Sometimes, history is made when we least expect it.
For audiences of a certain generation, The Goldbergs (not to be confused with the present sitcom of the same name), was worth the wait every week for a new episode. But for younger generations, the ground breaking series and it’s creator/star, Gertrude Berg is an unknown.
As a younger viewer who was decades away from being born when the series was originally on the air, I appreciate this documentary. Gertrude Berg was a woman ahead of her time. Without her, we would not have the modern sitcom as we know it to be today. She was also upfront about the antisemitism that existed back then, which is a topic that 70 years later, is still sadly relevant.
Art has one of two roles when it comes to reflecting the reality of the world we live in: it either reflects an ideal world which more often than not, is impossible to reach. Or, it reflects the reality of the normal person going about their business.
It should be no surprise that for most of history, men have controlled everything, including art. But in the world of television, change is finally coming.
She starts off the book with nods to the unappreciated female OG’s of television (Gertrude Berg and Lucille Ball) and then moves forward to acknowledge the groundbreaking 1990s shows Murphy Brown (led by Diane English) and Roseanne (Roseanne Barr). She then talks about how modern female showrunners and producers are changing the portrayal of women on television. The list of women profiled in the book includes uber-successful producer Shonda Rhimes and actress/comedian Amy Schumer.
I really loved this book. Not only is it well written, but it speaks to the woman who is looking for the courage to follow her own path, even if it means diverging from the tried and true. I also appreciated the shout-out to Gertrude Berg whose name is unknown to most modern television audiences (unless that is, you are above a certain age), but with her trail-blazing path, the television industry would not be what it is today.