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Designing Women S2 E9 - Look, This is America, You Big Palooka

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

Charlene’s psychic didn’t see Colonel Bill Stillfield coming. That’s OK, we didn’t see this 1940s “fever dream” musical coming, so… hope you’re up to date on your WWII-era history and references! (A quick primer: America, good. HItler, bad. Rations were a thing.) And we’ll dig into one big, little reference, the Hollywood Canteen, in "Salina’s Sidebar."

Stick around for this week’s "Extra Sugar" where we take a closer look at the role and experiences of African Americans in WWII.

Check out these reads:

Come on, let’s get into it!



Salina: Hey, Nikki.

Nikki: Hey, Salina.

Salina: And welcome to Sweet Tea and TV.

Salina: Hey y'all.

Salina: Thank you.

Salina: I feel like every time I'm about to go into what the Pod podcast is and your hey, y'all cuts me off.

Nikki: Okay, perfect.

Salina: Just in the nick of time.

Salina: Okay, well, before we dive into episode nine, I wanted to start off with, you know, the proof survey, the hard questions.

Salina: Let's get to know ourselves.

Nikki: Let's.

Salina: Are you ready?

Nikki: I'm ready.

Salina: What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Nikki: Salina, what do you consider your greatest achievement?

Salina: This is the kind of question that could have us sitting here all day.

Salina: For me.

Nikki: I have one.

Nikki: Oh, I have one.

Salina: Please go.

Nikki: I think the easy answer is to say my kids, because genuinely, when I look at them, it's what I would.

Salina: Use if I were you.

Nikki: I didn't do that much to have them, but I'm genuinely so proud of them, and I think it's cool, but I'm not going to use that answer.

Nikki: The answer I'm going to use is graduating college.

Nikki: And I say that because I am a first generation college student.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: And so that was a really big accomplishment.

Nikki: It was something I worked really hard for, something I paid a lot of money for, and so I'm proud of that.

Nikki: And check back next September.

Nikki: I will have paid off my student loans, and I will be very proud of myself.

Nikki: Well, don't celebrate yet.

Nikki: Oh, don't celebrate yet.

Nikki: I've been trying to get them to forgive my loans, and I've been largely unsuccessful to this point.

Nikki: Forgive you.

Nikki: Thank you.

Salina: We should rename that, too, right?

Salina: Let's forgive you for going to college.

Nikki: What's yours?

Salina: That's so great.

Salina: I have nothing.

Nikki: You have things.

Salina: I think, honestly, right now, at the point I am in life, it's not that there aren't things that I'm proud of, but this is really hard for me because it's really hard to talk about myself in this way.

Salina: I mean, you might as well just push me down a staircase.

Salina: Honestly, I think if I got to choose and you were like, okay, we can take you out the staircase.

Nikki: We can do that if you want.

Salina: Let's go.

Nikki: You want that to be your out, maybe?

Nikki: No, wait, we can't record me proving that I pushed you down the stairs.

Salina: Right.

Salina: And then we can't finish the podcast.

Nikki: Correct.

Salina: So I think that what I would say is for right now right now, this feels like my greatest achievement because so much of life are these things that you're supposed to do go to.

Nikki: College, get a job, have kids.

Salina: Yeah, it's like all these checkboxes, and it's like we stopped and we said, you know what?

Nikki: There's got to be more to life.

Salina: Is there life out there?

Salina: So much she hasn't done.

Salina: Wait, I've used that before.

Salina: Anyways, but that's seriously what it felt like, that it was a way to try and break up the monotony to try and do something different.

Salina: And I think one of the things that we talked about in leading up to this is that we wanted to put a little good in the world and we're trying to do that with just like putting some fun into the world.

Salina: And we've talked about a lot of serious things because I'm here and I'm Debbie Downer and I take everything down, but occasionally I try and laugh and make a sarcastic joke.

Nikki: It's been an educational experience.

Salina: Yes.

Salina: So that, I think, is what I'll say for mine, for right now.

Nikki: Congratulations.

Salina: And congratulations to you.

Nikki: Thank you.

Salina: And congratulations to everyone on whatever it is that you are achieving.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: The second one is if you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

Nikki: What about you, Salina?

Salina: I know exactly what I would do.

Salina: I would come back as someone's oh.

Salina: Because I see the way that dogs live today.

Nikki: But like a loved pet.

Nikki: Yeah, not like a well, that's a fair know.

Salina: Sometimes you're practicing a little self hate, but this is all about not self hate because I want to be someone's very well taken care of dog.

Nikki: I was going to say like a celebrity, but was it Lady Gaga who had her dog stolen by some stalker who tried then to sell them?

Nikki: So maybe not a celebrity, maybe a really well off person.

Nikki: Don't even really need that.

Salina: I mean, people across all different money know or whatever it is you want to gauge success by.

Salina: I'm not saying that it always happens this way, but I feel like there's a lot of love put into pets wherever.

Salina: But yeah, I mean, if I had something cushier to sit on, like I'd rather my dog bed be from Pottery Barn.

Salina: Incidentally.

Nikki: You have a dog bed from.

Salina: Laid on a dog bed from Pottery Barn and I just about bought it for myself, so that's mine.

Nikki: Gosh, that is a really tough question.

Nikki: I don't have a great quick answer.

