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I was watching Barney Miller today. Normally I love that show, but this episode

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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 01:30 PM
Original message
I was watching Barney Miller today. Normally I love that show, but this episode
gave me the heebie jeebies. The plot was about a woman who wanted to press charges against her husband for raping her. (Insert canned laughter here) There wasn't even any precedent for the DA to press charges. It was going to be a test case. Kudos to the show for bringing light to the subject, but the canned laughter every time the rape was mentioned still creeped me out. Normally rape isn't a punchline on TV anymore, at least not on the shows I watch. (With the exception of prison rape jokes. Unfortunately those are still around. :()

But I am glad that I grew up in a place where spousal rape is no laughing matter anymore. Thank you to the people who made that happen.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 01:40 PM
Response to Original message
1. They took a lot of heat from women's groups over that one
although they were one of the first to broach the subject in public, the idea that an unwilling wife who was forced into sex had been raped.

Still, they should have deleted that laugh track.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 01:42 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I think I was maybe 11 or so when the show when off the air, so I don't recall the
original reaction. Thanks for sharing that with me. :)
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Green_Lantern Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 03:23 PM
Response to Reply #1
12. I just got it up on Youtube...
My husband raped me...HAHAHAHA. It's pretty creepy.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 03:49 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. Right, you'd think they'd delete the laugh track on reruns, too
since we've managed to progress to the point where enough of us think it's no laughing matter that the laugh track creeps us out.
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fascisthunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 01:43 PM
Response to Original message
3. a laugh track on the issue of RAPE? WTH were they thinking?
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 01:45 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. the Founding Fathers owned SLAVES? WTH were they thinking?
Edited on Tue Feb-02-10 01:46 PM by KittyWampus
it's called societal evolution.
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 01:54 PM
Response to Reply #3
9. What they were thinking was about bringing the subject into the open
on television for the first time in history.

It was a groundbreaking episode, and if it was clumsily handled it was because they had precious little precedent to go on. Archie Bunker also had a laugh track which was used inappropriately sometimes - but the story line carried the episode anyway.

The sexual revolution was an on-going thing at the time, and today's products of that revolution, and evolution, have no idea what it was like before they were born.
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no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 01:45 PM
Response to Original message
5. When this episode was written, there WAS a new legal precedent for prosecuting marital rape.
It was 1974 in Washington State, and I think the first name of the victim was Gretchen.

This was huge at the time and controversial as it was legally presumed that a husband could NOT rape his wife as she would not withhold consent.

I can understand why the writers of Barney Miller would address it in an episode. It was very very raw at the time.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 07:14 PM
Response to Reply #5
15. Thank you for that info. The episode played it out as if there was no precedent.
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CreekDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 07:52 PM
Response to Reply #5
17. The writers don't choose where the laugh track is
kind of like journalists not controlling what headline goes above their article.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 09:56 PM
Response to Reply #17
22. Out of curiosity, whose job is the laugh track placement?
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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 08:12 PM
Response to Reply #5
20. You have to consider the times
I love Barney Miller, but sometimes the subject matter really shows its age. On the other hand, other subjects are still relevant today.

The Barney Miller show dealt with a great deal of controversial subjects, from gays to minority concerns to women's rights in the workplace.

It's not exactly the Brady Bunch.
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zazen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 01:47 PM
Response to Original message
6. reminds me of Andy Griffith episodes about battering and enabling alcoholism
Though this sounds considerably creepier.

I love the Andy Griffith show, but the way that battering was just funny "plate-throwing" and the way everyone runs around enabling Otis's alcoholism really tell you how much times have changed.

What's weird to me is what _is_ edited out today in movies and shows and what isn't.

Remember the first National Lampoon's Vacation? The TV version at first took out the line about her french-kissing her Dad and replaced it with kissing her teacher, then took out references to pot-smoking and never returned them, then took out references to using Playboy and then never returned them, then took out the kissing her teacher line. The visit to Cousin Eddie is quite different now.

Like pot is the equivalent of child molestation. pul-eese

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CreekDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 07:57 PM
Response to Reply #6
18. Honestly, can I be against child abuse and think "But Daddy says I'm the best at it" is funny?
obviously they are trying to caricature relatives and people in the country.

when i was 12 and saw that movie (and took EVERYTHING literally as most kids do)...I didn't for a moment think, wow she did that with her dad).

it was just a joke line to make that odd family even weirder --and it worked.

but to change that line to "science teacher"...which...well, why is it okay with the science teacher? this girl is what, 15?

and when you consider they just flat out cut the scenes that referred to pot and playboys, but frenching the science teacher is okay.

stupid. :eyes:

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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 11:29 PM
Response to Reply #6
28. Seeimg an unedited version of that movie is like seeing it for the first time now
and I saw it in the theater when it was released. The uncut verion is hysterically funny.
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onehandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 01:49 PM
Response to Original message
7. There were a lot of breakthrough sitcoms in the 70s that dealt with 'heavy' issues.
And I think the laugh track was part of what made them acceptable.

