In Remembrance of Fluffy Hair, Disco, and Guns
Can I just live in a 1970s television show? Please?
Some of you may have seen that Robert Wagner is back in the news in light of the renewed investigation into the suspicious death of his then wife, Natalie Wood. Sure, Robert Wagner was in a lot of shows, but I remember him best from Hart to Hart, that awesome Aaron Spelling piece of fluff that took off in 1979. That. Show. ROCKED. As a pubescent, utterly naive kid living in a rural community of about 150 largely downtrodden people, I couldn’t imagine a sweeter life than one as his spouse and female counterpart on the program. I mean – she lived in a mansion, had a butler, was a top performer in an exciting and dangerous job and, perhaps most importantly, sported some great hair. Thick, bouncy waves that shook just right when she turned her head quickly to spy a villain up to no good. Talk about living the life – being beautiful and rich beyond belief, having a mischievous yet capable old rake handling your domestic affairs, and strutting your way through a glittery existence of mystery and murder and still always emerging unscathed and with perfect hair. I was just dumb enough then to figure that if I played my cards right, I could stumble high heels first into the life of Jennifer Hart.
Being one of Charlie’s Angels would have fit the bill quite well, too. More danger and intrigue while looking fabulous the entire time. And a kindly and all-powerful Daddy figure like Charlie or Bosley to smooth out any rough edges that came with being a gorgeous heroine that ran in slow motion to that bow-pichow music which, in retrospect, is disturbingly similar to porn background compositions (ahem… not that I would know personally). They would toss around their shiny manes of glory in adventures that took them from doing reconnaissance work at whirling discos to crawling through suspiciously clean dark tunnels clutching guns and walkie talkies.
And ahhh, Love Boat and Fantasy Island. I spent Saturday nights wishing myself onto that big boat of slapstick bed-hopping patrolled by funny men with great dimples and moustaches charming the polyester gauchos off well-coiffed women with dewy skin and shiny lipstick. These people traveled, and not just to the grocery store! They saw exotic ports of call and sugar beaches, not cornfields and dirty snow! People got to be dropped off by de plane, Boss! onto a lush island to be greeted by a suave guy in a great suit that could make impossible things happen with just a piercing stare and puff of smoke.
Heck – even the pedestrian fare held its own appeal. Three’s Company? How cool would it be to live in a beach apartment with fun friends all around? To have a whimsical pile of platinum sheen on your head like Chrissy, or Janet’s chic shag and dramatic black eyeliner. Though it always drove me crazy, even as a child, that Janet always wore pantyhose with her shorts. And pajamas. Who does that??? I also would have settled for Laverne & Shirley. Yeah, they had crappy jobs and even worse dates, but it seemed like they at least had a lot of free time and nice sweaters. And easy access to beer. Even The Dukes of Hazard had its positives. Sure, they were all dumb as a bag of hammers, but they got to drive cool cars and seemed to laugh a lot.
And then there’s real life some 30 years later. I don’t have a nice wardrobe to accompany me on espionage investigations in Rio. At present, I squeeze my fat *ss into corporate casual neutral colors in sensible fabrics. I don’t get to break up jewel heists or rescue hapless victims. Nope – I spend 9 hours a day under fluorescent lights clacking and clicking and cursing a slow network and wondering what happened.
That sweet high rise apartment inhabited by Mary Tyler Moore? Oh, I lived in a high rise once. It was in the ghetto and full of roaches and had an elevator that only worked about 4 days a month. Those upper floors don’t seem so cool when you have to take the stairs while carrying 50 pounds of groceries. And that serene view of the city skyline is a bit offset by literally hearing gangbangers shoot each other to death down the block every couple of weeks.
There is no running beside the ocean with silky tresses whipping artfully in the hazy sun. The closest I get to that is my cellulite flapping when I run down the hall to the copier. I don’t get to drive fast to my next assignment in a sexy convertible while trading flirty pouts with my spouse. It’s more like we bicker over housework while climbing into our 8 year-old vehicles with the faded car seats in back. There is no Max to greet us at the gorgeous entryway of a sprawling estate at the end of a long day with roast pheasant and rice pilaf. In 2011, we shuffle home 5 days a week to an ugly beige box and stare inside the refrigerator in a stupor trying to scope out something edible involving little preparation. I think of Hart to Hart and how you could practically smell the Shalimar and lipstick watching Jennifer slither into a sequined Halston dress and diamonds getting ready for dinner and another murder mystery. Well, I don’t meet sinister people with devious agendas in velvety restaurants with candles and real tablecloths. The other night I went wild and ordered in a pizza. That tasteless pizza was delivered by a guy about my age that probably has a Master’s degree. I took the pizza and tipped him about 30 percent of the tab; we didn’t look each other in the eye because I was embarrassed to be living where I’m living and he was embarrassed to be delivering pizzas. That guy undoubtedly spent his boyhood days dreaming of being a living cast member of Adam 12 or Hawaii 5-O. Living the dream, living the dream….
It would seem that Max and Bosley have left the building.
I blame this whole thing on always having bad hair.