Nikki: What comes to mind is something that brings joy or captures joy.

Nikki: I was just sitting here thinking about, like, a camera, someone taking pictures, like capturing someone's joy.

Nikki: But cameras can be used for bad things or like playground equipment where you can just hear kids laughing and having fun and playing all day.

Nikki: That would be fun.

Nikki: Well, that's really I want something joyful.

Nikki: If I have to spend my existence doing something, there's not another person I would choose to come back as.

Nikki: To be honest.

Salina: That's funny because I was thinking no matter what, neither one of us have said that.

Nikki: Yeah, no, a person doesn't know but a thing.

Nikki: And so if I have to choose a thing, something like that, something that brings joy or hears joy or I just want to hear people laugh all day.

Nikki: Like a comedy club stage.

Salina: Well, I would just add that I don't think you have to think of it as like, oh, make sure that no one can do anything bad with this thing.

Nikki: Right.

Salina: Because I think this is safe enough, this exercise that we can pretend no one would pick up the camera that you become and try and be a private investigator.

Salina: Well, then someone in a cheating scandal.

Nikki: A family photographer's camera would be awesome.

Nikki: Or, like, a fantastic artist's camera where they're just, like, capturing amazing things or fun things, or joy or happiness, or not so much sadness, but they do that too.

Nikki: So that's good to see the range of human motion.

Salina: And I think this is a wonderful happy segue into season two, episode nine.

Salina: I'll be seeing you.

Nikki: All right, episode descriptions.

Nikki: Hulu says when a handsome army colonel appears at Sugar Baker's shop, you're making body motions that make me think I'm reading.

Nikki: It funny.

Nikki: Charlene is sure her friends have arranged his appearance as a surprise answer to her birthday wish for a soldier.

Salina: Everybody's birthday wish.

Nikki: I'm sorry.

Nikki: Okay.

Nikki: IMDb says charlene meets and falls in love with Bill Stillfield, a recently widowed colonel in the US.

Nikki: Air Force.

Nikki: That night, she dreams of herself in a World War II era bar.

Nikki: There she meets him, accepts his proposal of marriage, and believes he'll be back even though his plane is shot down in Europe.

Nikki: Any comments?

Salina: Not yet.

Nikki: Air date November 23, 1987 written by LBT directed by David Trainer where are you at on general reactions and stray observations?

Salina: I have two no no's for TV shows.

Nikki: Uh oh.

Salina: This one got them both.

Salina: Oh, no.

Salina: Number one, dream sequences.

Salina: And number two, singing on a show that's not about singing.

Salina: To be honest, this was pretty rough for me because I will just tell you that normally, if either one of those things are occurring and I realize that it's happening, I'll go, no, but.

Nikki: We can't do that.

Salina: We can't do that.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: So I stuck around.

Nikki: You're allowed occasionally to phone it in.

Nikki: If you tell me you need a phone in her, I'll do it for you.

Nikki: Because I'll tell you, skipping down to things I didn't like the singing, man.

Nikki: You know, I'm not a musical person.

Nikki: I don't enjoy the musicals.

Nikki: The only thing I enjoyed was Anthony's Ray Charles.

Salina: Yeah, that was pretty version.

Nikki: That was really nice.

Nikki: But every other time they sang, I was like, this will be over soon.

Salina: He.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: Another big thing that bubbled up for me was I'll phrase it like a question.

Nikki: Perfect.

Nikki: I'll put it back on you.

Salina: Would Charlene have scared you off if you were Bill?

Nikki: Yes.

Nikki: 100%.

Nikki: Absolutely.

Nikki: Red flags everywhere.

Salina: Okay, that's good.

Nikki: But Bill also had some lines where I felt like we went from zero to 60 real fast.

Nikki: So I think it was intentional.

Salina: It's not that I understand that people fall in love quickly.

Salina: That's possible.

Nikki: I feel like military people move faster too.

Salina: Oh, okay.

Salina: Well, yeah, because things are maybe a little bit more dire.

Salina: Things are, like, turned up.

Salina: Right, okay, I can follow that, but sorry.

Salina: So the premise is funny in the show for us as the audience, right.

Salina: Because she jokingly asks the ladies for a soldier for her birthday as we learn from the description, or if you're watching the show, hopefully.

Salina: So when he shows up at work, she thinks he's her gift, but he doesn't know that, so the interaction is weird for him.

Salina: I'm just trying to think about him and not just us as an audience.

Salina: Then she's calling to ask his coworkers about him before they go on their first date.

Salina: We're in pre Google times.

Salina: I'm not saying, like, you got to.

Nikki: Put yourself out there.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: And then apparently she calls a ton after she dreams that he's died.

Salina: I'm going to go ahead and say something that maybe did throw me about the descriptions.

Salina: I don't think it says that his plane went down.

Salina: His plane was shot down over Europe.

Salina: That really happened.

Salina: That's the way that description reads.

Nikki: No, that's the fever.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: I thought they were saying that also happened in real life.

Salina: And I was like, this is where it gets confusing.

Salina: Right?

Nikki: The whole episode confused me.

Nikki: Like you maybe the last episode.

Nikki: I was doing a little multitasking on that first watch, and I guess I missed the delineation between the dream and real life.

Nikki: And she was like, Bill, he's died.

Nikki: And I was like, Why do you think Bill died?

