E!’s Citizen Rose is a clear indication that #metoo has moved the needle.
E!’s new docuseries, Citizen Rose
Already being hailed as “the single most important thing E! has ever aired,” Citizen Rose follows actress Rose McGowan, who’s been a prominent voice in the #MeToo movement. In the two-hour premiere episode, Citizen Rose begins with McGowan’s allegation that Harvey Weinstein raped her at the Sundance Film Festival in 1997. (Weinstein, by the way, claims that his interactions with McGowan were “completely consensual.”)
While the docuseries is clearly an attempt to tell McGowan’s version of the story and the aftermath of her allegation, it’s also about McGowan’s history with abuse. She describes her upbringing in a religious cult called Children of God, and how her mother pulled her out of the cult when some of its leaders began making sexual advances on the young girls. Beginning the show with this story frames her narrative of trauma as a consistent, menacing presence in her life.
Despite the heaviness of the subject matter, McGowan seems deeply relieved to finally be sharing her story on her terms. That Citizen Rose is airing on E!, a network best known for showcasing women as self-absorbed, frivolous spectacles, is also an interesting reminder of how much the #metoo conversation has shifted the culture. To see a show as honest as Citizen Rose play next to a new episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians is a little jarring. While Citizen Rose is an anomaly in E!’s lineup, it’s an important addition to the network, and perhaps – hopefully! – a sign that even the most shallow outlets are finally catching on.
Tom Segura’s Disgraceful
Tom Segura’s third Netflix special, Disgraceful, which stays refreshingly far away from the current news cycle, is the mental break I needed this week. I’ve been a huge Segura fan since his first, and best, special, Completely Normal (I think about his joke, “Dr. Dick,” nearly every time I go in for a doctor’s appointment), and this newest set doesn’t disappoint.
Of course, to say Segura’s special is completely divorced from our social and political climate is not fair; there are jokes about marijuana laws and racism and what we can and can’t say publicly anymore. Largely though, Segura points out the comedy of the everyday, the funny and selfish things that make us humans – those moments when we get swept up in situations and we’re not sure of our way out. It’s refreshing to hear jokes about selfishness and silly tendencies, especially when most comics these days seem to feel compelled to offer political commentary. It helps too that Segura is a masterful storyteller, letting the audience get just far enough ahead of his slow-burn revelation so that he can pull off a Mike-Birbiglia-ish wink and say: “your imagination is serving you correctly” at the right moment in the story. This playful, confident storytelling is every bit as enjoyable to me as any fellow comedian who’s gone up recently with a politically-charged set. The balance is important. Long live silly comedy.
header image: E! / youtube