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7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Defintely lacks the feminist view it initially seems to claim, 15 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Ladies in Charge - The Complete Series [DVD] (DVD)
Ladies in Charge was filmed in the mid 1980s, when economic pressures (even more than feminism) were inducing many middle-class women to enter the workforce rather than being housewives. This sitcom is certainly designed to be viewed in that then-modern climate. My question is, by whom? By middle-class women whose husbands still earned enough to enable them to stay at home comfortably watching TV? By working-class women who had done it all along so didn't see what the fuss about working women was all about? Because this series certainly is not well targeted to middle-class working women of the 1980s. Of course maybe that's why it failed after only seven episodes, so abruptly that there is no attempt to resolve the personal story arcs of the three main characters (chiefly, who will they marry?).

The "ladies in charge" consist of Diana, the daughter of a prosperous lawyer and widow of a war hero; Babs, an unmarried wealthy socialite; and Vicky, an unmarried daughter of a tradesman (technically barely a lady, and her parents would like her to work in their business instead). They became friends when acting as ambulance drivers during World War 1. With the war recently ended, they are bored, and feel their civilian lives are no longer meaningful. They thus start a business called "Ladies in Charge," with the fuzzy aim of somehow "helping people."

An apparently feminist note is struck at the beginning when the ladies' fathers and suitors all refuse to provide startup funds, claiming the ladies are all dilettantes. (The ladies don't even consider approaching banks, knowing a loan would be refused.) However, Frank, the loyal former batman of Diana's deceased husband, does provide a seedy but free rental office above his greengrocer's shop. It's unclear where the money for office expenses comes from, though since the ladies are all living with their parents they don't need incomes in addition.

And a good thing too, because the ladies are both dilettantes and incredibly amateurish. They don't come in to the office on time. They can't type or keep track of office papers. They don't ensure their clients can or will pay (no contracts ever, despite Diana's legal connections) and therefore, most clients slide out of paying. They provide lots of free services out of the goodness of their hearts. It's no wonder that the best they can ever claim is that they're almost breaking even.

Added to this is a constant anti-feminist message. One example: A charming but highly deceptive music-hall performer asks Babs to get his professional and romantic partner Elsie back. Elsie now has an act with a lesbian male impersonator. She tells Babs that her former partner was incredibly domineering, to the extent of telling her what to eat and when to go to bed, whereas her current partner respects her right to make decisions. The man insists that Babs fill in Elsie's place in the act, when Babs discovers she just loves having him order her about in a loud voice and rudely ignore her opinions. Then Elsie returns, having made the same discovery.

There's lots more of this kind of thing. On reflection, I think the series was made for middle-class housewives who wanted a good chuckle at all those silly, inept "working women" who scrambled all over the place for clients but never actually made money.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Mar 2014, 05:50:12 GMT
Ekka says:
So it lacks anachronistic feminism?
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