Home » Grace Under Pressure and 90s Feminism

Aside from a Queen pun I could’ve opened this review with, this 8-episode audio drama from PasticheNYC tackles the 90s in a way that isn’t driven by nostalgia from non-marginalized groups. Like any historical period—women, people of color and the LGBTQ community didn’t have as many freedoms as their straight white male counterparts. Truth be told, it’s still an ongoing battle. “Grace Under Pressure” takes place at the beginning of third wave feminism.

What Second Wave Feminism is Evolving?

Contrary to some right-wing constituents, feminism isn’t the total obliteration of men and their successes. Nor is it an indoctrination of kids by transgender people. We’re about to get political here for a second. Conservative lawmakers have in recent months tried to push bills that could legally target non-cisgender people. The problem is that the law would only apply to them. For more information on that, take a look at an article I wrote for my university’s news program earlier this year. Thankfully a lot of these bills have been struck down in the courts since writing that post. However that doesn’t mean they aren’t done trying.

What does this have to do with feminism? Well, feminism in the literary sense of the word, has more to do with gender than biological sex. At least in the most modern incarnation. The idea that feminists are “feminazis” overlooks this fact.

Battling Themes of Feminism with a Believable Plot

Currently there are four episodes out at the time of this writing. Four remain and if you caught the commonality between the first four, expect more of the same in the back half. The main character of Grace, played by Alice King, finds herself in jobs that get progressively worse until she’s a laundry mat attendant. The job before was a sweat shop. If the sweat shop came before the final episode, cries of deus ex machina might have been warranted. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait to find out what this means. As it stands, I think they made the right choice in the order of final episodes. They sacrificed the thematic pattern of Grace’s jobs for a plot with a happier ending.

Joke Names and Repetitive Singing

While classified as a comedy, the humor comes from names of male characters. In Episode two, Grace’s boss is named Mr. McWeenie. McWeenie is a creep in his treatment of women, especially with the noises he makes with his mouth. The man’s audible ticks are reminiscent of Beavis from “Beavis and Butthead.” That is, assuming the tall blond-haired alter ego of Cornholio was competent enough to run a business.

The inclusion of a “Greek chorus” at the beginning of each episode brings down the total enjoyment of the series. The chorus, really an opening song, made little sense in the grand scheme of things. The song itself lasts a bit too long and after the fourth or fifth time, it becomes repetitive. It felt like copying and pasting the music without a compelling reason. Because of these things, the production drops 1-1.5 stars from an “Internally Consistent” rating.

7.5/10- Stars

Update: The show now has a “Binge Edition” available.

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