Nikki: You were just with him last night.

Nikki: He said he's stationed in Atlanta.

Nikki: He's not in, like, a war zone.

Nikki: So what is going on?

Nikki: So the whole episode confused me on, I'm embarrassed to admit, a couple of watches.

Salina: Well, but is that for your embarrassment or does that show that maybe there was that it's hard, let's put it that way, that it might be really challenging to build a dream sequence into.

Salina: They were just doing a lot.

Nikki: They were doing a lot.

Salina: They were doing the most maybe.

Nikki: Yeah.

Salina: So those are my two biggest overall reactions.

Nikki: So I will say, though, I thought it was an interesting, clever way to approach the episode.

Nikki: I think it was interesting to make Bill a soldier in the first place.

Nikki: But it fits Charlene's character.

Nikki: Charlene wants to live in romance.

Nikki: And what is the height of romance?

Nikki: A very dashing military person in uniform coming to save you or whatever.

Nikki: So it fits her personality that this is kind of how it all comes together.

Nikki: And then the World War II flashback also fits her personality in that realm of romance.

Salina: It's one of the few character development things we get this whole time.

Salina: Right?

Nikki: Yeah.

Salina: She tells us when she meets Mary Jo's dad in season one and maybe some other time.

Nikki: Oh, that's right.

Salina: Very obsessed with World War II.

Nikki: Yeah.

Salina: And we get that I'm like, oh.

Nikki: Yeah, I was onto something with that comment.

Nikki: Right?

Nikki: Look at me.

Salina: Well, we get that again at the top of this episode because when they're all meeting for her birthday and this actually have a sidebar set up for us oh, okay.

Salina: To watch a couple of movies.

Salina: One of them, which is Hollywood Canteen, which is a World War II era.

Salina: You know, we get something else too related to World War II, which is I'm saying this now because it was also a stray observation of mine.

Salina: Something that we have not seen, that I recall to this point is after that weird dream sequence, we got like a super cut of World War II footage.

Salina: Oh, that was weird.

Nikki: That was weird.

Salina: I mean, it's fine.

Salina: It was just like it was noticeably different than the aesthetic of the rest of the show.

Salina: So it stood out for me.

Salina: What about you, strays things that hit you?

Nikki: Well, the fact that I thought the episode was cleverly done.

Nikki: I think it's been interesting to watch them explore different ways of storytelling.

Nikki: So we get this dream sequence.

Nikki: We got the Cruising episode where they quote unquote, went out of Sugar Bakers, but they went somewhere else and did something else.

Nikki: So it's cool to see them explore different creative ways of storytelling.

Nikki: My stray observation is I have a does this count for bingo?

Nikki: Mary Jo pointed out Suzanne's cleavage in the dream sequence, I think it was, and made a joke about how she has to sleep on her back.

Nikki: It's not as on the nose as some of her breast references or breast references, if you will references.

Nikki: But it counts, right?

Nikki: We need a ruling.

Salina: I rule.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: Okay.

Nikki: So if you've missed the other references we've had, then you can count that one on your bingo card if you have it.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: I think also just okay.

Salina: During the dream sequence, one of my stray observations is that Julia's Call with Hitler read like Madonna's Vogue, where Madonna breaks out and she's like Greta Garbo, Emanuel, Dietrich, and DiMaggio.

Salina: And she just starts like this whole string of people from, like, the so, like John Wayne.

Salina: Eddie Rickenback.

Salina: Audie Murphy.

Salina: Will Rogers.

Salina: Jimmy Stewart.

Salina: Babe Ruth.

Salina: Jackie Robinson.

Salina: Roy Rogers.

Salina: Jimmy Stewart.

Salina: Dwight Eisenhower.

Salina: Bob Hope.

Salina: Mr.

Salina: Rogers started to fall apart.

Salina: There it is a dream, which I will just go ahead and skip ahead and say I like that about the dream sequence, that real life was creeping in because she also says Eddie Murphy.

Salina: But we get Ginger Rogers, Louis Armstrong and Betty Grable.

Nikki: American heroes, if you will.

Salina: That's 16 references in one monologue from her.

Salina: So it was like a lot.

Salina: So that was just one thing that really stood out to me, too.

Nikki: I have some of those in my references section.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: I did better this time than I did last episode.

Salina: Well, good, because I'm going to tell you when I saw amount of people, I was like, I'm not looking all of them up.

Salina: Oh, no.

Nikki: And I'm going to say you're on your own for most of them, but there were a couple that stuck out to me.

Salina: Those will be the ones that we cover.

Salina: And I would just say, everyone else, look to your 1940s history.

Salina: So would you mind if I jump in and did a little Salina sidebar?

Nikki: Let's do it.

Nikki: It's a sidebar.

Nikki: Salina's sidebar.

Nikki: She's got a keyboard looking for a reward by digging deep in the obscure, taking us on a detour.

Nikki: What?

Nikki: You got Salina in Salina's sidebar?

Salina: So I did one on the canteen.

Nikki: Uh huh.

Salina: So we talked about it at the beginning of the episode.

Salina: All the ladies are there for Charlene's birthday, and they wind up watching one of two movies.

Salina: And one of those two movies I don't remember the name of the other one, but one of them is Hollywood Canteen.

Nikki: Okay.

