Television and the women I love

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Since I've decided to spend less time watching old New Kids On The Block videos on YouTube, I have found some extra time to spend watching more television. I have been hopelessly out of the loop for quite some time now, not even being able to keep up with some of my favorite shows (Friday Night Lights) and some shows I started with the intention to keep up with (Brothers and Sisters, Parenthood). So much to do, so little time!  (This NPR post is a sad reminder of the fact.)

I'm officially about a season-and-a-half behind on Friday Night Lights (NBC, Fridays at 8pm), but I do own the first two seasons on DVD, so I've been reliving some past moments. And I can't reiterate how much I love all the characters on the show. (Okay maybe not all ... I still can't bring myself to like Jason Street, though he is well-written.) The writing is just superb, and to me, Tami Taylor is an emblem of the perfect woman.

I pretty much want to be just like her when I "grow up". She is so incredibly equitable and even-keeled most of the time. One of my favorite moments from the first season is when Tami is informed at the last minute that she is supposed to be hosting a party for the football team and their family members. During the party, she is under a table picking up after the guests and her husband Eric finds her hiding. He more or less tells her she's being a bad hostess by hiding under the table and asks her to come back up. She tells him, through bared teeth:
"I'm doing it, but I'm not going to pretend to like it. Not right now, not down here. And when I go back up there, I'll give you a big smile just like I know you need. But down here, I am pissed. And I am going to stay down here until I can get back up there and give you your smile."
Even at her worst, she keeps her sense of humor and knows her place. Of course she's a fictional character, so she can be closer to perfect than any human being, but the Friday Night Lights writers have done an incredible job with her.

Another woman I admire greatly is actually a real person. I caught my first episode of Pregnant in Heels (Bravo, Tuesdays at 10pm) a couple of weeks ago and by my second episode, I had fallen in love with stylish maternity concierge Rosie Pope. Like Tami, Rosie has a way of keeping her cool in the most ludicrous of situations. And I mean ludicrous.

Rosie's clients include couples who want her to put scholarly teams together to advise them on what to name their baby and couples who are far from cognizant of how to prepare for -- nevermind care for -- a newborn child. Rosie is not only able to maintain her sanity, but retain respect of and for her clients while helping them work through their problems with a sense of humor. In short, she is a real life Superwoman.


But perfect is not relatable. What makes Rosie Pope a "perfect" woman lies in her imperfections ... everything from her adorably mussed-up hair (being on-the-go 24/7 the way she is is not conducive to perfect hair, no matter what the other reality shows will have you believe) to the major -- her infertility issues. Unlike some of her eerily robotic, picture perfect Manhattanite clients, Rosie is not afraid of showing her emotions and does, often, when she discusses her own problems with having children. The irony of being a maternity expert and not being able to conceive naturally is cruel and heartbreaking, but as with everything else, Rosie climbs the hurdle and makes the most of what she's been given.

There is a lot of rubbish on television these days, but every once in a while, there is a real gem that doesn't rely on stereotypes or preying on the weak to get ratings. For every superficial female on television, there is a strong woman to cancel her out. And even in the weak, there is strength ... you just have to know where to look!

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