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Pamela Adlon

Today's sitcoms show a wider range of realistic, and funny, women

It took decades for the women of sitcoms to climb past simply serving their men to being lovable ditzes. But today's female characters have emerged from that bunker — some literally — into a spotlight of their own.

In shows new ("Broad City," "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt") and a little less new ("Louie," "Girls"), women are coming into their own in edgier, more center-stage kind of ways. They can be bruisingly honest and independent with no problem saying no; or an odd couple of wild id and responsible ego bound by real caring; or a trauma survivor who's stayed perky with only occasional outbursts of homicidal rage. Sometimes they're writing...