Romi Stepovich’s answer to Were there any workplace comedies – film or TV – before women became a significant presence in the white collar workforce?

8 Mar

In terms of television, I think it’s significant to note that in I Love Lucy, Lucy is constantly trying to become a presence in the workforce but is continually thwarted by Ricky.  That entire show is about a woman attempting to break out of the housewife mold and find her place in a working world.

Along with all the Katherine Hepburn/Spenser Tracy films listed above, there is a Fritz Lang musical/comedy/noir (yes you read that right), You and Me (1938), written by Virginia Van Upp, the same writer who wrote the classic noir, Gilda.

There are also two Ernst Lubitsch comedies worth seeing.  The first is Trouble in Paradise (1932) starring Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis and Herbert Marshall. This one is a treat since it falls into the Pre-Code Hollywood Era and has far more bad morals all around without that punishment you get after 1934 if your film characters misbehave.  There is also the tamer film, The Shop Around the Corner (1940) starring Margaret Sullivan and James Stewart.

There is also Pillow Talk (1959) one of many Doris Day/Rock Hudson workplace comedies that deals directly with the anxiety of women entering the workforce. I’m listing this one since it is on the cusp of your list but technically from the end of World War II forward you have the problem of women as a permanent fixture in the workforce and where they “belong.”  You will notice that you get many more noir films during and after World War II with women working and that choice emasculating men.  And if they aren’t noir, they are melodramas about women being bad wives or mothers if they want a career and a marriage.       That is another list entirely…

Were there any workplace comedies – film or TV – before women became a significant presence in the white collar workforce?

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