Coming at a time when it feels as if we are on the brink of history repeating itself in many respects, Good Girls Revolt takes place in the late 1960s/early 1970s and centers around women’s rights. GGR is loosely based on a memoir of the same name written by Lynn Povich that tells the true story of a group of women who sued Newsweek in the late 1960s for equal employment opportunity.
Three main women drive the series – Patti (Genevieve Angelson), Jane (Anna Camp) and Cindy (Erin Darke). All three are “researchers” that aid the male reporters at the fictionalized News of the Week (aka Newsweek). They sit in an area of the office with the other women known as “the pit” which is a metaphor and actual visual for the power difference between the men and women in the office. While the women work in “the pit,” the men work in the bullpen that sits about two feet above the women, yet again dominating the office dynamics. The term “researcher” is a very loose term to describe the work load that the women take on – writing, editing, and researching the story which is then handed off to the men for final approval and byline stamp. Long story short, the women do all the work and get zero credit.
While most of the characters are fictionalized, there are two real life women mentioned in the series. The first is Nora Ephron (portrayed by Grace Gummer) who is in the pilot but then quits and goes on to work for the Post after finding out that she will never be able to write at News of the Week, thus planting the original seeds for the EEOC filing. The second is Eleanor Holmes Norton (who still alive!), resident bad ass and attorney from the ACLU who represents the women as they struggle to decide how and when they will file their complaint.
Each woman throughout the series has her own “a-ha” moment regarding the lawsuit and in turn, her stance on feminism. Patti is the most driven of the group and most on board from the beginning, but her big breaking point finally comes when she is having a fight with Doug (reporter/hookup/boyfriend) in a back alley and finally shouts that she is jealous of him and his career because she wants to be the reporter, she wants the byline, she wants the credit. Cindy’s awakening happens when she is worried she may be pregnant early on in the series after her husband promised her she would get to have one full year to work and start her novel before they started a family. Nora then suggests to her that maybe her husband isn’t who she thinks she is and Cindy goes home to find a hole poked through her diaphragm. Jane is the very last to join the lawsuit as the most white collar of the office women. Her turning point comes when her boyfriend of two years dumps her on New Years Eve after claiming he never intended to marry her, thus leading her on, wasting two years of her life and questioning whether she values her marriageability or career more.
In addition to the EEOC lawsuit, Amazon adds in a few other secondary storylines that aid in building the 1970s environment. Women are experiencing their sexual awakening for the first time AFTER married life, they are attending meetings where they are learning about and discussing feminism, and they are sharing feelings regarding their mental, sexual and emotional selves that have been stifled for years. Expect drama, empowerment and amazing 70s fashion.
Many are dubbing GGR as the second coming of Mad Men. I am a HUGE fan of Don Draper & Co. and truly did enjoy GGR, but I think it’s going to take a few more seasons to reach Mad Men’s level of storytelling and production value. I am praying they get picked up for a second season because S1 ended on a cliffhanger and I need to see Jane become the bad bitch she is destined to be.
All in all, I highly recommend Good Girls Revolt. I love the period, writing style, storyline, costumes and cast so it’s a home run in my book. Stream all of Good Girls Revolt season 1 on Amazon Prime for free now.