Paramount Network just wrapped up season one of American Woman starring Alicia Silverstone, Mena Suvari, and Jennifer Bartels. The dramedy series was inspired by actress Kyle Richards’ childhood. Set in the 1970s, this period piece focuses on the friendship and experiences these three everyday women deal with.
In a way, each character embodied a different type of woman we’ve all come across at least once. You have Bonnie Nolan (Silverstone), the one who’s used to an extravagant lifestyle – think Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. She’s learning how to live a life sans-training wheels, AKA her husband who provided her everything. Kathleen Callahan (Suvari) is the Hollywood-obsessed gal who wants to make it big one day with her casting company. She frequently calls her dad to bail her out when it comes to monetary needs. Finally, there’s Diana Vaughn (Bartels), the real “American Woman” the show seems to be all about. She’s the one out in the trenches as a frustrated bank worker who gets looked over in the workforce. It’s something many women can relate to the most when it comes to trying to fight for equality at work.
The series went on for 11 episodes and throughout the series each woman gradually became a better version of herself. Bonnie learned how to become more independent. She got her first real job, dealt with raising two children on her own while trying to keep the lights on, and experienced romance without any strings attached. Diana found herself as an independent badass who needed to go through a stint of sex-filled nights to realize that. But the lackluster character development of the three goes to Kathleen who, despite coming to grips with the reality of not needing a man’s satisfaction, seemed to have tunnel vision with regards to having the perfect man support her.
The show itself had some promise, but there were moments when you wondered, “Would this really happen, though?” While the show held strong in keeping the period piece aspect intact, I’m not sure how strong they were depicting each woman in a satisfying way. The writers could have done away with Diana’s need to sleep with every man she came across just so she could come to the realization of self-discovery. Did Bonnie’s need to fall into a relationship with a younger man need to be told?
There were bits and pieces that were notable, but the show needed a bit of cleaning up to do, as it didn’t come together cohesively. That’s especially true if the show plans on committing to a season two.