For some reason (don't think I'd seen this thread title - maybe) I was thinking aout Cagney and Lacey yesterday, as a thing my Mum and I used to watch together, when I was about 9.
The thing it caused me to wonder about at that age was class. They had the same job. One was prettier than the other and single, so attracted men, ok. But despite Cagney's Dad being an alcoholic, so a fairly hopeless family background which certainly wasn't boosting her social experiences as an adult, it was always utterly clear that she associated with better off, better dressed people and always would.
That really puzzled me. The social circles they moved in appeared to have been fixed long ago, before they got their jobs and, to perpetuate themselves naturally. I'd thought people found their place in society through their jobs, so it was quite a puzzle.
I thought Mary-Beth could have done better than Harv and seemed to be propping him up. At that age I didn't really appreciate her dedication to her family or, mostly, the financial and social implications of that choice, so just thought she should have waited longer to settle down and found somone more exciting.
It did also suggest that beauty deteermines social outcomes but I knew there was more to it than that. There was a self-fulfilling expectation of who 'people like us' were.
Anyway, it made me think and the characters were very believable, I still think they're real now.
There was an episode where Harvey got a better job bringing in more money, so that the family lifestyle looked set to improve, they'd be able to move to a bigger house, etc., but he was desperately unhappy and Mary-Beth told him to go back to old job. At least I think she did.
Harvey being in a low-powered job was a big part of how he was available to be hands-on with the kids and support Mary-Beth's awkward hours, I think.
I only asked if it was crap because I loved it and was worried I had got it all wrong and it was actually portraying women in a bad way.(Was early teens when I used to watchvit- thought I might have got wrong end of stick)
Cagney was actually from some well to do family I think. Her dad Charlie was a hard drinking ex cop etc but if I remember correctly, her mum was from a very posh family so Christine had classy connections because of this.