“Bomb Girls” Review-Canada’s Got Talent

Written by Sarah Prince February 23, 2012

Sisters are Doing it for the Soldiers

Before girls worked in ad agencies or airports, they participated in the war effort while the boys went overseas. Bomb Girls transports viewers back to World War II, before women were secretaries in Mad Men or stewardesses in Pan Am. In each installment of the miniseries, the cast of Bomb Girls forms an assembly line to manufacture ammunition and distract themselves from their complicated relationships.

Much to her snooty father, mother and fiancé’s chagrin, rich girl Gladys (Jodi Balfour) leaves her secretarial position in an office above the factory floor to don a lab coat and “do something that matters.” Although Gladys’ coworkers are also attractive, her beauty repeatedly grants her more screen time, as well as more unwanted attention from chauvinistic men.

Forget the boring lessons you may have learned during grade school Canadian history classes; Global’s Bomb Girls is a wartime drama with a fresh approach to sharing stories dating back to a turbulent era.

Leave Your Accent at the Door

Like a sports drama, Bomb Girls’ characters chit chat in the locker room before and after shifts, hoping their newfound friends will maintain good girl behaviour, rather than the kind that initiates cat fights. In this tale of sisterhood in the workplace, while navigating young womanhood, trust is central to the friendships that develop (including a friendship fueled by homosexual desire, which is eloquently depicted).

At a time when everyone’s heritage and class affects who is blamed for productivity flaws and the like, each utterance of employees’ last names, signifying their cultural and socio-economic background, is said with great conviction and subtext. This is definitely something to keep an ear open for while watching the character-driven drama.

Jodi Balfour

Feisty Feminists in the Forties

To think that a million bombs were built prior to implementing an employee code of conduct is deplorable, so thankfully the girls can rely on their motherly leader Lorna (Meg Tilly) to insist on changes in the factory’s operations. “You can’t fight human nature, Lorna,” says the factory’s manager in episode four, “Bringing Up Bombshell”, referring to Lorna’s attempt to protect the girls from disrespectful male coworkers. “We can certainly try,” Lorna confidently responds, echoing the pro-feminist sentiment shared by the bomb girls, yet infrequently articulated aloud.

Meg Tilly

Thank Goodness for Season Two

Bomb Girls essentially epitomizes how historical dramas can effectively portray the drama that occurs behind closed doors, unaffected by the new technologies shaping relationships in 2012. Viewers are reminded of a time when people learned about infidelity more often in person than on Facebook.

Factory life has been captured on camera numerous times before, but rarely with such a powerful emphasis on women’s contributions, which is a gap that Bomb Girls fills well. Rather than focusing on backbreaking labour organized to maximize profit, the show manages to balance its inclusion of the workers’ personal and professional lives without producing corny or stale content. Filmed in Toronto, Bomb Girls is a sophisticated show that proves Canada’s got talent.

TV needs more strong, independent and hardworking women, like those in Bomb Girls – women with relatable struggles who persevered. Each time The Bachelor becomes a trending topic on Twitter or a sleazy man honks at women on the sidewalk, this necessity becomes clearer. Thankfully, the miniseries will return with 12 new episodes.

My Rating: 8/10

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About Sarah Prince

Sarah studies Media, Information and Technoculture at The University of Western Ontario and enjoys live tweeting TV shows.

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