tv History of the Sitcom CNN November 27, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PST
>> people like laughing, and i think when they laugh they're more likely to listen to what you have to say. >> nothing more human than that. besides texting people you're five minutes away when you haven't even left the house. >> thank you. >> you're very welcome. i'm not obsessed with sex. i just can't stop thinking about it. >> sexuality has come a long way in sitcom history. >> can you donate a penis to a person who's transitioning? >> laughter is a great way to deal with a very tricky world. >> daddy horny, my god. >> sitcoms talk about sex. >> my underwear. >> my god. >> and about relationships. >> i'm breaking up with him
tonight. >> these shows changed the way that we think about sexuality. >> for god's sake, ellen, tell him you're gay. >> you're talking about gay rights. you're talking about women's rights. >> gender diversity. >> dismantling the patriarchy. >> you know, sexual revolution. >> so i'm officially out of men to [ bleep ]. i have to get married or move. >> but if you can make them laugh, then maybe we'll watch it again. ♪ anything and everything. let's get our sex talk on. >> oh, mom covered it all pretty good. >> yeah, maybe about the birds and the bees, but i'm your daddy, and i'm here to keep it 100. despite the fact that your mother thinks i'm uptight, cray-cray, right? >> sitcoms are a great place to talk about taboo, awkward subjects like sex because it's
disarming and people just want to laugh. >> i want to go home to my own room to sleep in my own bed. i don't want another beer. >> would you like another beer? >> oh, yeah. >> but it's always been from like the straight white man's point of view. >> i remember early sitcoms. i saw a mother, a wife in a cocktail dress all day long. and we'd sit there going, who the hell are these people? it was a denial of reality. >> ethel, we're going to have a baby. >> we got to see a pregnant woman on television wearing a dress that started from the neck and was like a tent. >> are we afraid of seeing a pregnant woman in the 1950s because it means that she has had sex? as if we didn't all come from a pregnant woman. >> and in the '60s, sitcoms were still stuck in perpetuating this 1950s suburban housewife mentality.
but then it's this really interesting dynamic where you see tv trying to address the gender war that was coming. ♪ >> i definitely think "i dream of jeannie" is an escape for many people. >> i could eat a horse. >> you know, she's this entity who's trying to do the best she can in the world that she's come into. >> ask me anything as thy slave, master. >> yes, she said "master," but of course she's the powerful one. she's magic. when you have magic, you can do a lot of things. >> what are you reading, jeannie? >> i'm reading a scroll. the emancipation of modern woman. what does it mean? >> jeannie, oh, you don't have to worry about things like that. >> but you have this character who is the absolute epitome of
male fantasy. >> i want to understand your way of life so that i can please you. >> well, you please me very much. as a matter of fact, you're perfect. >> there's an episode called "the americanization of jeannie" where she dips a toe into the waters of female liberation. >> i have been studying the emancipation of modern woman. >> oh. oh, that. i guess you got so caught up in it you forgot to do the housework, huh? >> i did not forget. i decided to let you do it. >> me? >> i think there are female viewers and young girls who were watching at the time who were empowered by seeing jeannie. >> but tony doesn't find it attractive. he's turned off by it. >> a woman doesn't act the way you did tonight. but your behavior this evening was absolutely disgraceful. let me tell you one more thing -- >> sitcom television has changed with the times. but it was a lot more comedy than just jeannie and her
master. it was a lot more going on. >> we demand freely available child care facilities that will give all women an alternative to confinement in the home. >> you have this interesting moment, because in the real world the women's liberation movement is pushing female equality further than it had ever been. >> and then these magical powers that jeannie possessed -- >> that is the real you. >> -- are kind of transformed to shows like "that girl," where power doesn't have to be magical. >> is there anything else i can do, miss? >> well, there are about 4,000 things to do around here, but i like to do them all myself. >> come on, that's my girl. "that girl." oh, my god. with her little crunchy voice and her cute face and her hair. >> you had marlo thomas as
really one of the first female independent, self-employed career women. >> are you a couple? >> no, i'm a single. >> the premise of "that girl" was a young girl who wanted to be somebody. >> how would you like to be an actress? >> an actress? i am an actress. >> and that's what made it, you know, so earth-shattering at the time, because we hadn't really seen a girl with a dream. >> people actually seemed to recognize me in the subway coming home. >> ann marie, girl television star. >> but we were really puritanical on television. we could not even appear to be having sex. >> how can a plant have a trauma? >> it's a living thing. it's probably very sensitive. >> we better go in the next room and talk so it won't hear us. >> donald, anything you have to say to me, you can say in front of my plant.
