Unruly Women: Jewish Female Characters on TV - A conversation with Emily Nussbaum, New Yorker staff writer and Pulitzer Prize-winner

(pictured: Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer, "Broad City")

When we look at current and near-recent TV offerings like The Plot Against America, Unorthodox, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Transparent, Girls, Orange is the New Black, Grace and Frankie, and Broad City, and throw in Amy Schumer, Jenny Slate, Tiffany Haddish, and Sarah Silverman comedy specials, is it fair to say there's a "boom" of female Jewish characters afoot? To what extent does this phenomenon have to do with the changing face of creators behind the camera? What do these images say about American perceptions of Jewish women and how do they relate to their predecessors-- from Molly Picon and Mrs. Goldberg to Rhoda, Gilda Radner, Joan Rivers, The Nanny, Will & Grace, Friends, Mad Men, and Glee. In what ways are stereotypes morphing and evolving and, in pondering this, what can we learn about ourselves and the culture in which we live? Join the nation’s most illustrious and insightful television critic—New Yorker writer Emily Nussbaum—for a conversation that delves into never before charted territory. Moderated by JFI guest curator Caroline Libresco.

This Program is part of the Stories She Tells series, generously supported by the San Francisco Jewish Women's Fund, a program of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund.

EMILY NUSSBAUM, New Yorker staff writer and Pulitzer Prize-winner, is the author of I Like To Watch: Arguing My Way Through The TV Revolution, a collection that combines timely new works with previously published essays and profiles, mostly from her groundbreaking stint as TV critic at The New Yorker. Nussbaum previously worked as the culture editor at New York Magazine, where she created “The Approval Matrix” and wrote essays and profiles on multiple subjects, among them pop culture, feminism, and academia. In the past, she worked for Slate, where she wrote the “Summary Judgment” column; at The New York Times, where she wrote the “Reruns” column for the Arts and Leisure section; and at Lingua Franca and Nerve, among other publications. In 2014, she won the National Magazine Award for Columns and Commentary. In 2016, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, for “television reviews written with an affection that never blunts the shrewdness of her analysis or the easy authority of her writing.” She has a master’s in Poetry from New York University and a bachelor’s from Oberlin in English and Creative Writing.

CAROLINE LIBRESCO (Interviewer) is a leading film festival curator, producer, program strategist, and story consultant with 26 years of experience as an arbiter in the independent film sector. From 2001-2019, she was Senior Programmer for the Sundance Film Festival. She was Founding Director of Sundance Institute’s Catalyst Program, which raised $30+ million for 89 projects in its first six years. She also co-founded and directed Sundance Institute’s Women’s Program, a multi-faceted initiative working to create gender parity in independent film. Previously, she was an executive at ITVS, senior publicist for the SF International Film Festival, and associate director of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. Among her projects as creative producer are FANCI’S PERSUASION, starring Justin Vivian Bond; Tribeca FF Jury Prize-winner, SUNSET STORY; and Peabody Award-winner AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY: THE EVOLUTION OF GRACE LEE BOGGS. She also executive produced DISCLOSURE, which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Caroline is currently Senior Advisor to the Thessaloniki Film Festival, and is actively developing projects through her company Gabbert/Libresco Projects. She serves on the board of IDA, is a member of AMPAS, and appears widely on film juries and panels internationally. She holds an M.A. in History of Religion from Harvard University and an M.F.A. from UCLA Film School.  

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