The new series Mrs. America was made by FX, and is currently airing on Hulu. Co-created by Dahvi Waller, a Mad Men writer and producer, Mrs. America stars Cate Blanchett as Phyllis Schlafly, the 1970s conservative activist. She is famous for opposing the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.
What is the new FX for Hulu TV show about?
As The Verge reported, the Hulu series “follows Phyllis Schlafly … who discovered her calling in founding the STOP ERA movement and whose rhetoric helped successfully brand feminism with the cartoonishly angry stereotype that persists to this day.”
CNN’s Brian Lowry compared Mrs. America to Feud, “to the extent the project focuses on warring female leads during an enticing historical era.” Feud was a Ryan Murphy-produced FX miniseries starring Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon about the beef between Bette David and Joan Crawford. The main difference is “the cast of characters,” which Lowry describes as “significantly broader, with each of the major figures taking turns serving as the focus over the course of nine episodes.”
The Verge reported on the historical issues at play in Mrs. America:
Asserting that equality under the law not be denied on the basis of sex, the ERA has spent nearly 100 years in limbo. First introduced by activists in 1921, nearly passing in the 1970s, and finding renewed interest this year, the struggle over the amendment slowly became a long-simmering culture war that remains unfortunately relevant.
Overall, reviews have been positive, though not glowing. James Poniewozik of the New York Times, wrote that Mrs. America is “packed with stunning performances.” The critic continued:
The show is smitten with its subjects, but in a cleareyed way, awed but not overawed. Mrs. America is a disco ball packed with TNT, a pop-literate political drama that’s not too cool to be optimistic, not too triumphalist to lay down a challenge to its country today.
However, pretty much everyone agrees that Blanchett deserves an Emmy.
Cate Blanchett is undoubtedly the star of ‘Mrs. America’
Cate Blanchett, the star of such works as Carol, Blue Jasmine, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button leads the pack of powerful women in Mrs. America. Blanchett portray Phyllis Schlafly, the author and activist who played a big role in taking down the Equal Rights Amendment.
The New York Times reports:
Mrs. America hardly sees Schlafly as its heroine, but it respects her cunning and force of will. … like Blanchett’s Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings, she is regal and terrifying (to her allies above all). Her final scene, wordless and devastating, might as well end with Blanchett being handed an Emmy onscreen.
The Verge agrees that Blanchett’s role in Mrs. America is “a guaranteed Emmy nomination.” But the other cast members also shine.
“Schlafly is the center of the story, but hers isn’t the only one Mrs. America is telling,” Verge reported.
Who is the cast of ‘Mrs. America’, and what are their characters?
Mrs. America is jam-packed with award-winning actors. Rose Byrne portrays feminist icon Gloria Steinem, the activist who founded New York and Ms. magazines, as well as the National Women’s Political Caucus.
Orange Is the New Black star Uzo Aduba was cast as Shirley Chisholm. While representing the 12th district of New York, Chisholm became the the first woman and African-American to run for president on a major party ticket.
Tracey Ullman plays author Betty Friedan, best-known for her book The Feminine Mystique. She co-founded the National Women’s Political Caucus with Steinem.
Elizabeth Banks took on the role of Jill Ruckelshaus. She was a pro-choice Republican who advised Presidents Nixon and Ford on women’s rights.
In an interview at the Television Critics Association 2020 Winter Tour, actress Elizabeth Banks explained why the story in Mrs. America is relevant today.
“Women just want equality of opportunity when it comes to our economic status and our bodily autonomy.” Banks called these “very basic things.”
“We just want the constitution to mean the same to us that it means to men,” the Mrs. America actress said. “To everybody else.”