Author Topic: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams  (Read 4717 times)

Clownbaby

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Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #60 on: June 27, 2019, 08:43:39 AM »
I don't think it's any worse than nepotism, which never seems to bother the people who benefit. Most jobs in TV go to people the hirer has worked with before and likes - it's usually not a rigorous, merit-based-only process.

By the way, the recently released Mindy Kaling film Late Night deals with just this subject, and in that film she ends up being the best comedy writer ever, so there you go.

Even then though you've been picked on the basis of personality/being liked instead of for something physical and irrelevant that you had no control over - happening to be female

Not that I'm saying they'll only pick female writers because they're female and won't consider the talent of the writer but it just feels like an iffy, if well-meaning, way of solving a problem
« Last Edit: June 27, 2019, 08:55:43 AM by Clownbaby »

St_Eddie

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Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #61 on: June 27, 2019, 09:23:28 AM »
Even then though you've been picked on the basis of personality/being liked instead of for something physical and irrelevant that you had no control over - happening to be female

To be fair, nepotism can involve being chosen for something which you have no control over; being genetically related to a person in a position of power.


Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #62 on: June 27, 2019, 09:24:53 AM »
My take, for what very little its worth, is that now is probably one of the better times to be a female comedy writer in terms of exposure, but not necessarily in terms of being appreciated.  It's all a bit flash-in-the-pan, even if you reach the very top of the strata.  Networks, studios, production companies etc. are constantly on the lookout for female-written/-led comedy now, and they make a big fuss about it as well.  The problem is, as with the vast majority of all comedy written, a lot of it is utter shite.  My guess would be that fewer women, on average, go into comedy as a career than men do.  I think that's still the way it is, maybe that's changing.  But along with that, there will also be a lower quantity (not percentage) of female-written comedy that's any good.  It's not about the hit-ratio or inherent talent or aptitude of each gender, it's purely about numbers.

But there are active efforts to pick up female-written/-led comedy shows because, cynical as it may sound, it's good for marketing at the moment.  There's not a female-written comedy show I can think of where that hasn't been a significant part of the press angle.  My worry is that by actively aiming for artificial quotas like this, which are rarely predicated on a genuine concern for quality, it'll only encourage people to watch shite comedy and then blame its shiteness on the fact that it had female writers, especially if they're already that way inclined.  That's the issue I had with the incessant promotion of people like Amy Schumer and Chelsea Handler as sort of renegade female comedy icons - the quality was poor, and as such the very people you're ostensibly trying to sway grow even more certain in their beliefs that "women aren't funny" or whatever it is.  There are, of course, great female comedy minds out there, but they're generally not the sort who would be able to/want to take advantage of these quotas anyway.  The best things tend to come from someone beating the odds in one way or another, and I think the history of great female-written/-led comedy bears me out on that - most of it didn't come from initiatives such as these.

The other thing is ... this is ITV comedy, fucksake.  The most this initiative means is that there'll be more female names attached to terrible comedy shows.  I don't know if that'll help matters.  There are a lot of other things I could mention about how the climate and attitude towards breaking into the entertainment industry has changed in general, and how it does have some bearing here, but that's a broader topic.

icehaven

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Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #63 on: June 27, 2019, 09:48:20 AM »
There's an episode of Family Guy where Peter, Chris and Meg are trying to write a sitcom, and while Peter and Chris congratulate each other on every awful idea they come up with, anything Meg says is met with derision and criticism, with Peter and Chris having private meetings to audibly bitch about her, then eventually fire her. It's obviously driving at the general subject of how female writers are treated in writer's rooms, and for all I know might be a direct reference to a specific situation, possibly even something behind the scenes of FG (and maybe the Friends writer's room case) It's an atypically TV insider-ish theme for Family Guy to make such an extended joke out of, and some of the things said and the way Peter keeps peeping out of the meetings to see if Meg's still there or listening look like something drawn (ha!) from actual experiences. I've just always been curious to know exactly who it's a fuck you to.
This is it anyway;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lep6rZWWfMM

Blumf

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Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #64 on: June 27, 2019, 10:12:38 AM »
There's an episode of Family Guy where Peter, Chris and Meg are trying to write a sitcom,...

Pretty sure it's main target was an animated show called Quads:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Callahan's_Quads!

Don't know if there's any cross over between it and FG staff, MacFarlane dosen't turn up on the crew listing on IMDB.

St_Eddie

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Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #65 on: June 27, 2019, 10:14:03 AM »
...there are active efforts to pick up female-written/-led comedy shows because, cynical as it may sound, it's good for marketing at the moment.  There's not a female-written comedy show I can think of where that hasn't been a significant part of the press angle.

