Women in Television

Posted: February 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

According to my television, it finally seems okay to be “weird” and a woman in entertainment.

Last year, Mindy Kaling transformed herself from an annoying-but-beloved caricature on “The Office” to star, series creator, and head writer of “The Mindy Project.”

Amy Poehler earned writing credits for arguably the smartest, most poignant, and best episode from last season’s run of “Parks and Recreation” (“The Debate”).

 Lena Dunham was catapulted into the spotlight by creating, directing, and writing for her surprising (but well-deserved) hit HBO show, “Girls.”

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Kristen Wiig made “Bridesmaids,” and Tina Fey began preparing a graceful exit from her seven-year run as real-life writer and show protagonist Liz Lemon on “30 Rock.”

Think of “comedy,” and these women or the shows they write come to mind almost instantly. They create or portray strange, relatable characters. But where were they before their ascent into fame?

Like many of us, they were on college campuses.

Mindy Kaling was majoring in theatre at Dartmouth, writing her own plays, performing in both a comedy troupe and a capella group, and submitting a regular comic strip to her college newspaper.


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Kristen Wiig  was studying art at the University of Arizona, before dropping out and moving to Los Angeles to become a florist, graphic artist, and decorative painter. She would eventually join “The Groundlings,” the comedy troupe where she would meet “Bridesmaids” co-writer Annie Mumolo.

The daughter of two teachers, Amy Poehler was at Boston College studying communications. Tina Fey was at The University of Virginia earning a bachelors degree in drama. Lena Dunham was taking liberal arts classes at Oberlin College.

I hope you’re beginning to note a pattern. Whether or not they knew they wanted to pursue a career in comedy, none of these women majored in film, film production, or screenwriting.

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Many of them simply kept their eyes open to the opportunities around them.

They studied art, communication, creative writing, and theatre. They participated in performance groups and wrote for their college newspaper. They doodled cartoons, designed plastic surgery “after” mock-ups (not a joke), and, sometimes, comfortably had no idea what they were doing.

The thing that made these women great wasn’t that they spent all of their time pouring over the specifics of their craft. What made them great was that they explored the world around them. They weren’t afraid to try unfamiliar things. They embraced the new, the strange, the unexpected.

So stop being terrified that you’re going to learn the “wrong things” at college, and start going about the difficult task of letting your narrative unfold as it will. Learn all that you can. Follow your passions. Develop new ones.

We are not only the majors we declare, or the universities we attend. We are our experiences. So, go. Be unafraid. Be yourself. Now is as great a time as any.

Written by Chelsea Harvey

Chelsea is a second year Advertising major and a part of FU’s Leadership Program. 

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Comments
  1. ledgerwood says:

    Reblogged this on Social Media & The Academy and commented:
    Very insightful and well written.

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