In last night’s very silly episode of Great Minds in the Night Class programming block, Dan Harmon and his surly assistant Spencer were visited by Mary Wollstonecraft (Aubrey Plaza), proto-feminist and mother to Frankenstein author Mary Shelley. Great Minds continued its tradition, delivering minimal historical information on its guest and a deluge of zingers from Dan Harmon. The History network itself took some funny abuse, when Harmon told Wollstonecraft that it was largely a channel for “swamp people”, despite the intelligent-sounding name.
The feminism episode of Great Minds, unsurprisingly, leaned heavily into humor and further away from actual, historical fact. Wollstonecraft told Harmon upon meeting him, “men and women are both sexual creatures, and to deny that is insulting,” and, in response, Harmon mumbled that she was “hot…like a hot Mrs. Butterworth”.
Though previous episodes have certainly been funny, this one relied on dialogue more so than, say the episode featuring Ernest Hemingway. A fantastic monologue from Harmon illustrated his struggles to understand what the actual Wollstonecraft believed.
>Okay, so Mary, found of women’s rights and super hottie has decided she’d rather die alone in the lab, reading books, than spend those moments with me. As a feminist, I totally accept, but as a feminist, I cannot allow, because it’s a waste of her femininity. I did some hard work, I did some Googling, I found a subreddit on women’s issues, very informative. I’m going to try a modern technique on her called “negging”.
As we wrote when the show debuted, Dan Harmon’s comedic voice has exactly the edge History has been searching for, in its late night programming. It’s fun to see Harmon enact an exaggerated version of himself, since he’s made a career thus far of writing, and not acting in, zany and complex shows.