Tuesday, June 7, 2022

What I’m Watching: The First Lady

The First Lady: Season 1, Episode 6 “Shout Out” (B+)

This episode did a strong job of highlighting the differences in what equality meant in the three eras we’re examining, and it’s fair to say that all three men responded with controlled apathy. Franklin received information he didn’t ask for from J. Edgar Hoover, and it was good that he didn’t bring it to Eleanor in a haughty way given that he was the one who had an affair first. Seeing him broken up after he told her that he was happy for her even if he wasn’t the one who could be that person for her made sense, and I suppose it’s a good thing that he started from a position of support. Having Hick close should be a positive development for Eleanor, who can achieve more if she is able to be with someone who appreciates her for who she is and doesn’t just reduce her to her gender. Four decades later, Betty once again got herself into trouble for trying to advocate for something that she believed in, and I liked that Gerald initially expressed to his advisors that he had previously supported the ERA. Ultimately pushing her to move the group from the White House was an unfortunate step backwards, and holding prom for her daughter whose life was potentially in jeopardy didn’t really make up for it. The push for Barack to do something about same-sex marriage came more from his daughters than from Michelle, and I was thrilled to identify Lexi Underwood, a very talented actress from “Little Fires Everywhere,” as Malia. That ending scene was poignant, aided tremendously by a powerful montage of real-life celebrations of its impact.

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