Tag Archives: Carry On

Potted Film Review: 9 to 5 (1980)

Starring: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton

What’s it all about?
Judy (sheepishly played by Jane Fonda) is the new addition to a sexist office in which Violet (played by Lily Tomlin) is the highest ranking woman. Doralee (Dolly Parton in her most famous role) is the stereotypical blonde secretary who is objectified and leered over by the boss (eighties comedy bad guy, Dabney Coleman).

When Violet is passed over for a promotion – primarily because she is a woman – she decides enough is enough. Along with the other two girls they get drunk and stoned, and they each fantasise about ways in which to off their boss…

…and it’s here that 9 to 5 gets a little crazy. Although the movie lays out its intention from the beginning and doesn’t pretend to be anything deeper than it is, it moves from a fairly straight comedy to surreal farce in short order, and just as it’s time to wrap things up, it’s hard to take any of it seriously at all.

Watching it with the kids…
This is a cheeky comedy, which feels like a reduced fat version of a Carry On movie, and there’s nothing in here that you wouldn’t find in one of those.

Verdict…
9 to 5 is certainly not the movie I had expected, but it is a time capsule – a love letter to a period of history that just isn’t around anymore. In 1980 I’m sure this was seen as progressive, but the current generation will probably find it difficult to watch in 2019, given their sensitivity when it comes to workplace equality… and their inability to take any sort of humour from topics as serious as sexism and misogyny. But take it as the light-hearted romp it is, and it’s a fun trip.

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Tuesday TV Testimonials #7…

Noel’s House Party (1991 – 1999)

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Noel Edmonds and his sidekick…

Light entertainment shows are a bit scarce these days, and the genre has been all but forgotten in recent years. It won’t mean anything to anybody outside the UK, but in the nineties, if you weren’t out on a Saturday evening, you were in watching Noel’s House Party – probably the greatest show of its kind to come out of that decade. Yes, it was that good.

It’s a difficult show to describe, because there’s really nothing like it nowadays. Broadcast live, it was a semi-scripted show, set in an old mansion in the fictional village of Crinkley Bottom (yes, the ‘Carry On’ style humour was on full display – Noel’s House Party was as English as tea and crumpets). Each hour long episode would have regular segments, including short comedy skits, prize giveaways, pranks, phone in competitions, and of course, the ever popular gunge tank. I know, it sounds awful, but it had a singular charm that has not been replicated since. Noel Edmonds was the perfect host, and the format probably would have struggled under anyone else’s control.

In later years, Mr Blobby – the silly, pink and yellow polka dot character introduced in the second series in a supporting role – began to take up more and more space on the show, and the show began to steer south as a result. Blobby even had his own chart-topping single at one point, but the less said about that travesty the better.

With all the television reboots happening these days, I’m surprised nobody has brought this one back yet, but it’s a different audience now, and unfortunately I don’t think Noel’s House Party would work in 2017. Somewhere along the line, television forgot how to be fun. It’s true: they don’t make ’em like they used to.