Feminism, sisterhood, friendship: the narrative of TV series about women

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2020 was par excellence the year in which comparison and continuous reflection on TV shows has become, from the happy art of conversation, confident terrain of communication and exchange. It wasn't difficult, thanks to the excess time during the surreal spring and Christmas quarantine, to form a personal overall vision of what, series after series, emerges as a returning female value: friendship between women characterized by the immense power of the unrepeatable.

Following the sociological cataclysm resulting from #MeToo relationships between women and between women and men seemed to have lost narrative authenticity, poetry and bite, ruined in the revived rhetoric of the queen bee and in the rigidity of distrust. More female relationships oriented towards sorority, less bold but more stable than the inclusive feeling of the male voice, inclusive of every contribution beyond gender, not to be confused with the "sisterhood", by the major involved with radical feminism.

If literarily, as the queen of narrative sorority teaches, Louisa May Alcott, sorority has the great merit of organizing the lively expressive disorder of trench feminism, declining it into a reassuring next-door feminism of "all for one, one for all", cinematically and television we are returning to the effective narration of a feminism that seems to grow organically from mistakes and experiences. Think about the recent "The morning show” (2019), American TV series with Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell, in which the reverberations of the #MeToo on the social fabric are analyzed with a critical eye and not at all indulgent towards the most controversial aspects of the consequences of the movement. Still, "The bold types (2020) series not yet fully translated into Italian, infinitely more cool and unscrupulous of the progenitor Sex and the city”, returns in broad strides to the adamantine purity of friendships between women, with the merit of relaxing what is tense to the point of unbearability in relation to the family stories, sometimes painful, sometimes colorless, of the protagonists.

The legacy of #MeToo it is dissected, experienced, translated, problematized not to the point of an elaboration that neutralizes its stylistic features and consequences, but brought back to a plan in which friendship is the keystone, the guiding light of every private and professional dimension, which ensures every choice within the inviolable perimeter of relationships of choice, not of blood, at least not only.

The same is true of Bombshell(2019) with Nicole Kidman, the true story of the huge sex scandal that hit the upper echelons of Fox in 2016. The narrative texture of the very recent and very fashionable “Younger”, an American sitcom by Darren Star, with the masterful Sutton Foster, Miriam Shor and Debbie Mazar, energized by the lively millennial Hillary Duff, this time analyzes female friendship as a generational fact. Boomers, Millennials and Generation Z absorb the casual clash between the desire for self-determination of women of all ages, combining it with the existential urgency of not losing the ontological focus of themselves. The long series – six seasons – ends with the focus on the legitimacy of each other's desires.

The greatest catalyst for any phenomenon is friendship between women. At four darlings of Sex and the city a time of incubation and study - suspended since the first appearance of mobile phones and an almost exclusively professional use of emails - was needed for the post #MeToo. It is confirmed rumor that HBO Max has given the OK to film the reboot of the series. From the atmosphere of a Manhattan of the early 1910s, in which aesthetics was the mother of ethics, without prejudice to the granitic friendship of the four historic friends whose genesis of the relationship was never discussed (greater attention is dedicated to the events in prequel in the two movies following the series), it remains to be understood what role will be assigned to the man: whether the handsome occasional partner will be the temporary servant of the sometimes hypertrophied, sometimes wounded ego of the protagonists or worthy of a fair exchange. But above all, there is great curiosity to understand whether the cult starting point of the mythologization of female and feminist friendship will now be able to surpass the perfect and profound television epigones of recent years.

Ilaria Muggianu Scano


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