Showtime’s series “The First Lady,” starring Viola Davis as Michelle Obama, has been canceled and will not air for a second season after massively bad reviews and widespread ridicule from viewers.
(Video Credit: SHOWTIME)
The one-and-done drama anthology bombed and failed to pick up any major Emmy Award nominations. The only recognition it got was in technical categories.
On Monday, Showtime announced the cancellation of the series which boasted an all-star cast and received huge publicity, stating that the show “will not be moving forward with another season.”
“We would like to applaud the artistry and commitment of our showrunner Cathy Schulman, director Susanne Bier, their fellow executive producers, our amazing cast, led by executive producer Viola Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Gillian Anderson, and our studio partner Lionsgate for their dedicated work in telling the unique stories of three remarkable leaders,” the announcement concluded.
The series was intended to showcase the wives of presidents and planned to focus on three first ladies a season. The first season portrayed Viola Davis as Michelle Obama, Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford, and Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt.
New York magazine ripped the show, calling it a “bad-wig costume drama.” Time magazine asserted that Davis and Anderson were “egregiously miscast.”
(Video Credit: SHOWTIME)
Many viewers cringed at Davis pursing her lips in an imitation of Michelle Obama. The affectation was seen as overly exaggerated and distracting, not to mention extremely unattractive.
TMZ stated that the pursed, disapproving lips resemble the so-called “duck face” that is frequently used in selfies making someone look like they had just finished sucking on a lemon.
Davis was offended by the assertion and told BBC News that it is “incredibly hurtful when people say negative things about your work,” while also admitting that negative criticism is an “occupational hazard” of acting.
Viola Davis on playing Michelle Obama in #TheFirstLady:
“There’s a lot of fear that I messed up my portrayal. I’m mostly terrified about what she will think. I don’t want to insult her & have her calling me. I gotta make the sister look good. I just hope that it lands with her.” pic.twitter.com/wVaZJx7lQL
— Film Updates (@FilmUpdates) April 17, 2022
“How do you move on from the hurt, from failure?” Davis asked. “But you have to. Not everything is going to be an awards-worthy performance.”
“They always feel like they’re telling you something that you don’t know,” Davis said concerning her critics, according to People. “Somehow that you’re living a life that you’re surrounded by people who lie to you and ‘I’m going to be the person that leans in and tells you the truth’. So it gives them an opportunity to be cruel to you. But ultimately I feel like it is my job as a leader to make bold choices. Win or fail it is my duty to do that.”
The role for Davis is her first official failure. Considering she is reportedly a close friend of Michelle Obama, the whole affair apparently upset her even more.
(Video Credit: SHOWTIME – Language Warning)
Potential future seasons that will now never see the light of day focused on Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Hillary Clinton, and Melania Trump.
In February, the show’s executive producers teased that there would be a season 2.
“I would be very intrigued to depict Hillary Clinton because I think that her position was so complicated …. I think that would be incredibly interesting,” Executive Producer Susanne Bier declared at the series TCA presentation.
People reported that Executive Producer Cathy Schulman also remarked, “If we could figure out a way to do Jackie Kennedy that didn’t tell the same old story again — particularly the latter part of her life — I’m fascinated by that.”
When asked if Melania Trump’s story could be featured as well, the idea garnered consideration.
“I think the series could do with a fun season, so let’s talk about that,” Bier insultingly quipped.
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