You’re about to meet a troop of female protagonists who neutralize the status quo. And you’re bound to fall in love with every single one of them. This shortlist celebrates female-forward shows that are brazen, modern, and guaranteed to make you laugh - hard. They represent a zany, irreverent, almost masculine side of femininity that deserves to be seen. Hopefully you’ve had the pleasure of watching some of them, but if not, you’re in for a treat! Ready?
Phoebe Waller-Bridge breaks the rules - and the fourth wall - to introduce us to Fleabag. A grief-struck woman living in London who is very clever and often drunk. Flirtation is Fleabag’s native tongue but her facial expressions speak every language.
Throughout the show, our anti-heroine flashes a side-eyed direct address that makes you feel like you’re in on a little secret. Then she says something cheeky. “Do I have a massive asshole?” An introspective question after a late-night companion slid in through the backdoor without much ado. Or lube.
Fleabag flirts with a doctor performing her breast exam, frenches a priest in God’s house, and masturbates to a video of Barack Obama giving a speech. Thanks for keeping it real, Fleabag!
How to Watch: Amazon Prime
The final season of Broad City just wrapped. It’s sad, but at least you’ll be able to blast through all five seasons without interruption. YAS QUEEN! Broad City follows best friends Abbi and Ilana who make the underbelly of New York City their bitch.
They may be broke and messy but they are also creative and free and not preoccupied by the former. Whether it’s sneaking weed through airport security in the fronthole, or pegging the neighbor, Abbi and Ilana push the feminine divine into its fully naughty, realistic, and unfiltered glory.
Broad City does humankind a favor. They normalize sex and gender fluidity, portray the female body honestly, and make space for women to embrace the scrappy, witchy, filthy parts of themselves. One more YAS QUEEN for that.
How To Watch: Hulu
For anyone who grew up in the 90s, particularly on the periphery of the cool kids, Pen15 is an unwieldy but cathartic trip down memory lane. Maya and Anna do their best to navigate the awkwardness of middle school and the tumult of being 13 year old girls.
You can’t help but laugh/cry watching the hormone-induced ups and downs of the girls’ first kisses, secret periods, and best friendship. “You are my actual rainbow gel pen in a sea of blue and black writing utensils.” The show doesn’t shy away from higher stakes issues like bullying, racism, and death, which is tenderly witnessed through the curious and credulous lens of girlhood.
Pen15 is well-observed on the 90s middle school perspective, as demonstrated by Stussys, Circle One: Yes No Maybe, and Ace Ventura butt talking. The awkward innocence paired with 90s nostalgia and music will not steal your sunshine. Duh, GOD!
How to Watch: Hulu
Rebecca Bunch is a successful lawyer in New York City who leaves it all behind to follow her dreams, er, her high-school ex-boyfriend to West Covina, California. But she’s NOT crazy. In fact, she’s as lovable as Lucille Ball.
Over the course of four seasons, Rebecca contends with the stability of her relationships, career, and mental health. She learns that love’s not a game, antidepressants are so not a big deal, and that you can get-get-get bi with a little help from your friends.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has over 100 original musical numbers that span just about every genre. Theater lovers and plebs alike will be able to relate to the comedic songs that support each episode. They cover everything from sexuality, mental health, feminism, ripping wax off your asshole before date night, and being a good person. “Newsflash fuckwads, I’m a good person.”
How to Watch: Netflix
In the first episode of Insecure, It becomes evident that Issa Rae is a boss. Her show centers around two best friends, Issa and Molly, that lead very different lives but are inexorably linked by friendship. The pick-your-friend-up-from-the-airport kind of friendship. It’s deep. Molly DID bring a souvenir back for Issa… a jar of sand. "It reminded me of your dry-ass pussy.”
The soundtrack, spearheaded by Solange Knowles, is lit. Much like the show itself, the music is fresh and soulful at the same time. Additionally, Issa’s character is an aspiring rapper so we get to hear edgy lyrics about pussy. Thaaaank you!
Insecure has incisive insights into life as a woman of color. The show takes everyday experiences like breaking up and working in a white-women dominated non-profit, and then peels back the obstacles women of color face in contemporary society. “Black women aren’t bitter, we’re just tired of being expected to settle for less.”
How to Watch: HBO
Orange Is the New Black
Lesbians and prison and crime, oh my! Yes, just like your fantasies. OITNB is coming to a close after seven seasons where Piper Chapman and her fellow inmates navigated the challenges of living in Litchfield Penitentiary.
This show pushed the limits of television by allowing women to be 100% human. You see Piper on the toilet, Crazy Eyes authoring an inter-species sex series, and a diverse group of women doing the best they can in desperate situations.
“Girls like me? We don't fuck ignorant, pretentious old men with weird lesbian obsessions. We go for tall, hot girls, and we fucking love it. So that leaves you on the outside, living your sad, sad little life.”
How to Watch: Netflix
At Home With Amy Sedaris
If you are looking for tips on how to be a great host and homemaker, then look no further than Amy Sedaris. She is creative, kooky, and an OG in the DIY department. Hopefully you’ve already seen Strangers With Candy. More than once…
Amy has you covered for all your hospitality needs whether someone is getting married or has died. Her star-studded guest list includes hilarious hosts like Justin Theroux, Rachel Dratch, Neil Patrick Harris, Jane Krakowski, and Stephen Colbert.
“You know, it’s been said, crafting is the art of turning things nobody wants into things people feel bad about throwing away.”
How to Watch: Tru TV
And that’s a wrap! Which women-centric comedic shows do you love that didn’t make the list?