Lady Problems is a weekly column that looks at how the entertainment industry — and its corresponding culture and constituents — is treating women in a given week. (Hint: It will almost always be “poorly.”) Every Thursday we’ll review the week’s most significant woman-centric conflicts, then provide a brilliant solution to each problem that nobody in Hollywood will ever listen to or enforce.
The Lady Problem: Last week, we addressed the gross gender and racial imbalances of Hollywood's showrunners. Remember? Oh, the fun we had talking about how 80 percent of showrunners are male and 90 percent are white. How we laughed! How we stared directly into the sun and screamed and screamed! Well, here are a few other exciting numbers, courtesy of a piece by Splitsider’s Megh Wright: Forty-seven of Adult Swim's creators are male. Zero are female.
Wright did some digging and realized that the lineup is "indicative of any other year at the network." But, as she points out, Adult Swim has been mysteriously "immune" to cries of sexism, unlike SNL or The Late Show, both of which recently incurred the wrath of the internet for similar sins. Wright reached out to the channel — which as of 2014 had a 43 percent female audience — and it responded as follows: "We are always on the lookout for new creative partners and have talented women writing and producing on our original series. We recently doubled our programming and development opportunities with the success of our streaming shows, which also have female creators." But As Wright puts it, "a livestream isn’t a television show, and when we have to bend the definitions of ‘television show' and ‘creator' in order to find women on that upfront announcement, that’s a problem."
The Solution: I am going to say something #controversial: I don't think Rick and Morty — an Adult Swim favorite among my fellow extremely cool millennials — is a good television show. It's not funny. It's not clever. It is manic, which is a classic way in which adult cartoons trick adults into thinking they're worth watching. Watching it induces in me a sort of deep, the-bottom-is-falling-out anxiety, primarily because its basic vibe is "chaos," but also because watching it reminds me that there are people out there — some of whom I know and love — who watch this show on purpose. That fact in and of itself makes me anxious. Who are these people really? Can I trust them, and in good faith believe that they shalt not cause me pain, if I cannot trust their taste in adult cartoons?
As such, I will punish the characters on Rick and Morty for the sins of their father (Adult Swim). Rick and Morty (I don't know who is who, but one is old and annoying and one is young and annoying) will time travel to the distant future, where the entire world, and by proxy Adult Swim, will be run by women. Men — whom we are always on the lookout for!!! We recently doubled our programming and development opportunities!! — will run live streams. In this utopian future, Rick and Morty will be canceled, because, remember, it is bad. Confronted by their own literal erasure, Rick and Morty will attempt to travel back to the present, where cartoon white men are king. But they will never escape, because they will get distracted by trying to fuck a black hole. This is the level of discourse the show is currently operating on — don't @ me.
The Lady Problem: Elizabeth Banks told Glamour UK (h/t Jezebel) that at age 28, she was screen-tested to play Mary Jane opposite a 27-year-old Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man, and was told she was too decrepit for the part. "Tobey and I are basically the same age and I was told I was too old to play her," she said. "I'm like, ‘Oh, okay, that's what I’ve signed up for.’" Kirsten Dunst, who was 18 at the time, ended up playing the role. Banks played a secretary.
The Solution: Tobey Maguire — who is now 40 years old, but as recently as 2013 was still getting cast opposite women 15 years his junior — will halt his frenzied schedule of doing nothing to become Elizabeth Banks's real-life secretary. His primary job will be fielding Elizabeth's dozens of film offers, but during his lunch break, it will include watching Elizabeth's Spider-Man screen test on loop while wearing her secretary hair and two pairs of bifocals, and filling his mouth with applesauce but not swallowing it. On the rare occasion that he's cast in a film, his love interest will be this mop with sunglasses.
Here is an exclusive, on-set photo of Tobey and his first age-appropriate costar: