NBC picks up a new "comedy" about what happens when bosses have vaginas

Truly, a novel idea

By Jenny Kutner
August 8, 2014 6:38PM (UTC)
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Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook (Reuters/Stephen Lam)

NBC is making a bold move to expand its audience's imagination. According to Deadline, the network has picked up a single-camera comedy that leans more toward the fantastical than perhaps anything before: It's about what life would be life if -- get ready -- your boss had a vagina.

The untitled project, which reportedly sold in a competitive situation, will be headed by Hillary Winston, showrunner of the CBS sitcom "Bad Teacher" -- another woman-in-the-workplace comedy about a "lady teacher" who's incompetent at her job. As A.V. Club reports, Winston is less familiar with teaching and more familiar with being a "lady boss": The new show was inspired by her essay, "When Your Boss Has a Vagina," which appeared in Playboy last year.


If Winston's essay is any indication of what the show will bring, then we might expect to see female bosses offering blow job lessons and, of course, good old-fashioned overblown gender stereotypes:

As an employee, I had good and bad bosses of both sexes. They could teach you how to give a blow job or they could ask for one. So I should say gender isn’t a factor at all in bossing. But now, as a boss, I think it is a factor. It absolutely matters whether your boss has a penis or a vagina, because gender affects everything. Now, as a lady boss, I can be bad in all the ways any boss can. I’ll have a fight with my fiancé on the way to work and take it out on you. I’ll make you work on the weekend and tell you Friday night. I’ll stock the break room with snacks only I like. I’ll notice when your car isn’t there right at nine. I’ll doubt you’re really sick. I’ll resent your car trouble, out-of-town weddings and dentist appointments. And yet I’ll leave early just to beat traffic—while you’re still at work.

But the real difference between having a male boss and a female boss is social customs. No matter what our roles are, we’re tied to ones that have existed since way before anyone noticed the glass ceiling. You hold the door for me because I’m a woman, not because I’m your boss. You look at my ass because you’re a man, not my subordinate. And I wear V-necks because I’m a woman and I have nice tits.

The pilot is, after all, set to take place in a “fratty corporate office that gets polarized along gender lines when a new boss comes to town -- a lady boss,” so Winston's essay aside, there probably isn't much more that could've been expected. It does sound as if there could be a dash of helpful lessons in equality, especially given the nod to bosses, regardless of gender, being bad in all the same ways. And it's always uplifting to see a female showrunner taking the lead in a male-dominated industry.

Still, given the stale premise, there will likely be scenes of lady bosses crying and dudebro employees making sexually objectifying jokes at her expense -- damaging tropes that don't make it feel like any women (lady bosses or lady employees) are getting the last laugh. At least they're taking place in some sort of unfathomable alternate universe, right?

Jenny Kutner

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