By Guest Contributor Aymar Jean Christian, cross-posted from Televisual
So, HBO has a problem with Girls. Mainly, that a lot of smart people are really pissed the show is so white! And they’re right. I’ve refrained from writing extensively about this because (a) so many other people (links above!) are doing it well, (b) I think the show is smart, and (c) I agree with Seitz: race is the industry’s problem, not Lena Dunham’s. She is privileged, yes, but–let’s be honest–also got lucky with a sweetheart Louie-like deal: cheap production and relative freedom in lieu of high ratings (Girls‘s paltry 0.4 rating in the demo would get it canceled everywhere but HBO, and maybe FX**).
In the spirit of shifting blame back on the industry and being constructive, I’ve decided to link to some web shows mainstream TV critics might not know about because there are so many.
The Girls imbroglio, which was easy to see coming but surprised and heartened me in its scale, has shone a light on the ugly side of Hollywood most people forget about. Mainly, that mostly everyone is white, and most people in power are male. Alyssa Rosenberg has done a really great job highlighting this in the past week (see: her posts on women of color already writing for TV and her stats on their employment).
There’s been some discussion about how the Internet figures into all of this, with a number of people mentioning Awkward Black Girl, hugely popular and shopped to networks only to stay online (following The Guild, that might be a good call for Rae). Latoya Peterson linked to my black, gay and latino web series pages–links at the top–in her great critique of Girls.
I thought I’d make it easy, and, in the spirit of “put up or shut up,” spotlight a few shows, past and present, which could use an FX-style pick-up. A lot of these shows would be cheap to do but could benefit from the little bit of low-risk cash TV networks can deliver (I’ve highlighted shows by men and women, because the problem isn’t just with female-led shows on TV, far from it).
As always, this is the tip of very large iceberg. Please put other suggestions in the comments!