TV is excellent except for one thing


Lena Dunham, creator and star of the HBO TV series, "Girls." (Ali Paige Goldstein/AP)

Series television, especially, has maintained high standards. Not only has content gotten edgier and more granular over my lifetime, but plots are infinitely more entertaining since the days when I waited all week for ”Bewitched” and “I Dream of Jeannie.”

In both comedy and drama, we are happily in an era of auteur show-runners who deliver mature hour-long dramas that continue to intrigue and surprise, such as “Treme,” “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad,” or mold-breaking half-hour sitcoms, such as “Modern Family,” and classic variety humor, such as “Saturday Night Live.”   Even more heartening, for those last holdouts who still prefer writing to reality, young innovators like Lena Dunham continue to showcase boundary-pushing original twists. 

Despite that discredited rumor that went around Hollywood a few years back that women aren’t funny, my gender has taken great strides in the medium that Lucille Ball helped pioneer.

Out of the six nominees this year for best comedy, casts of three of them — “Girls,” “30 Rock,” and ”Veep” — are led by women — Dunham, Tina Fey and Julia Louis-Dreyfus  — who each are also nominated in the category of outstanding lead comedy actress.

And out of the five nominees for best comedy writer, two women are nominated: Amy Poehler for Parks & Recreation and (again) Dunham.  (The seemingly limitless Dunham also broke into the male-dominated club for comedy directors).  


On “Modern Family,” Mitch and Cam try to adopt another child. Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Sofia Vergara. (Peter "Hopper" Stone/ABC)

excellence find their way to an increasing number of deserving women. 


Michael J. Fox, actor and Parkinson's activist for The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research with Anne Wojcicki, chief executive officer of 23andMe Inc. The two organizations are working closely together to research and better understand the causes of Parkinson's disease so new and improved treatments can be developed. (Mark Tuschman/VIA BLOOMBERG)

I’m glad to see actors portraying the challenges of disabilities on prime-time programs. Peter Dinklage, who was born with achondroplasia, got a supporting actor nod for “Game of Thrones,” and it thrilled me to see Michael J. Fox — who suffers from Parkinson’s disease — get 2 Emmy nods for guest parts.  Fox plays himself in “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and a sly opposing-counsel opposite Julianna Margulies in ‘The Good Wife’.

I also love the anti-ageism message I get when 90-year-old Betty White hosts her own reality show. 


Betty White poses with Uggie the dog from the film 'The Artist' as she arrives for her Friars Club Roast in New York, Wednesday, May 16, 2012. (Charles Sykes/AP)

Despite advocacy efforts to change the quotient, among the several hundred artists and producers nominated for the 64th annual Emmy Awards, only a handful are people of color. Surely the networks and cable TV executives who found all those talented producers can do better than that?

Nominee Giancarlo Esposito shone in his supporting part of drug kingpin Gustavo Fring in “Breaking Bad.”

Two enormously talented black thespians are also nominated for outstanding leads: Don Cheadle plays a business consultant in Showtime’s “House of Lies.


At the premiere of "House of Lies," Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell.

Loretta Devine was divine as an Alzheimer patient on Grey’s Anatomy and magical Maya Rudolph got a nod for a guest turn at her former weekend gig at SNL.

Other non-white performers nominated are Panjabi, whose Kalinda’s heritage is from Southeast Asia, and Korean American Margaret Cho was picked for her guest star role as Kim Jong-Il on “30 Rock.”    

Isn't it finally time for Hollywood to cast more talented minority actors on our TV sets?


Bonnie Goldstein is on Twitter @KickedByAnAngel.

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