Mrs America is based on true events centering around the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and starts with the said Phyllis, Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016), a conservative political figure in the United States.
An opponent of the ERA she is played here by Cate Blanchett.
Really did not like Phyllis the person at all and a blessing that I never heard of her before this and Blanchett certainly portrays her as a scary figure.
On Youtube, I had a look at the real Phyllis and oh my she makes Blanchett’s portrayal nicer in comparison.
Gloria is Gloria Steinem played by Rose Byrne.
Gloria is a polar opposite to Phyllis but I found myself disliking Gloria more having known next to nothing about her before this.
I simply do not believe the things that she believes in.
Shirley is Shirley Chisholm, a congresswoman who in 1972 became the first black candidate to seek the presidential nomination for a major party, in this case the Democratic Party and is played by Uzo Aduba who I am also seeing in Orange Is the New Black.
Quite a contrast seeing Uduba as a presidential candidate to that of an inmate in that other series.
Quite persistent in Shirley staying on as a candidate as long as she could given that she had no hope of getting the nomination.
This persistent was certainly fascinating to look at.
Meanwhile Phyllis encounters a problem with one of her own with this person delivering blatant racist attitudes.
Betty is Betty Friedan and she is played by Tracey Ullman.
The highlight of this episode is the debate between Phyllis and Betty about the ERA.
This comes just as STOP ERA faces accusation of being associated with the John Birch Society which it isn’t.
Phyllis & Fred & Brenda & Marc:
Fred (John Slattery) is Phyllis’ husband while Brenda is Brenda Feigen (Ari Graynor) and Marc is her husband Marc Fasteau.
Brenda is a feminist activist, a complete opposite to Phyllis and they with their respective husbands debated each other on the ERA.
Key point was when Phyllis made up a legal case on the spot which did not make her look good at all.
Jill is Jill Ruckelhaus played by Elizabeth Banks.
Despite being both Republicans, Jill and Phyllis are on opposing sides of the ERA with Jill supporting it.
Jill was married to William Ruckelhaus. William had become well known as the Deputy Attorney General who resigned after refusing to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox on Nixon’s order.
In Jill, William was vetted as a potential running mate for President Gerald R. Ford for the 1976 Republican ticket but President Ford ultimately chose Senator Bob Dole. The Ford-Dole ticket would then lose the election.
A key point in this episode was the tense meeting between Jill and Phyllis but I read afterwards that meeting is fictional.
Bella is Bella Abzug played by Margo Martindale.
Bella was Democratic Congresswoman between 1971 and 1977.
Shocking first scene when Phyllis got pied in the face.
Bella sure takes the limelight when she put in charge of the National Women’s Conference especially when Phyllis did not turn up to debate her.
Devious on Phyllis learning to take things out of context, in this case with Bella.
Unlike the other episodes, this is not named after a real-life person that relates to the ERA.
In fact Houston’s focus is on the fictional character of Alice Macray (Sarah Paulson) who was created for the series as a composite character of real life women in Phyllis’ circle.
Having dominated proceedings since the series began, this however is a Phyllis-lite episode
This focuses on Alice going to the National Women’s Conference in Houston.
With Alice being the focus I had trouble wrapping around the fact that she was not a real person.
Quite enthralling seeing her experience in Houston as it open her eyes on certain things.
This included her having pleasant drinks with a woman at the hotel bar before woman revealed that she is from the opposing camp to Alice’s.
Also Alice having to deal with a troublesome companion that she took with her who was having problems with her husband.
Don’t know whether to be surprised at the end when Alice lied to Phyllis about not seeing Gloria at the hotel.
Unlike the other episodes that bored the names of real life people, Ronald Reagan in person did not dominate this episode.
Reagan is only seen with news footage of the real Reagan and someone voicing as Reagan as President-elect telling Phyllis by phone he will not be offering her a place in his administration.
It seems that this wasn’t really about Reagan the man himself but the impact he has made.
Ultimately it sees the ERA not being ratified as the issues surrounding it still being debated to this day.