“Lipstick Jungle” is returning for its second season with provocative subject matter, but one thing it won’t be doing, according to series star Brooke Shields, is man bashing.
In the NBC series, Brooke plays Wendy, a high-ranking motion studio executive, whose husband Shane (Paul Blackthorne) — until recently — has been the one to stay home and care for their children.
“I think the most important thing about the way our male characters are portrayed is we don’t portray them as weak,” she says. “We don’t diminish them in any way. We celebrate how much we need them. And the need is different for each of us. We don’t paint these men as pathetic or stereotypical.”
At the end of last season, Shane’s career as a composer took off — with a little help from his wife — and, now for Wendy, it is turning into a case of be careful what you wish for. She wanted Shane to be successful, but now the issue of who takes care of its kids enters into the equation. It is a situation that Brooke, who is married to producer/writer Chris Henchy has to deal with in real life.
“I think that there is a similarity in the way we feel about motherhood,” she explains. “Our children are in very different stages, so what I have to deal with daily in my life vs. what Wendy has to deal with daily in her life [is very different]. Wendy is a very passionate person and mothering and her family are very important to her, but not at the risk of losing herself and losing what she is fueled by outside of her family. I can identify with that because my career is such a part of who I am.”
Interfering with Wendy’s plans to juggle motherhood and career this season with be none other than TV’s ultimate career girl — Mary Tyler Moore — who is famous for starring in a series about one of the first happily single career women on television — and who will be playing Wendy’s mother.
So what is it like to work with an icon?
“I defer [to her] a lot of out of respect and her history,” Brooke says. “I try to watch and appreciate. Then I get flashes of ‘Ordinary People’ or some of the favorite moments of her shows and I think, ‘There is a whole history here.’ I want to respect, but not fawn too much to make her uncomfortable. There is that fine line you don’t want to cross.”
Mary begins her recurring role when “Lipstick Jungle” premieres its second season on Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 10 p.m. on NBC.