Seriously, a week without women? No big deal, right? Not the case, as Lifetime documents in The Week the Women Went — a four-episode series the network is hyping as “a social experiment of biblical proportions,” slated to premiere on Tuesday, Aug. 14 at 9pm ET/PT [although the network has changed this premiere date twice already].
Based on a similar British series that aired on the BBC, the project takes place in the small town of Yemassee, South Carolina, located about 250 miles southeast of Atlanta. Of a town of roughly 1,000, about 150 women agreed to participate, packing up their bags and leaving their families and careers behind for seven days. The women boarded a train and were sent to a resort in Florida to enjoy some pampering, while their male counterparts were left to handle their households. Both genders’ reactions and emotions were studied and captured.
“The women were very excited to participate in the experiment because they wanted to see how their men and children would fare without them — and perhaps be more appreciated after,” says executive producer Jon Kroll. “Even though it was only a week, the drama was incredible! Lives were changed!”
Kroll says they selected Yemassee for its “incredible collection of characters found in the town and the large number of female-run businesses.”
And it’s a diverse group of characters who make this series captivating. Bug-eyed and bewildered Darnell Wilson is one of them, shellshocked when his wife Tracy departs, leaving him with their severely ADHD son Hunter and their 6-year-old drama-queen daughter Bailey. Too scared to go it alone, he actually invites his buddy, Doug Carroll, and Doug’s two 15-month-old twins into their frenzied world. While misery loves company, these fellas are helpless.
Single mother to three kids, Renee Clark, 31, asks her Marine boyfriend Matt Noack, 24, to fill in while she’s gone. Poor Matt doesn’t quite know how to deal with her two sassy teenage daughters, who freeze his underpants and use his personal toothbrush to scrub his dog’s teeth. Renee’s concerns about this experiment either “making or breaking” their relationship are justified.
Then there’s 21-year-old Justin Lane, the town’s fire chief, who’s a total momma’s boy — his mom still sets out his socks and shoes. He asks his girlfriend to marry him before she leaves, setting off his controlling mother Tammy, who’s “just not ready to let him go.” There’s also Kevin, who tries to get respect from his four teenagers. It takes less than five minutes of listening to his son Jerome talk and be disrespectful to get your blood pressure rising.
Being under the microscope with anxieties running so high makes this one juicy social-experiment soap opera you just can’t turn away from.