Alicia Silverstone’s dramedy, American Woman, has been picked up by TV Land. The show is set in the ‘70s and is based on executive producer Kyle Richards upbringing. Alicia is the center of the show playing a single mother, and Mena Survari and Jennifer Bartels playher best friends. So it’s a very female-centric show, which is great. However, it is far from the norm, something about which Alicia seems unaware. Alicia and Mena sat down with Variety to promote the new show. As you probably know, Wonder Woman is the largest grossing live-action film from a female director, not to mention a female-led superhero movie and it’s also top-grossing domestic film for DCEU. When the subject of Wonder Woman came up, Alicia gave an entitled and bizarre answer which was hard to interpret. Alicia said she doesn’t get the hype about Wonder Woman because there have been so many female led movies and TV shows like Bridesmaids, Mean Girls, The Good Wife, Rough Night and, of course, Clueless. So, so many – I am breathless from having listed them all. And yet, she frames her answer around the fact that her show deals with how unfairly women have been treated and how hard they have had to fight, which seems… contradictory?
In case you couldn’t watch, I’ve pulled a few quotes – thanks to Jezebel for transcribing them. Alicia started by saying:
Before Wonder Woman—Wonder Woman? Before Wonder Woman there have been many movies with female leads, so I get a little confused about the conver—I understand that we are not in a place—this is what the show [American Woman] is about.
It really bugged me that Alicia had to “verify” the name for Wonder Woman as if she had never heard of it before. She’s making a point but I don’t get it. And her segue from “not getting” the hype about Wonder Woman to her show being about how far behind women are doesn’t work. The reason WW’s success is such a victory is because of the long and hard road women have forged to get her there. Those two ideas are directly connected in my mind.
But she stumbles further when she tries to cite her examples and can’t remember the names of the movies she is using as evidence:
We have made strides of course, because I think about, what about all those wonderful comedians who are females who have had massive hits? There’s Bridesmaids. There’s a movie out right now… with tons of girls? I’m sure it’s killing it, right?
Rough Night opened two weeks ago and has only made $16M so no, it’s not “killing it.” And the movies she is citing are comedies. I don’t disparage their success – huzzah to female comedies! Again, WW is opening doors for female led superheroes. That’s huge. I also feel like Alicia has it in for Wonder Woman specifically. She “forgets” the name and then she said she didn’t want her kids to experience all the stimulating effects and loud noise. She goes on to say, “But that’s what audiences want, so it’s a tricky thing. Sometimes it’s just the quieter more interesting things sometimes get seen because they touch someone enough.” It almost sounds personal, doesn’t it?
But the part I absolutely cannot explain is that after all of this shoulder-shrugging about Wonder Woman, Alicia talked about Clueless almost not being made because – wait for it – nobody would be interested in watching a girl.
“One studio said no to it because they didn’t think anybody was interested in watching a movie about a young girl. Those people now do kick themselves that they were not a part of that film, but the movie was set up at a studio—and we were all set to go—and they were like ‘We just don’t think anyone is going to care.’”
I do think Alicia believes what she is saying and that makes me sad. I like Alicia but I can’t defend this. The only thing she outright acknowledged was pay disparity and that’s because it affects her. There are more female shows and movies than there were but that are not “so many.” And they are still getting rejected because studios “just don’t think anyone is going to care.” She needs to pull her head out of the sand.
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