>> it was all happening on the street, but it wasn't happening on television, not at all. standards and practices watched us like hawks. this went back to lucy and desi. they were married, and they had to sleep in separate beds. donald always went home, yet it was a time of free love. it was the time of woodstock. it had nothing to do with where society was. >> oh, marlo thomas, oh, my god. she punted the ball to mary tyler moore and mary tyler moore ran with it. >> i remember why i broke off with howard. >> mary tyler moore was just so massive to me. having her job and dealing with, like, all of these men. >> i have been dating since i was 17. i'm 37. that's two decades of dating. >> mary richards was actively having sex. >> don't forget to take your pill. >> i won't. >> i won't.
>> what you've got in the '70s is women not embarrassed that they don't have a husband who takes care of them and they have to stay home, and that really made a statement. and along comes bea arthur playing maude. that couldn't have been done in the '50s or '60s, it just wouldn't have been done. >> feminine fulfillment tells you to be cute and frilly and perky and pamper your husband and just cater to his every whim. >> right. >> didn't they just used to call that being married? >> we started filming "maude" in july of '72 and roe v. wade had passed. so abortion was a big issue for me. >> the episode "maude's abortion" aired in november of 1972 as a two-parter, and that was very early to be talking about abortion on television. >> mother, i don't understand your hesitancy. when they made it a law, you were for it. >> of course. i wasn't pregnant then.
>> there were stations all throughout the country that did not air those episodes. >> we finally have the right to decide what we can do with our own body. >> all right. then will you please get yours into the kitchen. >> we had a platform, but we weren't shoving it down anybody's throat. we were making them laugh and hopefully making them think. lash impact goes sky high. lash sensational sky high mascara from maybelline new york.
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i'm a pretty open-minded guy, so why don't you stop at the shop sometime? >> okay. >> lgbtq representation in sitcoms is important because we're all in this together. you can't leave that out anymore. >> i'd like to begin with a fact, a simple yet shocking fact. it is this. homosexuals, lesbians, are threatening to pervert an entire generation of our american children. >> the history of lgbtq characters in sitcoms is actually very similar to the history of lgbtq people in america. they were always there. they just had to be hidden. >> there's the understatement of the century. >> with paul lynde on "bewitched," we had that cliche. >> don't you get it, dumb-dumb?
>> and jane hathaway on "the beverly hillbillies" was gay. >> this beautiful daughter of yours could win that palm springs beauty contest without even trying. >> you had people who were essentially seeing themselves depicted on-screen but not all the way. >> what are you doing in there? >> i've been framed. >> uncle arthur gives off a tremendous gay man energy that if you are in the know is unmistakable. but if you are not, you're just like, oh, look at that kooky oddball. i hope that he has a wife who loves him very much. >> it was like so many things in gay life. you had to read between the lines and give that little wink, but it was never acknowledged. and so that's a step, but it wasn't the step that later shows would take. >> the bar patrons who rioted in greenwich village after a routine police raid on a gay bar, the stonewall inn, in june of 1969, could not have known that their wild insurrection
would enter history as the birthday of the gay liberation movement. >> in the '60s and '70s, you see an explosion in fighting for rights, queer liberation. >> to the credit of someone like norman lear and the many people who worked with him, they put people with lgbtq identities on television and to treat them as characters, not punch lines. >> we haven't seen a gay character. why haven't we seen a gay character? i mean, they exist. >> get a load of this. my son-in-law and his pal, tinker bell. >> excuse me. >> hey, steve. >> hi, mr. bunker. >> they bring their own stories to families all the time. >> kelsey, he's trying to tell me that steve is -- >> i just wouldn't want my place to become no -- hangout. >> i mean, there was story material there. >> steve, you're going to want
to bust him wide open when i tell you this. i don't know where he gets these brainstorms, but he thinks that you're -- i can't even say it, steve. >> he's right, arch. >> huh? >> these shows were changing the way that we think about queerness and otherness. >> excuse me. i thought this was eddie stokes' room. >> it is. >> it is? oh, are you his wife? >> no. >> oh. same old eddie, huh? where is he? >> well, you see -- >> oh, i got it. he don't want me to know he's here, so you're supposed to say he ain't here, but he is here, in there. >> in 1977, we got a very groundbreaking episode of "the jeffersons" titled "once a friend." >> it's me, eddie. only i'm edie now. >> george can't wait for eddie to come to town, his best friend, and when eddie comes to town, eddie is now edie and is a trans woman.
