MUST BE COMFORTABLE WITH
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ANDREW JOSEPH PEREZ
June 22, 2016
What I liked
How did they phrase it? Something to the effect of: isn’t it sad that most people who see and hear these stories won’t believe that they’re true, unembellished, and actually took (and take) place? Something like that.
Taking actual casting breakdowns, truly horrific and abysmal stories of what women have been asked and coerced to do in the casting room (and beyond), and bringing them to life in context, perspective, and some familiar formats, “Must Be Comfortable With” takes the responsibility and throws it right back to where it belongs, in each of our hands.
Extremely ensemble-driven, Must Be Comfortable With taps into some spectacular what-if’s to elucidate the problems built into the misogynistic and superficial casting process. What would it look like if studio execs were trying to pick the male love interest for their female star the way they usually pick the female love interests for the male stars? What if other professions (fine dining, dental hygiene, scientific research, etc) treated interviews the way Hollywood casting and industry people treat the casting process? What if casting notices for female roles weren’t about her hair color, cup size, or how she affects the men in the film, but about her profession, interests, and demeanor?
It’s a hard mirror to look into, and it could easily become an hour-long sermon or sixty minutes of “why doesn’t anybody want me,” but it doesn’t. Must Be Comfortable With stays safely on this side of that line and lets the audience walk away to feel however they’ll feel after being confronted with the cold facts presented often hilariously.
Absolutely worth seeing and definitely worth discussing loudly next to any nearby bachelor parties or casting prep meetings.
What I didn't like
While the show stays safely on this side of the sermonizing line, the pace of the show overall threatens to force it across that line.
My takeaway from the show is that the people with the power in these casting scenarios aren’t actually THINKING about what they’re saying or doing so much as racing toward their bottom line (money), which means they’re working at a rapid pace in order to make the biggest sale possible. So, if the characters are pondering what they say or choose before they say or choose it, it feels less like a naive and ignorant blitz toward the bank, and more like an active decision to create a misogynistic atmosphere which, let’s be honest, not many people at that level have the time to think about as deeply as that.
My overall impression
Turning the mirror back on the misogyny of the casting process in Hollywood and everywhere with biting satire, witty comedy, and unfortunately extremely true stories.
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