Hickey also found that women are driving up the scores of some television shows aimed at female audiences. The female-reviews only score for “Sex and the City” would put it in the IMDb company of “Orange is the New Black”, “My So-Called Life”, “Pushing Daisies”, and “I Love Lucy”. One could argue that all of these shows also skew female in perspective and/or audience, but they maintain overall scores that place them among the top 20* reviewed American comedies on the site. Given that all of these are nearly universally considered “better” shows by professional critics, it is probably a good thing that the half of humanity outside the target audience provided 40% of “Sex and the City” reviews to temper target audience enthusiasm.
My guess at why there may exist such a divergence for some shows aimed at female audiences is that many attract a sizable minority of viewers who are not self-selected, and are thus less likely to write an “OMG! BEST SHOW EVER!!!” review. Entirely anecdotal, but within my social group, aside from common interest viewing, hetero couples are more likely to watch “her shows” together. That is, the female partner may view certain shows as a shared, couple-bonding experience, whereas the male partner may view certain shows as an individual or friend-bonding experience.
I know many couples who watch “The Bachelor” at the insistence of the female partner, but none who watch(ed?) “The League” at the insistence of the male partner. It is not unreasonable to expect these semi-willing viewers who like a show enough to watch at someone else’s suggestion, but who would not choose to watch it if left to their own devices, might give a show more lukewarm reviews.
*I am not proficient enough with IMDb to filter for nation of origin, so I just counted mainstream American shows from the top of their general comedy ratings. If I miscounted, it isn’t by much. Maybe they are all top 25. Regardless, all but “I Love Lucy” would qualitatively be around that place in many critic scores, while the much older and even more esteemed ILL is hurt by the recency bias that plagues such systems. Kids today.