Quick Hit: Women’s Studies on TV?!

Yeah, you read that right. According to Salon (via Reuters), HBO and Comedy Central executive producer Ben Karlin is developing a new comedy series called “Women’s Studies.” Julie White (of Six Feet Under, Nanny Diaries etc.) will likely star as “a onetime famous author who, after a tumultuous period as a feminist It Girl, is now a professor at a small liberal arts college in the Northeast.”
Oh the story lines one can imagine…

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  • AnatomyFightSong

    What, pray tell, is a “feminist It Girl”?

  • nightingale

    I’m intrigued. Pretty much since Sex and the City, everything on HBO has been golden.

  • The Law Fairy

    Although there are about a million ways this could go wrong, I do find this encouraging, for one very simple reason: no matter how badly they misinterpret feminism (they will) and how badly they mis-portray what it’s like to teach at a liberal arts school (they will)… um… we have a television show with an OPENLY FEMINIST PROTAGONIST. Not a sidekick. Not a comic relief. Not a plucky best friend. THE MAIN CHARACTER. Which means we’re supposed to like her. Again, a TV show with a feminist we are INTENDED TO LIKE.
    I mean, think about it. That means that the show will HAVE NO CHOICE but to openly address feminist themes, and in a way that’s at least somewhat positive (otherwise, again, she wouldn’t be the MAIN CHARACTER). Plus, this is the guy responsible for The Daily Show, so really, how bad can it be?
    I gotta say, this kind of thrills me to pieces.

  • Nicole

    Think Gloria Steinem, bell hooks, or–dare I say–Jessica Valenti.

  • Nicole

    I couldn’t agree more. I looooooooved Julie White on Six Feet Under, she was HILARIOUS, and I’m really psyched for this show! You’re definitely right that they’re bound to misinterpret alot of things, but the most negative stereotypes are sure to be shot down with that kind of a casting.
    Not to mention that this is totally groundbreaking in terms of feminism’s media visibility, as you already stated.
    Fuckin’ love HBO!

  • AnatomyFightSong

    “It girl” sounds so… lightweight to me. How about “It woman”? ;-)

  • era4allNOW

    Wow, I’m so sad right now. I just went to Salon.com to read the original article – The Law Fairy’s comments above I feel are right on the dot! What I’m sad about is that I decided to read the comments on Salon about the article. Why oh why oh why are there so many people that are supposed to be on “our” side (I’m referring to so-called liberals. I’ve decided that they might call themselves liberal, but no way in hell a person against feminism or women’s rights can be called progressive) still NOT GETTING IT?? How can they be so hip & up on environmental causes, peace, racial prejudices, etc…but still not understand women’s place in all of it? I’m just continually let down each time I see and hear this stuff. My only appreciation is for the last comment posted by a “JP Gal” who eloquently shoves it up their butt holes. Anyway, excited about the show, but I just had to vent on that horrible Salon experience – I’ve seen several of you mention how bad it has been over there, but I had no idea. I guess I had to see it to believe it!

  • hoolissa

    ooo. this show sounds awesome… i wonder if she goes to college and majors in women and gender studies, cuz then maybe people won’t look at me so confused when i tell them what my major is…

  • Kristi

    There’s potential — both good and bad. I’m interested, for sure! But I’d like to remind the Television Powers That Be that plenty of things happen outside the Northeast and Southern California, and would it kill you to have the “small liberal arts school” be in, say, Wisconsin or Oregon or someplace with a complex liberal-conservative mix like Colorado? (Not that the Northeast in un-complex, I’m just feeling like a lot of the country is left out.)
    Just a thought.

  • Gopher

    “complex liberal-conservative mix like Colorado?”
    I’d like to see her kick some Focus on the Family ass in Colorado Springs.

  • LalaReina

    I could see a Naomi Wolfe-type as the lead. Could be really good or really bad. Doubt she would be available but Tina Fey could do it right.

  • Zailyn

    This isn’t this “Women’s Studies”, right? Right?!
    Even if we manage to escape having it be about a homicidal feminist cult, I am worried that the protagonist will “learn the error of her ways” or some such rot. Having a feminist protagonist is awesome, but I hope we don’t end up having one who is actually a strawfeminist and then winds up turning against her feminist beliefs.

  • theKP

    I’m torn between anticipation and dread. I fear I’m likely to feel like a doctor watching ER who is unable to stop shouting at the television about the unrealistic portrayal of the medical profession. I’m already wondering whether she’s really going to be a Women’s Studies Professor–since there aren’t very many tenure track positions in Women’s Studies. Most people who teach women’s/gender/sexuality studies classes have appointments in other departments because many schools don’t have separate funding lines for hiring in Women’s Studies–heck, my grad school didn’t even have a department; we had a “Women’s Studies Program.” It’s going to irritate me if they show a small, liberal arts school as having a large, separate women’s studies faculty.
    Also, at the places with strong women’s studies departments, women of color have been integral in their establishment, but I guess it’s too much to ask that the main character might not be white. Because that might be, well, realistic.

  • Murray

    I will be thrilled if this actually gets picked up, but for the moment, if it’s just “developing,” that means it’s not even in pre-production and far from even pilot status. Still the guy making it has some industry cred so it’s fairly likely it will at least get to pilot. In a few years.
    I’m just worried that it’s a comedy; thus, the title “Women’s Studies” is being used as a double entendre, because generally good comedy names are meant to be read several ways.
    But actually, I’m worried that, as the premise says she-was-a-major-feminist BUT NOW… I have a horrible suspicion that the main character will be pretty moderate and probably have renounced feminism or not talk about it or something, and one of the supporting characters is the hard-core feminist. Which might still work. And I’d be perfectly happy to be proven wrong.
    As to why everything is set in either NY or LA… that’s usually just where it’s convenient for them to shoot. Liberal elitism aside, sometimes they just prefer teh monies. :-/

  • jim johnson

    when is this show coming out. i have not heard anything about it. I would love to see it.
    new york city comedy clubs