July 26, 2007

Next you'll be telling me we should let black people onto the Corny Collins show

On a par with "not your grandmother's knitting", condescendingnesswise, is the attitude in this review in the New York Times, which is, basically, "Can you believe this edgy TV show was written by girls???"

More than anything else, however, the show has turned heads with its writing, which was unexpected for several reasons. ...they put together a pair of lead characters who most resemble the slacker guys now dominating contemporary film comedy (as in “Knocked Up”).

But the writers themselves are nothing like those guys. In fact they are women.

As Mr. Smith, who knows genuine slacker-guy characters intimately, put it: “I read the script and thought it had loads of potential. But for two chicks to write something like this, that was kind of spellbinding.”

That's some velvety-soft bigotry of low expectations there.

Posted by Francis at 11:14 AM

I think the intended meaning is not that the writing is impressive because they're women, but that it's impressive because they're so different from the characters they're writing. If a male writer scripted a very realistic drama about women's issues, it might be particularly impressive that it came from a man.

Posted by: The Dan at July 26, 2007 12:35 PM

Perhaps, but I don't know if a show about a 21-year-old whose parents have sold his soul to the devil can be said to be dealing with "men's issues". Lots of writers create roles that are unlike themselves (J.R.R. Tolkien, for instance, was not a hobbit); the comments still seem condescending to me.

Posted by: Francis at July 26, 2007 12:53 PM

I have been reading this book about women's creativity and creative blocks and this article reminds me of a quote the writer took from Simone de Beauvior: "Man is defined as a human being, and woman as female."

Of course there are plenty of male writers who write fully imagined women characters. They do it all the time and it is barely remarked upon. But when a woman creates fully imagined male characters, it is something strange and different and almost unimaginable.

Posted by: michelle at July 26, 2007 01:56 PM

I don't know a single male writer who has been singled out cause he writes such great women characters!

Like slacker men are that hard to write...Duh...gimme a beer...NO I'M NOT YOUR BOYFRIEND!!!

See! I can do it too! :D

Posted by: marsha Brown at July 26, 2007 11:52 PM

That article was stunning in its unenlightenment. Calling the writers "chicks" didn't help.

I look forward to an endless series of breathless Times articles marveling at male writers who can write for female characters—even ones who are very unlike themselves! Characters who may be a full decade younger than the writer! Why, it's almost without precedent.

And then there's the idiocy of querying the writers to find out their secret—How?? How can you chicks write in the voice of slacker guys?? Hmm, how could they pull off that impressive feat? Could it be from observing people and watching other movies and TV shows?

Posted by: Orange at July 27, 2007 12:32 AM

I agree with everyone who disagrees with The Dan. Did you guys see this paragraph?

"The dialogue between the two buddies seems so authentic that Mr. Labine said he was stunned to learn two women had written it. “I didn’t actually read who wrote it when I read the script the first two times,” he said. “And then I saw it, and I was like just shocked. They definitely did a little research to figure out how to write for dudes.”"

Posted by: Emily at July 27, 2007 07:46 AM

Exactly, Emily. Are male writers credited for having to do research in order to write any characters who are not exactly like themselves? Oh, sure. All those articles about the Simpsons movie keep focusing on how hard it's been, what an amazing accomplishment, for those educated white guys to figure out how to write for children, women, old rich men, droll black doctors, Indian convenience store owners, educators, Scottish groundskeepers, etc.

So, what? Does Hollywood normally forbid women from writing for non-female-centric programs? That seems to be the implication.

Posted by: Orange at July 27, 2007 08:42 AM

It's like Jack Nicholson's character said in "As Good As It Gets," when *I* write male characters (esPECIally 'buddy' scenes) I simply think of a woman, then "take away logic and reason."

I assume the writers of this show did the same, and the reviewer proved their methods to be true.

Posted by: Dianna at July 27, 2007 10:03 AM
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