How TV Foreshadowed The #MeToo Movement

Dec 15, 2017
Originally published on December 15, 2017 7:16 pm
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Today we are wrapping up our series of Highly Specific Superlatives. And this entry starts with a scene in a TV show.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "ONE MISSISSIPPI")

TIMM SHARP: (As Jack) Hey. I'm just finishing up an email. Come on in. Oh, could you close the door, please?

STEPHANIE ALLYNNE: (As Kate) Oh, yeah, sure.

SHARP: (As Jack) Thanks.

MCEVERS: That is a scene from an episode of "One Mississippi." It's Tig Notaro's show on Amazon. And NPR's TV critic Eric Deggans is here to tell us why this scene is his pick for today's highly specific superlative. Hey, Eric.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: Hi. I know that sounds a little boring.

(LAUGHTER)

DEGGANS: But believe me. That clip gets interesting in a hurry.

MCEVERS: OK, why? Yeah, what's your superlative?

DEGGANS: So my highly specific superlative is the scene in a TV show that best foreshadowed the #MeToo movement.

MCEVERS: #MeToo of course - this movement that started on social media where women and some men shared stories of being sexually harassed or assaulted, started after allegations against Harvey Weinstein. And so in Tig Notaro's show "One Mississippi," in this scene - let's listen to a little bit more.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "ONE MISSISSIPPI")

SHARP: (As Jack) Well, you go, too, of course.

ALLYNNE: (As Kate) Yeah.

SHARP: (As Jack) Yeah.

MCEVERS: I mean, without being too graphic, like, what's happening here?

DEGGANS: Yeah. So basically Tig plays the host of an audio show, a podcast. And her producer goes in to speak to a radio executive about pitching a different show. And she quickly realizes in this meeting that this man is pleasuring himself while they are talking. And she doesn't know how to react to it or what to do. And then later she tells Tig about it, and they go back, and they confront him about what happened. And he said - he denies it. So it becomes this weird mirror of actual stories that we've heard in these #MeToo movement stories.

MCEVERS: And it turns out that this is a - you know, a not-so-veiled reference to Louis C.K., right?

DEGGANS: Exactly. You can tell obviously in this scene that she's making a reference to these longstanding rumors about Louis C.K. that he had done this to young female comics who opened with him on standup tours or that had worked with him on television shows. And this was before The New York Times did a big expose putting all of this on the record and before Louis C.K. admitted it. So it's a very gutsy move to...

MCEVERS: Right.

DEGGANS: ...Memorialize this.

MCEVERS: Before it's gone public, yeah. You know, TV is - can be a reflection of what's going on in society. And the turnaround for TV shows is faster than for movies. I wonder how TV is going to treat the #MeToo movement going forward into next year. What do you think?

DEGGANS: I mean, that's a great question. I think what we're seeing now is this sort of redefinition of what was acceptable behavior behind the scenes, you know, what's acceptable in a writer's room, what's acceptable on a movie set or a play set or on a TV set. And these are important conversations. And this show was having that conversation before the nation really got involved.

MCEVERS: Eric Deggans, TV critic for NPR, thanks a lot.

DEGGANS: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.