Marie Claire Australia
STEALING the SHOW
With The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel returning this month for its fourth season, Maeve Galea investigates why 2022 is shaping up to be a big year for women behind the scenes and on our screens
In 1990, Amy Sherman-Palladino landed a spot in the writing room for the third season of the hit television sitcom Roseanne. She was 24 years old when she co-wrote the episode A Bitter Pill to Swallow, which tackled the issue of birth control and earned the writer her first Emmy nomination — the only writing nod Roseanne received in its 10-season run. It was a sign of things to come for Sherman-Palladino.
She would go on to become one of TV’s most successful women, carving out a career that would be categorised by creating believable, boisterous, relatable and fabulously flawed female characters facing issues instantly recognisable to women everywhere. This was first as the creator, writer, executive producer and show-runner of Gilmore Girls in the early 2000s and later with The Marvelous Mrs.
Maisel, a hit series about a 1950s Jewish housewife turned comedian, which is returning to Amazon Prime.
Of course, Sherman-Palladino is the history-making exception rather than the rule, with studies showing that in 2020 women made up only 35 per cent of Hollywood film and TV writers. And yet three of the most hotly anticipated TV shows of 2022 – Conversations with Friends, Everything I Know About Love and the fourth season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – are all female-centric productions written, produced and directed by women. It’s a sign of something Sherman-Palladino knew all along: the reality of women’s lives told honestly and with humour is undoubtedly going to entertain and make people feel a little less alone.
“It’s an exciting time to be a young woman in TV,” agrees Olivia Deeble,
a 19-year-old actress turned writer from Melbourne who created and stars in More Than This, a groundbreaking teen drama that will land on Paramount+ in March. The series follows the lives of five teenagers as they navigate their final year of school and all the excitement, frustration and pressure that being a teenager on the precipice of adulthood presents.
Much like her idol Phoebe WallerBridge, Deeble was inspired to write the six-part series after she found the on-screen depictions of people like her, in this case teenagers in high school, “weren’t telling anything near my truth or experience”. “I asked my friends what they would want to see on screen and the answer was ourselves: real teens and not shiny, airbrushed versions of teenagers played by 25-year-olds with adult bodies and adult confidence.” The result is a raw and refreshingly real deep-dive into the issues and insecurities facing teens today that takes the same “nothing is off-limits” approach to storytelling that Sherman-Palladino pioneered in 1990. If this is the future for women in TV, then we say bring it on.
“WE WANT TO SEE REAL TEENS – NOT SHINY, AIRBRUSHED VERSIONS PLAYED BY 25-YEAR-OLDS”
– Olivia Deeble