Three of my most favorite things, in no particular order, are TV, feminism and the period of drastic cultural change and fantastic fashion that occurred between the mid 60s and late 70s. So to say Good Girls Revolt is within my wheelhouse is a drastic understatement. It literally is my wheelhouse.
Good Girls Revolt, Amazon’s newest drama, is based on the true story that inspired a book by the same name about female researchers at a popular news magazine who push back when the editors refuse to let women (officially) write. The series mostly follows three such women working in the research pit: Patti Robinson (Genevieve Angelson), a groovy chick who realizes her dream job isn’t going exactly as imagined; Cindy Reston (Erin Drake), a married woman whose only solace is her job; and Jane Hollander (Anna Camp), the well-bred rich girl who thought she was only working until she could land a successful husband. Throw in Grace Gummer as Nora Ephron (another favorite) and a bunch of other solid supporting players and you clearly have a recipe for a show I’m going to dig.
But even with all that, I’m not completely blind to the issues with Good Girls Revolt. First, the dialogue relies on clunky expositions dumps far too often. Which also leads to my biggest issue with the series; it’s too clearly being written from the future. This is a series that begins in 1969 and takes place in a newsroom, so the temptation to throw in sly little winks to the audience about the “current” events was obviously too good to pass up. But they really should have tired a little harder. One or two winks are acceptable, but Good Girls Revolt is practically have a seizure as it attempts to bond with the audience over our knowledge of the future.
Moreover, these characters are far too self-aware in a way people have never been and likely never will be. The pilot centers on the unfolding story of the disastrous free concert at Altamont. As Patti tries to explain to her boss why Hells Angels would be trusted over actual police officers, he points out that just because someone does drugs doesn’t make them a hippie. She insists that it does, “or it used to. I guess Altamont changed all that.”
Yes, the Altamont incident and the Manson family murders, also discussed in the pilot, are largely considered the final death knell for the hippie movement… now. But were people drawing those conclusions two days after the event? I’m guessing not. And if that was just pilot jitters I wouldn’t even bring it up, unfortunately Good Girls Revolt seems to enjoy these omnipotent epiphanies almost as much as it enjoys winking its way through historic events.
But even with these issues, Good Girls Revolt has given us a barrage of relatable, complex female characters giving us fist pump worthy moment after first pump worthy moment. Yes, it’s poor man’s version of Mad Men (and I would like some recognition for not spending this entire review comparing the two), but there will never be another Mad Men. This does some similar things, but also some of its own stuff. And maybe the result isn’t as great as Mad Men (then again, what is), but it’s still good in its own right.
Final Verdict: I found Good Girls Revolt thoroughly entertaining and, if any of my favorite things seem vaguely interesting, you probably will too.
*The entire first season of Good Girls Revolt is available now through Amazon Video.
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