Arts & Entertainment

October 9, 2000

Petticoat Junction
   by stacy <>

Alright, it's not a movie. It was a TV show in the 60s and early 70s about a widow, her three teenage daughters, their lazy uncle, and the hotel they run somewhere in the booniest of the boonies. This place was so far in the middle of nowhere that not even roads went there, and the only way to reach the place was by an old wood-burning train. It used to run in reruns on the TV Land channel, but I'm not sure if it still does. The more familiar "Green Acres" was a spin-off ("Petticoat Junction" also took place near Hooterville), and both were spin-offs of "The Beverly Hillbillies."

It wasn't a bad show. It was really cheezy, but not nearly as bizarre as "Green Acres," and most of the characters weren't complete idiots. However, a couple of things about this show have been bothering me for years, and this is my chance to get them off my chest.

First, the show made a big deal out of the daughters having totally different hair colors and personalities. The eldest was the pretty blonde who wanted to be a model/actress/singer, and she never had trouble getting boyfriends. The middle girl was the smart brunette who actually went to college in the later years of the show. She never had trouble getting boyfriends either, but she was often interested in poetry readings and doing homework. The youngest girl was the tomboy redhead. She always wore jeans and a baseball cap, and she played baseball on a boy's team.

The show made a big deal out of her being not the least interested in dating, and she was usually treated as being much younger than the others. Eventually she met a guy who had originally dated the blonde, and they fell in love and got married. However, as soon as they got married, he insisted she give up her tomboy lifestyle, and she started wearing her hair more stylishly and she wore make-up and pretty dresses. He wouldn't even let her drive the train in emergencies, and she was one of the only people in town who knew how to do it. You'd think the guy would have more respect for the interests and talents of the woman he proposed to while she helped him repair his crashed airplane!

The other thing that bothers me, to a lesser extent, is that they gradually changed the middle daughter so that she became more ditzy and less intelligent than she had been in the beginning. By the end, she was also very lazy and only happy if she could get out of doing chores. I guess in the true spirit of 60s TV shows, she eventually found herself spending all her time trying to get her boyfriend to propose to her. The sitcom did feature a "lady MD" who replaced the widowed mother after she died, but the overall attitude toward women in the show was "do what you want and have fun while you're young and single, but before too long you need to get married, stay at home, and have babies." PFFT! to that.

Published: October 9, 2000
Editor: robin

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