• Debra Berry


Wade Rouse is one of my favorite authors. He is a noted humorist of four critically-acclaimed memoirs, and under the pen name of Viola Shipman, his grandmother’s name, he has authored nine novels which honor the woman whose heirlooms and family stories inspire his fiction.

Currently, I am reading his newest novel The Clover Girls, about the friendship of four female friends who grew up in the 80’s and reconnect again in the present. In one chapter, the friends talk about playing “You TV.” I thought it was a great game, and I immediately knew I wanted to share it with you. It went something like this: they selected a TV show with female characters, like The Golden Girls or The Facts of Life, then each friend selected another friend

that best fit the role of one of the female characters.

Well this took me down a rabbit hole. I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, so I started researching TV shows from both decades with female characters. Female TV characters in the 50’s were depicted primarily as housewives. Do you remember or maybe you heard of Harriet Nelson, June Cleaver, Margaret Anderson, Donna Stone, and Lucy Ricardo?

In the 60’s TV shows began depicting single women with careers outside the home like, Marlo Thomas as an aspiring actress in That Girl and Diahann Carroll as a nurse in Julia.

In the late 70’s, we began seeing shows about groups of women starting with Charlie's Angels.

In addition to The Golden Girls and The Facts of Life, Designing Women became a popular series about a group of women in the 80’s.

The 90’s brought us Sex in the City, and in 2004 Desparate Housewifes came onto the scene.

In the last ten years, we have been given more shows with strong and diverse women characters like, Orange is the New Black and Call the Midwife.

OK, I warned you I went down the rabbit hole. I played “You TV” with myself and here is what I came up with from The Golden Girls - I am Dorothy Zbornak, sarcastic, introspective, compassionate, and fiercely protective of those considered family.

I hope you will consider creating an opportunity to play “You TV,” with a group of your friends. I am looking forward to playing it soon with my friends, now that we will soon be able to gather again!

One more thing, be sure to check out Viola Shipman’s novels at I have read them all. They are a great read!

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