This is very true.  The exact same thing is happening in Hollywood right now.  There's an influx of movies starring STRONG FEMALE CHARACTERS, as the marketing department is all too keen to shout from the rooftops.  The studios are disingenuous and transparent in their agenda.  They couldn't give two figs about actual equality and representation.  They just want to appeal to the woke demographic and be seen to be doing the right thing within the watchful eye of the public.

The problem is that these STRONG FEMALE CHARACTERS are invariably cynically created woke mouthpieces, spouting insecure platitudes of feigned and contrived buzzwords, as gleaned from feminist message boards by a boardroom of cocaine-snorting-movie-mogul-fat-cats.  They're not actual three dimensional female characters, strong or otherwise.  Their entire character can be summarised as STRONG and FEMALE and they spend the entire movie telling other characters (usually oppressive men) that they are STRONG and FEMALE.  That's the extent of their character, as written.  They are hollow shells, purposefully constructed to play to the gallery of the extreme and militant left.  It's like an echo chamber for the smugly indignant.

I want diversity in film and TV.  I want equality.  I also want it to be done for the right reasons, in the interest of crafting great works of art, not because it gives the marketing department something to crow about; a way to try and persuade people to watch their movie because if they do, then they'll be supporting a good cause and making the world a better place to live in and not simply lining a movie studio's pockets with silver, whilst simultaneously providing them with a way to deflect valid criticism of their bad movie, by way of branding any and all critics as evil misogynists (looking at you, Sony Pictures, with your god awful Ghostbusters remake), in the hopes that people will eventually be too afraid to say that their bad movie is bad.  Too afraid to say that the Emperor is stark bollock naked and gleefully pissing in the audience's face, lest they too are branded as misogynistic.

On that note, and with no small amount of digression, this whole 'every writing team must have at least one woman present' mandate is so arbitrary.  It's going about things arse backwards.  It's not getting to the root of the problem.  It's like applying a plaster to a gushing open wound.  True equality is when we stop defining people by their gender, not dictating that a specific gender must be a part of any given writing team, regardless of whether the person in question is actually qualified or suited for that particular project or not.

I'm not sure what the answer is, in terms of attracting a greater gender diversity to film and TV but it sure as shit isn't forcing a square peg into a round hole.  The ideal would be an organic process of inclusion and diversity, not an enforced one.  They should look towards scouting for new talent of all races, genders and creeds, as opposed to shoving an arbitrary percentile into the pre-existing structure.  Then again, that would take a great deal of time and effort to achieve and it wouldn't be quite so easy to pump out a quick press release in an attempt to come across as a righteous and virtuous corporate entity.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2019, 11:21:37 AM by St_Eddie »

Clownbaby

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Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #66 on: June 27, 2019, 03:31:45 PM »
To be fair, nepotism can involve being chosen for something which you have no control over; being genetically related to a person in a position of power.

Aye nepotism isn't really the right word for "people who are picked because the employer has worked with them before and likes them"

Chollis

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Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #67 on: June 27, 2019, 03:33:29 PM »
my irrelevant gender

bit sexist that

thenoise

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Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #68 on: June 28, 2019, 08:25:37 AM »
Even then though you've been picked on the basis of personality/being liked instead of for something physical and irrelevant that you had no control over - happening to be female

Not that I'm saying they'll only pick female writers because they're female and won't consider the talent of the writer but it just feels like an iffy, if well-meaning, way of solving a problem

The implication is that they will hire almost entirely men anyway, due in no small part to prejudiced attitudes about how 'women aren't funny', so need a little encouragement to overcome this and consider the talents of female applicants.

People are hired for all kinds of reasons, most of them unconnected to the job at hand. That's why so many people are useless at their jobs.

But, yeah, as has been said, without a new investment in ITV comedy and a list of promising upcoming diverse comedy, it's just marketing bumf. Impresses the right people, riles up others, makes everyone take notice.

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #69 on: June 28, 2019, 09:57:21 AM »
Do you think people who work at that level of TV comedy recruitment have that prejudice? Blokes in flat topped pubs in Sunderland probably do, but i think people working for ITV care about making as much money for the station as possible. If there's a genius comedy writer who happens to be female in front of them, I doubt they'll turn her down out of prejudice.

Utter Shit

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Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #70 on: June 28, 2019, 10:03:32 AM »
If there's a genius comedy writer who happens to be female in front of them, I doubt they'll turn her down out of prejudice.

