The show’s creator gets a storyteller drunk and the storyteller then attempts to tell the audience an interesting story about a historical figure or event. As the story unfolds, a team of actors in period costume faithfully acts out the inebriated story. Add some low-budget special effects and some celebrity cameos and you have an entertaining (if unsophisticated) show.
What was more relevant for our purposes was the show’s surprisingly progressive/feminist themes. Over the course of three seasons, the show had increased the percentage of female storytellers to 42% and the percentage of woman-centered stories to around 25%, all without making a big fuss about it. I predicted that at the current rate, Season 4 might get even closer to parity.
With Season 4 now complete with 10 episodes exploring 28 stories, how did they do?
Starting with the storytellers, I counted 17 male storytellers and 11 female storytellers across all ten episodes. This works out to about 40% female storytellers across the season, roughly equal to the representation in Season 3. No increase, but not too shabby.
Stories About Women
- Ella Fitzgerald and Marylin Monroe (Episode 2)
- Carrie Nation (Episode 3)
- Marsha P. Johnson (Episode 3)
- Eleanor Roosevelt & Lyudmila Pavlichenko (Episode 4)
- Sadie the Goat and Gallus Mag (Episode 5)
- Katharine Wright (Episode 6)
- The Kopp Sisters (Episode 6)
- The Fox Sisters (Episode 6)
- Emily Roebling (Episode 7)
- Julia Child (Episode 8)
- The Cherry Sisters (Episode 10)
But, Wait! There’s More!
As if 50% more stories about women wasn’t enough, the show’s creators added an interesting new feature to the fourth season. As the episodes progressed, I noticed that many of the background and supporting roles were performed by the show’s female cast in trouser or pants roles. For example, business man no. 2 would be a woman wearing a suit and mustache. Or Shakespearean actor no. 3 would be a woman in men’s garb. At first I thought they were just short-staffed on those filming days, but it happened enough to seem intentional.
Then it happened . . . Episode 9 “Hamilton” featuring a very drunk Lin-Manuel Miranda.
The Hamilton-Burr story goes way back to the show’s beginnings as a web-series, so I was a little surprised they were tackling it again. But this time you have Lin-Manuel Miranda and an entire episode devoted to the two men and their relationship. You also have both Hamilton and Burr played by women. That’s right, female founding fathers. BOOM!
Did I mention that this show is hosted by drunk people? Where is the rest of the entertainment industry?! Probably hiding with embarrassment because they’re so far behind the times. Would they have cast women to represent the founding fathers? I don’t think so. They couldn’t even imagine casting Asian-American actor John Cho as Shakespeare (episode 8). Oh, yeah, Drunk History did that too.
Drunk historians for the win!