Saturday, April 18, 2020

Take Three: Mrs. America

Mrs. America: Season 1, Episode 3 “Shirley” (B+)

Casting is key to this show, and we saw yet another instance of that with the latest prominently featured character in this episode. Uzo Aduba is most famous for playing Suzanne Warren, better known on Crazy Eyes, a role that won her two Emmy Awards, on “Orange is the New Black.” Her voice is distinct and recognizable, but she definitely manages to become a different person here as the trail-blazing Shirley Chisholm. Her presence was important in highlighting yet another divisive issue of the feminist movement, which is the intersection of gender and race, with black men feeling like she’s more interested in women’s issues and white women trying to make too many concessions to the mainstream. She held on for a while in her fight to remain on the ballot and in the race against McGovern, and she was clearly disheartened by the waning support she felt from those around her. Gloria had an opportunity to completely lose it when her carefully-arranged compromise felt apart at the last minute, an unsurprising if still agonizing development. Jill Ruckelshaus isn’t the only outlier on this show, as Phyllis and Alice discovered that the sentiments of racism and white supremacy spewed by one of their allies threatened to take their entire cause far too much to the right. Alice wasn’t willing to let it go, and Phyllis masterfully came up with a clever fix that may not change minds but at least makes it so that their platform isn’t subject to personal tweaking by any of its representatives.

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