When I think of male writers who write great female characters, The Office (UK) and Extras creator Ricky Gervais — who mostly pens TV and film vehicles for himself — isn’t someone who comes immediately to mind.
Thus it’s a nice surprise that Gervais has spoken out about the frequently one-dimensional, all-too-often demeaning female characters we’re presented with at the movies, especially comedies.
“In Hollywood, [female characters are] usually airheads. Or if they’re ambitious, they’re straight away cold and need to be taught a lesson,” he told the Radio Times. “They need to show that getting a man is more important than getting a career.”
Added Gervais, “I love writing interesting female characters because usually they’re props [for men to do funny things], particularly in comedy.” He intends to do his part in rectifying that situation by introducing “real, good, modern girl power” to his current show, Derek, which airs on Channel 4 in the UK.
Gervais promises that a “real sisterhood” will form between two of the women that work at the nursing home where Derek is set, between manager Hannah (Kerry Godliman) and her whip-smart protege Vicky (Holli Dempsey). Gervais plays another caretaker on the show.
Derek‘s second season will premiere on April 23.