“Good Girls Revolt” is about women in Washington, D.C. who actively transform journalism into a more relevant, socially aware, and representative field. Creator Dana Calvo gives us a woman’s glimpse into the rapidly changing 1960s.
In AMC’s “Mad Men,” women have significant places in the shaping of the story, but the male-dominated world of advertising is often seen through the man’s point of view.
Enter “Good Girls Revolt,” the tale of women who work at “News of the Week” (yep, it’s basically “Newsweek”) in the 1960s.
“Good Girls Revolt” highlights challenging and changing gender roles and the way journalism itself changed: publications like “Rolling Stone” became relevant and standard news publications realized they needed to cover pop culture or fade into failure.
The first episode is online right now for Amazon Prime subscribers. The rest of the first season follows at the end of October. And yes, we do see a charismatic and defiant representation of Nora Ephron.
Here’s what I loved about the first episode:
While it isn’t written as fast as Aaron Sorkin’s “Newsroom” dialogue, it’s pithy and witty. Often, characters will have conversations that overlap in a way the audience can still process. Each woman has a distinct personality and background.
While the male characters aren’t the focus, it’s clear they’re the current world-shapers. Jim Belushi’s portrayal of aptly named ‘Wick’ is an illustrative example of boisterous intent: realizing that the world is changing and recognizing one’s privilege, even if simply from a professional standpoint.
That said, “Good Girls Revolt” is hardly a collection of character actors.
Representation of Women of Color
None of the main characters in the show are women of color. As it’s based on history, I understand that women of color were (and still are) systemically, socially, and legally barred from many avenues, professional and otherwise.
That doesn’t make an excuse for invisibility, however, and the first episode of “Good Girls Revolt” gives credit where it’s due.
Joy Bryant portrays Eleanor Holmes Norton. In the show, Norton helps educate women about equality and health care. In real life ,Norton advanced in public service and is now an accomplished congresswoman in the District of Columbia.
Here’s what our white female protagonists do when they show up to Norton’s meeting: not much. They show up and listen respectfully. Modern fair-skinned feminists should take note.
IMDB lists Bryant in appearance for all eight episodes in the first season, so let’s hope she remains a major force. While her character doesn’t work in the newsroom, I still have to wonder why she isn’t on the poster. There’s definitely room for one more.
East Coast or West Coast; Love or Career?
The show brings up multiple themes within its first episode, proving it will become as fast-paced and complex as its characters. Patti (Genevieve Angelson), one of the researchers at “News of the Week,” has lived in both the nation’s capital and on the west coast. Her manner of dress and behavior shows the very serious difference in lifestyle, and it also gives her a professional advantage when it’s time to track down a counterculture source and gain trust.
We immediately see that Patti must often choose between romance and career. Her reporter – because yes, the women are just researchers who assist reporters even though they’re capable of crafting stories themselves – wants her to make him a romantic priority.
Patti remains focused on her job.
Sexuality and Sexual Revolution
Though not discussed significantly in this episode, the discussion of sexuality and the sexual revolution is clearly something about to shock the more ‘establishment’ type characters and those living more traditional lives. Patti’s brief jaunt to California indicates that penis plasters as a woman’s representation of conquest is only the beginning of this discussion, not to mention commonplace discussions about birth control methods like the contraceptive pill and the diaphragm.
Amazon Prime: The Right Audience for “Good Girls Riot”
“Good Girls Riot” is everything the ambitious “Pan Am” could have been if it hadn’t been canceled. There is an audience for this type of show – but we’re over here watching Amazon Prime and Netflix rather than network television. (We’d watch “Agent Carter” over here, too, you know.)
Author’s note: Norton is technically a delegate because Washington, D.C. has not been granted statehood. I believe that the people who live and work in our nation’s capital deserve representation and therefore I have chosen to list Norton with the title of congresswoman.
Have you seen this show yet? Let me know what you thought about it in the comments!