I do like exploring BBC’s offerings. A wonderful staff member at Broadmoor suggested this one.* Land Girls is a drama set in World War II England; men are off fighting the war, and women, of course, want to help. Stuck at home, so to speak, English women join the Women’s Land Army, in which they would find themselves leaving their homes and families to work in new situations. Some of the women come from the upper class and are shipped away; others are simply trying to find a way to help while their husbands are off at war. In Land Girls, we get to know four young women with various backgrounds who find themselves on a country estate; we see how the war not so far away affects them and those who must show their national pride by producing food for the rest of the country. We watch as these young women mature, love, and lose. There is a hint of romanticism, found in most historical pieces, but none of the women are presented as saints. While some of the characters we meet border on caricatures, they are all real humans.
So,that’s the first one; what’s the second one? It’s so far left of field it’s not even a BBC show, and it’s even set in the US! That’s right; I do watch shows that don’t even have English characters as regulars!
When I was a school kid, so many many many years ago, I got caught up in the show Hey Dude. The show follows the often times ridiculous exploits of the staff on the Bar None dude ranch. The show almost made me want to go out to the desert and ride horses; who wouldn’t want to be in a barrel race one day, take a long ride into the scenic desert another, and then enjoy a pie eating contest and barn dance the next? Of course, the show has many flaws, but it is often light hearted and enjoyable, even though the cheese factor is quite high. I usually watched this during the summer, so one step outside quickly reminded me why I had no desire to be in the heat. Yet, I so wanted to meet these teens who had built a life and family on a ranch in a world almost as distant to a Louisiana girl as World War II England would be.
So, how are these two related? They explore families created by location, not by blood. While the situations and tones are vastly different, the connections formed are interestingly similar because they are indeed families and friendships created and strengthened by the imagined solitude of the location. There is a distance from the norm in both cases that allows the women in Land Girls and the teens in Hey Dude to bond as well as grow beyond the expectations of class and gender. Now, do I think these two shows are on the same level? Not exactly. One has a better production value and writing, but the other provides amusement for teens and tweens, even before the word existed. Both are enjoyable, and both are worth recommendation. At least as far as I’m concerned.
*Ask the staff for viewing suggestions at any branch. They’re actually quite helpful with this.