Beyond The Bitch
9 to 5
by Caitlin Tegart
In comedies, women are often the girlfriend, the wife or the bitchy friend of the girlfriend or wife (Leslie Mann, God bless you, you’ve worn all the hats). But there was a time when women did some seriously kooky shit in movies and got the be the funny, flawed, active idiot all the guys get to play. So let’s take a look at these movies and aspire to reach their level of kookiness.
Dolly. Jane. Lily. Torture. Drunkenness. Snow White fantasies. If there’s not something in 9 to 5 for you, then you just can’t be pleased. 9 to 5 is the story of three women at different stages in their careers who band together to end the sexism in their office and the tyranny of their lecherous boss, played with epic panache by Dabney Coleman.
The film follows secretary Judy (Jane Fonda) as she enters the work place for the first time after her husband runs away with his secretary. Judy meets Violet (Lily Tomlin) who’s just been passed over for promotion. Tomlin shows Fonda the ropes of Consolidated Companies (screenwriter presumably fell asleep while naming the business) and specifically how to deal with their chauvinistic boss and his toady Roz (extra points for going against the obvious and making the corporate lackey a woman as well). Judy and Violet believe the boss’s personal secretary, Doralee (Dolly Parton) is having an affair with him, just because she has big boobs (though still not huge by Dolly standards.) Judy and Violet drop their beef when they all get drunk together and dream up ways of killing their boss. Indeed, that’s how many great friendships have started.
The next day, Violet maybe accidentally poisons their boss. Or maybe not. It’s not clear: it’s only clear that rat poisoning and sweetener should make an effort to distinguish their brands. The trio think they’ve killed the boss and steal his body from the morgue, except the boss is alive and comes to work the next morning. Zombie sexist boss! All should be well, but sneaky Roz overhears the zany adventures that have taken place and turns in the gals to their boss. Roz, you just don’t get girl-code. To avoid being turned into the police, Judy, Violet and Doralee kidnap the boss and send Roz on assignment.
While the boss tied up (literally) in his own house, the kidnappers enact some progressive changes in the work place because, you know, if you’re holding a man against his will, you can at least keep his business afloat. The work place changes particularly help the female employees and those with families. And guess what? The place is more profitable for the effort. Hey, these ladies might be able to do business!
The boss man plans to expose our heroines, but when he arrives back at Consolidated Companies (it’s still called that) after his wife comes home from vacation and unties him, he finds the chairman of the board at his office, praising his initiatives that have increased efficiency. The boss is asked to move to Brazil and Violet is promoted to his position. Hooray! Judy marries a Xerox representative (in case you forgot for a split second this movie takes place in 1980) and Doralee quits to pursue country music (in case you forgot for a split second where else you’d seen Dolly Parton). The boss is abducted by an Amazon tribe, which is a little racist, but he did deserved it.
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