OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Hillary Clinton has been promoting her new Apple TV+ Docuseries called “Gutsy,” but not all of the reviews are positive.
The Hollywood Reporter hammered the new docuseries, hosted by Hillary and her daughter Chelsea Clinton, saying that both “Clintons are lackluster as TV hosts.”
“The causes they highlight are largely unobjectionable, at least if your politics roughly align with the Clintons’; their subjects plainly admirable; their stories insistently empowering,” it said.
“For a certain type of viewer — say, a devoted Clinton fan or a budding feminist in search of role models — it might make for a decent primer on the broad spectrum of issues affecting Americans today, from motherhood to environmentalism to the fight for LGBTQ rights. And its omnivorous interests and impressive access ensure that just about any viewer will be likely to find some segment they’ll connect with over its eight 40-minute episodes. However, in its restless, relentless quest for uplift, the series turns away from complexity, depth or even much in the way of personality. While Gutsy‘s good intentions make it hard to dislike, its shallowness also makes it difficult to love,” it said.
It said that both Clintons “seems quite at ease with the purposefully casual vibe of the docuseries, or all that eager to reveal any more of themselves than they already have.”
“They have reason to feel plenty exposed already,” it said. “Nevertheless, it makes for unsatisfying TV when the two central figures are made to look so irreproachable they’re downright distant.”
Arguably, it’s tough to blame them for their guardedness. The carefully curated anecdotes shared by the Clintons here include Chelsea’s memories of watching Saturday Night Live mock her appearance as a child, and Hillary’s of Brazilian lingerie ads that used suggestive upskirt shots of her from a state visit in her capacity as First Lady. (Hence her famous affinity for pantsuits.) They have reason to feel plenty exposed already. Nevertheless, it makes for unsatisfying TV when the two central figures are made to look so irreproachable they’re downright distant.
There’s less justification for scripted transitions written with all the panache of a grade-school book report. (Take a shot every time someone says “gutsy” on this series, and you’ll have a very strong buzz going by the end of your binge.) “I think it was one of the most fun afternoons that we’ve had. And we learned so much. We laughed a lot,” Hillary remarks of a visit to late-night host Amber Ruffin’s home in episode six. By that point, we’ve already seen the footage, so we know it really did look fun and educational, and that the Clintons genuinely did seem to be having a blast with a table read of a pantsuit-centric sketch crafted for them by Ruffin and her writers. But you wouldn’t know it from the tediousness of the words used to describe the event.
“But that alchemy frequently remains out of reach. It’s cute, I guess, to see the Clintons take a tango lesson with Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson while chatting about mother-daughter relationships — but all that interaction ultimately imparts are vague platitudes about how “being a mom is one of the gutsiest things you can do.” (There’s that word again.),” it said.
The reviewer said the show “is stubbornly focused on spreading good vibes as far and wide as it can. The approach does have its merits. It makes for a quick and reliable dose of empowerment, and a solid compendium of brilliant, determined, accomplished people to look up again later. But it also keeps the show from ever feeling as deep as it could, or as complicated as all the individuals featured in it surely are. It prevents Gutsy, in other words, from living up to its own title.”