Good Girls Revolt Tackles Timely Issues of Sexuality and Sexism

by | October 26, 2016 | Comments

Good Girls Revolt: Anna Camp, Erin Darke, Genevieve Angelson (Amazon)

The allegations against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and ex–Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes have shined a glaring spotlight on sexual harassment issues this year. The cast and crew of Good Girls Revolt know such stories too well, having brought such tales to vivid, streamable life in this new Amazon series.

The only difference? The scenarios portrayed in the show happened nearly 50 years ago.

Premiering October 28 with 10 episodes, Good Girls Revolt follows the fictionalized true story of female researchers at Newsweek (changed to “News of the Week” in the show) in the late 1960s who sued their bosses for the opportunity to be writers and reporters — all of whom were men at the time.

Showrunner Dana Calvo (Narcos) told Rotten Tomatoes that they shot one scene involving a sexual assault that the male executives on the production “just didn’t believe it happened, yet everyone [the women] in the room said it did.” Calvo said the network gave some pushback, but the scene did go forward and is in the show.

“The irony is that if we had tried to write a character half as grotesque as him [Trump] we would have been told he was two-dimensional and not believable,” she said.

Much of the series strikes a chord with current political and social issues, beyond the harassment cases to working moms and the language we use to talk about women in the workplace.

“It’s both exciting to think we’ve come so far and horrifying to think something that started 50 years ago is still something we’re fighting for,” said Chris Diamantopoulos (Episodes), who plays Finn Woodhouse, the North American editor of the magazine. “Or maybe it’s inspiring that we’re still fighting. There were women who were willing to put themselves on the line.”

Calvo agreed: “Is Donald Trump the first idiot to talk about grabbing someone’s pussy? No, he’s gross, but it’s a caricature. It’s Jabba the Hut. Unfortunately, he won’t be the last, but now we have the language to talk about … sexual assault. In 1969, it was OK for an editor to walk up behind a researcher, to rub her ass and compliment her on how she smells.”

The cast was hesitant to call their characters “feminists,” but agree that these women were trailblazers in their time.Good Girls Revolt: Genevieve Angelson, Erin Darke, Grace Gummer (Amazon)

“All of these women just wanted to write, they weren’t trying to change the world,” Genevieve Angelson (Backstrom), who plays free-spirited Patti. “They just wanted to be hired as writers at News of the Week. But that’s what feminism is: It’s about having opportunity.”

Angelson added that she had to remind herself how Patti would act given the era.

“I grew up being a kid who was already obsessed with the ’60s. I kind of wanted to be Penny Lane in Almost Famous,” she said. “For me it was just kind of a question of how would I hold my body in 1969 and not in 2016, when I’m bent over an iPhone.”

Pitch Perfect alum Anna Camp plays the prim, well-bred Jane — not too far a cry from her previous roles in the a capella hit and as anti-vampire crusader Sarah Newlin on HBO’s True Blood — and someone who Camp said would never use the word “feminist.”

“I play these similar types of women, but there was much more opportunity to be vulnerable and real with Jane. [The writers] gave her places to go that were honest and true,” Camp said.

Lynn Povich — a journalist who was among the women suing Newsweek back in the ’60s and wrote the book the show is based on — does call the women feminists, Calvo explained.

“These women had no grand plan,” Calvo said. “They just wanted to be treated fairly — a humble, exquisitely reasonable request.”

While there is still work to do on equality in the workplace, one area that sticks out in the Mad Men–era show is how far society has come in being more open and accepting of sexuality and women’s ownership of their bodies. Erin Darke, who most recently starred in Mike Birbiglia’s Don’t Think Twice, plays Cindy, who has perhaps the most dated role of the group in struggling with being comfortable with her sexuality in the first several episodes.

Good Girls Revolt: Erin Darke, Anna Camp (Amazon)

“Nobody uses a diaphragm any more. [Cindy’s] come the farthest. As women now, we are growing up and finding what we want, what we believe. Working on the show for me taught me to have such an appreciation for what came before us and put the fire in me to keep fighting for me,” Darke said, adding lightly, “But I’m not married to someone who calls having sex ‘watching Ed Sullivan.’”

The researchers are joined in the show by historical characters whose real-life identities are represented as well, seamlessly blending a fictionalized version of real events with reality. Eleanor Holmes Norton, for example, is portrayed by Joy Bryant, and Calvo said the congresswoman was more than cooperative with her likeness being in the show (after the production’s legal department initially told Calvo “no”).