>> take a good look. >> but the advancement of black queer stories is something that exists on a separate timeline from both lgbtq representation and black representation. >> representation matters, because if you know and like this person that's fictional, how can you not know and like this person in your real life? >> when we were younger, i used to hate you. you used to steal my clothes. >> you had such nice things. >> "soap," i think, was so raw. >> what do you people drink? >> you mean new yorkers? we drink -- >> no, no, homos. >> we drink your basic heterosexual drinks. >> there was something very delicious about the gayness of billy crystal's character. it was like mainstream television. wow, this is actually happening. this is actually real. >> if you look back at it now,
there were moments that were incredibly sensitive, and it was an important character. >> i mean, you hate me because i'm gay, right? >> well -- >> i guess if you need a reason, that's a good one. >> burt, it's a terrible reason. i mean, look at me. i'm a person. >> i do think that people watching that character thought for the first time about the possibility of gay men being real people. >> you don't look gay. >> i'm still me. >> that said, that show kind of didn't know what it was doing. >> now when i'm finally used to you being a -- >> homosexual. >> -- you're going to get a sex change operation and be a girl? >> i think that the use of stereotypical characters like jody in "soap" is a double-edged sword. it creates a sense of, what is funny about me is that i am deluded and that i should, you know, sort of glom back onto society. it's changing. and now people are more open to
trans identities. >> dad? >> hi, girls. >> but even when i start making "transparent" and going, okay, there's trans women and lesbians here, this is never going to fly. >> dad, what are you wearing? >> i was confused. i was confused about what america could handle. >> so i have something to tell you. we're carvana, the company who invented car vending machines and buying a car 100% online. now we've created a brand-new way for you to sell your car. whether it's a year old or a few years old.
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soloway is non-binary. they fall under the trans umbrella, and they were telling a story about their own parent who had come out as trans to them. >> i had major misunderstandings about transness. and the learning curve i had to go on to really understand, oh, these are who cross-dressers are, and they're not the same as drag queens, and they're not the same as trans women. >> out of all my kids, you're the one. you can see me most clearly. >> the family was trying to understand maura, and i was trying to understand my parent. it felt very much like kind of real-time therapy. >> "transparent" is about how people can change. people can get better. people can come together. people can build a better world together. and i appreciate it on that level. it normalized a lot of these concepts. >> my whole life, i've been dressing up like a man. >> but maura pfefferman was played by jeffrey tambor. jeffrey was a cis man who was
dressing up as a trans woman. kind of dangerous, actually. because there's danger out in the world for trans women where if they want to use the women's restroom, somebody thinks they're quote-unquote faking it. >> excuse me. are you a man? because this is the ladies' restroom. >> yeah, we're aware what it is. thank you. we're good. >> ultimately i do think it made transness one of the things that somebody in the family could be, and life goes on. >> but for a long time the sitcom was primarily driven by, what makes us different is what makes us funny, especially in those '70s and '80s shows. it creates a sense of abnormality. >> oh, hello, girls. come on in, girls. it's nice to see you, girls. >> hi, guys. >> a man dressing as a woman in 1982 is not at all a man dressing as a woman in our culture today. >> i feel like a completely
different kind of man. >> the premise of "bosom buddies" was "some like it hot," which was the jack lemmon, tony curtis movie where they got into drag in order to pass themselves as female musicians. >> we can point at the use of drag as a comedic device. that's not quite lgbtq representation. it's just kind of in this weird liminal space of things that might be queer. >> are you two farm girls? i mean, you are big. really big. >> throughout the years, a lot of gay characters, queer characters, were people that were created by primarily heterosexual people to be a laugh line. >> what are you doing? >> i'm loosening up my wrist. >> i didn't know you guys had to practice. >> that's how you said gay in "three's company." hello, jack. mmm! >> in some ways, "three's company" was kind of a terrible
