Three TV Shows Featuring Great Older Women

The cast of the Good Wife

For my last post in this series about older women on TV, I wanted to offer a list of shows worth watching (but not yet discussed here) if you’re interested in aging and feminism on the small screen. These offer glimmers of hope on the horizon, that someday women over 40 will be portrayed wholeheartedly and multi-dimensionally all over our TV dials, or wherever we watch serialized stories on small screens.

The Good Wife: Almost all the women on this show (pictured above)—which interweaves politics with courtroom, family, and personal drama in the life of a political wife’s post-scandal life—are over 40. And all of them, particularly Julianna Margulies’ Alicia Florrick, are living, breathing, changing characters with many dimensions. It’s so seamless you don’t think about this show as about “women of a certain age”; you just think about it as a great series featuring interesting people. The fact that it doesn’t even feel like a “women’s” show just underscores how extraordinary it is. It also proves that men will watch shows about women, if the women and their stories are allowed to be fascinating.

Smash: This show about a Broadway production focuses on two ingénues vying for the lead in a musical about Marilyn Monroe. But it does give us two older women behind the scenes with complicated personal lives: Debra Messing’s Julia is fresh off a divorce that she prompted with an affair and Anjelica Huston’s Eileen battlles with her nefarious ex for financial control of the production. We’ll probably never know how interesting they could’ve gotten, since this once-promising show is on its last legs. But catch it while you can if you like either of these two fantastic women or campy musical numbers.

Men of a Certain Age: This TNT dramedy about three middle-aged friends—played by Ray Romano, Andre Braugher, and Scott Bakula—ran from 2009-11 and, yes, focused on men. But it tackled fears about aging delicately, realistically, grippingly, and touchingly. It also busted up the strict gender binary on TV, allowing all three men to have moments of weakness, romantic longing, and true friendship (complete with feelings!). Watch it on Netflix, then start agitating for Hollywood to give us a female version.

Other shows we’ve already discussed:


Thanks for reading! Check out the whole “Women of a Certain Age” series about older women on TV!

by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
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1 Comment Has Been Posted


You do not connect to the truly ageist issues happening in the world; you will when you are OVER 60.
Most of the discussions about how women are not recognized after they are older often give an arbitrary # of 'over 40' when writing or speaking about this issue. I listen to and hear women daily talk about how they feel about getting 'old' because they are turning 30 or 40. Does that ring a loud and resounding worrisome BELL in anyone's heart or mind!
HOLY CRAP.....on the one hand we are told [since the big blablabla thing about Gloria Steinem turning 40! geesuz]
that 50 is now the new 40; 40 the new 30....IT DOESN'T F***ing matter [I only do that not to be knocked off, I have no problem saying or writing that word] what age we are....the INSTITUTIONAL reality of how are lives are spoon-fed/taught to us in crumbs about how to BE female begin at age 0 until our deaths.
I don't want anyone telling me what my age means.....LET'S GET SOME ACTUAL real feminist inclusive writing going on in BITCH. I'M WAITING!
here is something you need to read: [if you can't find it, it is in the book Women and Aging: An Anthology by Women by Calyx Books]
THIS truly reflects the reality of unconscious ageism on the part of feminists.
READ BARBARA MACDONALD'S speech to the feminists at the Plenary Session on Common Causes: Uncommon Coalitions, SEATTLE, June 22, 1985 and get your SMARTY PANTS on RIGHT NOW!
thank you.

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