LOS ANGELES – Since Lena Dunham opened the floodgates with blockbuster TV series “Girls” in 2012, a wave of new women has stormed the film and TV industry, which has put transgressive female characters at the heart of its productions.
Most of these women are jacks of all trades, writing, directing and starring in their own shows, that are often semi-autobiographical with lashings of comedy and that break female stereotypes by showcasing characters who swear, engage in casual sex and hold down traditionally male jobs.
“FLEABAG,” PHOEBE WALLER-BRIDGE. AMAZON
One of the latest women to join the growing list is Phoebe Waller-Bridge with the second season of “Fleabag,” which streams on Amazon Prime and is expected to be hailed as one of the best series of the year.
The main character of the series, a thirty-year-old antiheroine and owner of a coffee shop, deals with her personal problems with a cynical and irreverent attitude.
In this second season, she falls in love with a priest (Andre Scott) whilst dealing with her stepmother (Olivia Coleman) and sister and all the time breaking the fourth wall by finding comfort in “talking” to the viewer.
Waller-Bridge (London 1985) has now bid farewell to this character and will soon launch her next series HBO “Run,” a romantic comedy about two former lovers, and has also been roped in to join the team of screenwriters for the forthcoming James Bond movie.
“THE BISEXUAL,” DESIREE AKHAVAN. FILMIN
Akhavan (1984) was born in New York to Iranian parents and broaches one of the last taboos of female sexuality in this series that she writes, directs and stars in about a 30-year-old who, having just broken up with her long-term girlfriend, decides to start sleeping with men.
Akhavan, like Waller-Bridge, does an excellent job of addressing female sexual desire in a natural way.
She first started to grasp the attention of critics after taking the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival for “The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” starring Chloë Grace Moretz as a lesbian adolescent.
“BROAD CITY,” ILANA GLAZER AND ABBI JACOBSON. COMEDY CENTRAL
This series, which Amy Poehler (1971) produces, tells the semi-autobiographical story of its authors and their online friendship.
The pair of 20-something American jews attempt to survive in New York whilst having fun.
In stark contrast to “Girls” or “Sex in the City,” the main characters are fully aware of what it is like to live a precarious life and they do so with unapologetic humor.
“BETTER THINGS,” PAMELA ADLON. HBO
Adlon uses humor and brutal honesty to unravel the complexities of motherhood in this refreshing comedy about a single mom of three girls in her fifties.
Adlon was left on her own at the helm of the series after Louis CK, one of its producers, was forced to abandon the show following various sexual assault scandals.
“RUSSIAN DOLL,” AMY POEHLER AND NATASHA LYONNE. NETFLIX
Lyonne stars in this existential black comedy created by Poehler in which everything starts and ends in the bathroom of the home where the protagonist celebrates her 36th birthday party.
Nadia (played by Lyonne) is an engineer who designs video games and leads a hedonistic lifestyle but keeps dying.
She is on a journey of self-discovery to work out why.
“UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT,” TINA FEY. NETFLIX
The creator of the much-loved “30 Rock” and star of “Saturday Night live,” Tina Fey (1970) is considered one of the queens of comedy in the United States and her latest offering does not disappoint.
Created with Robert Carlock, the show tells the story of a young woman (Ellie Kemper) who is trying to adapt to New York after being rescued from an apocalyptic set in Indiana.
Extreme characters, unpredictable twists and absurd humor are the key elements of this comedy which aired its fourth season on Netflix at the beginning of the year.
“CRAZY EXGIRLFRIEND,” RACHEL BLOOM. NETFLIX
Bloom’s (1987) musical parody of romcoms tells the story of a successful lawyer who is plagued by anxiety and depression. She decides to leave her perfect New York life in order to seduce her childhood sweetheart who has a partner and lives in West Covina, California.
Critics have championed Bloom’s ability to grapple with the complexities of mental health through humor and she was awarded a Golden Globe for best comedy actress in 2016.
“GRACE AND FRANKIE,” MARTA KAUFFMAN. NETFLIX
Kauffman, the creator of cult-classic “Friends,” is hardly a newcomer on the scene but her latest series offers a fresh take on society’s obsession with youthfulness.
Starring Jane Fonda as the retired former director of her own cosmetics brand and Lily Tomlin as a hippie art teacher, the show reveals how the two women decide to live together and reinvent themselves after their husbands start a relationship and confess they are both gay.
The sixth season will be aired on Netflix in 2020.
“THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL,” AMY SHERMAN-PALLADINO. AMAZON
A period comedy-drama about a housewife living an oppressed existence on the Upper West Side in New York towards the end of the 1950s and who discovers she has a hidden talent as a comedian.
The show has won two Gold Globes in 2018 and five Emmys.