7/2/08

RVOD029 The Trouble with Women

(1959, Educational/Short, color)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy

You vacuous Holstein!

Rating: ***

In a nutshell:

A female employee can be almost as good as a male one, “if you treat her right”.

Summary:

He's sassy, he's brassy, he's a musical hum-dinger...  Okay, I admit I don't know what any of that means.Brad works in an aluminum factory (I think) supervising aluminum inspectors (again, I think). As our curtain rises, he’s already frustrated with trying to explain an oscilloscope to one young lady when another young lady appears with a slip of paper from Human Resources. Brad reads it and discovers that the shapely young slip-bearer is none other than his new bearings inspector.

Brad tells her to take a seat while he steps out for a minute, then charges into the Human Resources department. How dare they send him yet another woman? The HR man replies that they had no qualified male candidates. This one should be okay, “if you treat her right.” Brad indignantly insists that women workers are no good. They’re absent a lot. They clutter their workstations with personal items and then complain when you ask them to move. Why, sometimes they even want to get married, he says. A man would never stoop to such appalling and unprofessional behavior, he implies.

The HR guy doesn’t exactly address any of these concerns; he just smiles indulgently and points out that Brad’s department continues to meet and improve on its production goals despite the many female employees on staff. Brad goes back to his desk to scowl silently at the new girl. “What is Brad’s problem?” the ending title card asks, just before the scene fades to black.

Thoughts:

You vacuous Holstein!And now, The Moral of the Story: Women employees can be almost as good as men, but only if you make allowances for their strange female customs and their brittle feminine temperaments. Yes, it’s horribly sexist, but only when you judge it by the current standards for gender parity. I give this short full marks for being dangerously liberal by the standards of 1959.

Judging it against present-day mores is pretty funny though, and Mike, Bill and Kevin exploit this as much as possible. Also funny are Mike’s comment on the short’s production company, McGraw-Hill, “Where Quick Draw McGraw and his pal Baba Looey were hanged,” Kevin’s complaint about how the workplace has changed, “Now there are tampons in the cigarette machine!” and Bill’s comment on the title, “The trouble with women is that one of them is Kathy Griffin.” At six minutes, this is one of the shortest short films available on its own. It packs a decent amount of punch for the running time, though.