Fall television’s stereotypes return

David Wiens / Washburn Review

Let’s be honest—network television does not have a great track record when it comes to comedy and feminism. Yes, they have been doing better at avoiding both masculine and feminine stereotypes, but the lineup of new comedies this fall seem to be attempting to undo all of that in one fell swoop.

ABC is not only dragging Tim Allen out of what I can only assume was some sort of punishment for making eight seasons of “Home Improvement” to give him what seems to be an even more regressive show called “Last Man Standing,” but is supplementing it with a show about three guys rediscovering their masculinity called “Man Up.” My only hope is that these programs reenforce masculine stereotypes so much that male viewers take offense and demand the shows be taken off the air.

CBS, while simultaneously trying to make “How I Met Your Mother,” the only justification for the network’s existence and cramming as many police-procedural spin-offs into primetime as they can, tacked on a show called “How to be a Gentleman,” which is about a sissie-boy who cares about manners and respecting women rediscovering how to hit people and sleep with women for the sake of his ego.

The CW … I apologize, it is difficult to even write about that network without bursting into laughter.

Fox appeared to be making at least a half-hearted attempt to change things up with “New Girl,” or so it seemed when I read several articles about it. Then, foolishly, I went and actually watched the pilot in which Jess, played by Zooey Deschanel, spent most of the episode sobbing over her recent breakup and watching “Dirty Dancing,” because nothing says ‘fresh take’ like a woman crying and her guy friends telling her she just needs to get laid.

NBC, as usual, has nothing to offer anymore; I mean, if they’re desperate enough to keep “The Office” on the air in spite of the fact that it barely had enough momentum for two seasons and the main character bailed, they clearly cannot have anything good to bring to the table this fall. I held out some hope for “Whitney,” until I heard “… taped in front of a live, studio-audience …” which really means “a lot of predictable jokes and gags with minimal flashbacks or cutaways.”