“I’m not trying to be Tolstoy”: Women’s Authorship in Selected Television Series

Avant, Vol. XII, No. 3, https://doi.org/10.26913/avant.2021.03.05
published under license CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

Nelly Strehlau orcid-id
Department of Anglophone Literature, Culture and Comparative Studies
Institute of Literary Studies, Faculty of Humanities
Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń

Received 23 October 2021; accepted 21 December 2021; published Online First 27 December 2021.
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Abstract: Authorship in television series is a complicated and self-contradictory notion, particularly given the collaborative nature of such texts. At the same time, the growing recognition of television as a significant art form has entailed the search for an artist to whom it can be attributed, and auteur theory has, in recent decades, become increasingly prominent in television criticism. Notably, the rank of auteur, and the prestige it confers, has been applied predominantly to men. The present article attempts to consider this context while analysing three acclaimed television series depicting women writers, namely Sex and the City, Girls and I May Destroy You, noting their thematic similarities, including self-referentiality and consistent preoccupation with autobiographical writing and its ethical dimension. In addition, the article addresses the ways in which the three series interpret and deconstruct the figure of the woman artist.

Keywords: auteur theory; auteurial television; television about women writers; autobio-graphy; autofiction


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Television series (in a chronological order)

Sex and the City. (1998-2004). D. Star, M. P. King, J. P. Melfi, J. Bicks, S. J. Parker and C. Chupack (Executive producers). Darren Star Productions, and HBO Entertainment. First broadcast on HBO.
30 Rock. (2006-2013). L. Michaels, T. Fey, M. Klein, D. Miner, J. Alfano, R. Carlock, J. Richmond, J. Riggi and J. Burditt (Executive producers). Broadway Video, Little Stranger, Inc., and Universal Television. First broadcast on NBC.
Girls. (2012-2017). L. Dunham, J. Apatow, J. Konner, I. S. Landress and B .E. Kaplan (Executive producers). Apatow Productions, I Am Jenni Konner Productions, and HBO Entertainment. First broadcast on HBO.
Transparent. (2014-2019). J. Soloway and A. Sperling (Executive producers). Topple, Picrow, and Amazon Studios. First available on Amazon Prime Video.
Jane the Virgin. (2014-2019). S. J. Urman, B. Silverman, G. Pearl, J. Granier, B. Silberling, and D.S. Rosenthal (Executive producers). Poppy Productions, RCTV International, Electus, Warner Bros. Television, and CBS Television Studios. First broadcast on The CW.
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. (2016). A. Sherman-Palladino and D. Palladino (Executive producers). Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions, and Warner Bros. Television. First available on Netflix.
I Love Dick. (2016-2017). S. Gubbins and J. Soloway (Creators). Topple, Picrow, and Amazon Studios. First available on Amazon Prime Video.
Better Things. (2016-2022). P. Adlon, M. B. Breard, D. Becky, L. C.K. (Executive producers). Pig Newton, Slam Book, Inc., 3 Arts Entertainment, FXP. First broadcast on FX.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. (2017-present). A. Sherman-Palladino and D. Palladino (Executive producers). Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions, Picrow, and Amazon Studios. First available on Amazon Prime Video.
I May Destroy You. (2020). M. Coel, C. Clarke, R. Troni, S. Miller, J. McLellan (Executive producers). Various Artists Limited and FALKNA Productions. First broadcast on BBC One and HBO.

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