Was Cagney and Lacey crap and did it portray women in a really bad way?

(30 Posts)
stillenacht Mon 16-Sep-13 16:51:42

Just thinking to myself.. I loved it as a teen and aspired to be like Mary-Beth Lacey, you know working mum with loving husband and kids.

Now I am working mum etc poss thinking Christine Cagney had the right idea wink

BelleDameSansMerci Mon 16-Sep-13 16:54:28

I always thought Cagney had the right idea... Mary-Beth just seemed so tired and knackered all the time. Much like I am now. In that respect, accurate portrayal.

I liked it but haven't watched it for decades. Bet it would infuriate me now!

Chottie Tue 17-Sep-13 05:32:44

I used to watch it, so would like to see it again and find out whether I still felt the same about the programme. Cagney always seemed a bit of a loser, on her own and a bit lonely. MaryBeth seemed to have a caring husband and two lovely sons who looked up to her.

peppersquint Tue 17-Sep-13 21:08:28

Loved it - wanted to be like Cagnney but think I ended up like Lacey (DH is definately a Harvey and not a Dory smile

tribpot Tue 17-Sep-13 21:19:24

I think it probably was a bit 'of its time' and we would find some of it a bit dated now. It did portray Cagney as a bit lonely and sort of trying to convince herself that she was living the good life. Not something that I recall troubling Izbecki that frequently.

Equally I think it was groundbreaking and in some ways more radical than US telly of today. It wasn't afraid to show both Cagney and Lacey as rounded characters with flaws as well as heroic points. Lacey was considerably more ambitious and high flying than dear old Harv, and he was (from what I recall) always supportive of her in that.

And they kicked arse. They got more done in the plot of one episode than Carrie and the gang did in the entire run of SATC 10 years later.

AnneEyhtMeyer Tue 17-Sep-13 22:07:04

They were both envious of the other's lifestyle, which I think made it seem more real. Cagney was lonely but Lacey yearned for a bit of freedom and glamour.

BlingBang Wed 18-Sep-13 13:27:53

It was quite amazing for it's time. Remember watching it with my mum. Loved Starsky and Hutch in it's day but C&L kicked it's ass.

LifeHuh Wed 18-Sep-13 13:32:07

No. Cagney and Lacey was fantastic.The lead characters were actually
women!
Recognisable women with real life issues.Maybe Mary Beth was tired but IME working full time with children does tend to predispose you for tiredness.Neither of them had the monoploy of either the happiness or the problems either.

WaspInTheHouse Wed 18-Sep-13 13:35:31

I loved it, never seen it since I was a teen though so it's from memory. I do remember Lacey being tired as well and always had to deal with loads of family stuff on top of her job.

I liked Cagney the best, but I don't remember her out of hours stories at all, was it romance? I wasn't really into that.

The best bits were them at work though. Would it even be made today?

I loved it and so did my mum - it was our programme. She used to love how Harvey was so loving and supportive of Lacey. In hindsight, it was because she didn't have that from my dad sad.

vjg13 Wed 18-Sep-13 19:41:59

My Dad LOVED IT, probably fancied one of them.

edam Wed 18-Sep-13 19:46:29

Loved it, very rare in those days to find a programme starring women at work and with female friendship as a central motif. Very rare these days, come to that.

stillenacht Wed 18-Sep-13 19:55:43

Thanks everyone smile I absolutely loved it (and the theme music was fab too!) smilesmile

Zoe678 Wed 18-Sep-13 20:04:52

I think I'd like it now.

I'm re-watching friends on tv3 (well my dd is) and to begin with I thought it was harmless nonsense but it's quite misogynist. It's annoying me, but it's hard to explain to my dd why I don't want her watching it.

Pachacuti Wed 18-Sep-13 20:08:10

I think it was very honest about the trade-offs that both of them faced working in a very male-oriented environment. I can remember one episode where Mary-Beth had been away for a family-related reason (on maternity leave, I think) so had missed the exam to make sergeant, and came back to find that Christine now outranked her. And another where Christine thought she might be pregnant after sleeping with The One Who Was The Bad Guy In Karate Kid and was very conflicted about it.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 18-Sep-13 20:10:42

Susan Faludi in Backlash has a very interesting analysis of Cagney and Lacey. I seem to remember that the studio executives vetoed a lot of stuff like Christine having an abortion as it did not fit in with their ideas.

Pachacuti Wed 18-Sep-13 20:15:35

Wasp, Cagney had a drinking problem (probably genetic/familial as her father had too IIRC, plus influenced by the macho hard-drinking police culture). So there were storylines around that, her gradual acceptance that she was an alcoholic, and her eventually going to AA. Plus I think there were storylines around her relationship with her father in general.

Pachacuti Wed 18-Sep-13 20:20:56

Actually, wasn't Mary-Beth's third child an oops pregnancy that she considered not keeping? Or am I hallucinating that?

tribpot Wed 18-Sep-13 22:21:40

I think the nearest modern equivalent is Rizzoli & Isles. They are both very glamorous and neither has children, but they have a great chemistry and take no crap from the men they work with.

I'm not sure about Mary Beth's third child - the episode guide notes that she admits to an illegal abortion when she was 19. I had forgotten that it was maternity leave she was on during the sergeant's exam, she was having treatment for cancer.

wintera Wed 18-Sep-13 22:58:01

There were some great eps of Cagney and Lacey. I'm trying to remember if Lacey's oldest son died whilst serving in the army. I seem to remember something but can't remember if he actually died or was missing in action. She had two sons and a little girl called Alice I think. It was my Mum's show mostly but my dad really liked it too.

PoppadomPreach Wed 18-Sep-13 23:03:45

Anyone else got the theme tune going round in their head now?

m.youtube.com/watch?v=UTsH-Y5zUEw

tribpot Thu 19-Sep-13 06:02:28

Looking at the episode guide it looks like Harv Jr joined the Marines and was reported as missing but this turned out to be incorrect.

Pachacuti Thu 19-Sep-13 06:58:02

Of course, yes, it as the breast cancer that made her miss the exam. I'd forgotten that whole plot strand.

wintera Thu 19-Sep-13 07:19:05

Thanks Trib - yeah I remember that now. Think he was missing in action for a couple of eps but turned up safe. The ep that will always stick in my head was when Cagney was date raped. Very powerful ep I seem to recall. The fella who did it put his foot in it cos he said she was drunk and was up for anything but it was when Cagney was on the wagon and she hadn't touched a drop. The hospital had taken blood sample etc that would back up no alcohol as well. Funny how various storylines stay in your head years after!

lottiegarbanzo Thu 19-Sep-13 07:56:08

No it was amazing and groundbreaking. There's been little if anything like it since.

I remember hearing an interview with a TV executive involved. It only stayed on air so long because his wife liked it. He couldn't really see the point.

It portrayed women's lives more realistically and sensitively than most other programmes I can think of, so I'm not at all sure what you mean. Would you prefer an airbrushed princess world where no-one gets tired or has problems?

lottiegarbanzo Thu 19-Sep-13 09:56:28

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.

Pachacuti Thu 19-Sep-13 11:45:21

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.

stillenacht Thu 19-Sep-13 17:11:43

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)grin

OnaPromise Thu 19-Sep-13 17:23:38

I'd like to watch it again now I'm of an age with them. I loved it as a teen.

wintera Thu 19-Sep-13 22:18:37

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.

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