Set in 1975 Los Angeles, Paramount Network’s new half-hour scripted dramedy American Woman (Thursdays at 10pm ET/PT beginning June 7) is inspired by Kyle Richards’ (The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) life growing up with her single mom and her two sisters. The series follows three women — played by Alicia Silverstone, Mena Suvari and Jennifer Bartels — who are struggling to be strong and independent in an era when that wasn’t the norm.
Meet the three fearless females of American Woman:
Bonnie Nolan (Alicia Silverstone)
Occupation: Mother/transportation manager (drives children both to and from school)
Source Of Income: Husband’s fraudulent real estate business
Aspirations: To be her own person for the first time in forever
Relationship Status: Married to a lying, cheating scumbag
Silverstone Says: “Many things inspire me about this show, but one of them is this idea that we all have things we get stuck in our lives. You can accept things that aren’t working for you because there’s enough good or it’s working just barely enough and it’s too scary to break through — whether that’s in a relationship or your job or whatever it might be. And I really think that having that bravery to stand up and say, ‘I’m not going to do this anymore, and I don’t know what the future looks like. I don’t know if I’m going to crash and burn or if I’m going to find my dream, but I’m going to say ‘no’ to this and go to the bottom and deal with the pain and come out the other side.’”
Kathleen Callahan (Mena Suvari)
Occupation: Crazy rich gal from Texas
Source Of Income: Daddy
Aspirations: To be a Hollywood casting agent
Relationship Status: Unknowingly dating a gay man
Suvari Says: “I actually loved this decade, and it was an absolute blast working with everyone. One of my favorite outfits that Bonnie wore, Twiggy had actually worn the exact same dress. I love fashion, so I had a lot of fun with it, and my character, Kathleen, really goes for it as well. It was a blast. I love that whole time period. I was born in ’79, so I got a tiny taste of it, but not really. I would have loved to live in that decade.”
Diana Vaughan (Jennifer Bartels)
Occupation: Junior loan officer at second-largest Figueroa Bank branch in L.A.
Source Of Income: Her underpaid, underappreciated job at second-largest Figueroa Bank branch in L.A.
Aspirations: To be taken seriously as a candidate to replace Craig as senior loan officer
Relationship Status: Takes care of her mom
Bartels Says: “This is something you get to see, a really clean snapshot of what women were dealing with in the workplace, trying to create their own financial control and how they were looked down upon, or they were treated differently. This was something really apparent with my character, Diana. I think personally, too, the way women are viewed, objectified or sexualized — the way it was viewed in the ’70s versus the way it is now. I think we’ve come a long way in a lot of regard to the things we talk about in the show like that, but I think there’s leaps and bounds to where we need to be.”