The Best (and Worst) Leading Ladies of 2011 - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

The Best (and Worst) Leading Ladies of 2011

December 26, 2011 by  

The year is almost over, and looking back on 2011’s new shows, there is an obvious trend: Women rule.

All aside from a few of 2011’s new shows feature a female protagonist. Even the few shows that don’t have a leading lady make a big deal of reaffirming that, hey, male protagonists do exist! Just look at the titles for LAST MAN STANDING, HOW TO BE A GENTLEMAN and MAN UP.

See what I mean?

To celebrate this TV sisterhood, I’m going to name my three favorite TV leading ladies of the year. And just for fun, I’m going to name my three least favorite leading ladies because, let’s be honest, not all of them are that great.

But because I don’t have time to watch all of these new female-focused shows, we’re going to let you vote for your favorite and least favorite leading ladies of 2011. So don’t get mad at me because I don’t choose Emma from ONCE UPON A TIME or Carrie from HOMELAND, okay?

Best Leading Ladies of 2011


I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes Jess annoys me. I mean, seriously, a woman who has had a long-term relationship with a man can’t even say “penis”? That’s just ridiculous, and there tend to be a lot of moments like this in NEW GIRL. But Jess is on this list partly because I love Zooey Deschanel. If anyone could have made Jess somewhat realistic and likable, it’s her. The other reason Jess is on this list is because underneath all of that absurdity, she’s just trying to do the right thing — she just gets lost along the way. I’m looking forward to seeing how she grows as a character and how her earnestness will continue to chip away at her cynical roommates and those around her.

Emily Thorne (REVENGE)

When I was talking to my equally TV-obsessed mom about this list, she immediately knew I would include Emily Thorne. REVENGE is my favorite new show of the season, and I pretty much can’t stop talking about it to everyone I know. Critics keep calling it a soap opera, and I suppose it is, but it’s too smart to be just that. It keeps me guessing every week, and each character, even the minor ones, surprisingly seems to play a key role in Emily’s revenge scheme. No other character is more important than Emily herself, though, and her increasing struggle between her head and her heart (I’m definitely a Jack fan) makes her more compelling as the season continues. Plus, Emily VanCamp, who plays Amanda, used to be on EVERWOOD — how could I not like her?

Tessa Altman (SUBURGATORY)

This last spot was a little tougher for me to choose, but I’m going to give it to Tessa Altman. I’m a sucker for characters close to my age who have a lot of wit and an independent streak — another favorite leading lady of mine is Veronica Mars — and Tessa fits that perfectly. Tessa also loves Halloween as much as I do, so that earned her brownie points. But just because she’s witty and independent doesn’t mean she doesn’t make mistakes, such as turning the school newspaper into a tabloid. She’s still growing up, which makes her relatable and all the more charming. If young girls are watching any TV show, I hope it’s this one instead of a certain show featuring bratty teens (see my picks for worst leading ladies).

Worst Leading Ladies of 2011

Kate, Eve and Abby (CHARLIE’S ANGELS)

To be fair, I didn’t watch CHARLIE’S ANGELS when it was on. I saw the promo and that was enough to scare me away. But I tried to watch as much as I could for this article, and my opinion of the show didn’t change — it’s possible it made me dislike it even more. Any time a show features kickass females fighting crime in the tallest heels I have ever seen, I’m skeptical. (Think of all the twisted ankles!) I’ll give the show credit for having a diverse cast, but the acting, writing and plot were abysmal. I knew the outlook for the show wasn’t good when I heard the line, “We’re not saints. We’re angels.” These leading ladies were stiff and not much fun, which is the opposite of what they should have been. It’s a shame, but it looks as though these angels should have stayed in the past.

Annie Watson and Nikki Miller (I HATE MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER)

As someone who is close to her mom and is a devout fan of GILMORE GIRLS, I figured I wouldn’t enjoy I HATE MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER. And guess what? I was right! Sure, I chuckled here and there, and I do like Jaime Pressly and Katie Finneran, but I cannot get over how awful these women are. They understandably hate their bratty daughters, who are the most one-dimensional children on TV, but the worst part is that they hate themselves. They doubt almost every decision they make, one insult can ruin their day, and Nikki is perfectly thin yet so self-conscious about her weight. I watched one episode of this show and fell asleep during the second. That’s how much I hate I HATE MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER.

Whitney (WHITNEY)

I’ve seen an episode and a half of WHITNEY, and I can honestly say that I cannot stand its protagonist. I applaud Whitney Cummings for being involved in not one, but two shows this season (the other being 2 BROKE GIRLS), but I don’t find Whitney relatable or that likable. Every joke that comes out of her mouth is too self-congratulatory and self-aware, as though the whole point of the show is to realize how clever Whitney is (and that pretty much does seem to be the whole point of the show). This just rubs me the wrong way. I like a character who can be clever yet down-to-earth, and I haven’t seen that in Whitney yet. And the only episode I’ve seen? I only watched it because it had puppies in it. Well played, Whitney. Well played.

More Shows Featuring Leading Ladies to Look Forward To:






Agree? Disagree? Make sure to vote for your favorite leading lady, and explain who got your vote in the comments below!

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7 Responses to “The Best (and Worst) Leading Ladies of 2011”

  1. Sally on December 26th, 2011 12:54 pm

    My favorite leading lady is Emma Swan, she’s strong, she’s independent and totally adorable! Can’t wait for Once Upon A Time to come back in 2012!

  2. Leonardo on December 26th, 2011 2:23 pm

    I disagree. I think Emma Swan is one of the worst leads of 2011. She is making everyone route for Regina and it should be the opposite.

  3. Gillian on December 26th, 2011 3:10 pm

    Emma Swan ! she’s awesome

  4. buttons on December 26th, 2011 7:22 pm

    Emma Swan is awesome.Best leading women! She is stong and independant. can’t wait for ouat to come back!

  5. nora on December 27th, 2011 6:56 am

    Emma is my favourite leading lady …love her and Jennifer Morrison!!

  6. sandy on December 30th, 2011 2:41 pm

    My favorite leading lady isBones/Brennan!!!! Emily Deschanel is the most underrated actress imo. Snhe can go from being serious to laughing and then to crying all in one SCENE, and that is very hard to do !!!!! I love the show!!!!!

  7. Joy on January 2nd, 2012 1:53 pm

    ^Umm, it’s best leading lady from a NEW show.
    That being said, I love Emma Swan. She’s a complicated lady in a REALLY complicated situation – and that’s BEFORE you throw in the whole Regina is the evil witch and the town is under a curse thing. Just -being the one who gave up her kid, dealing with said kid who sees her as the town savior, dealing with the woman who adopted him who is definitely a piece of work, a real “witch” who may have seriously managed to scramble the kid’s brains to the point that he’s
    delusional… AND being a foster kid who’s never had a real family to begin with – would be enough for most people to just WALK AWAY. The fact that she cares too much and is tough enough to deal with these things make her great to watch. Then yeah, there’s also the whole, “there are strange things going on this town that don’t add up and what if the kid ISN’T delusional” aspect that pops into her head from time to time. Really, she’s the best leading lady, and OUAT is the best, most creative, new show.