Top five ladies on the tube

Betty White in 'The Golden Girls'

Betty White in 'The Golden Girls'

When you google ‘women on TV’, some questionable entries come up (yes, thankyou, internet). ACMI’s latest Live in the Studio event, Ladies on the Tube, centred around a slightly more empowering version of women, focusing on feisty, intelligent characters that are more than comfortable to take the driver’s seat.

To share in this celebration of spirited females, we have compiled a list of our top five darlings of the small screen. In no particular order, we have selected our top female characters, public figures and actors on TV that make us laugh, cry and, most importantly, cheer.

1. Tina Fey aka Liz Lemon

Tina Fey of 30 Rock fame is an obvious favourite. As the first-ever female to be the head writer on Saturday Night Live and the writer, producer and star of 30 Rock, she has become a role model for modern women. With seemingly endless successes, including a mantelpiece full of Emmys, Golden Globes and comedy awards, this is one talented lady. Oh yeah, and she’s funny.

Liz Lemon, Fey’s character in 30 Rock, is as admirable as Fey herself. Lemon is super smart, sassy and hilarious. As one of our facebook fans puts it so eloquently, “it’s great to see a comedic lead role where the female isn’t portrayed as some hot, dumb, weak character”. Well said.

2. Asher Keddie

Aussie star, Asher Keddie, has been getting a lot of attention in the Australian media recently. Her portrayal of Ita Buttrose in Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo was strong, feminine and inspiring, and her ongoing role as Nina in Aussie drama, Offspring has made her a household name. After flying under the radar for a number of years, Keddie has finally won the hearts of the Australian audience, securing the Most Popular Actress Logie this year.

3. Betty White

Betty White, our favourite ‘Golden Girl’, is still kicking it. Most recently gracing our televisions in a surprisingly funny Snickers ad, White has an impressive resume, having received 20 Emmys throughout her career. It is to her credit that she has maintained her cultural relevance well into her 80s, and she is showing little sign of losing it anytime soon.

4.  Lisa Simpson

This little yellow ball of fire is strong-minded, intelligent and independent. Sure, she’s not cool, but she knows who she is and what she stands for, which is pretty awesome for an eight-year-old. A vegetarian, a Buddhist and an activist, this pint-sized star of The Simpsons has even won the respect of real-world organizations, winning Genesis Awards and Environmental Media Awards for the show.

5. C.J. Cregg (aka Allison Janney)

A rapid-fire press secretary promoted to Chief of Staff at the White House, C.J. Cregg, played by Allison Janney in The West Wing, proves that women really can make it in a man’s world. With just the right touch of goofiness and compassionate moral outrage, Cregg, in the words of an ACMI facebook fan, channels Katherine Hepburn one minute and Lucille Ball the next.

Of course, there are hundreds of fabulous women on the tube, and no doubt we’ve failed to mention yours. Leave us a comment below and tell us who your favourite telly-lady is.

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3 Responses to “Top five ladies on the tube”

  1. JessB 20. May, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    Woot for C.J. Cregg! I’ve just become sick of the usual night-time television and gone back to my West Wing dvds for some quality tv. C.J. in season 3 is breaking my heart and delighting me. What a role model.

    Thanks for reminding us of some modern women who are great role models for all of us, not just women. Having courage and compassion and having a laugh are what it’s about for everyone.

  2. Michael@ACMI 20. May, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    I’d have to hat tip Roseanne Barr – check her recent article in New York magazine on her experience working and portraying women on TV – and her take on how things (recently) perhaps not been so positive for women:

    “Instead, all over the tube, you will find enterprising, overmedicated, painted-up, capitalist whores claiming to be housewives. But I’m not bitter.”

  3. Cecilia Stinkman 27. May, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    I know I’m in the minority here but I adore Betty Draper from Mad Men (Seasons 1-3; in season 4 she’s just too unlikeable, even for me). I loved her character from the start – while most people wrote her off as just a bitch, I saw her for what she was: a frustrated, misunderstood and desperately unhappy woman.

    Plus anyone who takes potshots at pigeons using a BB gun is OK by me.

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