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Jordan Peele and Lorena Bobbitt: An Odd Couple Made for Amazon

The Oscar winner will produce a series tackling one of the most infamous stories of the 1990s.
PBS Newshour - Jordan Peele
By  · Published on April 5th, 2018

The Oscar winner will produce a series tackling one of the most infamous stories of the 1990s.

Jordan Peele has been racking up an extensive list of upcoming projects ever since Get Out opened in February 2017 to critical acclaim and big box office numbers (and an eventual Oscar). Among other things, he is currently attached to produce a reboot of The Twilight Zone, the Spike Lee drama Black Klansman, and a series inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Not to mention, he is credited as the creator of Tracy Morgan’s new series The Last O.G. and has a stop-motion animated film in the works with his longtime collaborator Keegan Michael Key.

One would think that Peele’s plate would already be full to overflowing — especially since somewhere in the midst of all this he has said he will be working on the script for his second feature. Nonetheless, he has just signed on to produce another project that should raise more than a few eyebrows. Amazon just announced that Peele will be producing a four-part docudrama series examining the Lorena Bobbitt case through a modern, #MeToo lens.

Even if you are too young to remember the Lorena Bobbitt case as it played out back in 1993, you’ve likely heard references to it in pop culture and elsewhere. Lorena alleged that her husband, John Wayne, raped her — and that it wasn’t the first time. As punishment, she cut off his penis, drove away, and threw it into a field. Eventually, she realized the seriousness of what she had done and called 9-1-1. The penis was searched for, found, and reattached to John Wayne. A lawsuit — and tabloid hysteria — followed.

According to Amazon’s release, their goal in revisiting the case at its 25th anniversary is to shed new light on the extensive abuse Lorena suffered that led her to commit her crime: “Lost in the tabloid coverage and jokes was the opportunity for a national discussion on domestic and sexual assault in America.” In the era of #MeToo and #TimesUp, it totally makes sense to want to give Lorena Bobbitt a second chance at having her story be told without it being ridiculed. She suffered all kinds of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of John Wayne before finally taking matters into her own hands; her story deserves to be more than just a sensational punchline about a severed penis. Peele’s socially conscious viewpoint should go a long way towards ensuring that the series actually achieves that goal.

And, from a more cynical viewpoint, it is clear that 1990s nostalgia is big business right now — especially when it comes to the decade’s more notorious moments in the courtroom. After all, American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson was an award-winning hit for FX. Those of us who grew up in the 1990s are adults now, and many of us are eager to reexamine the stories that we may have been too young to truly understand when they were first in the headlines. One hopes that Amazon will do this particular story justice — but with Peele on board, things are already looking good.

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Director of short films starring a killer toaster, a killer Christmas tree, and a not-killer leopard.