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Is Television Ready for Angry Women?

Noxon’s Twitter profile still alludes to the controversy: “I ruined Buffy,” it says, “and I will RUIN YOU TOO.”

Until Noxon left Buffy, a show she describes as “this little enclave of feminist thought and respect for female voices,” she didn’t fully realize how male-dominated the TV industry was. The end of Buffy, she says, was “like being thrown from a moving car at 60 miles per hour.” She wrote for a couple of shows for Fox, then in 2005 moved to ABC, where she wrote for Shondaland, the production company of the TV powerhouse Shonda Rhimes. Noxon had a pathway for success laid out for her there, but she wasn’t happy. “On Grey’s,” she says, “we were doing 22 or 24 [episodes each season] and it was like, ‘Well, I guess they’re gonna have sex again.’?” She’d met Matthew Weiner, the creator of Mad Men, on a writers’ strike picket line, and after she quit her deal with ABC, Weiner asked her to work on his show.

Her stint on Mad Men lasted two seasons, and she describes it as “the best writing class I never had.” Weiner, she says, “was one of this generation of writers that had a certain rigor about writing that wasn’t formulaic. He could be so searing and funny, but also maintain this tone.” Having come from the frenetic energy of network television, she was relieved to be allowed to write scenes that lasted more than two pages.

Late in 2017, a former writer on Mad Men, Kater Gordon, accused Weiner of sexual harassment, claiming that Weiner, her boss, had told her she owed it to him to let him see her naked. In a series of tweets, Noxon affirmed Gordon’s account, saying she remembered how “shaken and subdued” Gordon had been the

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