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Charlie's Angels and other women I was denied as a child

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Farrahfawcettskate_l

Farrahfawcettskate_lI watched all two hours of Farrah’s Story last night. I found it grim and sweet and sad. Ken Tucker gives it a fuller review here. I was touched though to see how the Angels rallied around their former co-star. How, how I obsessed over these women when I was growing up. (Obviously it is an inelegant time to bring this up, but I was always partial to the other Monroe sister, Cheryl Ladd.)

My mother, though, had a problem with a show that starred bikinis and hair, and I was tragically not allowed to watch the series. I also wasn’t allowed to have Barbie Dolls; I had to keep my stash of Sweet Valley High and heavily dog-eared copies of Tiger Eyes and Footfalls under the bed; and that Violent Femmes tape I had cranked up on high while sunbathing in the backyard ended up in the trash. I still break into a sweat when I remember the Sunday afternoon my Mom took me and two girlfriends to the matinee showing of Footloose. She had agreed to sit two rows behind us, but I could hear her working herself up into a lather during the scene when Lori Singer wears the forbidden red boots to the picnic. I started picturing the Monday morning mortification that would await me at school if word got out that my Mom yanked us out halfway through the movie. She finally relaxed. The kids danced. Everybody won.

What I think is funny is that for all my Mom’s rigid rules about what pop culture I was and wasn’t allowed to partake in, she only ended up fanning the flames of my early tastes. I just went to Kelly Cunninghams’ down the block and watched Charlie’s Angels, taking notes on hairstyles and crimefighting, or pawed for hours at her extensive Barbie wardrobe. I babysat and cleaned houses so I could buy all the dopey junk romances I wanted. (And if anyone out there went through a similarly ill-advised and obsessive romance phase, drop me a line if you remember the title to the Harlequin Romance that starred a green-eyed bad boy named Dane. I miss him and would love to reconnect!)

Read more after the jump.

I do have terribly fond memories of my Mom introducing me to pop culture. She took me to see A Room With a View, and I now have a framed poster of that film hanging in my house. She woke me up one December evening when I was in first grade so I could pad downstairs to watch the Frosty the Snowman cartoon with her. She let me stay up late and watch TV on a school night so I could see Grease. She woke me up early to watch Princess Diana get married. I might not have gotten a Barbie Doll, but I did get Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind. (Admittedly, Vivien Leigh was not a big draw with the cool girls down at Mrs. Newcombe’s tether ball court, but it was a lovely gift.)

As I prepare to be the mother to my own daughter, I’m touched by the idea of what pop culture memories we’ll make together, and what movies or music or idols I will feel compelled to deny her. In that spirit, here is a clip from a show I hope she’ll watch with me one day on the sofa while we eat bowls of sugary cereal — which, incidentally, my mother refused to ever buy. Only Kix and Cheerios in our house!

What about you PopWatchers? Were you allowed to watch Charlie’s Angels? What pop culture phenomenon were you deprived of as a child — and did it thus crystallize into obsession? What current pop culture trend could you see yourself steering your child far, far from? And lastly, Jill or Kris Monroe?

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