show, and, boy, did you want to be around them. it's a little light, right, but we find out that we can care about these people. >> nobody was trying to hurt anybody. we were just trying to make you laugh and feel good. >> as a gay man, i look at a character like jack on "three's company" and part of me says, you know, you're allowing this straight man to say he's one thing, and he's not. but at the same time, hearing those words on television was important at the time, to say he's willing to become a part of a community that is an other. ♪ ♪ come and knock on our door ♪ ♪ we've been waiting for you ♪ ♪ where the kisses are hers and hers and his ♪ ♪ three's company too ♪ >> three's company emerged at a period in time when america was saying, i don't want sex to be a taboo subject anymore.
>> that's a lovely mole you've got on your thigh. >> "three's company" is a sexverse in a lot of ways. >> two girls and a guy living in an apartment, and the landlord is okay with it because he thinks john ritter's character is gay. >> how long do i have to go on letting him think i'm gay? >> oh, as long as you live here. that's the only way he'll allow it. >> "three's company" is such the perfect '70s into the '80s show, just in terms of the total sexism. >> i've been walking behind you since you got off the bus. >> why didn't you say something? >> i was enjoying the view from the rear. >> men were running the show. many of those men were putting women in the roles they wanted to see them in. >> you can do it! you can do it! you can, you can! >> the way chrissy snow became queen of the jiggle was in that first year. chrissy got very excited and jumped up and down and bounced back and forth. that's when boobs were real. and i noticed in the scripts
from there on in that the writers would add the line "and chrissy jumps for joy." >> it was just a sign that america might have been burnt out on the social issues. we had been through the vietnam war. it had only recently ended. >> my era was the era of losing friends in that war, going to funerals. so maybe this was the comic relief we needed. >> "three's company" was a massive hit out of the box. it was empty calories, but it was still delicious. i was watching these characters at a point in my life where i was also scared of who i was. certainly now as an adult, i can look back at them and have a certain fondness for them. because even though they were coded or a little over the top, it was something that like subliminally i think was really important. >> good night. good night. oh, the closet. >> i look at the time when i was
on "too close for comfort." i think monroe sort of fell into that asexual thing where i never was supposed to be gay. but, come on, you know, you'd have to be brain dead not to know that monroe was gay. but i was in the closet. i was terrified that, you know, it would ruin my career or whatever, you know. and then in 1985, i discovered that i was hiv positive. there was really not any treatment for it. i was terrified. voltaren is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory gel for powerful arthritis pain relief. voltaren, the joy of movement. ♪ ♪
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congress opened hearings today on aids, the acquired immune deficiency syndrome, and what the government is doing to fight it. >> i lived in paranoia in the '80s. absolute, total paranoia. >> name that handicap. >> when the aids outbreak started, i was terrified of people finding out that i'm gay. there was no way i could be openly gay at that time. it would have been career suicide. >> i think being gay was
admitting to someone that you could have aids. >> ultimately we didn't see very many lgbtq characters in sitcoms in the '80s. for most lgbtq communities, it was a very dark time. >> seems you had a transfusion while you were there. the hospital thinks the blood may have contained hiv antibodies. >> hiv, wait a minute. you're talking about aids. >> "the golden girls" being about older characters gave the show license to go further and really show how the women reacted to important issues. >> damn it. why is this happening to me? i mean, this isn't supposed to happen to people like me. you must have gone to bed with hundreds of men. >> blanche says a line that i think americans needed to hear, which is -- >> aids is not a bad person's disease, rose. it is not god punishing people for their sins.