Nikki: Follow the fleet.

Salina: Follow the fleet.

Nikki: Because I had to look it up.

Salina: So another World War II movie.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: It's clearly a her pick.

Salina: It makes sense.

Salina: It's her birthday.

Salina: But even if you didn't tell me.

Nikki: That stupid birthday girl.

Salina: Obviously, Charlene picked this movie because it's a little enamored with World War II.

Salina: So I Googled the movie to see what it was about because I really didn't know.

Salina: And I was surprised to learn that it and its name were inspired by the real life Hollywood Canteen.

Salina: So Charlene is basically dreaming in this episode that she's in the Hollywood Canteen.

Salina: Oh, I think so.

Salina: Now that I've read up on it.

Nikki: Got it.

Salina: Tell me what you think when I go through this.

Salina: I watched the movie trailer, 1940s movie trailers.

Salina: I don't know if you've seen them before, but wowzer.

Nikki: Oh, you looked like you were crying.

Nikki: I thought it was sad.

Nikki: Yeah, not sad in an emotional way.

Salina: Not an emotional way.

Nikki: Sad.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: It was just really long.

Salina: And I like the whole movie kind of the credits, but, you know, we struggle with that today, too, so I can't even watch a Netflix one.

Salina: So I will take that.

Salina: Your reaction to mean that you did not realize that maybe that's what they were doing was a play on Hollywood Canteen.

Nikki: It's funny because I did look up Hollywood Canteen.

Nikki: My summary of it.

Nikki: You're so much better at references than I am.

Nikki: I really don't have the stick to itiveness on those because I wrote down another World War II movie.

Nikki: But I did research it.

Nikki: I did read into it and knew that it was both a place and a thing.

Nikki: So that did not occur to me, though.

Nikki: Didn't connect those dots.

Salina: Let's talk about that real place.

Nikki: Okay.

Salina: So it was only open for three years, 42 to 45.

Salina: And it was founded by two Hollywood actors and also the stars of the film, betty Davis and John Garfield.

Salina: It was service members only at Hollywood Canteen and it was free to anyone who came.

Salina: Okay, so that's pretty cool.

Salina: It must have been a pretty big place.

Salina: It held 2000 people and it was packed out every single night, I bet, for those three years.

Salina: So here's some numbers that I saw referenced a few times, so I'll share those with you.

Salina: Nearly 4 million service members walked through those doors in those three years.

Salina: That is a ton of people.

Nikki: 4 million in three years.

Nikki: That is a lot of people.

Salina: Yeah, more than 3000 people volunteered it's.

Salina: The packs of cigarettes distributed, that's like almost as many as the people.

Salina: Indeed.

Salina: And 6 million pieces of cake, I don't know, 9 million cups of coffee and I'm going to see if you can guess.

Salina: And 125,000 gallons of milk.

Salina: My God, how did you know?

Salina: Is that really it?

Salina: Yes.

Salina: I would have thought you would have said beer.

Nikki: I was thinking it's not milk.

Nikki: That's gross.

Nikki: I don't know why, it's just gross.

Salina: Somehow everybody knows you got to go in and get your cigarettes, your cake, your coffee and your milk at the local bar.

Salina: So I guarantee you I bet it.

Nikki: Was a ration thing.

Salina: You stole it right out of my oh, sorry.

Salina: No, no, that's good.

Salina: It wasn't part of my notes.

Salina: I was going to make an in the moment guess, but I think that's exactly how they I'm sure that's what it was because of the rations from the time.

Salina: So this was a way for Hollywood entertainers to contribute to the war effort because I think what they saw as their contribution was entertaining the soldiers so soldiers could come in and dance with a famous actress like Betty Grable or have Shirley Temple serve them something to eat.

Nikki: Oh, that's cute.

Nikki: Yeah, she was I would have ordered a Shirley Temple.

Salina: Thank you.

Salina: I was surprised though, there wasn't a story or an anecdote about that.

Salina: It said something about her serving sandwiches, I think.

Salina: Or Roy Rogers famously came through the door on his horse Trigger.

Salina: Bob Hope would come in and perform.

Salina: I guess he was doing like standups.

Nikki: At the time or something.

Nikki: So this is kind of oh, what are those shows?

Nikki: The USO tour almost started.

Salina: I didn't want to go too far down a rabbit hole, which is very impossible for me to do.

Salina: But I was wondering how integral maybe Bob Hope was in the beginning of the USO.

Salina: For this very reason.

Salina: Even cooler than him coming to perform, way cooler, I think is that he would go in the back afterwards and wash dishes.

Nikki: Oh, I thought were going to say smoke cigarettes.

Salina: Well, probably.

Nikki: That is very cool.

Salina: Nikki of two hands, one for dishwashing and one for it was I think the other part of this is like from the soldiers vantage point, what they were hoping for them is that a lot of these were probably young kids.

Salina: They're a long way from home.

Salina: I mean, some of them may have not I mean, we're talking about the 40s.

Nikki: Made me cry.

Salina: Sorry.

Salina: People didn't travel as much as they do now, right?

Salina: Pre 2020.

Salina: And so I think people may have never even left their own hometown before.

Salina: And so what they were able to do here was provide a place where these, again, most likely kids could let loose for a while, not feel lonely or isolated and honestly do something that they probably would never do for the rest of their lives.

