I love television. There’s nothing like following your favorite (or not-so-favorite) characters for years and feeling just as happy, excited, or heartbroken with each episode. It’s like reading your favorite book over and over again.
That is why I’m extremely happy about all of the female-centric television shows I’m hooked on right now. Here are my favorites:
THE MINDY PROJECT (official website)
As you may or may not know, Mindy Kaling was a writer, actress, and producer in my favorite comedy of all time, The Office. She is responsible for classic episodes like The Injury, where Michael Scott burns his foot on a George Foreman grill while cooking breakfast in bed, as well as Niagra, where Jim and Pam finally tie the knot. I also loved her autobiography Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) . She’s an incredibly talented writer and comedienne.
At first glance, you might think this is a show for chicks. Yes, there’s lot of pink, but the show is funny to both men and women. Mindy Kaling plays Mindy Lahiri, an OB/GYN living in Manhattan managing adulthood and dating in her own way. On the surface, you might think her character is selfish and overly obsessed with pop culture, and maybe she is, but Mindy is great at making fun of herself and the things she likes. We’re all entitled to our own tastes and guilty pleasures. The perfect example of this is the episode called – wait for it – Wiener Night (IMDb). Mindy meets a cultured (snobby) journalist who she wants to impress by taking him to her coworker’s ex-wife’s art show (featuring revealing photographs of her coworker, Danny Castellano) but, in the the end, she learns that she’d rather be herself.
Oftentimes, Mindy will say something in the show, and I’ll think, ‘That’s exactly what I’d say!’ She is honest about the way women think about themselves and acknowledges that she doesn’t fit into the box that society tries to fit all of us into. Most of us don’t fit into that box anyway, so why try?
This is a smart and funny TV show, and I hope it goes on for many seasons.
(ALSO, I got to meet Mindy at SXSW. There’s going to be a whole separate blog post just about that, don’t worry!)
NASHVILLE (official website)
This is a show I have a love/hate relationship with. First, one must recognize that this is a show on ABC and not HBO, Netflix, or even Fox or NBC. ABC has a flair for the over-dramatic, and Nashville fits right in. In this context, I think the show is really good. I’m hooked on a few story lines and not-so-much on others, but it’s still an entertaining show to watch.
Connie Britton (who plays Rayna James in the show) and Hayden Panetierre (Juliette Barnes) are both extremely talented actresses who pull off their characters well. They are both country music stars, but Rayna James is like a Reba McIntyre and Juliette is a like a bitchy (bitchier?) Taylor Swift. There is also a large supporting cast with multiple interweaving storylines, and quite frankly, too many coincidences. Does everyone in Nashville get offered record deals with very little time or effort? I think not.
My only wish is to have Panetierre’s character, Juliette, have some more character development. She never seems to learn from her mistakes, and her temper is getting to be a little much. Why would anyone put up with such a high maintenance person? I sure wouldn’t. But this is TV… and this is ABC…
Nashville is also a very fun show to live tweet. Just use #NashvilleABC and let the magic happen!
ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK (official website)
I listened to the audiobook and watched the first season at the same time. Both the audiobook and the television show are really well done, but just know that the show deviates quite a bit from the memoir. If you plan on listening to the book, Cassandra Campbell narrates it very well. I did my fair share of driving while in tears and laughing my ass off, sometimes at the same time. Please listen responsibly!
The show itself is loosely based on the memoir which is great because I’m not distracted pointing out the differences in the story. Although I am a bit sad about some of the storylines, I understand the need to create more drama for the show. It’s still incredibly well-done, and highly recommend it.
The Netflix series Orange is the New Black is not some superficial romantic comedy. Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) was a young woman in love with a heroin-dealing seductress (Laura Prepon) when she made the mistake of getting involved in some of the business dealings. A few years after she has cleaned up her act and settled down with a pleasant, aspiring writer (Jason Biggs), she finds out she’s been named in the case against the drug dealing ring, and ultimately needs to face some prison time for her involvement.
This mostly female cast is diverse in race, ethnicity, and socio-economic background, and this wonderful blend of female characters creates lots of tension – especially because it takes place in prison. I absolutely love that almost every episode showcases one of the character’s backstories on how they ended up in the system. It makes me think about the mistakes I’ve made in my life, and how fortunate I am to have had some guidance pointing me in the right direction. You never know where life will lead you.
I highly recommend this show, but I have to warn you, treat it like an HBO series. There’s nudity and sex, so don’t just watch this on your iPad on a plane or while waiting at a bus stop. You’ll creep people out.
And oh yeah, season 2 starts June 6th!
The following shows have a lot of female characters and deserve a shoutout, but quite frankly, I’m tired of writing! I’ll have to write about these some other time.
GAME OF THRONES