Parents' Guide to

The Lady and the Dale

By Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Intelligent docu reveals a complex, criminal life.

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The intelligent four-part docuseries chronicles the life of one of America's greatest scam artists, and the transphobic narratives that were eventually used to against her. It highlights how Liz Carmichael's spent her early years, during which time she lived as the charming Jerry Dean Michael, who lied about his background, married multiple women, sired many children, and worked small-time scams, some of which were more successful than others. It also describes the many years she spent living as a fugitive with her wife, Vivian, and their five children. Those who knew her also note how she was a loving mother and entrepreneur who had finally come to terms with who she was later in life, and how she transitioned with the knowledge and support of her family.

Throughout these conversations, no one denies that Liz Carmichael was a criminal. But The Lady And The Dale also sheds light on how, thanks to journalists like Dick Carlson (father of Fox network commentator Tucker Carlson) became one of the first trans people in U.S. history to be ‘outed' by the media, and how the private subject of her sexual identity was publicly mischaracterized and exploited as a result. The challenges Carmichael faced in custody as a trans woman remind viewers of the systemic obstacles the transgender community continues to experience today. Overall, it's a documentary that tells the extraordinary tale of an intelligent, creative, and unethical wrong doer who was more vilified for who she was than the criminal acts she committed.

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