Salina: Walk down a red carpet, hang out with, you know, people they just wouldn't normally have access to, see shows they would never be able to see.

Salina: Really cool.

Salina: This is not the first canteen of its kind.

Salina: In fact, it was modeled after something called the Stage Door Canteen in New York City.

Salina: But there are some things that set it apart from others, and this is largely because of Betty Davis.

Salina: It was integrated so African American soldiers and women's service members could attend.

Nikki: Oh, that's cool.

Salina: You always want to take that step back.

Salina: Because, again, I think for today, this is like a no brainer, but this is the 40s.

Salina: She must have been at really the height of her powers to be able to have done that at the time, I think.

Nikki: Yeah, I think integration was something this episode talked about a lot.

Nikki: And you're probably going to get into an extra sugar, so it was really relevant at this time.

Salina: Yeah, absolutely.

Salina: So talk about using your powers for good.

Salina: Yeah, that's cool.

Salina: And I hate to poo on this story, but at the same time, I think we need the full story, which is that women reported that, yes, they were allowed inside, but they weren't really allowed on the dance floor, but had to watch from the balcony.

Nikki: Isn't that just like women to find something to complain about?

Nikki: They were allowed to go in.

Nikki: What else do they want?

Salina: They want to dance.

Salina: We don't hear much about Clark Gable coming out to dance with the also, we're making a lot of assumptions here, people.

Salina: The movie Hollywood Canteen is produced by Warner Brothers.

Salina: It goes on to be the fourth highest grossing film that year.

Salina: It stars dozens of the same people who are walking through the doors of the real Hollywood Canteen.

Salina: That was kind of the funny thing about watching the movie trailers.

Salina: It was basically like someone going, I'm Betty Grable.

Salina: And I'm Clark Gable.

Salina: And it was just like that over and over and over again.

Salina: I was like, was there a plot to this movie?

Salina: It didn't matter.

Salina: Fourth highest grossing.

Salina: And the really nice thing is that 40% of those proceeds went directly back into the canteen.

Nikki: That's cool.

Salina: So I wanted to share this because I've already said this episode not for me, but I've got a lot more appreciation for it now that I know about the history of this place and its really fascinating wartime contributions, and I can see why LBT.

Salina: Wanted to honor it.

Salina: So I also want to say a big thanks to some articles from the New Orleans national World War II Museum.

Salina: We'll link to that, but those were very integral in me knowing anything about this.

Salina: This feels like it opens the door to talk about things that we liked about the episode.

Nikki: So in addition to saying earlier in my general observations, just that I thought it was a creative kind of approach to the episode, one of the things I really liked was how they just basically plucked each character out of the 1980s and put them into World War II.

Nikki: So just as they would have been based on their characters, this is part and parcel to it being Charlene's dream.

Nikki: So it just fits that.

Nikki: But like Miss War Bonds for Suzanne, the warden type character for Julia, who gets to have her terminator tirade cigarette girl, Mary Jo.

Nikki: I just thought it was cute.

Nikki: I liked that.

Salina: I thought that kind of setup was good.

Salina: And I could see Charlene as like a feisty 1940s, like, server.

Nikki: Oh, crap.

Nikki: What was her name?

Nikki: I want to say Karen, but that's not right.

Salina: Oh, they gave her a different name?

Nikki: I think so.

Salina: Oh, okay.

Salina: It's so funny because I almost had something in here for us to talk about those different characters that they wound up portraying.

Salina: And then I was like, Nikki will kill me if I elongate this episode any longer.

Salina: Perfect.

Nikki: So I did it.

Salina: So now you mean I think that those were all very fitting.

Salina: And it's just like, if you don't know a lot about World War II, I feel like some of these references might be lost on you.

Nikki: I feel like a lot of it would have been lost on you.

Nikki: I think that's super interesting that you kind of put the Hollywood canteen slant on it, because I think, like you said, I had no idea what that was other than they mentioned it in the movie in the beginning.

Nikki: How does LBT Know these things?

Nikki: Has she seen these movies?

Salina: Well, maybe she's a World War II buff.

Salina: I mean, I think maybe we've talked off air, if not on air before, about the fact that I'm not sure that Charlene isn't think they're both from Poplar Bluff, Missouri.

Salina: And then there's just little tidbits that I've read about LBT.

Salina: Since we started this that just sort of sound a little bit like like I think I've read before that she considers herself to be in love with love, and I think that's very true of it.

Salina: Blow me over with a feather.

Salina: Is that the term?

Salina: Whatever.

Salina: Blow me over with a Mack truck.

Salina: That's really going to change the meaning.

Salina: But you could do that if LBT.

Salina: Is not a World War II fan.

Nikki: Right?

Salina: I mean, not fan, but I love war.

Nikki: So I have two things to say.

Nikki: One, I looked it up.

Nikki: Her name was Val charlene's name?

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: And thing number two is, I was telling you off air that I just listened to an interview with Tom Hanks on the podcast Armchair Expert.

Nikki: This one was smart.

Salina: Oh, smart list.

Nikki: Yeah, I think it's smartless.

Nikki: And they asked him one of the questions they asked him is like, why are you so into World War II?

Salina: Oh.

Nikki: And they were like, yeah, I mean, you just do all these movies, blah, blah.

Nikki: Anyway, his answer is fascinating.