“I just called her up and was like, ‘How do we do this?’ She was like, ‘I am a black American. I would never censor you. That First Amendment gave us everything. Tell your lawyers that,’” Calvo related.

The writer and director Nora Ephron, who was part of the research pool in real life, is played in three episodes by Grace Gummer (Mr. Robot).

Diamantopoulos gushed over his female costars and acknowledged that, despite being an evolved man and an ardent feminist, he still had more to learn.

“It made me aware of the fact that everything that we say and do in a work environment needs to stay work related and neutral, and in the entertainment business, there’s a very opaque line of what [that is] — there are very blurred lines about what’s appropriate and what’s not,” he said.

Good Girls Revolt premieres on Amazon Prime on October 28

Tag Cloud

what to watch green book New York Comic Con Countdown robots casting Ellie Kemper harry potter Marathons Spectrum Originals elevated horror LGBTQ NBC animated Rock dramedy Trailer Writers Guild of America Video Games VICE Amazon richard e. Grant Election ABC Family Box Office Marvel anthology anime cults hist Action Warner Bros. Comic Book TIFF CNN 45 Polls and Games 2016 Britbox Walt Disney Pictures Disney streaming service Fantasy Song of Ice and Fire true crime LGBT finale Toys Cannes Animation Starz comic blaxploitation Interview award winner cops Star Wars First Reviews composers BBC America Bravo Brie Larson revenge Women's History Month Sony Pictures crime drama game of thrones Lucasfilm HBO cinemax Trivia Trophy Talk HBO Max Photos Premiere Dates Quiz travel BET Certified Fresh zombie psycho Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt CBS All Access Super Bowl Music talk show crime thriller children's TV Comedy Rom-Com Valentine's Day Schedule Masterpiece Vudu Holidays YA PBS foreign Teen adaptation Nominations American Society of Cinematographers movies Logo Paramount Network Sundance Now Horror quibi Binge Guide CW Seed war Dark Horse Comics Lionsgate 2015 Nat Geo TruTV Reality Competition Film TNT Fox News Showtime Family binge Food Network History Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Christmas theme song 24 frames diversity Pirates sequel Pixar TCA 2017 justice league DirecTV Black Mirror Adult Swim DGA festivals USA kids DC Universe Emmy Nominations discovery The CW ABC Universal Best and Worst singing competition Esquire cooking AMC Elton John aliens Character Guide Calendar golden globes biography period drama Musical Winter TV WGN Biopics Extras Mary Tyler Moore Sci-Fi TLC Hulu cats Comedy Central Chernobyl spinoff Sneak Peek disaster cars TCM DC Comics 21st Century Fox Cosplay E3 Heroines Spring TV President sitcom Creative Arts Emmys RT21 psychological thriller Fall TV NYCC CBS SXSW based on movie sports doctor who Stephen King Tomatazos south america Reality zero dark thirty Kids & Family streaming GIFs hispanic Spike dc Set visit FOX Paramount The Arrangement Ghostbusters unscripted ESPN Columbia Pictures OWN The Witch First Look toy story spanish language spain E! dceu Infographic spy thriller Superheroe Film Festival teaser Mudbound SundanceTV jamie lee curtis Freeform Shondaland crossover Mindy Kaling SDCC Watching Series Country facebook boxoffice Drama Podcast Thanksgiving El Rey Martial Arts Awards Apple Red Carpet TCA GLAAD RT History Tumblr Epix social media comiccon Crackle Opinion Oscars 007 mockumentary tv talk TBS dragons Cartoon Network Grammys supernatural Disney Channel USA Network IFC police drama Emmys Anna Paquin miniseries National Geographic TV Land docudrama DC streaming service Syfy zombies medical drama game show science fiction political drama Summer FX Pet Sematary Disney nature spider-man Ovation historical drama VH1 transformers APB crime television 2017 IFC Films A&E 20th Century Fox ghosts romance Netflix vampires Mary Poppins Returns BBC WarnerMedia Rocky TV Pop MSNBC serial killer Winners ratings FXX Nickelodeon Western Amazon Prime Comics on TV Lifetime Awards Tour X-Men book GoT Superheroes technology witnail 2018 ITV Shudder CMT adventure series politics See It Skip It Pride Month YouTube Premium Tarantino Star Trek Mystery MTV Captain marvel Amazon Prime Video space MCU strong female leads Musicals San Diego Comic-Con mutant stand-up comedy PaleyFest latino thriller Mary poppins 2019 YouTube Red Rocketman Sundance Year in Review Acorn TV natural history