Monday, May 4, 2020

What I’m Watching: Mrs. America

Mrs. America: Season 1, Episode 5 “Phyllis and Fred and Brenda and Marc” (B+)

The last restaged debate involving Phyllis that we saw was a highlight of the first few episodes, and this one was even more enthralling. I was thrilled to see a spotlight on Brenda Feigen-Fasteau, played by Ari Graynor, who starred recently in “I’m Dying Up Here.” It’s a subtler role than some of the other prominent women portrayed, and she was particularly excellent when she kept insisting during the debate that Phyllis name the case she was referencing. I didn’t recognize Adam Brody, whose career started with “The O.C.” and who appears in the upcoming film “Promising Young Woman,” as her husband, who didn’t mind that she slept with a woman but still had some concerns about what it meant for their marriage. Roberta Colindrez from “Ms. White Light” was a great choice to play Jules, and I also enjoyed seeing Jake Lacy as Stanley Pottinger. I also noticed Bobby Cannavale as the moderator, who thought things were testy at first and then watched in amazement as Phyllis responded to her husband referring her to as “submissive.” Aside from the debate itself, the examination of their relationship was probably the most interesting part of this episode. Taking the LSAT because her son decided he didn’t want to was actually resourceful, but Fred was furious because, as her son pointed out, the law is the one thing left that was all his. Cate Blanchett really is terrific as Phyllis, and the Emmy she’ll probably win for this performance will be wholly deserved.

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