Here's a tiny piece of unsolicited advice: if you are a man and someone, especially a journalist, asks you if you think women are funny, SAY NOTHING. It is a trap. Walk away.
If only someone had said this to "Two & A Half Men" co-creator Lee Aronsohn.
During an interview with "The Hollywood Reporter" about the possibility of a 10th season of his CBS series, Aronsohn let slide one or two opinions about a few shows helmed by women, and his comments went over about as well as you'd expect.
The male sitcom writer isn't a fan of the current crop of female-centered comedies like "Whitney" and "Two Broke Girls." "Enough ladies. I get it. You have periods," Aronsohn commented. He applauded women like Whitney Cummings, Chelsea Handler and Tina Fey securing a voice to discuss formerly taboo subjects on TV. "But we're approaching peak vagina on television, the point of labia saturation," he added.
Of course, we don't know if Aronsohn just volunteered these nuanced thoughts or if the reporter asked him leading questions, but we do know that if words could be likened to STDs, that Aronsohn suffers from a particularly nasty case of verbal chlamydia.
Such statements often leave us wondering if only girls were raised with the principle, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Sure, if you're a reality television star or Olympia Dukakis in "Steel Magnolias" you'd do well to disregard that advice, but if you're a regular person with a Twitter handle, it's a crucial precept. But it would seem that as far as men like Aronsohn are concerned, the phrase is, "If you can't say something nice, say it about women."
Or maybe Aronsohn was suffering from a case of extreme exhaustion, like the one that sparked "Kony 2012" creator Jason Russell's recent public breakdown. Perhaps when he said, "What makes men damaged? Sorry, it's women. I never got my heart broken by a man..." he was merely suffering from the last ten years of exhausting, thankless work, the culmination of which was getting his heart broken by Charlie Sheen (by all accounts, a man).
Whatever the reason for Aronsohn's comments, he should have known better. Nothing good comes from a man talking about whether he thinks women are funny or not.
"But I DO think women are funny," you might be saying to yourself. "Doesn't that make my opinion on the subject ok?"
In a word, no.
There are a few possible outcomes to your answering a question about whether or not women are funny, and they're all bad.
You think women aren't funny, you say so, you sound like the scrotum clamp you are.
You know characterizing an entire gender as either funny or not funny is ridiculous, but you can't quite think of any women you find particularly funny, you say as much, you sound like someone who speaks jackass as a second language.
You think plenty of women are funny and you can name several of your favorites off the top of your head, you say so, the reporter titles the story, "Are Women Funny After All?" and makes you sound like a pandering twat, your comedian girlfriend breaks up with you because she thinks you're only with her because you want to date a comic and she's right, now you feel creeped out every time you watch clips of HBO's "Women of the Night" on YouTube which used to be your favorite thing, and life is just a little bit worse from now on.
You think all women are funny, every last one of them, you say so, you sound like you have a bag of human skin in your closet and you do, you're arrested.
So you see, there's no upside to this conversation. We're rooting for you guys, but you have to help us help you. We're not saying you can't say "Whitney" or "2 Broke Girls" are bad shows, but just say they're bad shows for the same reasons "Two & A Half Men" is: shallow and stereotypical characters spouting paint-by-number dialogue that appeals to television audiences' lowest, most mundane standards. That's not a vagina argument; that's an any-kind-of-bathing-suit-area argument. And we welcome it.
However, one concession must be made. Aronsohn's diatribe did introduce the concept of "peak vagina" into the national conversation, and for that we are truly grateful.
Follow Carol Hartsell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/carolrhartsell