Friday, August 14, 2020

Emmy Catch-Up: Self Made

Every year, I watch the six submitted episodes of every series I don’t regularly watch that’s up for one of the Emmy series prizes. This year, I’m watching the entire season of every series nominated in the top category, as well as this one, which netted a lead actress bid for Octavia Spencer but missed the main limited series race.

Self Made: Season 1, Episode 2 “Bootstraps” (B+)

This show premiered right when things were still getting serious with the pandemic because I distinctly remember taking a walk without a mask on right after watching the first episode. It was a busy time and so I didn’t watch the other three episodes, but now that Octavia Spencer has earned an Emmy nomination for her performance, I figured it was worth it to check out the entire thing. I’m not so sure the song and dance numbers are necessary, but they don’t detract all that much and help to show how Sarah is picturing her life and her future success. The anachronistic music feels much more appropriate, showcasing Sarah’s sense that she is very ahead of her time and isn’t going to let the archaic nature of the world around her stop her from achieving what she knows she can. It’s upsetting to see just how much men want to keep her down, with her husband, who’s not particularly serious or helpful, insisting that he’s the man of the house and Booker T. Washington delivering a very regressive dismissal of her behavior as an outburst with no intention whatsoever to actually consider what she was saying. The mortician attempting to rape her when she went to ask for funding was also very disturbing, and now she’s in league with dirty money through no fault of her own. Ransom is deeply loyal to her, and he’s going to work hard to make sure that her business doesn’t get dragged down by this unfortunate partnership he’s now entered into after placing that bet. John is intent on bringing her down with Addie, while CJ’s need to be seen as in charge by a woman is going to make her fundraising all the more difficult when his affair inevitably comes out. At least she got a major win in the form of the endorsement of Margaret and the other wives, which almost felt more impactful than her husband’s would have.

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