Galentine’s Day 2015

Happy Galentine’s Day everyone! It’s time to celebrate all of the amazing women in our lives and that includes the fictional ladies of TV. I had so much fun writing my Galentine’s Day post a couple years ago that I couldn’t resist bringing it back this year. This list is made up of just a few of the incredible female characters currently on the air right now and I know you all have plenty more that also deserve some love. So head over to the comments and lets talk about our favorite women!

Jane/Xo/Alba Villanueva (Jane the Virgin) This whole show is one that celebrates women. The showrunner is a woman, as are many of the directors and writers. If today is all about celebrating women and what they can do for each other, the cast and crew of Jane the Virgin deserve a shoutout. These three women, on their own or in any combination, are among my favorite on TV right now. I can admire Jane’s optimism and desire to work hard, Xo’s persistence in following her dreams and selflessness when it comes to Jane, and Alba’s unwavering dedication and support of her family. Jane may be the character I relate to the most, but she wouldn’t be who she is without the influence of her mom and abuela. These women support each other, no matter what, and it’s been beautiful to watch.

Bow Johnson (Black-ish) It’s never easy to be the fictional character in a relationship with another character who has a big personality. If not played or written right, this sort of character could easily fade into the background but I’m so glad that Bow hasn’t. Yes, she may end up reacting a lot to something Dre is doing (though that can often work to the show’s advantage, like her attempted prank on Dre with the kids) but occasionally she’ll get her own rant that will just crack me up and remind me of how much I adore her. She’s talented in her own right and is proud of her successes as a doctor. She’s not afraid to say, that yes, she is in fact pretty great if no one else is going to step up and recognize her and that’s a trait I really admire.

Amy Santiago/Rosa Diaz/Gina Linetti (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) I’ve spent the past few days trying to choose just one of these wonderful ladies for this list but I haven’t succeeded so I’m picking them all. Each has found their place in the world and they are very comfortable in it. Amy has found security in rules and organization. They help her make sense of things and she’s very relatable to me in that aspect. Rosa finds security in her tough exterior. It’s partly emotional protection for her and partly her innate tendency to tell it like it is and she can have trouble when others don’t do the same. Like so many of the other women who present a prickly exterior to the world, she does care and she’ll always have your back. She’s not going to pretend she likes you when she doesn’t but if she likes you, she’ll be a loyal friend for life. Gina just exists on her own plane of existence. Like Rosa, she’ll tell you exactly what she’s thinking (which is something about herself more often than not). She’s self-absorbed and a bit intense for a lot of people, but there is something so amazing about the fact that she’s as likeable as she is. What makes these three women great is that they exist simultaneously on the same show. It’s not a show with a token woman with the same basic strengths and weaknesses as the characters on other shows. All are different and all are celebrated for who they are. They are never pitted against each other and are allowed to simply be.

Linda Belcher (Bob’s Burgers) I know that Tina and Louise are internet favorites but Linda has always been my favorite of the Belcher women. She may get stuck on crazy ideas and take them too far (like every other member of the family) but when it comes down to it, she’s an enthusiastic and passionate woman who loves her husband and children. She’ll fight for them and be their champion when others doubt them because she accepts them just as they are.

Elizabeth Jennings (The Americans) Elizabeth Jennings is one of the most fascinating women on TV right now. She is dedicated to her Mother Russia and is a talented and accomplished spy. She is able to shut away her emotions and focus on the job at hand and excel at it. She had no need for attachments because they got in the way and made the job, which was more important than anything, that much harder. She had a husband and kids who she didn’t hate, but wouldn’t allow herself to be close to. Then she fell in love with her husband. It’s made her job that much harder as now she has conflicting loyalties but the way she wrestles with the conflicts have been incredible to watch. She’s fighting against every instinct she’s learned and opening herself up, which has given her a lot of happiness but puts her in a vulnerable, unfamiliar position that she’s not always sure she’s comfortable with. But she’s trying and she’s getting hurt and she’s still trying, all while trying to be the same spy she was before. Keri Russell is doing some of the best work on TV right now with this character and it’s well worth your time to watch.

Annaliese Keating (How To Get Away with Murder) Annaliese is a lot of things that women “shouldn’t” be. The view of herself that she presents to the world is cold, manipulative, and unapologetically sexual. She looks out for herself first and has no problem using people to get what she needs from them. I would argue that her interior is much richer than the image she presents but she keeps that so locked away that the only way it is able to be expressed is in the drunken stupor she kept herself in to avoid the world during the holidays. She cares and is capable of feeling betrayed but that emotional side of her is so tightly controlled and it makes her fascinating to watch, thanks to the tremendous talents of Viola Davis. She makes you see why Bonnie, Frank, and the students are drawn to her and need to be in her presence.

April Ludgate-Dwyers (Parks and Recreation) Donna accurately summed up April in “Donna and Joe”. April may act tough and apathetic but she is a softie who deeply loves her friends at her core. She is Parks and Recreation’s answer to Toby Ziegler and so naturally, I adore her. In this final season, her search to find a job that will be personally fulfilling to her (and not one she just stumbled into by chance) has really resonated with me. It’s scary realizing that you may not actually like your job and it’s even scarier to figure out what it is you might actually like to do, especially if it means leaving the people you’ve grown to care about.

