Apple TV’s Lesson In Chemistry is a must-watch series that will have you feeling empowered thanks to its pop-feminist plot. The mini-series, which premiered on Oct. 13, is an adaptation of Bonnie Garmus’ debut novel of the same name.
Brie Larson plays the main character, Elizabeth Zott, who’s an avid chemist and lab technician in the 1950s. While working as a chemist, she’s challenged by the men at work who believe women don’t belong in male dominated spaces. After accepting a job as the host of her own cooking TV show Supper at Six, Elizabeth ultimately defies the status quo by teaching housewives that they are capable of being more than just homemakers who’s only jobs in life are to take care of their familiies.
With the series’ believable plot line and characters, many fans wonder if Lessons in Chemistry is based on a true story. Though it would be easy to assume the show is modeled after a true story, it’s not. However, the show is inspired by real TV homemakers of the 1950s. Much like Elizabeth Zott, women at that time were expected to wear a “homey set” and embody the look of a “sexy wife, loving mother that every man loves to see when he comes home from work.”
Cooking shows that were broadcasted at that time were created as a guide for women at home to be the “perfect” housewives for their husbands. It was a must that women followed certain recipes to make the food as delicious as possible that would not only make their husband’s happy, but their kids as well.
But unlike the real 1950s TV cooks, Elizabeth Zott assured all the women with families that it was ok to mess up at times and to not be the perfect wife. In scientific terminology, she metaphorically says, “sometimes you can’t count on a formula… sometimes you can’t control each variable.”
Zott’s profession and interest in chemistry appauls men and some women, which leads them to try to belittle her accomplishments and interests. Although they mistake her for a secretary in the first episode, she stands firm on her career as a chemist and cook, and I’m so here for it!
Women empowerment has definitely evolved over time and it’s inspiring to see just how far we’ve come. If Elizabeth Zott was based on a real person she’d definitely be someone I — and many others — would look up to!