We don’t wanna perpetuate the quibble, but an interesting feminist angle to this controversy has emerged.

As you likely know, Shonda Rhimes recently took Amy Sherman-Palladino to task about seeing a lack of diversity for the Bunheads leading ladies. Palladino’s reply may surprise you.

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In a recent interview for Media Mayhem with Allison Hope Weiner, Amy Sherman-Palladino was asked to respond about what Shonda Rhimes had tweeted. For those who don’t know, her tweet read: Hey @abcfbunheads: really? You couldn’t cast even ONE young dancer of color so I could feel good about my kid watching this show? NOT ONE?” She has since back peddled a bit to mention that she likes seeing “girls of all different shapes and sizes” and that she loved Gilmore Girls.

It’s not unusual that in a small town like Paradise California might not have a lot of diversity. One might also point out that one of the main four dancers (Julia Goldani Telles) is from Brazil. (Which means there is diversity of heritage, and then you get into pointless arguments about “is XYZ  person visually colored ‘enough’ to qualify as diverse?”) One could point out that there was about a week to cast these four young parts, and the young women all had to be able to dance on point as well as be a convincing actress. But that’s not what Sherman-Palladino rebutted with in the interview.

Admittedly, it was a leading question from Weiner, when asking if it was fair for one female showrunner to call out another female showrunner like that – “when there are so few on television.” And it’s a fair point. (To criticize any showrunner on your Twitter is basically a low blow.) Sherman-Palladino replied:

“I’m not gonna get into a pissing match with Shonda Rhimes, because she’s got like 15,000 shows on the air. She’s doing just fine for herself. … As far as the women thing goes.. I’ve always felt like women have never supported women to the level that they should. … I think it’s a shame… but it is what it is. I feel like maybe they feel it’s too competitive.”

Weiner said, “It seems like Shonda Rhimes doesn’t think there’s room for anybody else. … Why doesn’t she take a shot at a guy? How ’bout that?”

As the pair continued talking, Sherman-Palladino said, “Let me put it a different way. I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t go after another woman. I, frankly, wouldn’t go after another showrunner. It is so hard to get a show on the air…”

She doesn’t even really dignify the diversity question with an answer. Although we’d be interested in hear her opinions on that.

This was a fascinating interview, and – yes – it is quite long at just under an hour. With the insights, and the Bunheads trivia, and the funny quips… well, we definitely recommend you watching it:

Review questions:

  • Is it fair to hold back on criticism of someone just because they are of a minority group?
  • Would you dis a peer, with a similar job, on your own public Twitter or Facebook account? (I.E. “The school teacher at XYZ school is doing this and this wrong.”)
  • Do you think Rhimes would have tweeted this about a male showrunner?

Bunheads airs Mondays at 9/8c on ABC Family.

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