Friday, December 18, 2015

I have just finished reading a New Yorker article about a director (whose name I can't remember ever hearing before) and her television show (which I have heard of but never watched). This is not unusual. Though I have limited interest in actual television, I've retained a certain interest in descriptions of television. I spent much of my childhood reading TV Guide cover to cover, a salve for not being allowed to watch most of the shows. I have no idea why my parents subscribed to it, but it did give me the opportunity to absorb many facts about Fonzie and Three's Company and the Ewing family and Brady Bunch reruns and thus comprehend the conversations of my classmates. I was less lucky with pop music: without a convenient stack of TV Guide-like instruction manuals in our bathroom, I was never quite sure which songs were by the Eagles and which were by Kiss until well after I graduated from college. Actually I'm still not sure.

Anyway, back to the New Yorker article:
The cast talks about "Transparent" as a "wonderful cult," but director Jill Soloway disputes this. "It's a not a cult," she says. "It's feminism." Women, Soloway said, are naturally suited to being directors: "We all know how to do it. We fucking grew up doing it! It's dolls.
I have never wanted to be a television director, but Soloway's words stopped me short. Yes, of course, dolls. I spent years and years playing with dolls. In between reading TV Guide and the Little House books and Dickens and practicing the violin and drawing crayon pictures of fairy tales and hanging upside down from trees and feeding calves and being mysteriously sad and riding my bike endlessly around the block and losing every mitten I owned, I was spreading dolls and stuffed animals around the bedroom I shared with my sister . . . arranging them into complicated households, creating plots and antagonisms, constructing a long-running serial drama that ended only when our parents threatened to box up all of our toys and take them to the dump if we didn't clean our room.
"How did men make us think we weren't good at this? It's dolls and feelings. And women are fighting to become directors? What the fuck happened?"

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