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What Fall TV’s Leading Ladies Can Teach Us

Everything I need to know in life I learned from television. From Punky Brewster, I learned not to shut myself in an abandoned refrigerator. From Get Smart, I got my impeccable comedic timing. From Full House, I learned that there’s no crippling eating disorder that can’t be cured with a little pep talk from Dad. This season, television is full of wisdom from some very funny, very complicated, and very sharp women. Here’s what we’ve learned so far. 
  • Zooey Deschanel in "New Girl"

    When your live-in boyfriend cheats on you and leaves you humiliated, break up with him immediately. Do not equivocate, do not dither, do not pass Go, just leave. Even if he has really shiny hair.
    Photo credit: Isabella Vosmikova/FOX

  • Amy Poehler in "Parks and Recreation"

    Murphy’s Law dictates that just at the moment that you land the guy you’ve been pining over, you’ll have an amazing career opportunity. It’s okay to choose your career over the guy.
    Photo credit: Ron Tom/NBC

  • Christina Applegate in "Up All Night"

    It’s possible for a grown woman to be needier than a four-month-old baby. Unfortunately, sometimes that woman is your boss.
    Photo credit: Trey Patton/NBC

  • Kelly Macdonald in "Boardwalk Empire"

    Behind every great man is a great woman. And behind every bootlegging kingpin is a woman willing to lie, steal, and burn the evidence.
    Photo credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO

  • Beth Behrs in "2 Broke Girls"

    Sometimes in life, when your father loses all his money and you end up living with a comically opposite stranger in a suspiciously spacious apartment in Brooklyn, there’s a horse in your backyard. Don’t ask questions, just go with it.
    Photo credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

  • Kelli Garner in "Pan Am"

    It’s a well-known fact that in the ’60s, some stewardesses were totally spies. Look it up.
    Photo credit: Patrick Harbron/ABC

  • Poppy Montgomery in "Unforgettable"

    Just because you can dye your hair red doesn’t mean you should. Have the courage to accept the limitations of your skin tone.
    Photo credit: Heather Wines/CBS

  • Sarah Wayne Callies in "The Walking Dead"

    When your husband is in a coma during the zombie outbreak and you end up sleeping with his best friend, it’s best to sit on that secret for a while. Wait until you stop running for your lives, then fix your marriage.
    Photo credit: Gene Page/AMC

  • Laura Dern in "Enlightened"

    Having a spiritual awakening doesn’t automatically make life easier. Unless all the people in your life have also had spiritual awakenings. But they probably haven’t, so they’re going to give you some crap.
    Photo credit: Prashant Gupta/HBO

  • Jane Lynch in "Glee"

    You have to stand up for what you believe. Even if what you believe is wildly unpopular, like eliminating arts programs in schools. It’s the principle, you know?
    Photo credit: 20thC.Fox/Everett/Rex Features

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