Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Fantasy Island or How I Learned to Love Sexual Politics

Last week we got the first season of Fantasy Island from Zip. I had no idea if my memories of the show would hold up. Viewings of other childhood favorites had not inspired much confidence. Yet, Fantasy Island is one of those rare shows that still comes off pretty well. Of course, the 5 star resort that Mr. Roarke presides over now looks like a whitewashed, potentially haunted Victorian, and the plane seems to be one obese guest away from sinking.

What was surprising was the amount of sexual politics at play in almost every episode. The overriding fantasy always seemed to revolve around a powerful woman. And men's confused emotions about these women. Instinctively they they want to club a nice smelling girl over the head and drag her back to their cave. But by the 70's this had just gone out of style. Or so I thought until I watched one episode where a man's fantasy, to win the love of his female CEO, is granted by Mr. Roarke. Who complies by kidnapping the woman and dumping her in the middle of the jungle with just her potential suitor and some sun screen!

Not surprisingly, the woman thinks this guy might be a psychotic stalker. So she storms off on her own. At this point we just know she is going to get a spanking for being so feisty. And no sooner does she think she has found help, but it turns out that her saviours are actually pearl diving white slavers. I can't make this stuff up. When she attempts to escape she is tied to a pole and for some reason her top is UNZIPPED to her navel. I kept waiting for Devo to appear and whip it, whip it good. All she was missing was a cigarette and a blindfold. I mean, damn, I've seen less sexual tension in burlesque! And they broadcast this - in the 70's - on Prime Time! Suddenly, the 70's seem a whole lot cooler.


Kris said...

Wow! I don't remember Fantasy Island being like that....but then again I was only 6! I think I will have to rewatch it!

Anonymous said...

I don't remember Fantasy Island at all. I am such a neophyte when it comes to kitschy 70s t.v.