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What Happened to the Female Comedy Boom?

What This Year’s Female-Driven Comedies Can—and Can’t—Do For Women In TV and at Home

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This is not to say that everything is terrible. Up All Night‘s developed into a moderate success for NBC by telling stories about women’s experiences as professionals, as mothers, and as romantic partners in a way that doesn’t require them to ingratiate themselves to male viewers—and it’s been rewardingly sensitive and smart in portraying the challenges of stay-at-home fathers. New Girl has evolved from an irritating and irrational celebration of a character who seemed beamed in from Mars to a more realistic, and more genuinely engaging portrait of a group of friends, though it’s largely done so by figuring out how to flesh out its male characters, rather than by making Zooey Deschanel’s Jess much more realistic. Suburgatory remains warmly, winningly weird.

And we’re not done for the season yet. On April 11, ABC is premiering Don’t Trust the B—- In Apartment 23, a roommates comedy starring Krysten Ritter and Dreama Walker from the very funny Nahnatchka Khan. HBO follows on April 15 with Girls, Lena Dunham’s miraculous new series about a group of long-standing friends who move to New York after they graduate from college and struggle to find their places at a time when the economy is unforgiving but the expectations for success are high. If we’re lucky and the networks are patient, this first round of female-created and female-centered comedies could be just that, a foundation for the employment of more women, for telling many more kinds of our stories.