>> you're right, blanche. >> well, you're damn straight i'm right. >> it was something that in 1990, so many people needed to hear, and "the golden girls" were able to deliver that message because of who they were. >> our media doesn't exist in a vacuum. so when we do see these moments in sitcoms, it's because there have been activists trying to normalize and humanize folks who have been not humanized for so long. >> i mean, it's fine if that's who you are. >> absolutely. >> i have many gay friends. >> my father's gay. >> then you've got "the outing." >> you know, just because you two are homosexual, so what. >> the premise of that episode was a journalist was following jerry to do some sort of piece on him and got it into her head that jerry and george were gay lovers. >> what do you think of this shirt? >> it's nice. >> jerry said he didn't like it. >> and the minute that we understood that that was the impression we were giving, we went into overdrive to try and
prove to her that that was the farthest thing from true. >> it was a joke. >> do you want to have sex right now? do you want to have sex with me right now? let's go! >> they really nailed the satire of the so-called gay panic. >> it's not true! it's not true! not that there's anything wrong with that. >> the more we see things, the more normalized those things become. >> hello. >> whether it's sexuality, whether it's gender diversity. you know, we got to just put it all out there, because we've just seen one kind of thing for so long. >> how about your boyfriend, mr. feel this, huh? >> feel this. >> yeah. >> feel this. >> throughout the '90s, the gay community started making at least baby steps. >> but when "ellen" came on the air, there was no lgbtq representation at all. >> not a big deal. >> of course it's a big deal. it's a very big deal.
>> but ellen's show didn't start as a show about a gay woman. >> was that a cute dentist, or was that a cute dentist? >> yeah, he is now my cutest health care provider. >> it was about this goofy, amiable bookstore owner and her friends, and it was becoming a hit for abc. but ellen wanted to tell her truth and have the character also do so. >> ellen, are you coming out or not? >> yeah, ellen. quit jerking us around and come out already. >> come on. >> what is the big deal? i've got a whole hour. >> i don't think you can overstate what was at stake for ellen degeneres in terms of coming out. she'd had a fantastic career as a stand-up. she was having not just a tv but film career at the time. >> this pressure cooker had been just mounting, and her show really was what blew the lid off of it. >> susan, i'm gay. >> it was an incredibly pivotal moment in television when ellen morgan, ellen degeneres' character, came out.
and it coincided with ellen degeneres' own coming out, which was a brave thing to do when you're the lead of a sitcom. >> if it wasn't difficult, i would have done it a long time ago, and everybody else who's closeted who is in this business would do it. >> it really became a national event. >> that felt so great, and it felt so loud. >> she must have felt this huge relief. >> i mean, she was us. she was america, but she just was gay. >> but conservative and religious organizations objected to the idea of a gay person coming out on national television. >> oh, paige, you wild, impetuous fool. >> the abc sitcom "ellen" is being canceled just one year after the main character came out as a lesbian. >> in "entertainment weekly," you said you were dropped or fired basically because i'm gay. is that a correct quote? >> i believe that because the
show was so gay, yes. >> the fact that the show didn't continue must have been extremely traumatic and hard on her. >> ellen was driven out of the industry for a while after that episode. so there was a backlash. >> i think that threatened to put a chill on development of any more shows with gay characters. because you could always find an executive who'd say, look what happened with "ellen."