Nikki: And one of the things he says is because the bad guys lost.

Nikki: And it's really cool to be able to tell a true historical story where the bad guys lost, and it makes for an interesting narrative.

Nikki: And then they get into this interesting conversation similar to some of the things you were touching on about the Hollywood Canteen.

Nikki: The young guys who were shipping off and serving in this war, the things they were, the heroic things they were doing, and then coming home and running a dry cleaner or coming home and taking over the family farm.

Nikki: And they literally went overseas and saved millions of lives or rescued people or whatever they did, whatever they contributed.

Nikki: So I thought that was a really interesting answer to the question.

Nikki: And I think for someone who you just said a fan of World War II, it's not the right word, but someone who has a lot of reverence for the war or who is really into exploring it and thinking about it.

Nikki: I thought it was an interesting answer.

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: Also a good interview with Tom Hanks because he's a national treasure and it's.

Salina: Rarely cut and dry.

Salina: But I think people do enjoy a time anytime when there's a clear good guy and a clear bad guy.

Nikki: Yeah.

Salina: I think with time, things get a little less clear.

Salina: I'm like, don't ever look at anything too close.

Nikki: Don't put it under a magnifying glass.

Salina: So one thing I'll share that I really liked was I also really liked the initial setup.

Salina: While I think if I was Bill, I would have ran for the hills.

Salina: It made me laugh so much when Charlene walked around him when she first met him.

Salina: And she goes, Happy birthday to me.

Salina: I just thought she was the cutest thing.

Salina: And since we know the full story, it's hilarious, right?

Salina: It also kind of tracks with season one because Mary Jo does bring in the best looking man on earth, or whoever he was, so I could kind of see why she might think there's a precedence there for it.

Nikki: Right.

Salina: So that was one for me.

Salina: What was another top for you?

Nikki: Those were the big things I liked.

Nikki: I think I've covered them all.

Salina: I'm like, I hated this episode.

Salina: I have 50 things that I like, go for it.

Salina: I felt like I.

Salina: Wanted to be as fair as possible because I feel like I'm already starting from a detriment.

Salina: It's like someone is asking me, what did you think about this meal?

Salina: And I'm like, Well, I hate the three ingredients that make it up, but I know that it was executed well or not, maybe.

Salina: So I like that.

Salina: The episode called out the treatment of African American soldiers in World War II and didn't try to sugarcoat it.

Salina: I thought that was really stunning.

Nikki: And we finally got Anthony getting to point out because we've talked, I think, on maybe one of our most recent episodes, how all of his lines just keep getting cut.

Nikki: It's there on the DVD.

Nikki: We're not watching on the DVD.

Nikki: We're watching on Hulu and it's always cut.

Nikki: And he's saying some things to talk about racism and say like, this is really jacked up.

Nikki: And he point blank says at the beginning of the movie, like, sorry, Charlene, I'm not going to join in on your romantic party celebrating World War II because it sucked for my people.

Salina: Exactly.

Salina: And I think that we've seen him when his lines don't get cut, we get to see him be that voice of reason.

Salina: What a nice way to use a character to make sure that these things that sort of get passed down the line that's like I'm not saying Gone with the Wind wasn't a great book, but just for it to be this unflawed piece of whatever is also really unfair.

Salina: And to not have somebody maybe stand up and go, yeah, I mean, it was great.

Nikki: But also know also this thing I can't really look beyond.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: I also liked in Charlene's dream that she because it would have been a big deal for the time.

Salina: It also fits in nice with the Hollywood Canteen story.

Salina: She openly dances with Anthony and even though that seems to be aggravating some of well, the racists in the crowd.

Salina: So during the dream sequence, we do get like a really OD pop up, which is Reese.

Nikki: Oh, yeah.

Salina: He's barely there.

Salina: But my favorite thing was if you see him.

Salina: We have talked several times that Reese Watson is not for us, but we have a sneaking suspicion that Hal Holbrook might be.

Salina: We talked about their relationship several episodes ago in real life.

Salina: And one of the things that we learned is that Hal Holbrook, sometimes they wouldn't let him sit in the audience because he would whoop so loud anytime that Dixie Carter did her Julia thing and he was like too loud to knock out his sound and sound editing.

Salina: So if you're looking at him standing behind Julia when she's making that very dramatic call to Hitler, I loved seeing him smile at her.

Nikki: Oh, I'll have to rewatch that.

Nikki: I didn't notice that.

Salina: It's like that thing where they're talking about watch a wedding and you watch the guy to see how he reacts to the bride coming down the let's just say spouses.

Nikki: I did that at my own wedding, waiting for my husband to cry, and he never did.

Nikki: So sometimes it doesn't pay off well, just pinch him.

Salina: And then I said this before, too, but I think this plays into something that we both like, which was this absurdity towards the end of the dream, as she's probably coming too.

Salina: So again, we get Eddie Murphy and Mr.

Salina: Rogers in the list of it gets it's like meta meta, which I like the idea to be fun.

Salina: I think that's kind of nice.

Salina: And Anthony suddenly doing a pretty good Ray Charles and pretty good.

Nikki: I liked it.

Salina: Yeah, I thought it was nice.

Salina: And one of the soldiers says, hey, that can't be here.

Salina: It's the 1940s, and you didn't come along to the 1960s.

