Saturday, May 23, 2009

Weekend Frivolity: Jaclyn, Kate and Farrah

Image from BittenAndBound
I'm enjoying my second weekend of Charlie's Angels season one. And I'm struck by the fact that all of the original angels have had cancer scares. It seems profoundly unfair, and statistically unlikely that all of them had to deal with that. Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson both had breast cancer (years ago), and seem to have come through it. Farrah Fawcett (Majors) has had worse luck, as the NBC documentary has shown us all. I'll continue to hope for a miracle for her, as she seems to be a very nice and sweet person. Not that anyone deserves a horrible disease, mind you.

The first season DVDs are far more enjoyable than you'd think. Sure, it's a silly 70s crime series, with all of the "TV tropes" cliches. But the girls had an undeniable chemistry. And the show is more than the sum of its parts. Aside from the fun "hey, I know them!" celebrity sightings (like Kim Basinger, Richard Mulligan, Tom Selleck and more), we find a group of actors who can rise above their material. Farrah can be coy and fun. Jaclyn exudes a knowing quality. Kate seems smart and perky no matter what she's doing. And even David Doyle as Bosley comes across as a very competent overseer to the girls. As dumb as the show is on the surface, there's a lot going on here. Only John Forsythe's Charlie seems irredeemable. The girls' comments to him seem like gentle-hearted pity.

Farrah Fawcett only got her proper credit as an actress after The Burning Bed, and Extremities. But all of the original Angels rose above their material. For all of the hair flipping and contrivances, they all come off as natural and realistic. I can only hope that the other angels (Shelley Hack, Cheryl Ladd and Tanya Roberts) have had better luck, health-wise.

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