The Hollywood Reporter was less than impressed by Hillary and Chelsea Clinton’s new Apple TV+ docuseries "Gutsy," suggesting that the mother-daughter duo made for "lackluster" TV hosts on a show lacking depth or personality.
Television critic Angie Han first got her positives out of the way, praising the empowering stories of the series’ lesser known guests, and showing admiration for the show’s "wholesome" and "uplifting" tone.
"However, in its restless, relentless quest for uplift, the series turns away from complexity, depth or even much in the way of personality. While Gutsy’s good intentions make it hard to dislike, its shallowness also makes it difficult to love," Han said, as she shifted into her caveats with the show.
She then went on to note that those with strong opinions about the Clintons are unlikely to change their minds when engaging with the show’s material, but also suggested that even Clinton supporters may take issue with aspects of the series.
"Even pro-Clinton viewers, however, might find themselves stumbling over the first obvious issue with Gutsy: namely, that whatever else you think of them as private individuals or public figures, the Clinton's are lackluster as TV hosts," Han noted.
Despite spending much of their lives in the spotlight, neither Chelsea nor Hillary appear "quite at ease" with the show’s attempt at a "casual vibe," according to the writer. She observed that the pair appears more comfortable in the sit-down interviews, often choosing to listen rather than lead. While A-list celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Megan Thee Stallion will likely garner headlines, the critic suggests that the lesser known stories of GLITS founder Ceyenne Doroshow or inventor Alice Min Soo Chun create the most refreshing content.
"Gutsy’s list of heroes is certainly impressive, and the issues they raise worth ruminating on. If the series brings more recognition to some of these women and the work they do, perhaps it’s a worthwhile endeavor for that reason alone," Han added. "But it can be a frustrating watch for anyone actually engaged enough with these ideas and concerned to be curious about their nuances."
The critic’s biggest gripe with the show is that, for lack of a better word, it isn’t very "gutsy." The show appears stubborn, and so focused on being positive and empowering, that it frequently sidesteps contention, controversy, and doesn’t feel nearly as deep as many of the individuals featured.
The show, which was released on Sept. 9, has received less than stellar reviews from critics thus far, boasting an unimpressive 63% Rotten Tomatoes score from critics. The show does not yet have an audience score.
Variety’s Carline Framke was similarly unimpressed by the show, noting that the excitement of Hillary and Chelsea leading up to the interviews, did not match how "dull" the viewing experience actually was.
The Boston Globe’s Natalia Winkelman also suggested that the show lacked depth, particularly singling out the show’s construction for making the women's stories "feel facile" and running through them too rapidly.
The show came about following the 2019 non-fiction book, "The Book of Gutsy Women," co-authored by Hillary and Chelsea.