If, like me, you’re neither a voracious non-fiction reader nor television writer, you’ll still feel right at home opening up to Nell Scovell’s autobiography, Just the Funny Parts … and a Few Hard Truths About Sneaking Into the Hollywood Boys’ Club. Scovell’s witty candor uses her experience as a screenwriter for productions such as NCIS, The Simpsons, Charmed, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch (among others) to offer a behind-the-scenes look at pop culture that feels, at once, both comfortable and hilariously odd.
Written in perfect harmony with the #MeToo movement, Scovell does not shy away from calling out the male roadblocks in her career. Her pointed truths are telling, empowering, and, dare I say, change-making? But this is not the only inspiring factor: the magic is in the details.
The suspense of writing a really good joke — one that is told by Barack Obama himself. The excitement of working closely with Sheryl Sandberg on Lean In. The heartbreak of being temporarily jobless. Nell Scovell takes the reader through her life one triumph (and failure) at a time, laying it all out graciously, so that we can flourish from her experiences.
This book only tells part of the story, however. Scovell herself calls out her lack of incremental support for women of color. It’s challenging to see that while her book attempts to dispel Hollywood’s classic power structure, she often leaves behind her non-white brothers and sisters. In this, she absolutely should have done more.
It’s easy to see that humans are inherently imperfect. This novel captures both the strengths and weaknesses of a Jewish female writer in Hollywood who has “made it.” As it turns out, sometimes the truth can be even more compelling than fiction, especially when the product is distributed directly in front of our eyes. If you take the time to read Just the Funny Parts, you’ll likely understand that a real-life sequel must be soon to come.
/written by Asia Cruz