After twenty years of knowing someone, you might think that it gets harder to to be surprised. But that’s one of the delights of marriage, those little moments of “I never knew . . .” (Of course, those moments are better if it’s positive things, rather than earth-upheaving realizations of terror, but let’s stick with the-lighter-side-of.) I recently figured out two things about my spouse of 17 and a half years:
1) He likes to say “Ciao” at the end of conversations on the phone. Seriously, is this a new thing or have I just never ever noticed before?
The 1970s version.
I know . . . I know.
The late 1970s and early 1980s were, IMHO, a deeply curious time that I was glad to leave behind. There was just something altogether too libertarian and loud and pointy and make-do about that time. The music was great, but that’s just about it. Of course, my perspective is skewed — I was born in 1977, so most of my recollections begin around 1982-ish. But my hubby is three years older and has more fondness for the era than I.
So back to Duck — I mean, Buck Rogers.
Yeah. I keep doing that.
EVERY SINGLE TIME he mentions it, my head automatically goes to that damned duck. (heh, heh, Daffy)
What started this mind-boggling trip down Memory Lane was his happening upon a copy of Season 1 at Giant Tiger, discounted in price and clearly deserving of a home in our viewing collection. He’s spent much of his watching time over the last week enjoying these episodes. We have had a good time deconstructing the imagery, the production values, the clearly 70s flavour of the futuristic costumes. Motorcycle jackets! Layers of beaded fringes! Helmet hair! Gold lamé bikinis!
I know. It’s just so . . . Bond meets Star Trek and spins around really fast on an office chair before hurling itself at Club 54.
But it was while we were relaxing, viewing the episode that takes place on a space cruise ship with an indoor pool and lots of unswimmable pointy-boob bathing suits that it occurred to me why I was so taken aback by these images. It wasn’t just the not-so-subtle changes in application of hair spray and lip gloss, use of shiny fabric or colours unknown to nature.
It’s the curves.
Just about every woman in the show has them. Glorious, natural, hand-filling, bountiful curves. No unnatural thigh gaps (except, perhaps, where foundation garments or firm costume structure have caused them), no bony shoulders, no thighs pretending to connect straight to the waist in an attempt to resemble a Barbie doll, at least for the most part. These 1970s/80s actresses are real women with natural-looking bodies, wide hips and all.
I KNOW! It’s a revelation! And I sat there and looked at it again, now recognizing why it seemed so much more foreign than just a thirty-year-old TV show. Here is plain evidence of just how far our socially-accepted, media-influenced standards of beauty have come. And it’s not just for women — would Gil Gerard be able to get away with that ab-carpet today?
Apparently an updated / homage movie has been in talks for a while — I found references from articles dating to 2008, and IMDB has a listing for a concept which seems to be swirling around in development hell. So if that ever gets off the ground, I have to wonder: would it be campy or gritty? Reboot or follow-up? True homage or money-grab?
Please, movie gods and goddesses, don’t let Michael Bay get hold of this one . . .
Of course, I’m not immune to the nostalgia-fueled watching binges. (Listening binges, yes. Have I mentioned my record player?) I haven’t given in yet to mine (Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman 4Ever!), possibly because I don’t want to end up over-analyzing it the way my head tends to do. The good news is that at least my hubby will be supportive when the inevitable occurs and the first vintage-remastered Wonder Woman DVD/Blu Ray comes into the house. In fact, I may have to go looking for said luxury if only to give his case some company on the shelf.
At the very least, her costume doesn’t have pointy boobs.
The good news, too, is that he can admit he has A Problem. He says it’s like watching a car crash — it’s just so hard to look away. They’re so bad, they’re good. And they’re all like that: Wonder Woman, the 6 Million Dollar Man, The Hulk . . . Maybe it’s that whole “back to a simpler time” idea, or the use of simple, pre-Star Wars Re-release effects. I think that part of their appeal isn’t just the campiness, solid colours, or the hands-on natures of these shows — it’s also the bodies. Realistic, recognizable bodies, attainable shapes and textures that are much more relatable for those of us who can’t afford personal trainers or hours at the gym. There’s something comforting in watching someone with a “regular” body having adventures, saving the world, getting the girl / guy / species. Reminds us that all things are still possible, even when you’re in your late 30s and early 40s.