In this weekend’s New York Times Magazine, cult-favorite Connie Britton talks about her career and experience in Hollywood as something of a dark horse—one of unexpected perfection, you could say. She’s a woman in her prime and everyone, especially those who watch “Nashville” every Wednesday night (I do!), knows it.
I’m reminded of two other women in their prime: Lea Thompson and Constance Marie, currently starring as the matriarchs of “Switched at Birth”, a cult show of a different kind. Thrust together when they learn their daughters had been switched at birth, the characters embodied by Thompson and Marie begin a unique dance, balancing history, class, culture and joint parenting. (Thompson’s character is joined by her often overbearing husband and the show is additionally multi-faceted as one of the daughters is deaf.) But through it all, Thompson and Marie portray their characters with grace and aplomb. Thompson’s character is a “housewife” who yearns for more, never allowing the staid title to define her. Marie’s is all fire, independent and self-assured. These are not minor characters; they eat up the screen and set the perfect stage for the two young actors who play their daughters, Vanessa Marano and Katie Leclerc.
In fact, “Nashville” and “Switched at Birth” are joined by a common theme: the shows’ core resides in its female characters. Britton, Thompson and Marie are transcending former lives in ‘90s comedies for new roles that showcase and applaud their experience, maturity and beauty—both inside and out.
“Nashville” airs on Wednesdays; “Switched at Birth” on Mondays. I encourage all to watch. (Both also air on ABC networks. Maybe there’s something to that…go female empowerment!)