Salina: And Mary Jo basically says, hey, this is America and we can dream whatever we want.

Salina: So it was all ridiculous, but if you'll just take it in the fun tone, I think it was meant to be very enjoyable.

Salina: And my last thing that I liked in this episode that I hated, that I'm probably bringing my own self around the bend right now is the conversation between Anthony and Mr.

Salina: Woods at the VA hospital.

Nikki: Oh, yeah.

Salina: Got me real teary eyed.

Salina: And it's really talking about one of the times where they went in and they were getting some of the people out of the camps and how one of the men at the camp reacted to him.

Salina: And it's a little bit about that, of, like, what we all bring things into a scenario when we meet people.

Salina: So I think this gentleman thought that maybe what this man was going to remark on was the color of his skin, but what he remarked on was, thank you.

Salina: We've been waiting for you.

Salina: And I sunk into the couch.

Nikki: I was scrolling through my notes to see I mentioned that somewhere because that was a really silly episode.

Nikki: Kind of nonsensical.

Nikki: There was definitely some element of emotion to it because you were supposed to feel for Charlene when she thought she lost Bill.

Nikki: Really?

Nikki: I was just thinking she'd lost her marbles, to be honest.

Nikki: But that part was unexpected.

Nikki: I did not expect for that piece to come at the end and then for him to tell that story.

Nikki: And I was like, Holy crap.

Nikki: That's the real stuff.

Salina: And it happened fast.

Nikki: Yeah.

Salina: It's only like a minute of the show, and so you could be, I don't know, dusting and miss it.

Salina: So watch it a second time if you did.

Salina: I've already said my piece about things that I felt like I didn't like because of just the general setup of it.

Nikki: Oh, I have something for you.

Nikki: I took another picture just like the last episode because I keep remarking on wardrobe.

Nikki: God help me.

Nikki: She has a vest at the very beginning of the episode and it's like, patchwork.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: Over, like a white button up collared shirt, maybe.

Salina: But the collared shirt is kind of like what you see on the old made cards.

Nikki: Oh, yeah.

Nikki: It's a high crust collar, almost.

Salina: I don't even know I've seen that before because I actually do, like, a collar that's buttoned up all the way.

Nikki: No, like a dramatic collar moment.

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: I just can't handle the vest.

Nikki: It's, like, patchwork.

Nikki: They just keep getting her.

Nikki: I think the vest over a button up shirt is very like, I can visualize my mom's going to work clothes.

Nikki: And there was a vest situation.

Nikki: I used to think that was the coolest outfit.

Nikki: I can remember.

Nikki: And it probably looked just like this, to be honest.

Salina: You know what I think part of the problem with that is it's not well fitted.

Salina: She needs, like, tailoring to those sleeves because she's so petite.

Nikki: And then my other thing I didn't like we said it, and I'll just say it again, the singing.

Nikki: I only liked the Ray Charles impersonation.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: So we kind of alluded to this, but I'm just going to go ahead and knock this sucker home, is that while there are aspects that I do think are really creative, and I can understand why maybe a showrunner doesn't want to do the same thing over and over again, I can't imagine how boring that gets.

Salina: And they want to shake things up, and they want to do, like, what you're saying, like taking them to do, like, the Cruise episode or doing something like this.

Salina: That's a little off book.

Salina: I totally understand that.

Salina: But I do think it was a little clunky and disjointed.

Salina: So first we start out like it's normal, then we spend most of the time in this World War II fever dream 40s musical.

Salina: Then they pull us out of all of that, and we get what basically feels like it could have been its own episode, but they kind of condense it down into, like, what do we have, like, five minutes left after the whole thing?

Salina: And very quickly, we get this whole plotline where Charlene thinks he's dead.

Salina: She's convinced of that.

Salina: Then she goes down to talk to someone at the base.

Salina: Then they tell her that he's a pilot from the 40s that died.

Nikki: So that was another piece of the story that I missed on the first couple of watchings, and I was like, what has happened?

Nikki: Wait, but we know Bill's a person, right?

Nikki: Is he a dream?

Salina: What's happening and what happened, if you didn't watch the episode, is that he was playing a joke on her for calling so much, but it felt more like it almost could have been a cool line, but that would be like a Twilight Zone episode.

Salina: And so I understand why they didn't stick with it, why they turned it into a joke, but it just felt like frenetic.

Nikki: Yeah, I agree with that.

Nikki: That's a good way of describing it.

Salina: Anything else?

Salina: Well, you know what that means.

Nikki: What?

Salina: It means it's time to rate this sucker.

Salina: What you got?

Nikki: My rating scale is jitterbugs jitterbug.

Salina: Oh, wrong airbugs.

Salina: Oh, no.

Salina: I just want to sing the song.

Nikki: I know it's in my into my house.

Nikki: Four out of five.

Nikki: Four out of five.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: So I really liked it.

Nikki: I thought it was romantic.

Nikki: It was, like I said earlier, silly.

Nikki: But it also was kind of educational.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: I have some low key education in there.

Salina: Well, especially for us, because we have to look up all the references.

Nikki: I'm also just a sucker for all things America and Americana and go, you know, I know we have our problems, but it's sometimes nice to be our own fans.

Nikki: And like I said, I cried when the elderly soldier told that story to Anthony.

