Talking to the Hollywood Reporter about whether or not “Two and a Half Men” pinch hitter Ashton Kutcher would be back for another season, co-creator Lee Aronsohn had some opinions to share about the recent slate of female-driven comedies, a la “Whitney,” “2 Broke Girls,” “The New Girl.”
“Enough ladies. I get it. You have periods,” Aronsohn commented. He applauded women like Whitney Cummings, Chelsea Handler and Tina Fey securing a voice to discuss formerly taboo subjects on TV. “But we’re approaching peak vagina on television, the point of labia saturation,” he added.
The current female TV boom contrasts with Two and a Half Men mostly portraying women as bimbos, something Aronsohn isn’t about to apologize for. “Screw it… We’re centering the show on two very damaged men. What makes men damaged? Sorry, it’s women. I never got my heart broken by a man,” Aronsohn earlier told the Toronto conference during a keynote address.
Oh, Mr. Aronsohn! You charmer! While I commend him for somehow making his show’s former star Charlie Sheen look not quite as awful as before in contrast (at least Sheen seemed to be in the middle of a breakdown), his tiresome comments provide an opportunity to reiterate a basic point about that whole female-driven comedy thing, which is that it’s a trend only because we’ve internalized that “normal” comedy is centered around guys.
Sure, sometimes a commonality pops up and invites comment, like the whole schlubs-married-to-improbably-pretty-women thing, or the more recent example of what the New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum nailed as “the dirtbag sitcom.” But overall you don’t get trend pieces saying “look at all men who are trying to make funny shows!” Because for a lot of people, that’s just what comedy is.
Aronsohn’s since backpedaled and apologized, though not before first making it a little worse — as the New York Times ArtsBeat blog reports, Aronsohn posted on his Twitter account “Women, please look up ‘irony.'” and noted that he’d “‘made a career out of’ jokes about the male anatomy even as he was ‘complaining about vaginas.’ ‘See what I did there?’ he wrote. (The post no longer appears on Mr. Aronsohn’s Twitter page.)”
Why bother getting mad about Aronsohn’s inane suggestion that we’re at the point of “labia saturation”? He exists in a world in which vagina jokes are for women but dick jokes are for everyone, and given the continued success of “Two and a Half Men” despite how lousy a show it is, apparently so do we. We need more female voices in shows, as creators, as writers and stars, so that funny women will be the norm and not an exception, and that when someone goes on the record with comments like Aronsohn’s everyone will wonder what the hell that person is even talking about.