What, He Didn't Look Like John Forsythe?

Found via Relapsed Catholic, Acidemic explores what made Charlie’s Angels click as a 1970s TV phenomenon:

The structure of the show is brilliant in itself however…psychologically it’s brilliant in a way that either today’s industry HACKS have completely forgotten, or the else maybe times have changed. Nowadays all the Angels would have boyfriends, be obsessed with children, and getting married, cheating on each other, and on and on. Hunky guys would be dating the angels and we’d be supposed to identify with them and/or with the Angels.

In the TV show there is NO point of identification in the diegisis– In the TV show no girl ever hooks up with a guy — they’re detectives and this is business. They are devoted to only one man, Charlie, whose face we never see, and so we never have to form an opinion on him, resent his success or envy him or aspire to be like him in the Hugh Hefner vein/

Also, there is rarely if any sexual harrassment, or suggestions of rape. Even when the angels are jailed and sent to work in a whorehouse they manage to avoid having to actually sleep with anyone. Thus as a young male viewer there is no anxiety over our perceived inability to defend them against our own sex.

See, we don’t IDENTIFY with guys on the screen, that’s the mistake they make today, guys COMPETE with guys onscreen, unless they earn our trust in an alpha male sort of way (such as Russell Crowe) or are portrayed as below our stature (like WilL Ferrell) they are our competition, a threat to our enjoyment (perfect example: Tom Cruise). Charlie takes us away from all that, that’s why the one male who is allowed in the Angels lives is the symbolically neutered Bosley. A fun-loving endomorphic sort of a fellow, Bosley is competent and knows how to have a good time — and a bit of a slob… he’s more likely to eat all of Kelly’s popcorn at the ice show (“Angels on Ice”) then he is to fall for her.


I wrote much the same thing immediately after reading that Aaron Spelling had passed away in June.

Ed Driscoll.com: Tomorrow’s Freudian pop culture semiotics, today!


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