This article contains information that could be considered too revealing according to our spoiler policy. Proceed with caution. You can't unsee it!Reason The show premieres a couple of days after this post's publication; we got screeners.
Should You Fall In Line With Good Girls Revolt?
Amazon's '60s newsroom drama is here, but will it leave you feeling groovy?
What Is This Thing?
Amazon's latest original show focuses on female journalists at a fictional magazine, News Of The Week, in the late '60s. Women at the publication are only hired as researchers, while male employees get the credit and bylines. In comes Nora Ephron -- yes, THAT Nora Ephron -- to shake things up. She refuses to accept the newsroom's "that's how it's done here, sweetheart" environment, and inspires the other women to start questioning their roles in the workplace.
When Is It On?
The first season streams on Amazon starting Friday, October 28.
Why Was It Made Now?
The show was teased during Amazon's pilot season last fall before being picked up for a full season.
What's Its Pedigree?
It's based on the book The Good Girls Revolt by Lynn Povich, which chronicles the true story of a group of female Newsweek employees who, in 1970, filed a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in which they claimed that they had been victims of gender discrimination by the magazine.
The show stars Anna Camp (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Pitch Perfect); Genevieve Angelson (Backstrom); and Erin Darke (Don't Think Twice) as the titular good girls -- researchers who are desensitized to the barrage of sexism thrown at them every day. Grace Gummer, taking a break from Mr. Robot, plays our instigator Nora Ephron. Joy Bryant (Parenthood), Chris Diamantopoulos (Silicon Valley), Hunter Parrish (Weeds), and Jim Belushi (According To Jim) make appearances in supporting roles.
It's charming. Angelson's take on Patty, a not-so-low-key flower child with a true passion for her work, is fresh and honest. After decades of film and television portrayals of progressive young people in the '60s, it would have been easy for Patty to come off as one-dimensional and stock, but under Angelson's care, Patty is sincere, vivacious, and sweetly naïve.
Gummer's Ephron is not a far cry from her role as Dominique DiPerro on Mr. Robot: they're both fiercely smart, disillusioned young women, trying to be taken seriously in a profession where they're constantly ordered to ignore their instincts and do as they're told.
It's fascinating to watch this tale almost solely from the perspective of women. The '60s and '70s have been explored in pop cultre almost ad nauseam, but there's something fun and enticing about a period drama where women making trouble is the point when we've only seen fragments of these early feminists on television before now. On Mad Men, Peggy and Joan had bursts of feminist behavior every few seasons, but it's gratifying to watch this group of women take it a step farther. The revolution is being waged behind the camera, too: the pilot is written and directed by women. (There are men in the mix too, but they're mostly incidental boyfriends and bosses, not the reason we're here.)
Despite the fatigue I may feel with this time period's portrayal in scripted media, this story feels fresh and worthy of attention.
The period setting is heavy-handed at times. There's talk of Rolling Stone, weed, and "love-ins" (which, according to Patty, are NOT orgies). The music choices are obvious ones that don't do anything more than remind us of the decade. And the sexism is abundant and, at times, cringeworthy. Watching Jim Belushi catcall a woman passing him on the sidewalk is upsetting on a deep level. Hunter Parrish's character is so whiny as to be eyeroll-inducing. (On that note, would a man in 1969 really tell a woman that he had blue balls? When did that myth get introduced into American society?)
These are problems that could soften over the course of a season, when the show settles into itself and, I hope, allows for a more subtle, nuanced approach to the time period -- something the show's writers could actually pickup from re-watching the first season of Mad Men.
I didn't quite know what to expect from this show. I wanted to like it, but I was wary of another show set in the '60s, and in a newsroom, and playing fast and loose with the likeness of Nora Ephron, who was a true queen. I was so glad to come away not only liking it, but itching to watch the rest of the season. I want to see how these women band together and fight the powers that be!
If you have any love for feisty women challenging the status quo, you'll get a kick out of this show. I know there are so many prestige dramas nowadays, but, if you have the attention span for one more, give Good Girls Revolt a chance.