PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Books

'Primetime Princess' and the Television Industry Standard

Primetime Princess is not only a witty beach read, it also contributes to the ongoing discussion about whether or not women can really have it all and what that sometimes mystical “all” actually entails.


Primetime Princess

Publisher: Amazon
Length: 336 pages
Author: Lindy DeKoven
Price: $14.95
Format: Paperback
Publication date: 2013-05
Amazon

Amazon—customers often love them. They have great prices, carry almost every title, and offer fabulous service. Writers and publishers may not always share this love. But for select writers, this may be starting to change. Since 2011, Amazon has been publishing book length works—just a few each year, but each year that number seems to grow. And if Lindy DeKoven’s novel Primetime Princess is any example, some authors may start to appreciate Amazon as much as customers do.

Primetime Princess tells the story of television exec Alexa Ross and her battle to climb the corporate ladder while maintaining her sanity, her moral compass, and her personal life. Author DeKoven is certainly qualified to write such a book; she’s a television veteran herself, and the press release for the book notes “Former NBC Executive Vice President Lindy DeKoven taps into her storied, real-life network television career for the release of Primetime Princess”. Alexa seems to be following in DeKoven’s successful footsteps: Alexa is the vice president of comedy development for a major television network, she has friends, a little bit of a life, and a dog. All this changes, however, when her former boss, Jerry Kellner, ends up working for her.

Alexa is an interesting character. She actually has some depth (considering the title this came as a pleasant surprise), and her struggles are timely. She wants to be a superstar in the television world, she wants to tutor underprivileged children, she wants a significant other (and time to spend with him)—in short, she wants it all, and she wants it while working in a “man’s” world. In trying to achieve these things, she makes a lot of mistakes—which is part of what makes her an interesting character. Half the conversations with boyfriend Gordon seem to begin or end with “I’m sorry”, and Alexa has some major apologizing to do to her best friend as well. Plus, her career isn’t going exactly as planned. But Alexa is a fighter—when Jerry goes after her job, she doesn’t give up—and while she may make some missteps, she never sinks to Jerry’s level.

Jerry’s character is decidedly less complicated—he’s pretty much a jerk and not always a completely believable one. You simply have to wonder why anyone would put up with much less promote someone who sends confidential emails to the press, sexually harasses just about everyone who isn’t male, and--here's the kicker--isn’t that good at their job. Granted, Alexa threatens to fire Jerry when he tells her: “Lex, baby, relax. You need to get laid. How long’s it been? You still using the vibrator? Seriously, drop that and get the real thing.” They both know it's an idle threat, though.

Plus, this seems to be the industry standard—it’s a world where men pressure their female colleagues to strip down and join them in a Jacuzzi and where television writers can contemplate: “Hey, I remember when I was at camp in the Catskills and this girl went off into the bushes…We were screaming, ‘Show us your tits,’ but then suddenly we see her squatting down and a string’s dangling from her ass. Was pretty gross. Hey, we could add something like that in the second act, ya know? I’d love to see the string dangling. That’d be great.”

Primetime Princess is a work of fiction; however, both the press release and praise for the book suggest that this book provides some type of behind the scenes look at the world of network television. Author Jennie Fields states “Both hilarious and thought-provoking, Primetime Princess reveals the male chauvinist world of network TV”. Granted, I sometimes wonder what kind of person it takes to come up with the offensive, stereotyping, and/or brain-numbing content that often fills the airwaves in the United States, but in my experience, it’s a little hard to imagine professionals behaving this badly (or coming up with some of the good stuff that manages to sneak onto network television).

On the other hand, Alexa’s response to mandatory sexual harassment training seems regrettably realistic: “I think this is a waste of time. Sexism and sexual harassment exist. Women are used to it. We live with it. It’s part of our environment. If we choose to challenge it, we get fired. Yes, it’s against the law, but women are afraid of losing their jobs. It is what it is.”

Moving on, kudos to Amazon for not skimping on the production costs. The book is smartly designed and uses a good quality paper—perhaps this shouldn’t be important, but it’s nice to see a paperback book made well—so many of them aren’t any more. This book also has the most interesting endorsements—in addition to several authors, actor Samuel L. Jackson and former Hoosier basketball coach Bob Knight praise the book.

It would have been nice if the same attention could have been paid to editing. Butterscotch is a word that should never be used as a modifier, and at times, the book just needed a little tightening—a little less back story, not quite so many descriptions of clothing, and a little less redundancy—chances are if someone is “crappy” and “pissed” they also feel “horrible”.

This book is not only a page-flipping, witty beach read, it also contributes to the ongoing discussion about whether or not women can really have it all and what the somewhat mystical “all” actually entails.

6

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Music

Peter Frampton Asks "Do You Feel Like I Do?" in Rock-Solid Book on Storied Career

British rocker Peter Frampton grew up fast before reaching meteoric heights with Frampton Comes Alive! Now the 70-year-old Grammy-winning artist facing a degenerative muscle condition looks back on his life in his new memoir and this revealing interview.

Books

Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.

Music

Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.

Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.

Music

The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller
Music

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.

Music

When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.

Music

20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.

Music

The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.

Books

Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.