March Madness: Females Are Strong As Hell


Last year we had a division called Women Be Doing it For Themselves, a reference to the great, canceled too soon, Playing House. Women may not make equal pay, they may not be President (…yet), but there are at least 16 programs where they’re doing something. This year our division is named Females Are Strong As Hell — because they are.

I regret now that Killing Eve didn’t make it into the playoffs. (I especially regret this with Sandra Oh hosting SNL this weekend.) Nevertheless, our division covers two brackets, and is divided thusly, Women Be Doing It For…Someone and Finding Herself. Because sometimes a woman desires to be self-actualized, but also really, really, really hates her kids. And sometimes something breaks inside you and you become a badass columnist.

In Women Be Doing It For…Someone we find Grey’s Anatomy facing off against American Housewife, which I have a love/hate relationship with. I think the cast is outstanding and the writing is sharp (they had a General Slocum joke last season!), but I think Katy Mixon deserves a sitcom that showcases what she’s capable of. Fiona loves Grey’s Anatomy, so I handed her the campaign:

A staple of Shondaland, Grey’s Anatomy is fifteen seasons in and still going strong. These days Grey’s Anatomy focuses less on medicine and more on relationships. Perhaps because the medicine they’re doing at this point is based on pretend medical inventions. Meredith Grey continues to be a central focus and after a few seasons of mourning she is back in the relationship drama game, Owen has found himself in yet another love triangle with Teddy and Amelia, Bailey can’t seem to decrease her stress no matter what she cuts out of her life (including Ben Warren!), and Alex and Jo have somehow become the golden couple.

Broad City is in its final season, and will purportedly look at life in New York when you’re less fresh-faced and finally growing up. Or not. Maybe they still can’t do their taxes. The comedy faces The Crown (admittedly, the two programs have little in common!) which airs on Netflix and is a much-beloved portrayal of the Queen’s private life.

For our other sub-division, we find another comedy in its final season, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. It’s facing Westworld. 

Jason, who has kept up with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend much better than I have (I’m just going to binge it all at once when it ends, and then take a long walk in the sun) has this to say: Sometimes knowing where one is going to end focuses the writer. This would seem to have happened with Rachel Bloom and her writers room as TV’s best (and only current) musical comedy roars through its final season, a year featuring love triangles (and quadrilaterals), deft song parodies — including one of the Beach Boys that goes on so long it reaches the band’s Kokomo stage, and meta-comedy that incredibly never gets tired. As its fourth season theme admits “we’re not really seeing a common theme” and that’s part of the appeal of this uniquely thrilling show.

As for Westworld, Brad knows what’s going on there. (I know the women are uprising, does that count?)

As Freddie Mercury sang, “I want to break free”, and so do the robots/androids in Westword. At sometimes opaque and at most times violent, the robots did break free In Westworld‘s second season. They are no longer slaves and what they bring with that freedom in the real world is anyone’s guess, but we will be along for the ride.

And while I struggle to finish Kimmy, Jason called the final season “sometimes guileless, but always wonderful.” Kimmy is always seeking to find her way in a world she doesn’t understand; when she hurts people, she apologizes, and she strives to lift the lives of those she encounters.

I have a lot to say about Shrill. The Hulu comedy, based on Lindy West’s memoir, is a quickly-paced navel-gaze as Annie Easton (see what they did there?) “aims to change everything about her life except her body.” Toeing the line at tearjerker, the comedy breathes life into a trope that’s failed again and again (looking at you, I Feel Pretty). I’ve waited a long time to see a kind, warm, empathetic, flawed heroine like Annie, and I almost feel like I don’t need to work on my screenplays anymore.

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