One of the creators of Two and a Half Men made some wildly misogynistic comments this weekend. No, the other one. Lee Aronsohn, Men’s co-creator and one of its executive producers, was at the Toronto Screenwriters Conference, where he shared some choice thoughts with The Hollywood Reporter about the state of TV comedy today. “Enough ladies. I get it. You have periods,” he said. ” … [We’re] approaching peak vagina on television, the point of labia saturation.” Yes, these feelings translate into the portrayal of women on Two and a Half Men. “We’re centering the show on two very damaged men,” Aronsohn said. “What makes men damaged? Sorry, it’s women. I never got my heart broken by a man.” Oh, you know men: They’ve never broken anyone’s heart.
Two and a Half Men has been deeply sexist from its start, and that’s hardly new or newsworthy — no one ever lost money betting on America’s appetite for misogyny, particularly the kind that comes wrapped in “it was just a joke!” (The second most popular flavor is “we’re making jokes about women because we love women – especially the crazy ones! Why are women so crazy?”)
But Lee’s leaving us hanging. What’s the “appropriate” amount of women on television? What’s the right amount of “labia” for Lee Aronsohn? Let’s make sure we get everything just right for white, straight, middle-aged men: What’s the correct ratio of period jokes to boner jokes, jokes at prostitutes’ expense, fart jokes, rape jokes, domestic violence jokes, drug jokes, objectifying jokes, jokes about breasts, jokes about breasts being too small, jokes about breasts being too big, jokes about stalking, or jokes about having sex with the mentally incapacitated? Two and a Half Men seems to enjoy plenty of those.
Time and time again we hear that part of why women are underrepresented in comedy writers rooms is that they simply don’t apply for as many positions as men do. Gee, we can’t imagine what could be keeping them away.