Monday, July 17, 2017

'Mooners Monday #20: Let's overanalyze (or not) the politics of "Mama Loves Mambo"

Judging old TV shows by modern standards is ludicrous folly. It's also really dumb. Still, there are some times when I watch the old classics and kind of wince a bit at stuff that would never fly today. More often, I just laugh about it.  Check out the dated gender politics of "Mama Loves Mambo." Just don't get too deep into it, please.

The premise of the episode is that distinguished new neighbor Carlos Sanchez charms Alice and the other women in the apartment, not only with his mambo skills (note: not a euphemism), but with his gentlemanly demeanor. In other words, he actually treats the ladies with respect instead of taking them for granted like they husbands.

Well, the menfolk resent this. Why should they have help out with the laundry or the cooking or to make eye contact and acknowledge their spouses as human beings? After all, they,

Eventually Carlos SHAMES the menfolk (including the proud, decidedly old-school Mr. Manicotti) into thinking, yeah, we got it made and should be thankful. So Ralph and Ed (I hope Mr. Manicotti, too, but sadly we don't see him upstairs saying, "Please-a, bambina, let me-a poosh outta the chair for you!") overcompensate by insisting they do everything for their wives.

And of course they are terrible at it. They are out of practice at handling complex, arcane culinary equipment like pots and saucepans.

Their "excessive"  good manners seen to annoy Alice and Trixie even more, though. The opening of doors, the pulling out of chairs--all are driving the women up a wall. So naturally, instead of asking their hubbies to find a happy medium, they ask the boys to go  back to the way they were--being complete barbarians.

Oh, you!

To his credit, Ralph asks Alice if she's sure, and only then does he start yelling and bossing her around, though he does it with love. After starting in on her, he laughs and says something like, "Now get my breakfast. I'm hungry."

It's all in fun, but it looks a little weird today. Even if you  assume Alice just dislikes the overly obsequiousness of the new Ralph and doesn't actually want him to treat her like a slave, it's a little weird.

Then again, it's also really funny.

But it IS kind of weird.

But it's mostly funny. I feel I should acknowledge it, so I did.

Next time, 'Mooners Monday will look at the single most terrifying Honeymooners episode ever!

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