Who Didn’t Like Pat? How Could You Not?
Shining Vale is a 2022 American comedy horror presented by #Starz with a host of other producers. Its main overt focus is on the mental health of an erotica writer/housewife named Patricia ‘Pat’ Phelps played by Courteney Cox and how her marital affair, mental/emotional status and writer’s block plagues her husband Terry [Greg Kinnear], her family and community. Admittedly, Pat’s presentation can cause the misinformed to really hate her as she appears to lose touch with reality; misuse drugs and alcohol; disrespect her mother; sabotage her husband; and discard people in general. Pat appears to be loopy, clumsy and psychotic, which she is, due mostly to medicinal and patriarchal side effects. However, as you think deeply and really listen to what the series teaches, there is more to this show than meets the nondiscriminating eye.
Female Oppression is Socially Accepted and Generational.
The women in Pat’s family are like many women who live in the west and throughout the world. They are women who are beautiful, sexual and intelligent, but who become pregnant and/or marry early in life, forfeiting their dreams, leading to lost hopes, confinement to residences, depression, over-medication, mental health facility incarceration and so much more.
Upon watching the series, those whose tendency it is to follow the Alpha just want Pat to get with the program. Stop sabotaging your editor Pat! Cook your husband and family a decent meal Pat. Honor and take care of your parents Pat! You get the picture. However in Pat’s deep despair, she has given up a full scholarship to support her family as a housewife, thereby forfeiting, to some extent, her own dreams. Unable or unwilling to bear the truth of her existence, she falls into depression and is thus overmedicated by an uncaring, middle-aged, male psychiatrist, who surprisingly, is unwilling to medicate her husband after he falls under the same despair when he loses his job.
Enter Rosemary…and NOT with Her Baby.
In my mind, it doesn’t matter who or what Rosemary [Mira Sorvino] is. However, what cannot be denied is that she is an egregor of the female archetype in modern society. At least the one depicting how sick women are of taking care of everyone other than themselves.
Rosemary is a noncorporeal (spirit) and former 1950s/60s housewife, as well as previous resident of the home now occupied by the Phelps family. Rosemary’s philandering husband suppresses Rosemary by confining her to the house and even telling the local grocer to stop selling her alcohol, which is one of her coping mechanisms, besides having an affair with the younger grocer clerk.
She is the wannabe social butterfly, consumate cook, illustrious housewife and mother, who is labeled a ‘demon’ when she rejects societal norms by not embracing her lot in life.
In her own despair, Rosemary kills her husband and two children, and a few other people, then kills herself. She later appears to Pat only, as an unwelcome houseguest, who wants to assist Pat in achieving the freedom that she herself never realized, but feels she can by taking over Pat’s body. She also forces Pat to face her own victimization by patriarchy.
Season One of Shining Vale Does NOT End Well for Pat.
Season one ends with Pat being hospitalized by her daughter after trying to murder Terry, her husband. Ironically, it is the same scenario Pat found herself in when she signed her own mother over to an institution for four years.
While strapped to a table, Pat notices a picture of Rosemary from prior times. She is leading a medical team at a woman’s hysterical institution [what they use to call mental health hospitals] and the hospital is located in the house that both she and Rosemary lived in.
This last scene gives a grim picture of reincarnation for women in the west, but sets the series up to be a type of American Horror Story, because there are numerous paths season 2 can take.
Here’s What I’d Like to See in the Future of the Shining Vale Series.
Firstly I’ll start off with what I don’t want to see: weak snippets of minor female victories, hugs with hubby and smiles due to patriarchal acceptance. I want the series to remain gory, gritty and truthful to help society to fully understand the toll patriarchy has taken on all of humanity.
Here are some other storylines I’d like to see played out in the series:
I’d like to hear and see a full season or numerous flashbacks of Joan’s story. Joan is Pat’s mom, played by Edith Light, married to a war vet who has also been mind-bombed by patriarchy. Behind her tormented eyes is a major story that must be told.
I’d like to see the series tap into the Salem Witch Trials in some way so that we can be introduced to a long lost, tortured ancestor [or two] from Patricia’s maternal line.
Would be great to introduce a new neighbor who moves into Valerie He’s old house [former neighbor who was a christian medium and is killed by Rosemary/Pat]. This neighbor should be a victim of domestic violence who ends up killed while Terry befriends her husband and ignores all the signs.
I don’t want Gaynor Phelps to be saved. Why should she be? None of us were. Gaynor, Pat’s daughter is played by Gus Birney and ends the season pregnant by the newly rich son of deceased neighbor Patricia He. It would be nice for Gaynor to either become an overzealous fake evangelical (or drop Christianity all together) study wicca and take the bloodline into a new direction. If she continues as an evangelical, I want her to take a mission trip to the holy land and discover some irrefutable truth that the Jesus story was made up [when she meets one of his descendents], then I want to see how she handles the news. Will she cover up for patriarchy or reveal the truth?
The series could also go back in time with the women’s hospital and bring out some of the stories of the hysterical women it housed.
Let’s Spruce Up These Sets!
Initially, the main set was dusty and dirty. I get what they were trying to do, but please fix the carpet on the stairs, paint, clean up a bit. I was very happy to see the improvements later on in the season. I know the house in some way exemplifies Pat’s life, but we are still paying to watch cable TV so aesthetics have to be somewhat pleasing.
Want to get more from the New Age store Patricia frequented, and maybe she can take on a part-time job there as a medium, bringing on a whole other modern day witch trial and revelation of who she and her descendants really are.
Overall, this is a good series that was surprisingly well thought out and has loads of potential. I will be watching it again in case I missed something because everything in it has meaning.