The thing with “Gutsy” is that it really does revel in its subjects’ accomplishments, not just in its famous pair at the center. The show features women who have done amazing things and is careful to curate an expansive and powerful definition of what that amazing or ‘gutsy’ is. Hillary and Chelsea meet with a mix of high- and low-brow figures ranging from faith leader Rev. Whittney Ijanaten to Kim Kardashian to Nurse Practioner Belinda Ellis who details how Covid was more harrowing than the time she spent nursing in war zones.
Pushing it even further, “Gutsy” pairs “Ru Paul Drag Race” season 13 winner Symone (aka Reggie Gavin) with two of the Little Rock Nine, Minnijean Brown-Trickey and Carlotta Walls LaNier, in the penultimate episode, “Gutsy Women Take Leaps.” It’s supposed to be about women who make big, tough decisions but it’s really about Arkansas, what it’s meant to the Clintons, its place in the nation’s history, and where it is now. The interviews are stirring if the conceit is a bit contrived, still it serves the show’s formula well. Plus any series that can successfully feature Dolores Huerta, the storied labor activist and mother of eleven (now grandmother to fourteen, great grandmother to four) and Megan Thee Stallion discussing how she handles haters (partly through painting) deserves some credit.
It’s a tough balancing act to pull off—celebrating the full diversity of womanhood without reducing half the population to a type, not just checking boxes around diversity but really understanding it. Thanks to eight, 40-plus minute episodes “Gutsy” has diversity within its diversity, showing, for example, Black women as activists, comics, thinkers, and mothers. The result is a compelling docuseries that rises above its elements, defining aspirational womanhood as smart, strong, and human.
Whole season screened for review. The show premieres on Apple TV+ on September 9th.