Question: I'm a 30-year-old woman who is beyond delighted to see representations of real women on TV this season. It's nice to look at Sally Field, both as an actress and her character on Brothers & Sisters, and not get the sense that life ends for women with marriage and kids. Mrs. Walker is a complex, intelligent character, as are the other women represented in the show. I recently discovered Alias on DVD and cannot say enough about Lena Olin, either. She's gorgeous and fierce, while not trying to be 25. I also love that these women don't look like they've been Botoxed within an inch of their life. I remember growing up watching Golden Girls and Designing Women with my mom. I know lots of young women who still find these reruns delightfully funny. It seems like that genre has been missing from TV in the last few years. What do you think the odds are that we'll see more of these characters or women-focused shows in the future? Do you think TV execs will ever get comfortable with women who are over 40? With the anecdotal evidence of a desire for these shows, even among the sacred 18-35 crowd, it seems like the audience, and therefore the advertising revenue, would be there. Am I wrong to pin my hopes on seeing more of these women on TV in the future?
Answer: I'm hoping you're also encouraged by the fact that interesting, edgy actresses like Glenn Close, Holly Hunter and Lili Taylor have all landed high-profile cable series this summer. It's definitely an uphill climb, and the fall season isn't much friendlier to veteran actresses (I still have lots of pilots to watch, but so far the most notable roles of this sort I've seen include Jill Clayburgh as the matriarch of the Dirty Sexy Money family, and Swoosie Kurtz and Ellen Greene as wacky supporting players in Pushing Daisies.) I wouldn't give up hope just yet — if Sally Field gets nominated or (even better) wins the Emmy this year, maybe it will inspire more shows to get on the ball. A thought: What has Jessica Lange been up to lately?