I don't feel prepared to assess the career and ouvre of Neil Simon. I think his reputation, which has pretty much plummetted over the last ten years, will continue to slide for another thirty or fifty, and then it wouldn't surprise me if it went much higher. I mean, I'll probably be beyond surprise at that point, but still. In the end, I think the misogyny and rape culture that permeate his work will be seen as reflecting the culture, more than as personal failings. Still.
What I really want, though, is not an assessment of Neil Simon's actual career, but an alternate-history story about Your Show of Shows (and its successors) where instead of the writers' room being nine guys and one woman who went on to dominate the American comedy scene for fifty years, it was nine women and one dude. I don't know exactly who would replace Neil Simon, Mel Brooks, Larry Gelbart, Woody Allen, Carl Reiner and Joseph Stein—Selma Diamond would still be there, of course, and Gertrude Berg as the head writer, and maybe Rose Marie and Elaine Stritch and... Adele Styler? Patricia Highsmith? Stella Adler? I mean, obviously, there were very few women writing comedy (or plays) in the real 1950s and 1960s in America, so the alternate-history would need to make some up, or lure some in from other fields. If the work that was lucrative was joke-writing for variety shows, would Flannery O'Connor have written jokes for variety shows?
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,