun’

Poster for 3rd Rock from the Sun This is a guest post by Jenny Lapekas. 3rd Rock from the Sun follows the story of four aliens sent to earth in human form to study the ways of humans. Their mission was originally supposed to last only one day, but the High Commander, Dick Solomon (the […]

Don’t Ignore ‘Trophy Wife’

Written by Robin Hitchcock I probably could have gone an entire season, or, network willing, three or four, without really paying any attention to the existence of upcoming ABC sitcom Trophy Wife. To begin with, it is an ABC sitcom not called Happy Endings (RIP). And my cynical side assumes it got an instant greenlight […]