So a while back Amy messaged me to tell me there was going to be an Astronaut Wives Club tv show. Having read the book and reviewed it just over a year ago in April. I loved the book, the show well… (Can you see me waffling my hand back and forth in the air? If not that’s what you should be picturing right now.)
Honestly I was ready to turn off my recording two or three different times while the show played, I only kept going to the end because I had promised Amy a review. Now with that said let me be more specific!!
This show jumps right into the men being chosen and then on to a party where the wives all meet one another. From the outset the ladies are barely civil to one another. So ok in the book it said it took time for them to connect and they as much as their husbands were part of the competition to see which man would be the first in space but a lot of the first half or more of the show felt very sensationalized. I wanted to get to know the wives. I know there are seven of them, I can tell you which astronaut each belongs to but I can’t tell you all of their first names, and I think part of that is because I read the book.
I was really disappointed that they skipped right over the fact that as soon as their husbands were chosen for the program they became instant celebrities, hounded by the press. The book mentions them being followed in the grocery store, reporters just inviting themselves in the houses of the families. The pressure to be the perfect American family is inferred but not really addressed. Life magazine did a story on every astronaut, every wife, every family. I wish we’d seen a montage of the wives each being interviewed.
The actresses chosen for the roles seem to be right on target with the personalities we’re introduced to in the book. By the end I really was much happier, the last five minutes were enough for me to set the DVR to record another week.
Side note, I know smoking was much more common back in the 60s but it almost distracted me from the scene as there is so little smoking on network TV these days.
Overall while I was disappointed, I think maybe I was hoping for more of a realistic/drama such as the way Marilyn Lovell is presented in Apollo 13 (I so love that movie) as well as Fred Hayes wife Mary. Those felt organic and natural, realistic. This felt rushed, pushed, sensationalized, soap opera-esque instead of drama, like they were trying to make it more of a Desperate Housewives feel (I quit that show after two seasons). I am holding out some hope as like I said the last five minutes was better, felt more real, and the previews show some scenes that I think are good. All in all I’d say give it a shot.
One last thing, I’m going to be searching the ‘net to see if I can find impressions of the show from the living Mercury astronauts, wives, and kids, as well as any of the following astronauts and their wives. Curious to see how they feel about the representation.