Saturday, June 24, 2006

The contradiction of Aaron Spelling's TV legacy

There isn't a person alive who didn't think fondly of their favorite TV show when Aaron Spelling died. It's an uncontested fact the man built a TV empire, let alone legacy. Like Seren, I, too credit Spelling for giving us such strong female-centered roles. (Charmed, for example, is the longest running lead female show.) While Spelling's shows enjoyed the moniker of "campy" instead of "critical darling," there is something to be said for the aplomb to cast female leads as well as exploring the nature of good ole TV fun.

But on the flip side, the duality of Spelling legacy towards women in TV creates inner conflicts. While I loved seeing Phoebe, Prue, Piper and later Paige kick demon ass, they also jiggled, giggled and flipped their hair over their shoulders, much like Charlie's Angels before them. Phoebe spent much of her screen time half-naked. Amanda Woodward was the power executive who made the big bucks and got whatever she wanted. She was the bitch everyone loved to hate. Not that I wanted that much reality on TV (reality and Spelling don't really go hand in hand) but in putting women front and center on his shows, Spelling and his crew also tended to parade them. Certain feminists would point out that it's great to see a strong woman who also knows how to use mascara and lip gloss. Other feminists would argue the correlation between beauty and strength, asking why one could not survive without the other.

But no matter how one looks at it, Spelling has created and influenced enough to last generations and even inspire analysis. And isn't that the trademark of success--to keep those talking long after you're gone?


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