Gone Too Soon: Bomb Girls

On the surface, Bomb Girls is a show Americans may or may not have the pleasure of encountering yet — though the first season is on Netflix — because it is a Canadian production set in 1940s Toronto during WWII in a munitions factory. There are only 18 episodes in two seasons and, sadly, 18 episodes will be the cap on the amount of episodes that will see the light of day. Global cancelled the series this Spring. Droves of fans banded together to to “Save Bomb Girls” and so far the only promise is a made-for-TV movie to wrap up the lives of the group of women audiences have come to love over the past two years. Oddly, the same was promised to Pushing Daisies fans back in 2008 and here we are 5 years down the road. My, how time flies and promises wither. So, without further ado… I give you…

5 Things I Love About Bomb Girls

5. Fashion/WWII Era

As with any television show or film set in past eras, I am keen to see styles and fashion come to life again. A Christmas Story has the blatant undertones of the 1980s (mostly due to the mother’s perm) even though it is set during the late 1930s. I am all-in-all pleased with the production of Bomb Girls and their recreation of 1940s attire and hairstyles.

The introduction to our Bomb Girls. Smoking like chimneys outside the munitions factory.

4. Danger and Suspense

The element of danger becomes a reality in the first episode when one of the members of the Blue Team incurs a life-altering injury on the job. The scriptwriters were constantly aware of the dangers within the workplace and somehow managed to subtly work the fear of the bomb in every episode. The characters in the show faced other elements of danger and suspense such as encounters with gangsters, the mafia, and even radical pastors with a penchant for abuse. Don’t let the name fool you, the show may be about girls, but it is filled with uncertainty and excitement until the series’ closing lines.

Vera's war wounds.

Vera’s war wounds.

3. The Blue Team

The Blue Team, led by Lorna Corbett (Meg Tilly) and oftentimes Betty McRae (Ali Liebert) had its internal issues (oh, those catty women!) but always came together “for the boys.” I remember several times during the series as the women became more comfortable in their positions in the Blue Team, they would converse or sing or argue — the absent-mindedness of their actions gave me such discomfort in knowing one slip-up could cause the ruination of all the characters I loved so dearly, but I loved the eventual camaraderie. Lorna always kept them in line and consistently fought for their rights as working citizens and, by extension, their eventual rights as women.

Lorna, Queen of Munitions.

Lorna, Queen of Munitions.

2. Betty McRae

Betty McRae.

Betty McRae.

Oh, Betty McRae… master of the “did-you-really-just-say-that” look. While I feel the show focused primarily on the lives of Gladys Witham (Jodi Balfour) and Lorna, Betty was the anchor to all of the characters. She exhibited strength no other woman could muster up. At the same time, Betty is perhaps one of only portrayals of a 1940s woman coming to terms with her sexuality and existing in a patriarchal society. As a closeted lesbian, she goes through trials of understanding herself while trying to please those around her, which oftentimes proved to be an impossibility. Betty is one of the most lovable characters on Bomb Girls for her wit, charm, and personality. Above all, her heart is the most heartfelt aspect of the show as she sacrifices love and complete happiness for the sake of survival. Ali Liebert’s portrayal of Betty is spot-on and I know I will miss her characterization most of all.

1. For (Wo)mankind

Bomb Girls is the answer to this generation’s inherent desire to please oneself. We want the iPhone, we need the independence, we crave the status, we love to broadcast menial parts of our days. This television series made me want to get up and do something for mankind. The depth of reality portrayed in Bomb Girls testifies to the severity of life and its complexities; the gun is always pointed at their heels. The simple “problems” of our world today seem so meaningless with the past as its backdrop. The women in the munitions factory were not fighting for the boys and doing these jobs for the men overseas… they were doing it to further human rights and civil rights without realizing the magnitude of their actions and what it might mean for future generations. They refused to twiddle their thumbs and I think my generation could learn a lot from the characters of Bomb Girls.

Victory Munitions Forever.

Victory Munitions Forever.

So, I say a tearful farewell to the Pie Maker and to Betty, the Pie Hole and Victory Munitions. You served us well: both pie and country. I wish you hadn’t left so soon.

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