DID YOU READ

The Twenty-Five Best TV Roles For Women

The Twenty-Five Best TV Roles For Women (photo)

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Picking the 25 best television roles for women wasn’t easy. Television has been around for long enough that women have played thousands of characters ranging from presidents to gods, mothers to strippers, aliens to stripper aliens and pretty much everything in between. In devising this list, we wanted to choose women we admired, or who were pioneers (not literally, sorry Ma Ingalls), or had stories that stuck with you for years. The female characters who ended up on the list come from the Upper East Side, California, Baltimore, distant futures, and other worlds. These women are strong, sassy, determined, ambitious. They were trailblazers for women both on television and off. They tackled hot-button issues head on and changed the course of national political conversations by virtue of plot lines on their shows. These women range from savvy to devilish to forthright and true. They were career women, mothers, daughters, grandmothers, leaders, cheerleaders, and some of them were just having more fun than anyone else in the room. They are the women we would like to be, or the women we would just like to get a drink with sometime, and, in some cases, the women we wouldn’t want to be caught with alone in a room. In short, these are the 25 best characters played by women on television:

25. Jaime Sommers from “The Bionic Woman”
Played by Lindsay Wagner, the Bionic Woman was crafted by the same team who brought us Steve Austin a.k.a. “The Six Million Dollar Man”. Austin begged his boss to save his critically-injured girlfriend after she was hurt in a skydiving accident immediately after their engagement. The result was a woman stronger, faster, and with better hearing than almost anyone on earth. The cost? Amnesia and a job as an agent for a branch of the CIA. She and her bionic dog, Maximillion, fought crime, including the FemBots, and saved the world over and over again.

24. Captain Kathryn Janeway on “Star Trek: Voyager”
Played by Kate Mulgrew, Captain Janeway was the first woman to helm a Star Trek series and she did it with skill and grace. (Think less Kirk, more Jean-Luc Picard.) As captain of the Starfleet starship USS Voyager, Janeway faced life or death decisions almost daily and faced down such adversaries as The Borg and the Q Continuum with fearless resilience. She was so good at her job that she eventually rose to the rank of Admiral in the film, “Star Trek: Nemesis.”

23. Blair Waldorf from “Gossip Girl”
Played by Leighton Meester, Blair is the Upper East Side’s resident Queen Bee. She’s a schemer, a dreamer, and always knows everyone’s business. No one would ever mistake her for nice, but everyone wants to be her friend. She is an unapologetic fashion plate with a big brain under all that shiny hair. She has no tolerance for anyone not up to her standards, which is most of the world.

22. Felicia “Snoop” Pearson from “The Wire”
Played by a woman of the same name, Snoop was an enforcer for Marlo Stanfield’s drug ring. The only girl in the crew, Snoop was fearsome as a street tough soldier with no fear of getting her hands dirty. Horror master Stephen King called her character “perhaps the most terrifying female villain to ever appear in a television series.”

21. Patsy Stone from “Absolutely Fabulous”
Played by Joanna Lumley, Patsy was always having more fun than anyone else. She claimed to have blocked out everything before 1968, but her life since then was filled with modeling jobs, time spent as a Bond girl, and harassing Saffron, her best friend Edina’s dour daughter. Adamantly immature, firmly alcoholic, and devastatingly fashion forward and fad obsessed, Patsy is no role model, but you definitely want her at your party. Propped against a wall perhaps. Word is that new episodes of the show are in production, which is ab fab, because the more Patsy, the better.

20. Angela Chase from “My So-Called Life”
Played by Claire Danes, Angela was very much a regular high school girl. As she entered adolescence, she struggled to find her own identity, leaving her old best friend for new ones and pulling away from her parents as she took tentative steps toward adulthood. Of course, there was a boy, Jordan Catalano, who Angela desperately wanted to notice her. The emotional ups and downs of the slow crawl to adulthood were narrated by Angela, which created one of the most painfully emotionally honest portrayals of adolescence ever.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.