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Jewesses with Attitude

My TV Schedule, My Self

Hello, Internet.  My name is Tara, I’m the new Director of Engagement & Social Media at JWA and I’m thrilled to introduce myself! I came to the Jewish Women’s Archive to creatively promote a mission that I strongly believe in—to document Jewish women’s stories, elevate their voices, and inspire them to be agents of change. I’ve been actively writing, posting to Facebook, and tweeting my heart out for the last two weeks—I hope you’ve noticed!—but this is my first JWA blog post. I have big plans for this blog, and I hope to bring you, dear readers, a thoughtful, funny, progressive place to think, share, and converse. Please be in touch—I want to hear from you! And in return, I promise to do my best to keep you entertained and interested while staying true to JWA’s mission.

I love TV. Love it. I agree with the many critics and bloggers who claim that we are living in a golden age of television. (I watch mostly comedies and have slowly turned away from reality TV, though sometimes MasterChef is the only thing on Hulu and then, well, all bets are off.) Here, laid bare for the world to see, is my regular weekly TV schedule. I don’t necessarily watch these on the day they air, and some are in-between seasons, but I listed them by day for the sake of organization.

Sunday: Girls, Mad Men, Bob’s Burgers
Tuesday: The Mindy Project, Inside Amy Schumer
Wednesday: Broad City
Thursday: Parks & Recreation
Friday: Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Every day, more or less: The Colbert Report
Occasionally: The Daily Show, The Bachelor

Now for the breakdown:

Shows with women at the helm as writers, producers, and stars: Girls, The Mindy Project, Inside Amy Schumer, Broad City, Parks & Recreation.  

Shows that spend considerable amounts of time dissecting gender issues and/or feature well-rounded female characters: Mad Men, Bob’s Burgers, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

The rest: The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, The Bachelor

Since my first Women’s and Gender Studies class freshman year of college made noticing gender inequity in entertainment inescapable, I’ve been programmed to ask certain questions about my media consumption. Are new movies passing The Bechdel Test? (no) Are there women in the writers’ room? (yes) I don’t watch Broad City because it is written and acted by two young Jewish women, but what a thrill it is that the funniest show on TV is a subversive, bizarre, woman-centric comedy. The same can be said for Inside Amy Schumer, a show I’ve been pushing on all of my friends, in which comedian Amy Schumer takes the format made familiar by Jerry Seinfeld and Louis C.K. and mixes stand-up with scripted sketches. Schumer’s show is inarguably feminist, gloriously crude, and delves into gender politics in nearly every segment.

In one scene, Schumer plays a Call of Duty-esque video game, and is alarmed to find that her female character is prevented from going into battle and is then subsequently sexually assaulted by her superior. So rather than getting to fight  computer-generated bad guys, she has to answer questions like, “Do you wish to report it?” and “Did you know [your assailant] has a family?” As played by Schumer, this segment is fairly squirm inducing, very funny, and a bold swing at male gamer culture. It’s also an incendiary testament to the American military’s poor handling of sexual assault—something viewers aren’t necessarily expecting from a show immediately preceded by Tosh.0.

That’s the exciting thing about Amy Schumer, and about the women of Broad City, Parks & Recreation, The Mindy Project, and Girls. They are changing our expectations. Every week, I see Parks & Rec’s Leslie Knope climbing the ladder at work, managing her unruly team with glee and running her department with passion and dedication. I see Mindy Lahiri working as a competent doctor who is unafraid to wear hot pink polka dots with gold heels and really, really great lipstick. I laugh as Abby and Ilana apartment hunt, get into trouble and affirm, in every episode, that they are each other’s soul mates, despite the men floating on the periphery of their lives. And of course, I cringe and relate a little too strongly to the slow, painful process of finding oneself that Lena Dunham has so perfectly captured on Girls.

Looking over my TV schedule, overflowing with visionary comics playing fully-formed, flawed, relatable women, I have great hope for the future of TV. Especially when shows like Bob’s Burgers and Mad Men, created by men, pay such careful attention to their female characters. And speaking of flaws, yes, I watch the Bachelor. There is really great feminist critique of the show on Twitter, okay? :)

Tara Eating Pizza
Full image
Tara in her favorite place, Rome, doing her favorite thing, eating.

How to cite this page

Metal, Tara. "My TV Schedule, My Self." 15 May 2014. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on November 1, 2014) <http://jwa.org/blog/my-tv-schedule-my-self>.

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