“Two and a Half Men’s” latest sexist dis

The co-creator of fart-joke staple "Two and a Half Men" is tired of all the punch lines about female anatomy on TV

Topics: Two and a Half Men, Sitcoms,

"Two and a Half Men's" latest sexist disLee Aronsohn

Lee Aronsohn is sorry he said he was tired of your vaginas. As you were, ladies.

On Monday, the co-creator of “Two and a Half Men” issued a now-standard Twitter mea culpa, explaining that “it was a stupid joke. I’m sorry.” His offense? Kvetching on Sunday to the Hollywood Reporter, “Enough, ladies. I get it. You have periods … We are approaching peak vagina on television, the point of labia saturation.” Labia saturation: no longer just a weird side effect from antidepressants.

It has indeed been a banner year for vaginas on television, with one-liners about the holy of holies turning up all over the place — including on saucy, female-driven comedies like “Whitney” and “Two Broke Girls.” The truth is that few of these jokes are legitimately funny. They’re more often deployed to shock, and thereby make lame routines notable. Surely Aronsohn isn’t the only one feeling a little exhausted by the V-word.

But a guy who admits “we do far too many fart jokes on ‘Two and a Half Men’” is not one to go throwing stones at the glass house of body function humor. There’s an underlying, unmistakable anger to Aronsohn’s words, coming as they do from a man who last year snarled at the Toronto Screenwriting Conference, “What makes men damaged? Sorry, it’s women. I never got my heart broken by a man.”

Unfortunately for Aronsohn, a whole lot of uppity broads are totally on the rag this week, and as word of his Hollywood Reporter rant made the rounds, they just couldn’t help expressing their crankiness. On Monday, writer Jen Kirkman issued a menstrual “fatwah” on Aronsohn, deploying a series of period anecdotes and lamenting, “Just looked out my window and vaginas are storming the streets with sitcom ideas!” And actress Martha Plimpton admonished, “Um, Lee, women are 51 percent of the population & a coveted demographic for advertisers. What are you thinking?” She wisely added that his version of “peak vagina” amounts to a mere “25 percent of all writers, producers, creators, DPs, editors & directors in television.” She joked, “3 women on television is more than enough. I say we bring it down to 2. One can be black if she wants.”



Initially Aronsohn, no doubt feeling defensive and “damaged” by all the unladylike hostility, replied on Twitter, “Women, please look up ‘irony.” Well, I did – and there was a picture of one of the creators of “Two and a Half Men” giving advice on comedy. What does it mean?

Aronsohn has since deleted his snarky tweet and, after issuing the excuse that he was simply making a “stupid joke,” has been laying low.

It’s a depressing reality of contemporary network television that too many sitcoms rely on easy shock-value words and ostensibly naughty behavior instead of crafting believable characters and employing clever writing. That’s a crime that both male- and female-based comedies are guilty of.

But Aronsohn wasn’t issuing a plea for higher standards. Instead, he came off as a squeamish boy, irked at the notion that estrogen is seeping into the man cave of his prime time. He was arrogant and dismissive, and his implication that jokes about Ashton Kutcher’s penis are somehow inherently superior to those about Kat Dennings’ vagina is utter sexist nonsense. But thanks for the apology anyway, Aronsohn. And if it’s any consolation, we’re pretty sick of your hole too.

Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and the author of "Gimme Shelter: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream." Follow her on Twitter: @embeedub.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 14
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Pilot"

    One of our first exposures to uncomfortable “Girls” sex comes early, in the pilot episode, when Hannah and Adam “get feisty” (a phrase Hannah hates) on the couch. The pair is about to go at it doggy-style when Adam nearly inserts his penis in “the wrong hole,” and after Hannah corrects him, she awkwardly explains her lack of desire to have anal sex in too many words. “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” Adam says, thrusting. And so the romance begins.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Elijah, "It's About Time"

    In an act of “betrayal” that messes up each of their relationships with Hannah, Marnie and Elijah open Season 2 with some more couch sex, which is almost unbearable to watch. Elijah, who is trying to explore the “hetero side” of his bisexuality, can’t maintain his erection, and the entire affair ends in very uncomfortable silence.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Charlie, "Vagina Panic"

    Poor Charlie. While he and Marnie have their fair share of uncomfortable sex over the course of their relationship, one of the saddest moments (aside from Marnie breaking up with him during intercourse) is when Marnie encourages him to penetrate her from behind so she doesn’t have to look at him. “This feels so good,” Charlie says. “We have to go slow.” Poor sucker.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and camp friend Matt, "Hannah's Diary"

    We’d be remiss not to mention Shoshanna’s effort to lose her virginity to an old camp friend, who tells her how “weird” it is that he “loves to eat pussy” moments before she admits she’s never “done it” before. At least it paves the way for the uncomfortable sex we later get to watch her have with Ray?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Hard Being Easy"

    On the heels of trying (unsuccessfully) to determine the status of her early relationship with Adam, Hannah walks by her future boyfriend’s bedroom to find him masturbating alone, in one of the strangest scenes of the first season. As Adam jerks off and refuses to let Hannah participate beyond telling him how much she likes watching, we see some serious (and odd) character development ... which ends with Hannah taking a hundred-dollar bill from Adam’s wallet, for cab fare and pizza (as well as her services).

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Booth Jonathan, "Bad Friend"

    Oh, Booth Jonathan -- the little man who “knows how to do things.” After he turns Marnie on enough to make her masturbate in the bathroom at the gallery where she works, Booth finally seals the deal in a mortifying and nearly painful to watch sex scene that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about how much Marnie is willing to fake it.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Tad and Loreen, "The Return"

    The only sex scene in the series not to feature one of the main characters, Hannah’s parents’ showertime anniversary celebration is easily one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the show’s first season. Even Hannah’s mother, Loreen, observes how embarrassing the situation is, which ends with her husband, Tad, slipping out of the shower and falling naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and the pharmacist, "The Return"

    Tad and Loreen aren’t the only ones to get some during Hannah’s first season trip home to Michigan. The show’s protagonist finds herself in bed with a former high school classmate, who doesn’t exactly enjoy it when Hannah puts one of her fingers near his anus. “I’m tight like a baby, right?” Hannah asks at one point. Time to press pause.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Role-Play"

    While it’s not quite a full-on, all-out sex scene, Hannah and Adam’s attempt at role play in Season 3 is certainly an intimate encounter to behold (or not). Hannah dons a blond wig and gets a little too into her role, giving a melodramatic performance that ends with a passerby punching Adam in the face. So there’s that.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and Ray, "Together"

    As Shoshanna and Ray near the end of their relationship, we can see their sexual chemistry getting worse and worse. It’s no more evident than when Ray is penetrating a clothed and visibly horrified Shoshanna from behind, who ends the encounter by asking if her partner will just “get out of me.”

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Frank, "Video Games"

    Hannah, Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, a graveyard and too much chatting. Need we say more about how uncomfortable this sex is to watch?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Desi, "Iowa"

    Who gets her butt motorboated? Is this a real thing? Aside from the questionable logistics and reality of Marnie and Desi’s analingus scene, there’s also the awkward moment when Marnie confuses her partner’s declaration of love for licking her butthole with love for her. Oh, Marnie.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Vagina Panic"

    There is too much in this scene to dissect: fantasies of an 11-year-old girl with a Cabbage Patch lunchbox, excessive references to that little girl as a “slut” and Adam ripping off a condom to ejaculate on Hannah’s chest. No wonder it ends with Hannah saying she almost came.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>