No, but they're less likely to recognise her genius in the first place.

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #71 on: June 28, 2019, 10:08:10 AM »
Quote
The problem is that these STRONG FEMALE CHARACTERS are invariably cynically created woke mouthpieces, spouting insecure platitudes of feigned and contrived buzzwords, as gleaned from feminist message boards by a boardroom of cocaine-snorting-movie-mogul-fat-cats.  They're not actual three dimensional female characters, strong or otherwise.  Their entire character can be summarised as STRONG and FEMALE and they spend the entire movie telling other characters (usually oppressive men) that they are STRONG and FEMALE.  That's the extent of their character, as written.  They are hollow shells, purposefully constructed to play to the gallery of the extreme and militant left.  It's like an echo chamber for the smugly indignant.

Is this true? It's very close to "PC gone mad" territory and doesn't really ring true. Maybe that one from the new Star Wars? But it's not like she, or the films, make a big thing out of her being female, although the legions of red-pilled fanboys certainly did. Doesn't apply to Ocean's 8 or Lady Ghostbusters either.

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #72 on: June 28, 2019, 10:19:04 AM »
I think in some ways we have to go through the awkward, obviously trying to be woke for profit phase to get out of the other end to true equality. In the same way you need a bit of the short term inequality of positive discrimination to overcome the history of sexism and patriarchy and get to actual equality, you also need that period of overly obvious cynical "representation" in order to get to a place of actual representation. It isn't ideal but the reality is that companies will attempt to exploit these things. And ultimately the good, genuinely progressive stuff will be remembered and the bad shit will be forgotten. And sometimes good stuff comes from cynical origins

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #73 on: June 28, 2019, 01:16:26 PM »
Do you think people who work at that level of TV comedy recruitment have that prejudice? Blokes in flat topped pubs in Sunderland probably do, but i think people working for ITV care about making as much money for the station as possible. If there's a genius comedy writer who happens to be female in front of them, I doubt they'll turn her down out of prejudice.

Yeah only proles are sexist, couldn't happen among the metropolitan elite.

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #74 on: June 28, 2019, 01:45:27 PM »
Yeah and bias always takes the form of open bigotry.

notjosh

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Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #75 on: June 28, 2019, 02:01:46 PM »
Do you think people who work at that level of TV comedy recruitment have that prejudice? Blokes in flat topped pubs in Sunderland probably do, but i think people working for ITV care about making as much money for the station as possible. If there's a genius comedy writer who happens to be female in front of them, I doubt they'll turn her down out of prejudice.

Why would anybody care about how much money their employer makes? Most people working in TV (and most industries I imagine) just want to get paid whilst doing what they enjoy and having a laugh with their colleagues along the way. So when they're putting a writing room together they will often start by thinking of which of their mates could do the job well and would be fun to sit in a room with (ie have loads of funny industry stories and gossip), instead of having to schedule a load of annoying interviews and make small-talk with strangers.

I definitely think there are still macho-ish TV execs who would assume that a women in a writing room would stifle the kind of loose talk and inappropriate jokes they would usually enjoy, and be constantly telling them that stuff is inappropriate. In many cases they wouldn't even get to the stage of meeting a brilliant female comedy writer in order to ignore her.

Also, if a show is heavily defined by the voice of its presenter, they often decide to fill the writing room with people of a similar type to themselves so that the writers will instantly 'get' their voice. I don't necessarily disagree with this approach - it depends on the show.

notjosh

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Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #76 on: June 28, 2019, 05:02:36 PM »
ITV's head of comedy has gone into more detail about her plans here:
https://www.comedy.co.uk/pro/inside_track/saskia_schuster_explains_itv_gender_policy/

Sounds pretty reasonable I think.

St_Eddie

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Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #77 on: June 28, 2019, 07:38:01 PM »
Is this true? It's very close to "PC gone mad" territory and doesn't really ring true. Maybe that one from the new Star Wars? But it's not like she, or the films, make a big thing out of her being female, although the legions of red-pilled fanboys certainly did. Doesn't apply to Ocean's 8 or Lady Ghostbusters either.


Here's the most recent example of what I'm talking about.



