HBO declares “Women’s Studies” major

The cable channel is developing a comedy series about ... a feminist professor?

Topics: Broadsheet, Love and Sex,

Here’s one to file under “TV shows we never saw coming”: Reuters is reporting that HBO and “Daily Show”/”Colbert Report” executive producer Ben Karlin is developing a new comedy series called “Women’s Studies.” Julie White will likely star as “a onetime famous author who, after a tumultuous period as a feminist It Girl, is now a professor at a small liberal arts college in the Northeast.” White is also on board as a producer.



Well, that got our attention. Who knows if the show will ever air, but there’s good reasons to be excited about the project. Karlin has a stellar Comedy Central track record, and it’s nice to see that 47-year-old White might finally get her big TV break. Best known for a supporting role on the ’90s sitcom “Grace Under Fire,”  she came into her own, post-millennium, as “Six Feet Under’s” diabolical Mitzi Dalton-Huntley and in the Broadway play “The Little Dog Laughed,” for which she won a Tony. The show will be written by acclaimed playwright and novelist Theresa Rebeck, who has also written for “NYPD Blue.” 

And, let’s face it: Academia (and, yes, that includes women’s studies), with its departmental pettiness and Ivory Tower elitism, is ripe for some good-natured ribbing. Can you just see it now? Of course, we’ll have to have the frat guy who signs up for a women’s studies course to meet chicks. And let’s not leave out the T.A. who speaks Judith Butler as a first language. Is an episode that pits the sex-positives against the sex-negatives too much to hope for?

Judy Berman is a writer and editor in Brooklyn. She is a regular contributor to Salon's Broadsheet.

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