The Lady and the Dale: Miniseries (2021)


Miniseries
The Lady and the Dale

Critics Consensus

An intoxicating blend of historical footage, candid interviews, and animation that deftly captures Liz Carmichael's incredible life, The Lady and the Dale is a wild ride.

100%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 22

57%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 58

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Episodes

Air date: Jan 31, 2021

Publicist for a three-wheeled fuel efficient car of the future, trans woman Liz Carmichael is outed as a fugitive who has spent decades running from the law with her family.

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Air date: Jan 31, 2021

With Liz at the helm, the 20th Century Motor Car Company launches The Dale, which soon rises in popularity; investigative reporters question the operation, leading to government attempts to reign in sales practices and a fatal shooting.

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Air date: Feb 7, 2021

As law enforcement begins to close in, Liz goes on the lam.

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Air date: Feb 14, 2021

Liz's legacy as a trans woman, entrepreneur and parent is contextualized within the broader history of transphobia.

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The Lady and the Dale: Miniseries Photos

Tv Season Info

Cast & Crew

Jay Duplass
Executive Producer
Jay Duplass
Executive Producer
Mark Duplass
Executive Producer
Mark Duplass
Executive Producer
Mel Eslyn
Executive Producer
Andre Gaines
Executive Producer
Allen Bain
Executive Producer
Alana Carithers
Executive Producer
Zackary Drucker
Executive Producer
Nick Cammilleri
Executive Producer
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Critic Reviews for The Lady and the Dale: Miniseries

