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Celebrating 17 Years of Film.Biz.Fans.
by Peter Knegt
April 13, 2012 1:23 PM
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Before 'Girls': A Television History of the Single Woman in the City

Laverne & Shirley (CBS, 1976-1983)
A spin-off of "Happy Days," "Laverne & Shirley" starred Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams as its titular women, roommates who worked at a fictitious Milwaukee brewery. Set in the 1960s, it's considerably more goofy (and less influential) than the aforementioned shows, but stands as an forerunning example of the single-gal-in-the-city sitcom nonetheless.  Laverne and Shirley supported themselves financially, and relied on each other emotionally largely over any male characters (the series' primary male characters, Lenny & Squiggy, were more sidekicks than anything else). For two seasons in a row, it was also the highest rated series on television.

Murphy Brown (CBS, 1988-1998)
A full decade after "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" went off the air, it found its truest successor in "Murphy Brown."  Candice Bergen starred as the title character (and won a whopping five Emmys for the role), an investigative journalist and news anchor who enters the series fresh from rehab after suffering from alcoholism. Single and forty-ish, Murphy caused a huge stir outside the show when she became unwed and pregnant.  After the show made it clear Murphy would raise the child alone, then-Vice President Dan Quayle infamously spoke out against the show's disprespect of family values.


  • Norman Kelley | April 15, 2012 4:49 PMReply

    @ Leon Raymond. Yeah, I forget as well as black men being either invisible or targets, black women don't even exist except for in films such as The Help or the other end: Monsters Ball.

    I may take a look at "Girls" on HBO for free the day after, but it really says a lot that Hollywood and TVland won't even consider something like "Girlz": looking a four young women of color; black, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American, or even add one or two of them to the above mix.

    It's always the same people whose lives and problems that are validated.

  • Amber3000 | April 16, 2012 3:29 AM

    Very true. But it's also a sad commentary that these pieces are still being written. More than anything it shows how rare shows about women (of any color) always have been and still are in 2012.

  • LeonRaymond | April 14, 2012 4:48 PMReply

    @ NORMAN KELLEY -This was written by some one who would think (Black people, Oh yeah, I forgot, they do exist on this planet)

  • Norman Kelley | April 13, 2012 10:40 PMReply

    Hey! What about Queen Latifah's six year-run in "Living Single"? A story about four single, thirty-something black women living in the big city as roomies.