Shonda Rhimes vs. Amy Sherman-Palladino, Revisited
War of words between noted showrunners sparks heavy debates, goes beyond TV
It all started with a tweet.
Shonda Rhimes criticized a lack of diversity on ABC Family's new series "Bunheads" on Twitter, and the ballet drama's showrunner and creator Amy Sherman-Palladino fired back days later. Her retort? Don't betray the sisterhood and criticize another woman showrunner in public. Yikes.
While it's been two weeks since the whole brouhaha started, media types and pundits are still debating who was right and who was wrong all over social media sites, podcasts and the like.
Some say the heart of the issue is creating diverse TV shows that reflect everyone while others point to the Lena Dunham statement when she too was criticized for not having a more racially diverse cast on her HBO comedy "Girls" back when the show debuted in March.
"I am a half-Jew, half-WASP, and I wrote two Jews and two WASPs," Dunham said on NPR. "I wanted to avoid tokenism in casting."
And don't even get people started on Sherman-Palladino's assessment that lady showrunners should stick together. First race and now gender? Are these two women trying to make pundits' heads explode?
At the end of the day, everybody's right. Casting should be organic and not feel forced but people of color should be considered for more roles. Meanwhile, women should stick together but they should also have skin tough enough to take jabs.
With any luck, Rhimes and Sherman-Palladino will meet in person and have an earnest conversation about casting, race, gender and showrunning. Even if they don't become besties, maybe they can collaborate on a project. That would be cool, right?
As for "Bunheads," this week's episode did have a lot more African-American ballerinas in the background. While they didn't have speaking roles, at least it is a step in the right direction.
"Bunheads" airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC Family.