Tonight, a few key members of the writing staff for “New Girl” came to talk to cinema students as a part of the Comedy@SCA program at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. The panel included: Liz Meriwether (Creator and Executive Producer), Co-Showrunners/Writers/Executive Producers Brett Baer and Dave Finkel, and Writer/Co-Producers Nina Pedrad and Rebecca Addelman.
I have only seen a few episodes of the series, but fortunately they screened one of the most recent episodes before discussing the show, and it was quite funny.
During the discussion, they talked about the writing process, what the writer’s room was like, how the characters and plot developed, etc. When it came time for the students to ask question, one female asked about women in the writer’s room. As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, this question comes up a lot when there are female guests talking about a project.
“New Girl” is one of the few shows that has a very well-balanced gender ratio in the writer’s room. This is interesting being that the show (from what I have heard of) is most popular with female audiences and has a female protagonist. The reason why this intrigued me was because one of the writers was talking about how shows like “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” have a mainly male writer’s room, but are looking for female writers who fit the style, but they struggle. Why is it that a show more popular for women can have a better balanced writer’s room than a show that has a main male cast and point of view? I personally cannot answer that question, but it is an interesting one to me because different perspective in comedy is a good thing and can often lead to funny results.
Something that Liz Meriwether (the creator of the show) pointed out is that she has seen that there is a good balance of female and male writers, but when it comes to directors, females are almost definitely in the minority, especially in television. This is a big other “why” that I can’t quite figure out.
I enjoyed the panel’s response to this common question mostly because they did not blow it out of proportion. After discussing their answers to the question for a while, they ended really with saying that female writers are not staying a minority and they see much more equality for females in the writer’s room. This spoke as promising to me because as I have mentioned in other blog posts about female writers in particular, hopefully one day questions about gender do not have to take away from questions about process, content, talent, skill, etc.