Lady Bosses on the Box

Alongside increased speculation that Hillary Clinton will be the democratic candidate for the upcoming Presidential election, and perhaps the first female President of the United States, interest in fictional women in positions of authority on TV has also intensified. Continuing the lineage established over the years by I Love Lucy, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Murphy Brown – proto-feminist shows applauded by feminist TV scholars – an increasing number of female-driven comedies, dramas or melodramas are popping up on our screens. Through the filters of fiction, the worlds these heroines inhabit directly reflect our own. This is the age of the lady boss.

In comedy, we’ve witnessed the successful professional and personal trajectory of Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) in 30 Rock and Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) in Parks and Recreation. In drama, the likes of Robert and Michelle King’s The Good Wife, as well as Shonda Rhimes’s Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder offer female-leads who are publicly stoic, outspoken and successful. More and more programs are led by independent, policy-making (or -meddling) lady bosses working in industries normally dominated by men.

Leaders in their respective fields, these characters are dedicated to managing and mentoring their staff with expert, often cold authority. Across seasons we witness their stoic and determined attempts to balance personal lives and familial responsibilities with their professional ones. We revel when these worlds collide; one of the joys of being a viewer is gaining access into the intimate private moments where characters emotional sides are revealed (although some are more present than others).

Read more at Kill Your Darlings.


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