I can't stand it when writers write their characters as women.  What I mean by that, is when one of the character's key "personality traits" is defined as 'woman'.  I've always viewed Ellen Ripley in the Alien films as the gold standard of how to write for a female lead; that is to say that Ripley wasn't written as a female character.  None of the characters in the script for Alien were assigned genders and so all genders were considered when casting the film. In doing so, audiences were treated to a female protagonist who's written as a human being, as opposed to 'woman'.  The result? One of the, if not the greatest screen heroine in all of cinematic history; strong willed and prepared to take action when the going gets tough but also someone with a very humanistic philosophy and not once does the film draw attention to Ripley's gender.  She stands toe to toe with the men around her but is never dismissive to the opposite sex based upon their gender.  She commands respect by virtue of her strength of will alone.  Both women and men can find inspiration in Ellen Ripley.  Both women and men can look up to that character and aspire to be more like her in life.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, we have Batwoman.  Women in real life don't go around constantly thinking 'I'm a woman' and informing every man that they happen upon of this fact, as though it were a revelation. Not that you'd believe it, going by the trailer for Batwoman.  The audience is constantly reminded of the character's gender, to the point of absurdity (they even used a song with the lyrics 'I am a woman', for Christ's sake).  They even put the words 'The hero we need is here' on screen and then erase the second 'e' from 'here'.  Not only is this bad writing but it's actually harmful in the long run because it's defining people by their gender and in doing so, creating a division between the sexes. You cannot achieve unification through division.

Equally, pouring scorn upon one gender with lines such as "I'm not about to let a man take credit for a woman's work" is not conducive to bringing about the winds of change.  If a misogynistic man were to watch this trailer and hear that line, it's not going to make him reflect on his worldview, it's only going to inspire him to dig his heels even further into the sand out of defiance.  As is so often the case with woke entertainment, it exists as a form of masturbatory material for those who are already woke.  Those same people tell themselves that this show is changing the world.  Newsflash, people; the bigots aren't watching the show.

To come back to that line; "I'm not about to let a man take credit for a woman's work".  Imagine if you will, that the roles were reversed and a male protagonist stated "I'm not about to let a woman take credit for a man's work".  Doesn't sound great coming from the mouth of a hero, does it? So why is that kind of divisive writing given a free pass when it's a woman saying the line?  Historically, woman have been oppressed. I get that.  However, two wrongs don't make a right.  How is oppressing people because of their gender, whether they be male or female, a good thing?  Black people have also been historically oppressed and yet would we condone that a black person go out into the world and vocalise his disgust at every white person that he or she encounters?  No, because it would be advocating racism. Racism is racism, no matter the target. Just as sexism is sexism, no matter the target.  Batwoman isn't progressive, it's one step forward, two steps back. Alien is what a progressive portrayal of a woman looks like and is done in a way that very likely did actuality alter a few sexist men's opinions along the way because it didn't preach to them in a lecturous manner. That was all the way back in 1979. I lament how far we've fallen since then, in terms of credible and relatable heroines.

I desire to watch characters who I can relate to, regardless of gender.  I don't want to watch 'man' and 'woman'.  I want to watch characters who are human beings.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2019, 07:55:28 PM by St_Eddie »

Twed

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Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #78 on: June 28, 2019, 07:49:17 PM »
Sounds pretty reasonable I think.
Yep!

Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #79 on: June 28, 2019, 08:33:51 PM »
Why would anybody care about how much money their employer makes? Most people working in TV (and most industries I imagine) just want to get paid whilst doing what they enjoy and having a laugh with their colleagues along the way.

That's not really true.  Almost everyone involved in a TV show does care about it doing well (i.e. essentially, making money for the network etc.) because that's what ensures more seasons (i.e. more consistent work) and higher budgets for cast/crew/writers etc. (i.e. how much they make).  Even the researchers or PAs on any given show do tend to have a vested interest in the show doing well, because if it doesn't do well then that's a job they don't have next year.  If you're a writer, especially, having your name attached to a bunch of shows which didn't perform well is going to be toxic for your career prospects.  So yeah, while they don't necessarily care about how much their employer makes, they certainly do care about the show's success.

thenoise

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Re: ITV bans all-male comedy writing teams
« Reply #80 on: June 29, 2019, 09:00:45 AM »
Do you think people who work at that level of TV comedy recruitment have that prejudice? Blokes in flat topped pubs in Sunderland probably do, but i think people working for ITV care about making as much money for the station as possible. If there's a genius comedy writer who happens to be female in front of them, I doubt they'll turn her down out of prejudice.

I reckons female comedy 'genius' won't get turned down out of prejudice, for sure. But the mediocre female writers, the also-rans, the 'quite good' comedy writers? Sure, I think that prejudice might play a part. Especially if there is quite a blokey atmosphere and she has a comedy voice that is a bit different. The trouble is that most genius comedians started out being 'quite good', and learn their trade/work their way up.