Writing in The New York Times, Alessandra Stanley noted that “The New Crop of Sitcom Women Can Dish It Out Like The Big Boys.”
In reviewing “2 Broke Girls,” “New Girl” and “Whitney,” Stanley writes:
“These new comedies add a Judd Apatow crudeness to the feminine perspective. None is quite as raunchy and politically incorrect as male-oriented cable series like “Archer”on FX or “Tosh.0” on Comedy Central, but they are still notably coarser than “30 Rock” or “Parks and Recreation,” with joke after joke about sex and hygiene — the vagina dialogues.”
No doubt the success of the movie “Bridesmaids”—out on DVD this week—will inspire a rash of feature films based on such supposedly fun-loving single women characters. “Bridesmaids” has its genuinely hilarious moments—but the dreck almost brings it down. The dreck factor will increase by multiples in the imitators. The screen will be awash in bodily fluids emitted from every orifice—without the considerable talents of Melissa McCarthy and the rest of the cast to elevate the raunch to the level of comedy.
I live in Manhattan where the weekend presence of young drunk women, their asses barely covered by tiny dresses, wobbling on high heels, every now and then vomiting in public rest rooms, cabs or into gutters, no longer incites comment. I know that women can be just as crude and coarse, i.e. as socially obnoxious, as men—and meaner. Eavesdrop on women across the social strata (or peruse the blogosphere) and you will find out, if you didn’t know already, just how small, petty, vicious and appallingly ignorant mean women can be.
Why do you think there is a plague of mean girls bullying their nicer classmates? Read my review of The Twisted Sisterhood by Kelly Valen on how the brats are spawned.
Is Vicious & Vulgar the territory that women need to claim in the name of equality? I don’t think so.
Dumb vagina jokes will be little noted nor long remembered. Good erotic writing by women, however, will outlive all of us. Erica Jong edited an essay collection, Sugar In My Bowl: Real Women Write About Real Sex (Ecco/Harper Collins) that you must read. The title comes from the blues song popularized by Bessie Smith and later Nina Simone: “A Little Sugar In My Bowl.”
The 28 writers represented are all sex-positive feminists—whether they would describe themselves as such or not, I don’t know. They come from a position of female sexual empowerment. A few pieces are pornographic, some are humorous or poignant, many are sexy—and not a dumb joke in the mix. I would like more pure lust, but maybe there will be a second book.
I love this from Susan Cheever—
“During sex we literally and figuratively expose ourselves. ... It’s scary to do something that lets a person in on so much private information, so many fears and discomforts, but it’s also ruthlessly efficient. ... Sex tells the truth.”
Real sex tells the truth. Only grown-ups (of whatever age) can do that with their bodies. Much of what is passed off to us as sexually provocative material on TV and film is adolescent jerking-off, not a depiction of, or the search for, sexual truth.
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