All in the Family, Maude, Barney Miller and others brought these issues into light.

Eventually the softening laugh track went away and made us all more honest as a society.

I applaud all of these programs.


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T Wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 01:54 PM
Response to Original message
8. To think that this country has "progressed" on issues of sexuality and gender-related crime
is naive.

After all, we have one of the major parties overwhelmingly defending rape (Franken amendment).

And if you pay attention to the words and actions of most rethugs, you will see that they do not consider rape, especially marital rape, as anything to be concerned about. While they may be slightly less willing to openly spout such filth, it is part of their core belief system.
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Rebubula Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 02:00 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. This country....
...and its people HAVE Progressed. There may be quite a few older holdouts (and brainwashed offspring) that still cotton to the old ideals, but to say that we have not progressed is, at best, willfully ignorant.


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T Wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. With a majority of female "cadets" at the Air Force Academy reporting sexual assaults
while in school, I beg to differ.

With the rapes committed by the (young) military types in the Middle East at epidemic numbers, I think you are over-estimating the "progress" that has been made.

The culture of rape and bigotry against women in Amerika has improved, marginally, but there is much farther to go than has been achieved so far.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 07:49 PM
Response to Reply #11
16. True, there's still more progress to be made.
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mochajava666 Donating Member (771 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 03:36 PM
Response to Original message
13. I remember the episode and the overall discussion of
Is it possible to be guilty of rape when the victim is your wife? The notion actually seemed absurd back then.

I also remember Shirley Chisolm run for president in the 70's and she said that there was much more prejudice against her as a woman than as a black person.

It's good to see societal change - especially in the light that most of the years since have been very conservative. Now if women made as much as men instead of 78 cents on the dollar, that would be nice...
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crazyjoe Donating Member (921 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 08:03 PM
Response to Original message
19. you better not watch "All in the Family" reruns
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 08:12 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. Yeah, they did the laughtrack thing too. But as someone upthread said, it was a way of
somehow making a difficult subject easier to broach at the time. But now it just seems weird. :)
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crazyjoe Donating Member (921 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-03-10 07:00 AM
Response to Reply #21
31. very weird, nobody could get away with a show like that now.
the submissive wife, the ditsy blond, the whiny liberal, and the racist homophobe father.
Please......
funny show thought
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-03-10 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #31
32. It was a brilliant, ground-breaking show, but you are right. Not sure there would be any takers for
pitch like that these days.
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mdmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 09:57 PM
Response to Original message
23. Are the reruns on cable somewhere
where did ya see the show?
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 10:02 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. WGN has a "outta sight retro night" hosted by Rick Dees. Barney is part of their line-up.
Edited on Tue Feb-02-10 10:03 PM by GreenPartyVoter
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mucifer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 10:17 PM
Response to Original message
25. I remember that episode it was very offensive. I didn't think it took the issue
seriously AT ALL . It was a joke. Literally. Very offensive episode. I saw it in 1974 and I knew it was offensive then. Thanks for posting this it's an interesting discussion. I remember the episode ending with the couple getting back together and shrugging off the whole incident. Do I remember it wrong?
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 10:31 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. You remember correctly. She wanted more respect, and no more forced wham bam thank you ma'am, which
is basically what the husband thought he was doing (and within his rights).

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mucifer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 10:34 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. So why are people saying that the only problem is the laugh track. As I remember it
the whole premise from start to end was offensive and sexist. There was a strong feminist movement in those years and that was in general a liberal show. I'm surprised they got away with it.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 11:29 PM
Response to Reply #27
29. The laugh track thing kicked in straight away. That's why I was so struck by it. I wasn't
so surprised by the end though. I think nearly every show that features a husband and a wife they wind up together again at the end. It was their formula, apparently. They were willing to touch the concept of spousal rape, but they didn't see it all the way through, though whether it was due to being a comedy show or that formula I don't know.

I wonder how long it was before a TV show covered the subject and didn't put the husband and wife back together again?
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mucifer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 11:35 PM
Response to Reply #29
30. There was a decent episode of the DIck Van Dyke show about domestic violence
that I thought was pretty good. That was the '60s. The episode ended with the violent guy getting help and deciding not to be in a serious relationship for a while. Sally dated him once and wondered why he dumped her.
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