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that felt so great, and it felt so loud. >> ellen played such a formative role in shifting the conversation, but there was still a landscape of fear. >> in the '90s, there were gay men and women who wanted to have their stories told. >> we were afraid of alienating an audience, but norman lear told us that not only is it a good thing to reflect the world you live in, but it's wildly successful. and so i think what it said is, don't be afraid. ♪ >> this is december of '97.
i wanted to be anybody on "friends." i wanted to be anybody on "seinfeld." i wanted to be must-see tv. so when that script arrived, i thought, oh boy. i hope there's something in this for me. >> did you buy anything? >> yeah, i got a great camisole. >> yeah? sexy? >> i'm going to sleep. >> ask me in the morning. >> was that danny? >> yeah. jealous? >> honey, i don't need your man. i got george clooney. >> the story was the relationship between a gay man and his female best friend. >> sorry, babe. he doesn't bat for your team. >> well, he hasn't seen me pitch. >> did i have nerves about it in 1998? yes. but i had played several gay characters in the theater and on television. >> no. honey, she said that you and grace should get married. >> ha, grace and me? >> and what i saw on the page was charming leading man but
unapologetically an out gay man. >> yeah. this would be us three weeks in. honey, i'm having an affair. >> me too. >> his name is donald. >> me too! >> i didn't get to be david schwimmer or matt leblanc, but i knew i could do it with empathy and dignity. >> you know, when it started off, everyone was like, how gay can it be? >> grace, did you know i was gay when you met me? >> my dog knew. >> and the answer was, apparently you couldn't go gay enough. >> ladies and gentlemen, fresh from 45 minutes of butt-robics, i give you my ass. >> there was two openly gay men who were very different, and we were able to see, oh, being gay isn't just one thing. >> i just want to know how long i'm going to have to wait until i can see two gay men kiss on network television. >> not as long as you think. >> humor, i think, is a great way for anyone to connect. >> i just can't believe we did it. >> a lot of people out there owe us a big, fat thank-you. >> it was kind of risky at the
time, but the network found out, yes, there's an audience for this. >> i think that really changed things for people because they fell in love with these characters and they realized, well, what's the prejudice? >> i think "will & grace" probably did more to educate the american public than almost anything anybody's ever done so far. >> can you believe it? they're getting married in four days. i love weddings. >> well, it's not strictly a wedding. it's a same-sex civil union which affords many of the same rights as a marriage. >> right. where are they going on their honeymoon? >> well, it's not strictly a honeymoon. it's a same-sex vacation with a lot of the same events as a honeymoon. >> it's hard to remember it now, but during the obama administration, barack obama said he was opposed to gay marriage. but people's opinions change. >> "modern family" came at the right time, and it came in right on the heels of "will & grace," and it just kept the engine rolling, which is very helpful. >> you just made a little girl very happy. >> yes.
well, i can see that. >> i think a lot of people really loved mitch and cam together, and it was very heartwarming to hear from people who, you know, were in straight relationships saying, my husband is just like mitch, or my wife is just like cam. >> all they cared about was raising their daughter well, and they loved each other, and they were sweet to each other. >> you're this amazing-looking guy and -- >> i am not amazing. really? >> i wouldn't change anything. >> we were like this trojan horse that came into their living room. it's like their hearts accepted us before their minds did. >> we're having a baby! >> and why wouldn't you want them to be married? >> on the steps of the supreme court, jubilation among same-sex marriage supporters as the court cleared the way for same-sex marriages to resume in california. >> the whole mitch/cam getting married was sparked by that supreme court decision. >> mitch is on a computer sort of watching, and people are celebrating in front of the supreme court. >> can you believe this finally happened? >> "modern family" created this whole new level of comedy that you wouldn't necessarily get in a traditional male/female relationship. >> he would really like it if i
proposed to him. >> mm-hmm. >> i've outdone myself, gloria. i booked the restaurant from our first date. >> cam, tire! >> oh, my gosh. oh, my god! oh, my god! >> then of course it ends with them on the side of the road trying to fix a flat tire. ♪ >> yes. >> yes. >> that's what i think humor can do. it can open up people's minds and people's hearts. >> and i do think that "modern family" could probably take some credit for making america more comfortable with the idea of same-sex marriage. >> you may now kiss your husband. >> this morning the supreme court recognized that the constitution guarantees marriage equality. >> and then now, with shows that are on some of the streamers, we're beginning to see stories
like the thanksgiving episode from "master of none." and that is only because these lgbtq creators from the black and brown communities have been given platforms to tell their stories. >> being gay isn't something black people love to talk about. >> why? >> some black people think being gay is a choice. and when they find out that their kid is gay, they try to figure out what they did wrong. >> it takes someone going through the door for us to have the representation. >> ma? >> hm? >> i'm gay. >> you what? >> so lena waithe winning an emmy for writing the thanksgiving episode, which was essentially her coming out story, that's revolutionary. >> i've always been gay. >> you don't have to sacrifice anything to still be both entertaining, thought-provoking, and, you know, spark conversations. >> i'm happy for you.
