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January 30, 2013

Slate: How Tina Fey changed TV

(Continued)

Even though more opportunities for women now exist, TV comedy, like TV in general, still remains an unquestionably male-dominated field. "Modern Family" has been the Emmy-anointed Best Comedy on television for three years running, but only one of the 12 producers credited with last year's victory is a woman. Fewer than half of the members of the writing staff of "The Big Bang Theory" are Pennys as opposed to Sheldons. According to IMDB, in the 20-plus years that "The Simpsons" has been on the air, only seven of its 71 episode-writing credits belong to women. Even the "30 Rock" writing staff skews male but, to its credit, just barely: According to NBC, five of its 12 current writers are women.

It may be too early to determine what the lasting legacy of Liz Lemon is, especially since it's not quite clear, prefinale, how to interpret what appears to be Liz's decision to be a stay-at-home mom to her newly adopted twins, Terry and Janet (aka Lil Tracy and Lil Jenna) — a decision that will undoubtedly start a whole new round of Lemonalysis in the blogosphere. But these words written by Fey herself in the aforementioned Bossypants sound at least partly right to me:

My unsolicited advice to women in the workplace is this. When faced with sexism or ageism or lookism or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question: "Is this person in between me and what I want to do?" If the answer is no, forget it and move on . . . don't waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions. Go "Over! Under! Through!" and opinions will change organically when you're the boss. Or they won't. Who cares? Do your thing and don't care if they like it.

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Jen Chaney, formerly the @Celebritology blogger for The @WashingtonPost, is the current Downton Abbey recapper for @Vulture and a professional pop culture junkie. Follow her @ChaneyJ.

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