What Degree of Shambles Is Your Life In?: Penny Hartz & The Kerkovitch Sisters As Feminist Role Models

I spent a large chunk of the past few weeks rewatching Happy Endings, which I always put as number 2 on my cancelled too soon list. (Number one you ask? Not Firefly…Smash.) And I was thrilled to revisit it, because I really had forgotten how wonderful it is. An in particular how wonderful it’s three lead female characters are, Penny Hartz, Alex Kerkovitch and Jane Kerkovitch.

Here’s the thing, none of these three are perfect, Penny is insecure, Alex is ditzy and Jane is a control freak, but they’re also not anything less than themselves and have full lives and characterizations.

Also, I didn’t realize that the Russo Brothers directed so many episodes, which is also great.

But I mostly want to focus on these three women.

Penny is the character that single girls deserve. She’s excitable, kind of a mess but also really, in most tangible ways she has her act together. She has a job she’s good at and loves, she owns her condo, she has a series of very cute, somewhat messed up boyfriends and almost marries the nicest guy ever but then realizes that it isn’t what she wants.

Alex Kerkovitch gets the best catch phrase of all time, “I’m not as dumb as I am.” While she’s a ditz, who leaves her fiance at the altar for a dude on roller blades, she’s also a small business owner, a deep believer in the power of St. Valentine’s Day. (Seriously, she knows all of the lore and everything.) I really like that we’re at a point where female characters can be both ditzy and smart and compitent. (Mindy Lahiri is another example of this.)

And then there’s Jane Kerkovitch-Williams. Jane is a control freak, she’s kind of a weirdo and she refuses to have anything short of perfection. She’s also in a passionate and happy marriage with Brad, and they make no apologies for their goals and their sort of odd dynamic. She’s also canonically bisexual, complete with a list of ex girlfriends who are never described as “phase.

Happy Endings was a special show that I was very into when it was on and I’m grateful for having gotten to revisit, even if it did lead to a very strange dream where these guys were my bridesmaids.

It’s complicated…anyway…the show is good, and more feminist than I remembered, I guess is my point.

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