10 January 2021

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

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The year 2020 was par excellence the year in which the comparison and continuous reflection on the television series has become, from a happy art of conversation, a secure ground for communication and exchange. It was not difficult, thanks to the surplus time during the surreal spring and Christmas quarantine, to form a personal overview of what, series after series, emerges as a returning female value: friendship between women connoted with the immense power of the unrepeatable.

Following the sociological cataclysm triggered by #MeToo Relationships between women and between women and men seemed to have lost narrative poetry authenticity and bite, ruined in the revived rhetoric of the queen bee and the rigidity of distrust. Female relationships more sorority-oriented, less daring but more stable than the inclusive feeling of the male voice, inclusive of any contribution beyond gender, not to be confused with 'sisterhood', with the greatest entanglement with radical feminism.

If literally, as the queen of narrative sorority teaches, Louisa May Alcott, sorority has the great merit of organising the lively expressive disorder of trench feminism, declining it into a reassuring next-door feminism of 'all for one, one for all', cinematically and on television there is a return to the impressive narration of a feminism that seems to grow organically from mistakes and experiences. Think of the recent "The morning show' (2019), an American TV series starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell, in which the reverberations of #MeToo on the social fabric are analysed with a critical eye and not at all indulgent towards the more controversial aspects of the movement's aftermath. Also, "The bold types" (2020) series not yet entirely translated into Italian, infinitely more cool and unscrupulous progenitor "Sex and the City'.The film takes a broad stride back to the adamantine purity of women's friendships, with the merit of relaxing what is tense to the point of unbearable in relation to the protagonists' sometimes painful, sometimes colourless family histories.

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

The same applies to "Bombshell" (2019) starring Nicole Kidman, the true story of the maxi sex scandal that swept through the upper echelons of Fox in 2016. The narrative texture of the very recent and fashionable "Younger"Darren Star's American sitcom, starring the masterful Sutton Foster, Miriam Shor and Debbie Mazar, enlivened by the sparkling millennial Hillary Duff, this time analyses female friendship as a generational fact. Boomers, Millennials and Generation Z absorb the casual collision between the desire for self-determination of women of all ages, combining it with the existential urgency of not losing the ontological focus of oneself. 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. The four favourites of Sex and the city it took a long time to incubate and deepen - suspended from the first appearance of mobile phones and an almost exclusively professional use of e-mails - the post #MeToo. It is a confirmed rumour that HBO Max has given the go-ahead to film the reboot of the series. From the atmosphere of an early 1910s Manhattan, in which aesthetics was the mother of ethics, except for the granite friendship of the four historical friends whose relationship genesis has never been discussed (greater care is devoted to the events in the 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 hypertrophic sometimes wounded ego of the protagonists or worthy of a fair exchange. But above all, there is a great deal of curiosity as to whether the cult starting point of the mythologisation of female and feminist friendship will now be able to overcome the perfect and profound television epigones of recent years.

Ilaria Muggianu Scano

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