'Ladylike's Catcalling Pranks Prove Turning Sexism On Men Isn't Easy, Even For This Talented Cast
Where often women are objectified or subject to double standards, the group of comedians/pranksters on Ladylike, headlined by UCB performer and Girl Code star Nicole Byer, aim to turn those same standards on male passerby. And they're absolutely fearless, with Blair Socci, Jade Catta-Preta, and Megan Gaily taking center stage in the first episode. But the biggest takeaway from the Ladylike premiere's catcalling pranks was that it's not easy to flip sexism on men — that's how thoroughly cultural standards demean women. The ladies (and one gentleman) in the cast bemoaned how catcalling men seemed to give them even more confidence, while soliciting naked pictures, something that women have to deal with frequently, wanted or unwanted, didn't really seem to put any undue pressure on the guys who sent responses.
Byer does get angry responses during a long fake nails bit that seems a lot more like a classic gross-out prank, with fancy cupcake customers outraged at the idea that her talon-like nails are dipping into the four inches of icing on the top of their designer cupcakes. Otherwise, all of the pranks are designed to flip some kind of accepted gender norm, mostly to do with dating or sex. The first half of the show makes it seem as though there's nothing that will make straight men uncomfortable.
But the final two bits are successfully able to upend conventions enough that the prank victims do look suitably unnerved. First, Gaily invites three unsuspecting dudes to three blind dates, all in the same restaurant: "Date Stacking." Possibly because of copyright issues, they're not able to call this what it really is, which is Mrs. Doubtfire-ing. And the three guys take a while to catch on to the deception, but once they do, they look pretty disappointed that they weren't able to tell that the date wasn't real.
And the final bit, a flip on the catcalling idea, where Byer tries to kiss unsuspecting men who are attempting to give her directions, definitely makes the dudes feel a bit of what women have to deal with daily when it comes to unwanted advances. Obviously, a prank show on MTV won't solve sexism. But I look forward to seeing the ladies of Ladylike continue their attempts to flip the script in episodes to come.