Publisher: Atria Books
Release: March 6 2018
I received an advanced copy of Stealing the Show: How Women Are Revolutionizing Television by Joy Press from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Stealing the Show came as a surprise to me. It never occurred to me to look for a book telling us the history of women in television (or the struggles they face behind the scenes). As somebody that’s always been curious about the industry, I found this to be both fascinating and shocking at times. It’s a compelling read right through to the end, and I’m happy for every moment I spent reading it.
Joy Press did a wonderful job balancing information and understanding. Before reading this novel there were some terms about television that I did not know beforehand (for example while I had heard of a showrunner, I didn’t know what their actual purpose was), but that has changed along with my understanding about how TV has changed for and by women.
I’ll confess that I haven’t seen every show that was discussed, so there were times that I felt that there were references going over my head (considering the complexity and humor of some of the shows, this isn’t really that surprising). Even without having the context about the show itself, I still greatly enjoyed reading about the show’s workings behind the scenes; what the director/showrunner had to go through to get her creation out there. That was the important part for me (though I’ll confess to an increased amount of enjoyment when Press talked about some of my favorite shows, such as Gilmore Girls).
There are so many shows covered in this novel, I guarantee you that you’ll find at least one (if not more) that you’ve personally loved. Series discussed include: Murphy Brown, Rosanne, Gilmore Girls, Grey’s Anatomies, 30 Rock, New Girl, The Mindy Project, Girls, Inside Amy Schumer, Broad City, Weeds, Orange Is the New Black, and Transparent. Many more shows are covered as well, but those are the ones that stood out to me the most.
I loved how Joy Press dedicated her Epilogue into talking about television in movies in context with today; how things may change for the better or worse. Personally, I was left feeling hopeful; looking at how much has changed already; it’s hard not to appreciate all that. Her use of the alien story also helped (what would aliens think of women today versus 30-40 years ago, if they were basing us solely off of a TV representation?) add full context to the situation, and really brought to light all the changes that have already been made.