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was about? tha > >> that was it? >> the american people are collectively conservative when it comes to issue of sex. >> don't get caught up with having a dialogue with your kids hoopla. >> we want to be able to laugh about sex or anything that scares us or disturbs us. >> i am sure you had sex with my mother which is fine. >> are you using protection? >> oh my god. >> it took a long time but sitcom res really open the doorr us to tell stories about sex and laugh at them without "three company" and "golden girls," opening up to sexuality. >> it's possible that we h have -- >> i think i have known you from college. >> then we probably [ bleep ] in
college. >> it's lighten up about sex. >> we have not seen shows that's frank about women's sex life and their romantic life. the biggest exchange came with the explosion of cable. >> tell me how he worded it. >> i want to explore this world of sexual relationship from a female's point of view. >> we have been seeing each other for a couple of weeks, i really like you and tomorrow night after din every, i want to have anal sex. >> it feels really funny for sitcoms. it pushed a lot of barriers around talking about sex and relationships in ways that sitcoms certainly did not do. >> so, how big was it? >> fresh peppers? >> my guilty pleasure was "sex and the city."
>> you men have no idea how or what we deal with down there. >> i felt naughty watching it. >> okay, ladies, take note. >> shows centered black women is still a rarity. >> i have not had sex in a year. >> oh girl, you are still open for business. >> as much as i enjoyed it, i didn't feel black women were invited to that party, they did not include women that looked like me. being raised not to complain but seeing the same opportunity, pitch girlfriends. >> i am about to make junior partner and a great house but i don't have anyone to share it with. >> it was as network version of "sex and the city" but with four
black women in los angeles instead of new york. >> we see how their lives are different. >> i will tell you what i am going to do to you big boy. >> who's your daddy - >> what? >> "girlfriends" started to deal with subject matter that black women deal with. >> my friends are perky tonight. >> black women need to be supporting each other, not tearing each other down. >> we had bigger dreams than just finding a man. >> you are the [ bleep ] i have always wanted to to be. >> women in sitcom history have become more vocal and advocating for themselves. and they have now progressed in their career and made their own shows. >> who are the ladies? >> we are the ladies, i am not the lady. >> i am not the ladies. >> girls come along. girls resonate, you go okay,
they're not pretending to be anybody else, they're themselves. >> i don't want a picture of your dick. if you want me to look at your dick, i can come over and look at it. >> it was not about the fabulousness, it was about them being a mess and trying to find a way of being a mess. >> nothing was off the table. >> people were shocked at what she was doing. >>. >> it's so good. i almost came. >> it was still a narrow position of america and it was not the reality for most americans. >> i think your -- broke. >> insecure centers in on the character and the identity and the culture that shows "sex and the city" and girls had nothing to do with. >> for the first time maybe a lot of white people are learning that there is a lot of different ways to be a black woman and a millennial black woman.
there are a lot of different ways to be. >> this is my favorite bit. >> "playback" was just a revelation. >> it felt dangerous. >> i will treat you like a naughty little -- >> sitcoms don't usually feel dangerous. >> someone falling in love with you. "flea bag" is personal and intimate and raunchi. >> she wants you to experience the craziness of what she's involved in. she's looking at the camera and she's having sex with some guys she does not care about. >> he's wasting me. >> "flea bag" was just saying, who didn't fantasize about obama? >> she's just being honest.
>> she slept with a priest? >> you start off with beds that had to be separate and you could not say the word pregnant. >> i had a lot of sex outside marriage. >> fast forward to now when we celebrated love and we'll give you an award for it. . you guys are working hard for once. the american workplace is our home in many ways. >> the american office is iconic. >> how many people can i fire? >>