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Difficult Women: Post/Feminism in Television Comedies and Dramedies

CHUM 397
Spring 2025
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: AMST 391, ANTH 397, FGSS 397, FILM 202
Course Cluster and Certificates: Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory Certificate

Although postwar family sitcoms represented women as homemakers, one of the first and most popular sitcom wives also articulated discontent with domestic femininity. Lucy Ricardo became the prototype of the "unruly woman," a figure with feminist potential whose desires exceed and disrupt dominant gender norms. As those norms have shifted, so have TV's unruly women. Second-wave feminism, anticipated in I Love Lucy, was incorporated into a 1970s cycle of comedies centered on single working women whose career aspirations were rewarded. Over the following decades, a postfeminist sensibility dominated television comedies and dramas and became central to a gendered neoliberalism in which energetic individuals "empower" themselves. In recent years, a new type of female protagonist has emerged. Alongside the can-do optimism of single-women comedies from The Mary Tyler Moore Show to Sex and the City to 30 Rock and Parks and Rec, a stream of comedies and dramedies, made largely by and for women, have depicted a variety of flawed, difficult, unruly women coming of age under conditions of socioeconomic precarity, whose less focused energies seem to articulate a more uncertain, downbeat, post-recessional mood. In this course we will situate the latter cycle in relation to both the longer history of televisual representations of women and to the current state of feminist politics. Among the shows we will look at are: I Love Lucy, Bewitched, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Sex and the City, Ally McBeal, Girlfriends, The Mindy Project, 30 Rock, Parks and Rec, Girls, Insecure, Broad City, Better Things, Two Broke Girls, New Girl, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Jane the Virgin, Unreal, Abbott Elementary, Fleabag, Dear White People, and Somebody Somewhere.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA CHUM
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on JUL-22-2024
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