Negative Nellies Watching Rating System
We do reviews in most episodes of TV shows, movies, podcasts, books — you name it. The Negative Nellies Watching rating system was inspired by Amber Knight’s Black Chick Watching system. Amber encouraged everyone to devise their own system for watching and rating. We do not publish what we’ve rated here — you’ll have to listen to the shows!
Everything we rate starts out with 10 points, and we deduct points based on these criteria:
Lack of good visuals
Beating the Drum
We recently became aware of the Bechdel Test for movies, TV, books and more — is there a scene where two women talking about something other than a man? You, like we were, may be surprised at how few and far between these are. Or even two women talking at all. As we thought more about it — and watched more TV — we came up with our own expansion. While this isn’t part of the NNW system, it’s something we do frequently discuss.
A conversation — about anything — between two women
A conversation — about anything — between two named female characters
A conversation — about anything — between two women who are significant characters
A conversation between two women that isn’t about a man or men
A conversation between two women when there’s a man in the scene [You’d be surprised how many scenes on TV shows and movies have a bunch of women standing around as the man commands the center of attention]
A conversation between two women that’s doesn’t involve a female cop interviewing a female suspect or witness
A conversation between two women in which one later doesn’t end up being a victim [when one does, conversation is mostly an introduction set-up for that]
A major positive (or likable) female character who is overweight/middle-aged/considered in some way to be conventionally unattractive
A major positive (or likable) female character who is overweight/middle-aged/considered in some way to be conventionally unattractive who has a real love interest who doesn’t later turn out to be a murderer, con man etc.
Female characters central to the plot who aren’t strippers or hookers
A professional group of central to the story who are not strippers or hookers that has more than one woman or where women have representation that reflects real life
A girlfriend/wife/love interest for a male protagonist who’s his age or older (and if she is his age or older, it’s a good, strong relationship)
A strong female character who doesn’t become the love interest of the male protagonist
A strong female character who doesn’t become a victim
Passing the test
It’s not a scientific measure, by any means, but in our TV and movie watching and book reading since we began discussing this in November 2021, here is what we’ve found that passes a signifcant number of the test’s requirements. Yes, it’s a short list:
The Madame Blanc Mysteries, created and starring Sally Lindsey, and available for viewing in the U.S. on Acorn.
Call the Midwife, available for viewing in the U.S. on PBS.