On Saturday, people around the world united, in record numbers, to peacefully and powerfully advocate for women’s rights. Equal rights. Not once did any handmade sign, T-shirt or speaker demand that we take rights away from men and give them to women. Marches in most major cities dwarfed the inauguration numbers of a man whose life’s work is disparaging women and whose primary mission is to take away their civil rights.
Meanwhile, at the box office, you know, the place where most women are cast solely as love interests or sex objects and male-dominated action fare is “all that’s made because that’s all people want to see”, a movie about black female mathematicians in the 1960’s was the #1 film in the land for two weeks running and a female-led sci-fi film about organizing a resistance just passed $500 million in the US alone.
Amazon, the fledgling streaming rival to Netflix, SHOULD have been basking in the glory of being WAY in front of the wave by championing their incredible television series, Good Girls Revolt, during awards season. But no, despite the good reviews (read Variety’s here), they cancelled it. And when I say “they”, it appears that a single person may have pulled the plug: Head of Amazon Studios, Roy Price. If Amazon is named after a rainforest, this guy (who looks like he once starred in CSI Miami) appears to be their Forest Trump.
Why would Amazon cancel what appears to be a very popular series that struck a chord with women and men across the nation? Well, according to news stories in credible media outlets like Fortune and Hollywood Reporter (click em, they hyperlink to the stories), Price simply “didn’t get it.” Does Price, like Trump, impose his personal tastes on his decisions instead of considering the needs or will of his customers? We’ll never know, because beyond some PR spin that it didn’t meet their expectations, they’ve never come clean about why they really canceled it so soon after the election of Trump. Price apparently renewed Sneaky Pete, a show by men (Bryan Cranston), starring men (Giovani Ribisi), the week it debuted. Man in High Castle, a show nobody talks about, got a season #2 as well. Why? Nobody knows. Woman in High Castle would have probably never made it to air on Amazon. Roy Price loves Woody Allen though, gave him a series nobody talks about either.
Right now, Amazon TV is nothing more than a secret toy surprise that comes with their winning PRIME 2-day delivery service, a service I use the living crap out of. Good Girls Revolt was the first series to draw me into their TV app, and since doing so, I bought a boatload of digital movies. I am living outside the gender binary (see my new column, Gender Nation X) and still I found their award-winning series, Transparent, too difficult to watch — not because of the subject matter or Jeffrey Tambor’s stellar, awards-worthy performance, but I just can’t handle another insufferable family drama about privileged and entitled white people with parent issues and zero coping skills. I quit after the pilot. I might have stuck with it had they cast a real trans woman in the lead, but no, they went with a cis-gendered man. See the pattern?
As a courtesy to Mr. Price, here’s what people who discovered and enjoyed Good Girls Revolt “get” about it:
Good Girls Revolt gave several actresses the break of a lifetime. Genevieve Angelson as fact checker turned intrepid reporter Patti Robinson, and Erin Darke as Cindy Reston, the caption writer in a dead end job and dead end marriage, both turned in “A Star is Born” performances. Other “faces you know” stepped up from supporting roles to prove themselves as bankable headliners, including Anna Camp (Pitch Perfect), Chris Diamantopoulos (Silicon Valley) and Hunter Parrish (Weeds). Even Jim Belushi, perfectly cast as an Eisenhower-era hanger on, made you forget why you ever hated Jim Belushi — oh yeah, Blues Brothers 2000.
Seriously, could there BE a more current event than a fictionalized version of an EEOC complaint from the 1970’s that demanded equal opportunities in the workplace for women? Good Girls Revolt was the perfect show to carry on the momentum of Mad Men. It was set in the offices of a fictional news magazine, the very publication that ran the ads created by the likes of Sterling Cooper Draper Price. This is the era Trump and his disciples so desperately want to return to, a golden age where a man could swat a woman on the ass and not get fired, because the woman’s sole purpose was to wait on him hand and foot.
Gorgeous Costume Design
Sure, there was some nudity in the series, which really didn’t serve the story at all. The show was dripping in Sexy Back due to the phenomenal costume design. Every frame was packed with delicious fashion on par with The Devil Wears Prada, Mad Men and Sex and the City. If Amazon was a truly savvy marketer, which I thought they were, they would have opened an apparel store to market every single outfit Angelson and Camp wore. Darke’s adorable Cindy Reston had her fashion moments too.
While the snowballing EEOC complaint was a narrative thread to tie together the episodes, the real drama is in the believable relationships. The heroines were feminists but, contrary to misogynist theory, they LOVED the men in their lives with a passion. Every episode was a white knuckle ride from a breaking history-making news story to the moment they rolled the presses. Good Girls Revolt did an even better job than HBO’s The Newsroom to show how good, credible reporters do their job and the value of having media with integrity. Trump claims to be a “job maker” and in his #alternativefacts world, the job of fact checker is obsolete.
Hats off to the production crew that re-created 1970’s New York, time and again, with jaw-dropping exterior shots, complete with the cars, the phone booths, the people and the grime. Not once did it look like it was shot in Vancouver (as so many NYC-set network shows do).
Move on? Or Keep Moving?
Showrunner Dana Calvo is obviously very talented. I hope she gets another series on the air, somewhere else, very soon. The rest of the cast will move on as well. But there’s nothing wrong with still fighting if anyone agrees with me that a Season 2 is worth the fight.
Lights. Camera. Action!
So, what do we do now? Price is probably a fabulous guy who is a blast to brunch with, so perhaps we shouldn’t vilify him. Or perhaps we should. While he is welcome to use POPDOSE as a forum to discuss the show in depth, I am not kidding myself. Our site is small compared to the trades who I wish he’d talk to about it. Did he not like working with a female showrunner (Calvo)? Maybe. Though Transparent‘s Jill Soloway always sings Amazon’s praises in acceptance speeches. Was he is intimidated by women and dreams of the good old days where they had their place, and it wasn’t on TV in anything but a support role? Who knows. Perhaps he thinks women aren’t an important customer base for Amazon, I mean, look at all the guy stuff that’s on there.
If the show was too expensive to produce, perhaps they can cut down on the pricey exterior shots or maybe they can use less the show’s biggest name, Belushi. Or perhaps they can take my genius idea for the apparel tie-in. Why not do a music tie-in too? Amazon offers DRM-free music; it’s the only place I buy MP3 music. Every Popdose music blog I write links to Amazon Music. Why this show can’t mint money for Amazon is beyond me.
Here’s hoping Saturday’s march was a movement and not a moment. The Movement needs good series like Good Girls Revolt to inspire women and men about the importance of equal rights, trusted media and organized resistance. They say Season 2 is dead but that’s bullshit. Look no further than Will & Grace, Fuller House and Netflix’s hit revival, One Day At a Time. It will cost Amazon more to bring everyone back to the table, and it should. It’s time for people like Roy to pay the price for a misguided decision. And if he can’t make things right, perhaps Jeff Bezos can.
Take action by letting Amazon, Bezos and Roy Price know how you feel about Roy Price’s decision to cancel Good Girls Revolt. Like Trump, he’s very reachable on twitter: