When you talk [in interviews] about the shows that have been especially important to you, you always mention Buffy, My So-Called Life, and Freaks and Geeks. Do you think there’s anything to be said about the fact that these are all teen shows, or at least shows about teenagers?
Yes! I actually have this theory that I’ve never written up: that teenage girls and middle-aged men are the source of the best modern television. They’re both emotionally labile figures going through a period of identity formation. They’re angry and horny and they bridle at the dullness of social conformity. They’re unnerved by the way their bodies are changing. They feel like the world is ending.
Those two iconic figures both been the central characters in a lot of the best shows—the cable masculinity dramas (The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood,Breaking Bad) and the shows you mention, which are less often considered key to the Golden Age of TV [in the late ’90s]. But they should be, both because these shows are wonderful and because they were stealthily revolutionary, modeling all sorts of important things: They mixed comedy and drama with a free hand; they treated family and romantic drama with sophistication (rather than melodrama or sentimentality); and, just in general, they were shows that managed to be humane without being sappy. Two of them also only lasted one season, in an only-the-good-die-young sort of way, so it seems particularly important to bring them up, so they don’t disappear.
Although some of this is just personal taste, and yes, for whatever reason, I’ve always liked smart teen stuff.
From Why Can’t I Be You: Emily Nussbaum, over at Rookie. Emily Nussbaum is currently one of my top five favorite people with opinions, and I love this interview with her, especially this part, for obvious reasons.
“I think a lot about what makes a strong female character. You know, movies and TV shows, these things have influence, my own website. So I think the question of “What makes a strong female character?”, often goes misinterpreted. And instead we get these two-dimensional superwomen, who maybe have one quality that’s played up a lot. Like, you know, a Catwoman type, or she plays her sexuality up a lot and it’s seen as power. But they’re not strong characters who happen to be female, they’re completely flat and they’re basically cardboard characters.
The problem with this is that then people expect women to be that easy to understand, and women are mad at themselves for not being that simple. When in actuality, women are complicated. Women are multifaceted. Not because women are crazy, but because people are crazy. And women happen to be people!”
-Tavi Gevinson for TEDTalks [x]
I was twelve when I first met Hermione, and as a reader of books and a lover of telling people when they’re wrong, I related to her immediately. Over the course of the series, Hermione only got better: more brilliant, more stubborn, more compassionate. She is the brightest witch of her age, an outspoken advocate for the rights of house elves, a casual time-traveler, and—perhaps most importantly—the only person in the whole of the Harry Potter universe who has ever bothered to read Hogwarts: A History. I love how Hermione stands by Harry to the bitter end, risking her life for the people she loves and a cause she believes in. Even now, fourteen years after first making her acquaintance, when faced with a challenge of any caliber, I look to her. ‘What would Hermione do?’ I ask myself, and then I try my best to do it.Hot Key Books let me talk about my favorite topic—Girls Doing Stuff—over at their blog today in connection with my novel, Vivian Versus the Apocalypse. Read it! Do it for Hermione!
Like, those dudes in suits, whatever, who cares, yeah, yeah, I am just so eagerly anticipating the glorious return of my perfect future Manson girl.
No joke, though, this television show would be one thousand percent more interesting if it was called Mad Girl.
Best Actress 2012
I don’t remember my favorite class in high school, but I remember that I carried around a framed picture of Taylor Hanson to put on my desk in each class.
“Fever Pitch,” by Morgan Macgregor
This essay hits a little too close to home. Recently I realized that the one thing my manuscript is seriously missing is a story about all-consuming fan love, a serious component of my girlhood. But maybe there’s a whole novel in the fact that, as Macgregor puts it, “some girls just want to go apeshit.”
Rookie Mag's slideshow of bedroom shrines demonstrates yet again how much weirder and smarter and more wonderful teenage girls are than the rest of us. (Especially Maddie, 17: “My greatest desire is that I might meet [Stephen Fry] before either of us dies.”)
It wasn’t magical, it wasn’t romantic; it was just the two of us, doing what we normally did, in more-expensive dresses. But when I remember all of this, it’s her I remember. More than anything else about my high school years I remember the several thousand times we rode around town in her car, going to no particular destination, circling around on the highway and singing. It wasn’t cinematic and it wasn’t glamorous, and the two of us were the nerdiest nerds who ever nerded, and we were treated as such. But that didn’t stop us from having fun. That’s the other lesson: there is goodness in all of this, too. Beneath the hideous disappointments, behind all the shattered hype, there’s always some kind of goodness. It just never looks like what you expect.I wish Sady Doyle and Rookie had been around on my first day of high school, eleven years ago. Especially because I had just gotten a really cool haircut based off of Colleen from the first season of Survivor, and the realization that it did not look very good was gradual but devastating.
Miranda July on losing her virginity.
(Via The Hairpin)