As I was watching the episodes for the 1970s unit, something about the female characters seemed to stand out: their immense similarities across shows. I felt as if I was watching the same character traits over and over, just in different dresses and heels. I decided to explore this idea a little more for this post to see if this was also something other viewers were focusing on. I found a very interesting article entitled, “Women in Sitcoms Are Getting A Lot More Three- Dimensional. And That’s a Good Thing.”
This article traces the evolution of multifaceted female characters. Claire Fallon’s article explains women, like Lucy Ricardo, only expressed positive (kind) and negative (silly) female characteristics. Over the next generations, the female characters adopted more masculine characteristics in order to gain more equal footing with male characters. Women, like Elaine in “Seinfeld”, began to adopt positive male traits. Elaine demonstrates this change in her ability to be held as more of an equal to the men in social situations, showing her ability to hold her own with men.
Fallon cites a modern example of “Veep” main character, Selina Meyer. Selina is not overtly feminine, but has some negative female traits (dependence on the men around her), but positive male expressions (successful in politics) as well as negative traits typically associated with males (aggression in the work place). These changes demonstrate audiences want female characters that do not simply stay in the house, or halfheartedly enter the workforce. TV shows are adapting to the viewers’ desire to see relatable women who star not follow. –Tyler Roberts