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?