That didn’t take long. It was only yesterday when MGM, the studio behind The Handmaid’s Tale, announced it would start hawking very on-brand merchandise for the show: wine! Y’know, because Gilead is all about the handmaids and barren wives tossing back a few at the country club and having a good ol’ laugh about living in oppression with a bunch of looney tune men with Napoleon complexes. Social media naturally lost its shit over the boozy attempts by a show that leaves us all feeling like shit each week and in need of a cocktail (hey, maybe they weren’t that far off the mark?). MGM has now decided to pull the cork, er, plug on the wine. Dammit, I was looking forward to Aunt Lydia two-buck chuck down at Trader Joe’s.
The Hollywood Reporter says the original plan was for two reds – in “tribute” to Elisabeth Moss and Alexis Bledel being handmaids – and a white wine that would go with Yvonne Strahovski’s Serena Joy. People took umbrage over the descriptions of each of the wines since the show is about how these handmaids are raped once a month, and (SPOILER ALERT) Serena Joy herself could be physically abusive and even goaded on a pretty brutal rape scene to Offred this season. Here’s the description of Offred’s wine and surprisingly they didn’t throw a “blessed be the fruit” in there.
“rich and complex. Lush, fruit flavors of cherry and cassis are complemented by earthy flavors of mushroom and forest floor. We honor Offred with a wine that will stay with you long after you’ve finished your glass and a powerful experience you will never forget.”
“A daring testament to the heights that Oregon Cabs can reach” was how they described Alexis’s Ofglen batch, and Yvonne’s Serena wine was characterized as “wine may initially come off as restrained, a few sips reveal it to be hiding layers of approachable white grapefruit and lemongrass, backed by weight and concentration.” Honestly, these all sound like the roundabout ways Xfinity describes porn on Cinemax in a way that Grandma can read and not totally understand what she’s getting herself into.
Most people thought the money used to go toward rolling out a wine line would be better spent in the form of donations to Planned Parenthood or other organizations that sure-as-shit don’t stand a chance if what’s seen on the show were to happen in real life, which, well, sometimes seems not that far off. If you ask me, I really think they should have just offered what most of us need anytime you watch the show: an eye mask for the tough scenes, three copies of feminist literature of our own choosing, a teddy bear to squeeze during the REALLY tough scenes, and – because not all booze is bad – an IV of bourbon since we usually want to quickly black out whatever awful shit happened to Offred that week.