Stealing the Show: How Women Are Revolutionizing Television

Transparent actress Judith Light, who plays the show's 60-something matriarch, wasn't looking forward to being filmed naked in a bathtub while pretending to be in the throes of erotic rapture: "How many times in television have we been told, 'Nobody wants to see that?' " According to journalist Joy Press, Transparent creator and showrunner Jill Soloway got the performance she wanted by encouraging Light to think of the elder-sexual interlude not as "a nude scene but as part of a revolution."

In Stealing the Show: How Women Are Revolutionizing Television, Press profiles a dozen or so female showrunners of hit series that challenged television viewers' assumptions, especially about gender. She starts with the "twin disruptions" of Diane English's Murphy Brown and Roseanne Barr's Roseanne, both of which began their headline-generating runs in 1988, and ends with Soloway's Transparent, the first mainstream series to center on a transgender character. Press interviewed most of her subjects, including Shonda Rhimes. While her equal-parts-male-and-female Grey's Anatomy characters were practicing medicine, Rhimes practiced something unheard of on television: color-blind casting. An equally momentous if less decorous small-screen achievement: Inside Amy Schumer and Broad City have proved that girls can hold their own against boys in the bathroom-humor department.

The word "revolution" is ripe for overuse, but Press has earned the right to poach it for her book's subtitle. Stealing the Show ably makes the case that we are in the midst of a tectonic cultural shift, when "contemporary television quakes with women's sound and fury." --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Powered by: Xtenit