Last night, Diane and I veered away from the never-ending Gilmore Girls marathon on Up to give the Amazon Prime series Good Girls Revolt a try. If you’re unfamiliar with it, the polished drama is a fictionalized adaptation of Lynn Povich’s 2012 book The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace. Names have been changed, characters invented and/or combined into one, and the magazine has been retitled News of the Week – but the gist remains the same. As with most professions in 1969 America, which is when the series is set, women were relegated to secondary and supportive roles in most newsrooms. It took a group of brave women to change that.
At essence, then, Good Girls Revolt is sort of a feminist spin on Mad Men. No, it’s not as solid as that series was out of the gate, but it is a step up from the other Mad Men-inspired series I’ve seen. My biggest complaint: the characters are more archetypical than fully formed. For instance, hippie-in-spirit researcher Patti (Genevieve Angelson) – the lead character – sometimes seems little more than a mature Karen Arnold (Kevin’s one-dimensional big sister on The Wonder Years); and her erstwhile reporter-boyfriend Doug (Hunter Parrish) comes across as a cardboard cut-out of a reporter-boyfriend.
I sound a tad harsher there than I intended; the series is a step above most network fare. It peels the gauzy nostalgia from our collective memory and shows that, indeed, not everything in the past was hunky-dory or better than the present. In fact, as most things societal go, the past was worse.
And, for purposes of this blog, it inspired today’s Top 5: Good Girls Revolt (circa 1969).
1) Janis Joplin – “Work Me, Lord” From The Woodstock Art & Music Fair, 8/17/1969.
2) Jefferson Airplane – “Somebody to Love.” From Dick Cavett’s post-Woodstock episode (8/19/1969) – note David Crosby playing tambourine beside Paul Kantner.
3) Laura Nyro – “He’s a Runner/Save the Country.” From Bobby Darin’s Sounds of the Sixties TV special (though I believe only “Save the Country” aired), which aired Jan. 22, 1969.
4) Roberta Flack – “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” Not sure where this is from, just that it’s 1969. Great song, under-appreciated singer.
5) Dusty Springfield – “Son of a Preacher Man.” From a rather psychedelic 1969 German TV special.
And three bonus songs…
6) Jackie DeShannon – “Put a Little Love in Your Heart.”
7) Joni Mitchell – “Woodstock.” From a 1970 appearance on the BBC.
8) Diana Ross & the Supremes – “Someday We’ll Be Together.” The last No. 1 hit of the 1960s…