Friday, September 25, 2009

Surveying pop culture (by Suzie)

That’s what I call watching television. For those interested in the fall’s new shows, do you have any feminist impressions?

I only watch shows with female protagonists. But that doesn’t guarantee a show is watchable, of course. Wednesday, for example, I caught the tail end of “Cougar Town” on ABC by accident, and I couldn’t avert my eyes, even though I had been forewarned by reading TV Guide:
The title is a play on words, as it refers to both the mascot of the show's high school and the amped-up sexuality [that] 40-something divorcee Jules Cobb (Courteney Cox) struggles to contain. It's not Simone de Beauvoir, but Jules' struggles have a slightly feminist, "old ladies like doing it too" vibe …
In the entertainment business, a woman in her 40s is an old lady, who could only be paired with a man in his 60s. How radical that a former model, once considered one of the most beautiful women in the world, might interest men in their 20s.

Rebecca Traister takes down the cougar concept. Jessi Klein talks about how it reflects men's fears of older women. Julie Klausner's review is hilarious:
What is funnier than a middle-aged woman who wants and enjoys sex? Literally nothing. It's like a dog wearing a sombrero!

Next up was “Eastwick,” also on ABC. I had hope because of Abigail Tarttelin’s review on Women & Hollywood.
The show is a re-imagining of the book and film The Witches of Eastwick for a modern audience, so hopefully won’t go down the semi-misogynistic route the book took …
Not as hateful as the book, but still, a man seems to be guiding their power. I don’t find his egotism and sexual harassment attractive, and I’m surprised by reviewers who find him sexy and charming. To cleanse my palate, I’ll have to rewatch “Practical Magic,” even though critics dismissed it, and the only people I know who like it are me, my sister and a witch who manages our church’s office.

This week isn't a total loss. "Dollhouse" returns tonight. And on Tuesday on CBS, I enjoyed “The Good Wife,” starring Julianna Margulies. The New York Times review says
it begins where sex scandals usually end: an errant politician expressing regret at a news conference while his shell-shocked spouse stands frozen at his side. … “The Good Wife” takes its cue from real life, not just the headlines, and is all the better for it.
The first episode covered a lot of feminist territory, including body image; homemakers who return to work outside the home; women mentoring other women; and younger men disrespecting older, female competitors.

The excellent British movie "The Politician’s Wife" provides another take on this situation.

ETA: Res Ipsa Loquitor suggests Judith Warner's piece on "Cougar Town."