I connected deeply with Bomb Girls.
I grew up in 90’s bushland Australia: the 2%. There were 24 people in my class in from year 6 to year 10.
We didn’t watch a lot of TV; there weren’t any stations out there. The channels we got were static. In any case, our Christian school thought that the devil spoke through the television. So not a lot of us even had one.
So in that sense, 90’s Australia isn’t that different from 40’s Canada. We had the radio, and we spent our days in fields with cows or horses or dirt bikes or tractors and running barefoot through bushland, exploring caves, catching bob-tailed lizards and never quite knowing what to do with an angry lizard at the end of your arm, running screaming from a newly-thrown lizard.
We lived outside. We worked outside.
When we got TV we were allowed to watch those old movies; the classics, the musicals. Ginger Rogers was my first crush closely followed by Doris Day and Katharine Hepburn. We caught up in the 00’s, but I miss that sense of waiting for the next song, of waiting for Ginger’s skirt to fly out just right.
TV’s come a hell of a long way since then, but still not far enough if a show like Bomb Girls can get cancelled. It’s an audio-visual splendorama of beautifully distress chaos. It’s everything I always wanted but never knew how to ask for.
I know that look on Betty’s face when Kate sprang away from her; I’ve been the recipient of that look. Hell, haven’t we all? And I’ve been head-butted (in a gay bar no less) for telling a man that I wasn’t interested because I was gay. His reply? ‘That’s what you get for not looking like a dyke.’ It’s confusing, but it happens. We still get beat up. That scene where Betty is dragged toward that car – it’s something we fear. And it happens. And it needs to be talked about. Every issue in this show is something that’s still relevant 70 years later. They need to be talked about, and Bomb Girls was opening the door for some heavy discordant discussions.
When I moved to the big city, I got myself some big city learning in the form of a Literature degree. I wrote. Constantly.
About 7 years ago shit went down. Heavy shit. I don’t talk about it because most of my friends didn’t need telling; they saw the CCTV footage on the news, as did I when I woke up two weeks later in hospital. If you’ve ever seen your own feet dangling helplessly… after kicking for so long…
But I digress. I drank through that, and came out the other side pretty damn broken. I got a cockatoo 3 months after I quit drinking and she keeps me strong on days I might crumble. 6 years worth of days.
At the start of this year, in the gap between Bomb Girls season 2 part 1 and season 2 part 2, my mother called and told me she thought that my abstinence from a homosexual lifestyle was honourable and all sorts of Christian junk and the word abomination was mentioned and I kinda went to the place that’s not good and then I found out Bomb Girls was cancelled so I got mad. It was something to focus all that mad on. And I started writing again.
Paint Over It All was the first thing I wrote since my deposition 7 years ago.
The support I got from the community was humbling and overwhelming. Studying engineering, I’d been living in an all-male hetero bubble for so long. I hadn’t seen hide nor hair of a lesbian for years. I forgot there were people like me out there. People like me that connected so fully to these old-timey women.
I gave them every possible happy ending, because that’s what they deserved, these cancelled characters, these heart-broken fans.
It’s not just the show, in this case, that’s important. It’s the fanbase. It’s the people this show has touched. It’s your everyday Bomb Girl. Because there’s a little piece of us in every one of them.
Bomb Girls got me writing again and if I can do that, I can do anything. I can answer an unknown number on my phone. I can open the front door to a stranger. I can sleep with the lights off. I can let someone hug me and not mind if their shoulder brushes my throat.
Not today. But one day. One day soon.
I love this show for what it is, and for what it is to me.