It seems all good things lead back to Arrested Development.
That certainly was the beginning for a buzzy new video calling out the United States’ restrictive healthcare laws for women. When Arrested star David Cross was in Europe promoting the show last month, his wife, actress Amber Tamblyn, joined him and the couple took a day trip to Stockholm. They may have been out of the country, but they were keeping up with news from home, where things were heating up in the Texas statehouse and a woman named Wendy Davis was about to gain national attention. While waiting for the bus, the idea for their PSA/sketch “Gynotician” was born – and written up just a few minutes later.
“Gynotician,” a term lovingly borrowed from Planned Parenthood, is Cross and Tamblyn’s response to, in their opinion, the increasingly outrageous restrictions hurting women’s health. “I think it’s been a long time coming, and it probably will continue to be a long time coming, meaning it’s many things layered on top of many things,” Tamblyn explained to EW on the phone this afternoon about why now was the time for them to get involved. “It’s really hard because people who want to look at the video and say, ‘This is just an ignorant celebrity couple making a video to support their pro-abortion thoughts,’ [that] is so myopic and so terrible and incorrect because it’s a tiny, tiny drop in the bucket of crap that is that law. And that law [in Texas that was recently passed] more than anything is about all the other aspects of women’s healthcare that it blocks and destroys.”
The goal of their video, which you can watch below, is to keep women’s health in the news cycle, so that it doesn’t get buried under “Carlos Danger headlines” or whatever the new story of the day is. “Let’s do something that makes people want to talk about the issue again and keep that drive going with it,” she explained about her conversations with Cross. “Both David and I believe that the best way to receive information is through comedy and laughing about it. [This stuff] is definitely so bad it’s funny. You have to laugh at it, that this is actually the way things are.”
At the same time, while video of Cross with a sock puppet on his hand may make viewers chuckle, what they’re spoofing is deadly serious – and all-too-real for many women. “We really tried to figure out how to balance the fine line of dark humor but also to get the point across, so it wasn’t all about the humor but also actually this is real. This is just a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” she explained.
The result is a short video that is – no surprise – divisive. “I know people are really pissed,” Tamblyn said about the video, which has only been online for about 24 hours. “I’ve already received emails on my public Facebook page where they [say they] aren’t ever going to see my movies again, which is okay. Because for every one of those people there’s two people it impacted who say, ‘Man, I live in a state where this has happened and I’m glad something is happening [to try and stop it], even in comedy.’”
Speaking of comedy: Fans seeing the ‘Amber and David Tamblyn’ name credited in the video shouldn’t assume Cross has legally changed his. Chalk it up to a spur-of-the-moment joke-y feminist stance on the part of Tamblyn. Just one way she continues to keep us intrigued.