Where Have All the Nice Girls Gone?

Last week marked the 10th anniversary of the Sex and the City finale, prompting a round of commentary on the show’s current relevance by everyone from The Huffington Post to People.  (Okay, so those two sources aren’t all that different.  Where was The Wall Street Journal article?)

Like many independent ladies and gay men in their 20s, I used to love watching Sex and the City, and while it’s true that the blunt sexual honesty of it was refreshing, it was the female relationships that kept me coming back. Quote the bdcwire: “There’s always a place on television for a show that celebrates women who are good to one another.” Amen.  Meanwhile, what to do with Lena Dunham’s Girls? It may be an important TV show — with real female voices and authentic privileged-New York experiences etc etc — but, see, I don’t actually like any of the girls. Does anyone? They are pretty terrible people. I might even argue that hate watching didn’t come into vogue until Girls.

The New Yorker didn’t weigh in on the anniversary of Sex and the City, but its TV critic, Emily Nussbaum, had a hopeful article in August 2012 about the portrayal of female relationships in current shows.  She focused on Orange Is the New Black, which is coming back for a second season on June 6, and on Amy Sherman-Palladino’s (ASP) Bunheads, which only survived one season.

May I just say, I love ASP.  You may be one of the many, who like me, adored her Gilmore Girls with its effervescent chatter and smart-snappy female leads. If you dismissed it as “chick” TV, you never saw Lauren Graham rattle off a treatise on ’80s movies in one breath. The women on that show were talented actors, and there was a real celebration of female friendship. The show launched the careers of Graham, Alexis Bledel, and somewhat unbelievably, Melissa McCarthy.  (No, she did not take a dump in a sink in Gilmore Girls.)

When the show ended, I waited with bated breath for the next ASP project.  Like Aaron Sorkin, you know one of her shows when you see i — hear it.  There was the short-lived Return of Jezebel James, which was so undercover I didn’t even know it had started before it was over, and I was actually looking for it.  And then last year, Bunheads, a show about a ballet studio, its owner, the new teacher (the fantastic Sutton Foster) and her students.  I was hooked.  Particularly after a scene involving accidental mace-ing at a recital became an auto-tuned meme on the show:

But despite my love for the show, I knew all along it would never make it.  It was too quirky to last.  So where does that leave me now?  Orange Is the New Black is a great show with many strong female characters, but it’s about a women’s prison. Doesn’t exactly give you the warm fuzzies.  Where’s a person to turn for that?  ASP, come back to us!

Image: Girls courtesy HBO.

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