Flashback Friday: 9 to 5

Ever wonder what you would get the sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot who has everything? A copy of this movie, of course!


Two movies immediately spring to mind when I think about my very young years: 9 to 5 and The Wizard of Oz. I don’t really know what you can do with that statement, but it is what it is. CBS owned the rights to both at the time and played both annually. Both, therefore, became an annual ritual for my mom and me. We’d pop a big bowl of popcorn (using an honest-to-goodness hot air corn popper that had a little tray on the top where you could stick butter to be melted by the hot air as it fed through the machine), pour some Pepsi, and settle in for a Friday evening full of either melty wicked witches or bondage-bound bosses.

Memories, eh?

Of course, being only 6 or 7 years old the first time I ever saw 9 to 5, I failed to understand the meaning of a lot of what was going on in the movie. Actually, I don’t think I really understood 90 percent of the movie the first few times I saw it. “Edited-for-television” standards at the time didn’t really help much. It was years before I understood why smoking that “cigarette” made them all giggly and victim to a raging case of the munchies.

[Loba Tangent: Honestly, though, I still don’t understand what else had to be in that cigarette to inspire the hallucinations these women had while high. I guess I just don’t understand Mary Jane at all…]

That being said, I still loved it. I loved the catchy theme song. I loved the silliness. I loved the incredible slapstick elements. Something that I don’t think many people consider or appreciate is the fact that all four of the leads in this movie are amazing physical comedians. Yes, even Dolly Parton. Honestly, I think this might be Parton’s best movie performance. Sorry to all you Straight Talk fans out there…

This is probably also my favorite Jane Fonda role. I’ve admittedly not seen many of her films. It’s not that I hold any contempt toward her for any past political statements she might have made. I just kind of find her…annoying most of the time. However, as Judy Bernly, she perfectly captured the fear and loathing of someone entering a world completely foreign and frightening to her.

And, of course, this was the moment I fell in love with Lily Tomlin. Well before I ever saw any of her comedy routines or Laugh-In or before I saw anything from The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, I met her as Violet Newstead. Perhaps it was because her pot party plot against the Boss Man was so Disneyesque as to be one of the few things I could truly understand as such a little one. Or maybe it’s because she was hilarious in the hospital scenes. Or maybe I just “got” her incredible comedic timing and general grooviness, even at so young an age.

And lest he feel even more abused than he must have felt during the filming of this movie, poor Dabney Coleman. I have to admit, he played the office dick quite well. I’m sure he’s probably a lovely human being, but it was years before I could see him as anything other than Franklin M. Hart, Jr, the “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” who inspired three women to step out from the shadow of the boss man and step up the challenge of showing corporate America that women were more than ready to take their place right by the men in the daily 9-to-5 grind…

Actually, that brings me to a personal gripe about this movie’s title. At what point between 1980 and 19mumblemumble when I joined the workforce did corporate America decide that they needed to tack on an extra 45 minutes to the work day, to make up for that lunch break they “give” employees? Imagine my confusion and irritation when I made it into my first Big Girl gig only to find out that 9 to 5 was a long-forgotten myth among the corporati with whom I now mingled. It’s enough to drive a girl to Skinny and Sweet, I tell ya!

This is another movie from my childhood that I still don’t own on DVD, but I did recently discover that it’s available as a Watch Instantly option on Netflix here in the States. Of course, this needed to happen ASAP. It still makes me laugh, even all these years since the last time I ever watched it with my mom. Honestly, it makes me laugh even more, now that I get so many more of the jokes. I love revisiting movies from my childhood and having whole new layers revealed to me.

While searching YouTube for some clips to post, I actually found this clip of outtakes, which must be from the special edition DVD they released for the 20th anniversary. Good stuff here. Also, I swear that the three actresses really were high during the pot scene, and the outtake of Tomlin kind of supports this theory…oh, and listen closely and you’ll catch Parton telling one of my favorite dirty jokes. It involved Muppets. That’s all I’m saying.


And, because you know you now have this song already stuck in your head ever since the moment you saw the heading of this post, I give you what you’ve been waiting for. It’s a rich man’s game, denizens. Same as it ever was…