Saturday, May 7, 2022

Take Three: The First Lady

The First Lady: Season 1, Episode 3 “Please Allow Me” (B+)

This show is about the first ladies and not the men in their lives who were arguably much more famous given the office they held, but their relationships are central to their identities even if it’s not the whole of they were and are. Giving a peek into Betty’s first marriage showed a similar devotion but the lack of the same connection, and going into a second marriage also meant that she knew what she wanted and didn’t want, regardless of whether she’d be able to achieve them. A young Betty, played by Kristine Froseth, who delivered a superb performance in the Sundance entry “Sharp Stick,” had the most memorable scene of the episode, where she told her boss how she felt about not having gotten the promotion she should have because she was likely to go get pregnant as soon as they gave it to her. Eleanor’s first meeting with her fifth cousin Franklin was overshadowed by another relative with the same last name, her uncle Teddy, who was also president and carried himself in a very confident way. I enjoyed the way that Michelle and Barack were first introduced, with Barack making a bad impression by being late and then sounding both pretentious and impressive at the same time. The depiction of Barack is particularly fun, emphasizing that he is a cone guy because it’s a container you can eat. Ending with all three weddings was a good way to tie the episode together, underlining the strength of their marriages, different as they may have been.

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