By day she’s a state legislator heroically crusading against the Republican Party’s war on women. By night she’s a clinician heroically vacuuming the brains out of 28-week-old fetuses and selling them off to tissue researchers. Coming this fall on NBC: “Lady Parts.” “A termination in every episode,” the network vows.
No, just kidding. The description makes it sound like a more political “Ally McBeal,” which is almost as horrifying as the idea of a dramedy about abortions.
Wendy Davis made national headlines in 2013 for filibustering anti-abortion legislation in the Texas Senate. Now the former Democratic state senator is poised for more national attention as the inspiration for a dramedy series in development at NBC.
Written by Jennifer Cecil, the untitled project centers on a female Democratic senator who, after losing the Texas governor’s race, gets her world turned upside down. In the vein of The Good Wife, while she pieces her pride back together, she goes to work in the law firm of her best friend — a black male Republican — and discovers that with no political future to protect, she can unshackle her inner badass.
A black Republican — who’s likable enough to be the Wendy character’s best friend? My goodness. Maybe we shouldn’t write this one off too quickly. The “inner badass” part at the end sounds familiar, though. I think the Davis campaign in Texas frustrated liberals who loved her for being an abortion warrior but had to accept that she’d have no choice but to downplay her big credential in order to have any chance of winning in a famously red state. It’s “West Wing” redux: Bill Clinton couldn’t (or wouldn’t) be the loud and proud liberal that the left wanted on every issue so Aaron Sorkin invented Josiah Bartlet to scratch their itch. Sounds like this show is going to salve some of the disappointment with Davis’s political fortunes. I’m surprised, frankly, given the degree of wish fulfillment involved that the premise involves the Davis character being booted out of politics instead of somehow winning the governor’s seat in a shocking upset, having earned the respect of conservative Texas voters through the sheer force of her eloquence, intelligence, and left-wing spunk. If NBC’s going to grant wishes, might as well wish big. But that’s probably a plot device they’re holding in reserve. What’ll happen, I’d guess, is that by “unshackling her inner badass” and being the unapologetic liberal she is after politics, everyone will be so impressed that she’ll be drafted to run for governor again and she’ll win. That’s the “Bulworth” fantasy — all a liberal really has to do to succeed is tell the unvarnished truth, liberal style. If only Wendy had talked about nothing but abortion on the trail, she might have beaten Greg Abbott after all.
Oh, by the way: According to exit polls in Texas last year, she lost women to Abbott by nine points.