August 1, 2014
Jennifer Doyle had it all under control. A single mom with a high-salary job, she’s the buttoned-up epitome of the modern working woman.
But when she’s fired from her vice president position because of her untamed anger issues, she soon finds herself in financial trouble. Worse, she’s forced to move back in with her mother and take a demeaning job in her brother’s sports bar. Though the setup is bleak, “Jennifer Falls” is an original comedy series, airing on the TV Land network, and starring Jaime Pressly as Jennifer.
The indignities continue to befall Jennifer when she learns that the required attire for her sports bar waitress job is a skimpy referee uniform.
“In the script she is very resistant to wearing the uniform,” said Costume Designer Liz Bass, who aimed to illustrate the character’s extreme fall. She went online and found a referee outfit made “in the cheapest, most horrible polyester ever,” she said.
“In the pilot, a customer refers to her cleavage,” said Bass, who altered one of the costume multiples to fit the scenario. “I made the zipper a little longer so there could be a little more cleavage, and fitted the shirt a little more. Going forward from there (in the series), it is an almost identical version, but it is just slightly less sexualized.”
On one level, the costume is a simple referee outfit—striped shirt and black shorts. On the other, because it’s meant to be sexy and pleasing to male customers, it’s a commentary on gender roles.
“The interesting thing about that and the underlying psychology and message in the show is that we women think that dressing in that corporate way is feminism. It really isn’t in my opinion. It’s dressing to fit into a man’s world. The opposite extreme that I tried to show in the referee outfit is that that is still dressing for a man,” Bass said.
“When see her in her corporate job, she was wearing the women’s version of a man’s suit—a navy skirt suit with a white blouse. I wanted to show that she did have feminine quality, that she was a feminine person in a man’s world,” Bass said. “She thought she was powerful…and maybe the lesson she has to learn is she doesn’t have to fit in and can be her own version of a powerful woman,” Bass said. “The show follows her journey to find her own way to feel strong and powerful in her world as it changes.”
And as referee of her own life, Jennifer gets to call the shots.
For broadcast times of “Jennifer Falls,” check www.tvland.com.