Is it the season of women behaving ... like women?
"I don't want it to be zero-sum game where there’s one girl show on TV so there can’t be another one," says Lena Dunham, the indie filmmaker who created and stars in the HBO series “Girls,” scheduled for early next year.
It’s one of a number of provocative new series about young women's lives driven by female creators. Next week comedian Whitney Cummings hits the airwaves with two separate sitcoms: She is the co-creator (with "Sex and the City's" Michael Patrick King) of CBS’ buzzy girl-buddy sitcom “Two Broke Girls” starring Kat Dennings, and creator and star of NBC’s relationship comedy "Whitney." Also premiering is Liz Meriwether’s “The New Girl,” starring Zooey Deschanel as a single woman. Coming in midseason is “Best Friends Forever,” Chelsea Handler’s "Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea" and “Apartment 23,” starring the fabulous Krysten Ritter, with many others in development. (Will Mindy Kaling be up next?)
Many of these series aim to capture young women’s lives complete with the raunchiness (and awkwardness) that sometimes entails. The word "vagina" pops up in the first episodes of both “2 Broke Girls" and "Whitney.” (OK, points deducted for the reference to a "vajazzler.") The heroine of MTV’s teen-girl comedy “Awkward” references a tampon.
Says "Awkward" creator Lauren Iungerich, “I wasn’t ever looking to shock. As the ‘Jersey Shore’ would say, 'Do you.' I do me, to be true to the audience and bring into the world the real conversation we have.”
Most of the writers say the material came pouring out of their own lives. Dunham says she and her writers found themselves saying, "This happened to me. Oh, my God, this happened to you?" and wondered, "Why have we never seen this on television, these common female experiences?"
For more on these female-created comedies and TV's ambivalent affair with women's voices, read this Calendar feature.
Photo: Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs in "Two Broke Girls." Credit: CBS.