For years, our small screens were awash in angsty male antiheros. Dark and tortured Don Draper types who wouldn’t know fierce if it kicked them in the cojones. Lately though, the TV tide seems to be shifting with a surplus of super fly females from surgeons to sorority queen bees. To mark the moment in Grrrrrrl Power, we’re rounding up the most butt-kicking women on the boob tube each week.
Mindy Lahiri, The Mindy Project
Danny is finally back from taking care of his dad in California, and wants to know why Mindy has opted to keep working rather than stay at home with baby Leo. Her response—that if having a full-time parent at home is so important to Danny, maybe he should be the one to give up his career—only gets a scoff from her old-fashioned fiancé (who clearly needs a crash course in “because it’s 2015” mentality). By the episode’s end Danny suggests that running a fertility clinic is something Mindy could do “on weekends” as a “hobby,” while she continues to churn out babies. Seems like things are bound to get worse before they get better, but props to Lahiri’s off-screen alter ego Mindy Kaling for tackling the kinds of prickly real-life conflicts that don’t often get raised in sitcoms.
Fierce factor: 3/5 Beyoncés
Marcia Clark, American Crime Story: The People v. OJ Simpson
Hard to believe it’s been more than twenty years since the celebrity trial that started it all, though Clark’s fury around violence against women feels distinctly (and depressingly) contemporary: “This is outrageous. Eight 911 calls. The police were called out there eight times. Nicole had a bruised face, black eye, bleeding lip. OJ broke a windshield with a baseball bat. God, the system failed her. You know what really pisses me off? This went on for years. All that battery before he was even arrested.”
Fierce factor: 4/5 Beyoncés
Beyoncé, The Super Bowl
Beyoncé stole the show from the Super Bowl’s actual halftime headliners Coldplay, and the only real surprise is that anyone seems to be even a bit surprised by this. (On what planet does the Queen of Fierceness not eclipse a quartet of British bedwetters? But anyway…) Accompanied by backup dancers wearing Black Panther-style berets, she performed her new insta-classic “Formation,” a song about race and power and the bad-assery of having hot sauce in one’s purse. Her ability to dance on the grass in heels has already been compared to Jesus walking on water. (Meanwhile, people are comparing Coldplay to Katy Perry’s left shark.)
Fierce factor: 5/5 Beyoncés (obviously)