Audience Reviews for The Lady and the Dale: Miniseries

  • 5d ago
    I'm surprised that this series hasn't received better audience reviews on this site. The negative reviews focus primarily on the production values, in particular the animations, and the sense that it's glorifying a grifter. I thought the animations were fun, and I didn't get the sense that it was glorifying a grifter. But, because so many people seem to have seen Liz's choice to live as a woman as part of the grift, it is important to see her instead as a person whose choice was genuine and right for her, even if she was a psychopathic grifter at the same time. My advice is that, even if you don't find the first episode or two to be particularly compelling, stick it out until the final episode. It's worth it. One final note: The documentary says that she was a libertarian. No, she wasn't. She was a libertine. There's a big difference. It's too bad that she, and apparently the filmmakers, don't seem to understand that difference.
  • May 22, 2021
    Eye-opening documentary about someone who I'd never heard of before. Very interesting story and I really enjoyed the styles used in the many and necessary re-enactments. Pretty good.
  • Mar 28, 2021
    I'm happy to see more screen time go to the LGBTQ community, but the cartoonish graphics didn't really fit the source material.
  • Mar 28, 2021
    Not at all what I thought it was going to be. A wild ride from the start. Literally had no idea what was coming next from moment to moment. Must watch.
  • Mar 26, 2021
    Genius writing about a genius con artist. A must watch. This persons story is one of a kind. 10/10
  • Mar 01, 2021
    The story about the car is interesting, the extensive focus on the life of Liz is not. It starts off pretty good, but it becomes a tedious life story and borderline glorification of a transgender grifter by the end. The good stuff could have been condensed into 2 episodes and it would have been a much better show.
  • Feb 19, 2021
    Many spoilers in this review. Fascinating look at the life of a career grifter and the wake of destruction she left behind, ever-widening with her aspirations. The Duplass Brothers did a beautiful job telling the life story of Jerry Michael, a lifelong swindler who along the crooked path of his life abandoned multiple wives and at least five children, fathered a total of ten kids, lived a life entirely funded by some form of illegality, and never held an honest job, and yet somehow managed to hold his head tall becoming a trans woman in a time where kicking trans people around was almost a nightly sport for that slithering snake news anchor, Dick Carlson. Jerry Michael started small, forging checks and robbing banks, earning a stint or two in prison. He married multiple women and father five kids, and abandoned them all before he met Vivian, a woman perfectly happy to live life with a fugitive criminal on the lam. During that marriage he fathered five MORE kids, transitioned to being a woman, and dragged the family from one town to another. The documentary doesn't say much about whether the kids ever went to school or had decent medical care or clothing, but they at least seemed to love their dad/mom and mom - not being aware of the deep hole their parents were digging for them. (There is mention later of the lifelong consequences of the children being born under false names and not being able to find decent work as a result, and no mention of any of them having educations or professional careers.) The directors had very little photographic material to work with, just a photo or two of the main characters, but they used clever animation to bring the story to life with great success. For the rest of this review, I will refer to the central figure as Liz Carmichael, the woman, as it could get as confusing describing that life as it was living it. At some point at the beginning of the "energy crisis" of the early 1970's, Liz was working for a company which preyed upon hopeful inventors as was a common scam in those days - forgive the harsh terms, but very, very few of those amateur inventors ever broke even on their ideas, and paying a company a fee to look at their ideas did not help matters. Liz bought the rights to a three-wheeled motorcycle with a full body and declared she was going to build a car which would "save America" by getting 70 miles per gallon. Liz was an inspirational and persuasive speaker, and, had she simply gotten a real job selling cars rather lying about her background, proclaiming she was an engineer and knew all about how to build the car of the future, she would have made an honest living for the first time in her life. But Liz was never wired for an honest living. For a moment, the story is reminiscent of the tale of another great historic figure in auto entrepreneurism, Preston Tucker. Tucker started off running a machine shop in Ypsilanti, MI (where my grandfather's brother Frank worked for him) and decided he could build a better car for the post-war auto boom. He wrangled a giant factory building in Chicago free on a special government lease, where Uncle Frank watched as the tiny crew hand-built just enough "prototypes" to fulfill the contract and not have to pay for the use of building. Uncle Frank saw the lack of any meaningful investment in production equipment as a bad sign and left before the company collapsed under the weight of Tucker's (probably well-meaning) ineptitude. Tucker was a great talker, but knew nothing of manufacturing a vehicle, and ultimately accomplished very little other than producing some hand-made, impractical cars and making many millions of stock proceeds disappear due to his heavy spending. He later blamed his failure on others, primarily the Big Three automakers, even though his car failed at a time when the Big Three were content to compete against many, many dozens of competitive US and foreign carmakers with far more customers than there were cars to sell to them. Trust me, Henry Ford was not worried about one more inexperienced, unproven entrant into the huge car market. The prototypes used much aircraft technology, such as mechanical fuel injection and a motor straight out of a helicopter. which in the pre-computer days required very frequent care by a skilled mechanic that a car would never receive. Tucker was a novelty act, and he didn't need any help failing. That was the only logical outcome for the Tucker car. And the big Detroit automakers were not at all concerned with the Dale as a competitor when Liz and her Dale mock-up emerged in the media spotlight. In the mid-1970's they were already dealing with cars from American Motors, Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen, Datsun, Mercedes Benz, Jaguar, Mazda, Jensen, Alfa Romeo, Citroen, Lancia, DeTomaso, Maserati, Ferrari, Lamborghini, TVR, Aston Martin, Lotus, Bricklin, Jeep, BMW, Opel, MG, Triumph, Rover, Peugeot, Renault, Austin, Toyota, Subaru, Saab, and Simca, to name some of the many, many competitors. Do you really think it's likely they worried about a silly little three-wheeled go-cart powered by an 80 hp outsourced engine that wouldn't pass the safety and emission standards, and certainly wasn't about to get even close to the claimed 70 mpg due to significant added weight over the original enclosed motorcycle version? At least Tucker was a legitimate businessman trying to get into the car business, however poorly prepared he was for that role. In this respect, Liz the swindler diverges from Tucker the entrepreneur. Liz built her pitch for herself and for the car on lies, and funded it with securities fraud. The Dale, as the homely little hand-made prototype was called, could barely make 45 mph in testing and easily tipped on its side. It was a rattly little go-cart with a cheap look inside and out. Taking it out on an actual road would not only be illegal but also dangerous, so fortunately that never happened. Like Tucker, Liz never made any attempt to equip her "factory" with production machinery, in spite of the $2,000,000 which passed through her hands. Unlike Tucker, though, when the house of cards inevitably collapsed, Liz did not persuade the jury with the kind of smooth sales pitch which saved Tucker from prison. Liz was a trans woman, subject to a mostly hostile public, and was convicted, dodging the sentencing and going back to life on the lam. Liz's family seems to still be telling themselves this not a con from the start and was a legitimate effort to build a car, and - if taken in the context that Liz was not smart enough to know how stunningly incapable she was - that might not be entirely wrong. I doubt that nuance mattered much to the swindled parties who handed millions to Liz so she could make it disappear like a magic trick. Yet, in spite of her tendency to criminality, her fearless attempt to be trans in a hostile world makes her in that sense admirable. I've already revealed too much about the story... it's is worth seeing with your own eyes. It's a fascinating tale, well told.
  • Feb 19, 2021
    A rich and layered story, told expertly.
  • Feb 19, 2021
    This documentary presents as a victim of hate for being trans & completely mismanages the story. Liz was a criminal & grifter and the apologist attitude for the crimes and how she took advantage of so many people is disgusting. Doc looks cheap & is absolutely wrong. It's infuriating to watch the double-standard and ridiculous abuse of the LGTBQ+ themes.
  • Feb 18, 2021
    La historia de Elizabeth Carmichael es fantástica, involucra tantas cosas que hace que su vida de crimen y delitos pase a un segundo plano. Miniserie en 4 episodios muy bien hecha y del todo interesante.

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