Showtime premiered the second season of the LGBTQ dark comedy Work in Progress on August 22, with two episodes, one of which went back to the 1980s to bash President Ronald Reagan as a “dummy,” with Nancy Reagan being the one "actually running the country."
The show is semi-autobiographical, with the show’s description explaining how the lead character Abby McEnany is “a 45-year-old self-identified fat, queer dyke.” The second episode, “Everything’s Fine, Everything’s Okay,” mostly contains flashbacks from Abby's childhood. One such flashback shows a middle schooler Abby learning about the c-word, which she develops a deep fascination with.
Abby learns of that word as she eavesdrops on her feminist mother meeting with her equally feminist friends. In addition to discussing a fictional book titled “Wilder Cunt,” the women rant about “anti-choice women” and President Reagan. The women are also concerned about the Supreme Court, especially that the new appointments of Justice Antonin Scalia and Chief Justice William Rehnquist are "really gonna screw us over:"
Helen: I can barely watch his smile and bumble act.
Laura: It's his Supreme Court that's really gonna screw us over.
Helen: You got Scalia now and Rehnquist as Chief Justice.
Grace: At least we have wine.
Laura: We all know that Nancy is the one who's actually running the country, right?
[Women murmur in agreement]
Woman 3: How about say "No" to homophobia?
[Women murmur in agreement]
Women: Thank you. I agree.
Grace: She's the ventriloquist and he's the dummy.
Woman 4: Do you think she puts him to bed in a big suitcase every night?
Laura: I can't stand these anti-choice women. I know it's wrong. I know it's wrong, but I don't care.
Helen: Ladies, next Tuesday you're all coming over to my campus because we are hosting Tracey Spellman-Schwartz. She's lecturing.
Women: No way!
Woman 5: You know about my Tuesdays.
Grace: Who is that?
Helen: She wrote what I believe to be the most powerful feminist book out, Wilder Cunt.
[Women gasp, nervously giggle]
Grace: And it's called Wilder [whispers] Cunt?
Helen: You don't have to whisper, Grace! Wilder Cunt is a powerful reclamation of the word. Here, take my copy. It'll change your life! I'll bring one over to you this afternoon.
Abby mouthing words: Wilder Cunt.
The ‘80s called, they want their lame punchlines back.
Through her eavesdropping, while still an impressionable child, Abby was exposed and influenced by such liberal, feminist politics.
Subsequent scenes show Abby going to her mother’s room and looking longingly at the book cover, as she also strokes it and traces the title with her finger. She also writes the word multiple times in a notebook a therapist gave to her to write down her thoughts. In another scene, Abby even calls a gay drama teacher “you old cunt” during class in the gymnasium. Even though it’s in a joking manner, Abby still flees the gym, feeling awkward and embarrassed. She tells the lunch lady whom she has befriended, “I don't know why I said it. It just got stuck in my head. I just don't feel normal.”
None of this is normal. I guess that's how you get a program on Showtime.