The quality of a film is the ability of the writers, director and actors to make you forget it is the writers, director and actors and not reality.
The Great Santini episode was tongue in cheek because it dealt with those very illusions – that nothing is as it seems. Another great episode in many people’s minds, judging from comments, was this one:
… which has already featured here in a post:
… but last night I rewatched it and my position anti the murderess considerably softened because of two main scenes, one which referred back to another scene. And accurate about the female too – very accurate, but not in a nasty way.
Ambitious woman [our Trish], 2IC to the boss of the regional office of the TV channel, is also his lover and they make plans for the future. He though is offered a big contract in NY by the Mogul [Patrick O’Neal] and dumps her henceforth, buying her off with a Merc she had her eye on.
She doesn’t wear the brush-off well and the question is – is it thwarted ambition for a top job or is it love and plans for the future? On the first watching, I’d have said that it was the former but last night, that it was hell hath no fury – very, very true.
She shoots the dastardly cad and thus Columbo comes onto the scene.
First key scene for me
She is portrayed as a hard-headed, hard-hearted b**ch, he is just Columbo with all that that means and yet when they are in the room together that first time, something happens – that ole chemistry happens, he makes her laugh, she relaxes. She’s been led on already by the Cad but now Columbo is soft-soaping her as well, which says something about the female of the species.
And what it says has implications for all the Ocasios and all the dogooding ‘bird with the broken wing’ types of woman. If we were looking for a term to describe this trait of the female, plus the leftist in general, it’s:
There’s nowt wrong with compassion, something the Cad had zero of, also the Mogul and in this, I’m with the women of the world – I’ve been betrayed by too many men who were close over the years. I’ve been betrayed by women too but those are crimes of love, different other beast. The men had no excuse whatever.
This misplaced compassion has fueled many a drama, one of which was a Sherlock Holmes episode where a Cad had led a girl astray and she had that other female trait – total devotion for the one person, excluding anyone else. I used the analogy of ducklings following the first thing they see and it/he/she becomes mother. She took umbrage at that but then saw it.
So while Medea might deal with a ‘woman scorned’, what it is really about is a ‘woman betrayed’, that devotion utterly betrayed and in this, I can see her point of view. I too might do something about it, were it not for Romans 12:
19] Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
And there’s another good reason not to as well, apart from the coals of fire metaphor – there is the issue of tit-for-tat, escalation. Best not to. In our Trish’s case, it became murder.
A woman’s ambition
The second aspect of the episode was the Petra Principle – a woman appointed beyond her capacity and this blog has listed many examples of it – choose any one of them at random – oh, Elizabeth Holmes for instance? Rebekah Brookes?
And I’ll say it all over again – woman makes a great 2IC or even part of a management triumvirate but not the head honcho, for very female reasons and this episode highlights those reasons. There’s a scene where it’s all gone pear-shaped, she’s wandering around her wreckage, trying to bring it back together, when the Mogul rocks up in his limo.
She gets in the back with him and he immediately asks whatever possessed her to swap the high rating live show they’d planned with a film she herself had had a hand in – not a bad show but not in that slot and the film was therefore ‘wasted’ – properly promoted, it could have had high ratings but it was just squandered as a fill-in.
Our Trish, you see, had taken the old job of the killed Cad and the next day after this Mogul meeting, planned to move into the Cad’s own office at the lot. Which is the theme of overweening ambition – there are things, said the Mogul, which are not meet and right, even for a cold, callous Mogul. At least it must not look like naked ambition. Rebekah Brookes again but it’s by no means restricted to ambitious women.
Our Trish was asked why she had done it – switched programmes without consultation? The answer was that some stupid female actress in it [Lainie Kazan] had gone to water when faced with the prospect of going live, she was on pills and booze and felt her behaviour was always going to be forgiven as long as our Trish would hug her and make it all better.
Our Trish now jeopardises the show, the ratings and the channel by switching to the hugging, compassionate mother to this ne’er do well Lainie Kazan who then falls down the stairs, drunk and Trish has no choice but to switch programmes.
She tells the Mogul this in the car as some sort of justification on compassionate grounds but he retorts that both errors were therefore hers – the first error caused the second.
There are men who have supported someone long past the point they should not have – a perfect example is Jimmy Carter with Bert Lance – the Donald has also been criticised for placing faith in people he really should not have, e.g. Romney, but others say he is setting them up for their treachery to be discovered and is perfectly happy to fire them when the time comes. Whatever.
The difference between our Trish and myself is that I will run with someone for sometime, expecting him/her to learn from mistakes, but there is an end date to all this and suddenly it’s over.
The problem for a woman in these situations is her biological and philosophical conflicts. The episode shows the dead man as utterly lacking in love and compassion and our Trish having lots of it, which suits the family but does not suit the cutthroat business she’s in.
The only way she can succeed in that business is to be become as hard as nails and unfeminine – she becomes her concept of tough, which is unpleasant in a woman and that’s why the Caroline Flints and Marissa Mayers had people murmuring. If she remains a feminine woman, then that’s good for counselling roles, nursing etc.but not for work like this. She can’t have it both ways.
Do I place any blame on the Cad?
Absolutely – if he had not betrayed her, the empty, callous bastard, none of this would have happened.
I know I’m not alone in liking this episode – many people wrote that it was their favourite and that she is gorgeous etc. Agreed, it’s a more ‘agreeable’ episode than, say, Santini, although the latter of course has its major points.