Mindy Lahiri (The Mindy Project) Mindy has done so much growing in the past season and it’s been incredible to watch. For a woman who was once so intent on finding her perfect rom-com ending, it wasn’t until recently that she realized that she could have more. She has her guy and they got together on top of the Empire State Building and it was a start to a relationship (almost) out of a rom-com. But now she sees that she can have a fulfilling professional life as well and still have a boyfriend. She can be exactly herself and she’ll be accepted for it. Danny’s acceptance and recognition of who she is has helped her embrace that in herself and not continue to change herself to suit her current boyfriend’s desires. She’s finally seen that she wants Danny in her life, but doesn’t need him. She wants to open a fertility clinic and is willing to move to San Francisco (potentially sacrificing her relationship) to do so. Now that she’s pregnant, I can only imagine that more growth is in the future as she figures out how and if she wants to be a mother.

Sarah/Cosima/Helena/Allison/Rachel (Orphan Black)These women may look alike, but the similarities stop there. They are clones but they’re also their own person, which a full and unique history and personality. These women were created in a lab in someone else’s experiment but they’ve (mostly) chosen to be more and fight for their autonomy. With the exception of Rachel, who has always been the most informed of her status as a clone and therefore operates under a slightly different reality, they have become a family as they figure out why they exist and what to do about the threats to them, both internal and external. They are there for each other and fight for each other in the way each deems best. It is a wonderful collection of women, no matter which you feel yourself most drawn to, and they demonstrate the importance of surrounding yourself with the family you chose and embracing what makes you and those around you unique.

Nicky Nichols (Orange is the New Black) If for whatever reason you wind up in jail (or even if you don’t), everyone could use a friend like Nicky. She’s blunt and definitely won’t sugarcoat things to make them sound pretty but she’ll have your back and recognize that what makes you crazy also makes you pretty special. She’s not perfect but when she betrays your trust, she’ll accept the consequences and fight to make things right again.

Who are some of the other female characters on TV you think we should be celebrating?

6 thoughts on “Galentine’s Day 2015

  1. I’m still in the process of catching up on Jane the Virgin, but I can already tell those three ladies are going to be some of my favorite female characters of all time. I, too, feel like I relate most to Jane, but while they’re all great on their own, the relationship between the three of them is part of what makes the show so fulfilling to me as a viewer.

    Brooklyn Nine-Nine is another show I want to eventually catch up on, but even just in the few episodes I’ve seen I have loved the ladies quite a bit. I am looking forward to catching up and seeing more of their shenanigans and their awesome personalities continue to be fleshed out and grow.

    Between you and Katie, The Americans has been pushed way up my to-watch list! If only it was on Netflix, I probably would’ve already started it and been binge-watching to catch up lol.

    Viola Davis is hitting it out of the park with Annalise Keating, I am constantly in awe of the complexity of her character and how well Davis acts in that role. I’ve found that especially in this part of the season post-hiatus Annalise is becoming one of my favorite characters simply because she is so incredibly complex and how they’re showing all the different sides to her character now that she’s not only being the clever, quick-witted, fierce woman we’ve seen since day one but also now she has her grief, her vulnerability, etc. I can’t wait for the last few episodes this season!

    All the rest of the ladies on your list are ones I want to know better (or get to know, period, for the shows I haven’t started yet), and I am so glad we have these shows with great female characters. If only I had more hours in the day and better organizational skills, then perhaps I could get caught up on all these amazing shows that I want to have seen already! :p

    1. Oh, and I forgot to talk about a few female characters I wanted to celebrate!

      Kate Beckett will always be on my “ladies to celebrate” list, and other than Castle making me very anxious with this 3XK storyline right now, I am loving seeing the way married life is working out for Beckett and Castle, and how they’re essentially the same people but they just get to do married-couple things now 😉

      I also would love to put a spotlight on Joan Watson, because I feel like Elementary gets overlooked quite often when people are surveying the TV landscape, and Joan Watson is so amazing that I want everyone to know about her. She’s smart, she won’t take anyone’s crap, has lots of empathy for the people she interacts with, and is truly a partner for Sherlock (not just a follower). Generally I love the way this show’s writers write female characters, and I think Kitty is a testament to that seeing as when she was first introduced I was very wary of how that was all going to work, and they made me love her anyway. (And the way they handled her backstory made me appreciate their writing even more.)

      For new characters who I don’t know quite as much about because their shows only started this past TV season, Peggy Carter from Agent Carter, Jo from Forever, and Isabella from Galavant are all ones I love.

      1. Elementary is on my list of things to catch up with over the summer mostly because I know you’ve really been enjoying this season. I disliked the Mycroft story at the end of last season so much that I didn’t have the patience to stick with it when I wasn’t sure Kitty was going to be a good addition. I’m really glad this season has been good because I love Joan a lot.

    2. I’m so happy that you’re loving the awesomeness that is the Villanueva women on Jane the Virgin. I want so many more of these types of relationships featured on TV because they really are something special.

      I’m also very excited for you to start watching The Americans and join in the love.

      1. Considering that Gilmore Girls was my first true TV love, I’m not surprised Jane’s family dynamic is so appealing to me. The bond between Jane and Xio is very similar to the one Lorelai and Rory share so I was bound to love them 😉

  2. Definitely catch up on Elementary this summer! I didn’t like the Mycroft storyline last season at all either, and I always felt the relationship between he and Joan was a little weird. I didn’t feel like they had all that much chemistry, and I didn’t like the way Mycroft was constantly in flux for the audience in terms of if he was secretly sort of evil or not.

    I think the writers sort of floundered in Season 2 a bit in trying to figure out where to take the show, and in my opinion this season has been better. I won’t spoil you, but I did grow to love Kitty after a few episodes, and the way they handled her character and her introduction into the dynamic in terms of the way she interacted with Joan made me appreciate the writers even more. They’re just so subtly great (subtle as in not super-dramatic) at writing female characters with agency and respect and I love it.

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