The Women Of
Political Animals Vs. The Men (And Women) Of The Newsroom: Sunday Night TV Cage Match
4:00 pm, July 20th | by
Will McAvoy would probably not approve, but I find USA’s new miniseries Political Animals to be much more entertaining television than the ponderous HBO prestige television series that is The Newsroom (although I do enjoy watching and grumbling at the latter very much). Bonus: Political Animals does not endorse the view that all women are dumb yet hyper-articulate bitches! Double bonus: many of the female characters on Political Animals are excellent at their jobs and can also string a sentence together without falling down and/or sending personal emails to everyone they work with. It’s like an alternate universe or something!
I realized after watching the pilot of
Political Animals that many of the show’s female characters have close analogs on The Newsroom, and I decided to pit them against each other in order to determine, empirically, which show has the higher Awesome Lady Quotient. Join me for this highly scientific process in the slideshow below.
1.Will McAvoy vs. Elaine Barrish-Hammond
This hardly seems fair — Elaine is so much better at being a hard-nosed, brilliant, prickly, admirable lead than Will that it's almost embarrassing. Case in point: Will delivers a smackdown to a lady he's on a date with who dares to express a fondness for reality television, calling her a "bitch." Elaine gets groped by the Russian foreign minister at a press conference and then threatens to serve him his own testicles "in a cold borscht soup." Who scares you more? Exactly.
2.Mackenzie McHale vs. Susan Berg
Okay, so these are both ladies, but they had to be matched up since they both fill the "brilliant journalist with a difficult personal life" void on their respective shows. The only difference is that Susan Berg is poised and competent, while Mac is a complete basket case. How would Mac have reacted to the news that her boyfriend was cheating on her? Probably by knocking over twelve desks on her way to email everyone in the office about it. Susan, by contrast, breaks up with the dude immediately and discreetly in the elevator bay. Advantage, Susan.
3.The sole Political Animals Bimbo vs. The Newsroom's Bimbo Parade
Neither show covers itself in glory here — Eva Flores on
Political Animals is as shallow as her chest is insured (read: to an absurd degree), but she gets more than a handful of lines (when the peripheral female characters on The Newsroom talk, it's usually to make themselves look stupid) and is treated kindly by Elaine and her family. Unlike say, the women Will dates, whom Mac refers to as the "Netflix queue of crazy divorced women with digitally remastered breasts."
4.Georgia Gibbons vs. Neal Sampat
While Neal is objectively a better person than the boyfriend-stealing Georgia, making this a win for
The Newsroom, neither character is all that great. This is mostly due to both shows' insistence that the internet doesn't exist and blogging is a fake job that can only be successfully handled by sociopaths or conspiracy theorists (if we ever hear about Neal's Big Foot PowerPoint presentation again I will jump out of the nearest window).
5.Margaret Barrish vs. Charlie Skinner
This is also easy. Margaret and Charlie are similar in that they are both of a certain age, frequently drunk, and lack much of a filter. However, while Charlie is mostly in the show to affirm how amazing Will McAvoy is despite all evidence to the contrary, Margaret is the kind of insane woman who starts drinking at the stroke of 5pm and won't say no to a Jack Daniels margarita. She is also not allowed to talk to reporters because she is either too drunk, too honest, or both. She rules, is what I'm saying.
6.Well, I'm going to have to call it.
Political Animals lacks in prestige television pedigree, it more than makes up for with its strong, interesting, complicated female characters. The Newsroom can keep its speechifying and self-seriousness — I'll be over at USA, drinking Jack Daniels margaritas with Sigourney Weaver and Ellen Burstyn and giggling at Ciarán Hinds's insane Southern accent.