Nikki: So I thought it was a creative execution.

Nikki: You're changing my mind on how much I liked it, because you're right.

Nikki: I did feel whiplashy, but I liked it.

Salina: All right, well, mine was two out of five unexpected musical numbers, but I wanted to say something.

Salina: After going through this, I cannot have two dislikes and seven likes.

Salina: You had a lot.

Salina: I think I got to at least knock it up to three.

Nikki: Okay.

Salina: Three out of five middle of the road numbers.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: I think we had some highs.

Salina: I think we had some lows.

Salina: I think there could have been some better execution.

Salina: And I, as someone not in the television industry, have zero right to say.

Nikki: That I feel like such an ahole.

Nikki: And I'm like, I just think there's so much they could have done better here.

Salina: I know.

Salina: I mean, like LBT.

Salina: Feel free to slap us around and come on the show and just bat us.

Nikki: We'll take it.

Nikki: We'll take it.

Salina: So combination of either 80s southern or unknown references.

Nikki: So I think I don't have any there.

Nikki: I think there are some that maybe could have fit there.

Nikki: I'm not sure, but I didn't put them there.

Nikki: I got nothing.

Nikki: I have 180s reference.

Salina: What you got?

Nikki: Anthony Fiddling with the VCR.

Salina: It's just funny, because I should show you.

Salina: Mine says Anthony Fiddling with a video recorder, and then I just fiddling fiddling.

Salina: Well, you know, because we're southern.

Nikki: Right.

Salina: I don't know if you know this or not, but this is a southern podcast, and I had watching a movie on VHS.

Nikki: Yeah.

Salina: So speaking of being southern, did you have any southern things?

Nikki: I really reached for this one.

Nikki: I was reaching it was a reach.

Nikki: So at the beginning, Suzanne said, next time they want to play cards, they should invite May.

Nikki: Oh, which sounds like a double name.

Nikki: And double names are Southern.

Salina: That's just like, a fake character in their world, though, right?

Nikki: Yes, I think so.

Salina: Well, I was reaching pretty pretty hard on this one.

Salina: I had suzanne says that doesn't tax my imagination.

Salina: I don't know that's Southern, but it sounds Southern.

Nikki: Sure gave it the old reach around.

Salina: Oh, no, we don't do that in the don't we get in trouble for that.

Nikki: Sorry.

Salina: But it is really fun when you accidentally say that in a meeting.

Salina: Meaning to say something else, for heaven's sake.

Salina: Also feels Southern to me.

Salina: I don't know.

Salina: This one's real.

Salina: Their first date is at Ritz Carlton with the balcony.

Nikki: So I put that in my things.

Nikki: I had to look up because I really wanted to find, like, was that an Atlanta institution or something?

Salina: I think it has been for many, many years.

Nikki: Because the with the balcony.

Salina: I don't know about with the balcony, but the Ritz Carlton in downtown has been there for so I know they do, like, a regular Sunday tea, and that's been a thing for years and years that Southern ladies would go, go.

Nikki: I looked up the Ritz Carlton.

Nikki: I think the one in downtown is the one we stayed in on our honeymoon.

Nikki: We stayed in an amazing suite.

Nikki: I can't even describe it right now.

Nikki: I'll save that for later.

Nikki: But it was incredible.

Nikki: But we recently stayed at the Whitley in Buckhead because there's also a Ritz Carlton in Buckhead.

Nikki: Pretty sure that's where we stayed because they de branded it as a Ritz Carlton.

Nikki: They said over time it had just, like, kind of fallen.

Nikki: How did they word it?

Nikki: It was worded so strangely fallen below the standard of Ritz Carlton.

Nikki: And I was like, well, it's sort of your job to bring it back up to the standard now.

Nikki: But I guess they just decided it wasn't worth it anymore.

Nikki: And in 2009, their chef had quit after so many years of being there.

Nikki: But it was just there, like, from the 80s onward, but it was, like, sort of highfalutin.

Nikki: Francis Ford Coppola debuted his wine collection there in the late 1990s.

Salina: Oh, that's so this is unexpected.

Nikki: This is where I ended up on my deep dive, and I found no answers on the actual Ritz Carlton.

Nikki: Except I agree with you.

Nikki: That other one's been there a while.

Salina: There's a Ritz Carlton in Atlanta.

Salina: That's what I was trying to say.

Nikki: Just the one now, though.

Nikki: There used to be two.

Salina: Maybe a balcony, maybe not.

Salina: The crazy thing is I used to live in downtown Atlanta.

Salina: I used to walk by there every day, but I wasn't looking up for balconies.

Nikki: And you weren't at that point in your life.

Salina: I always just try to make it to work and barely doing that.

Salina: All right, why don't you take over the references?

Nikki: Oh, okay.

Salina: Sounds like you have done a more job.

Nikki: I don't know about that.

Nikki: I had to look up the Follow the Fleet, the movie that they watched at the beginning of the episode.

Nikki: It was Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers fifth collaboration.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: It was a musical dance comedy with a nautical theme.

Nikki: It didn't feel super like World War II related, but it was like in that era hollywood canteen.

Nikki: I don't need to say much about that.

Nikki: I had to look up Matahari Same.

Nikki: I've heard that so many times in my life.

Nikki: Somebody do this movie again, no idea.

Nikki: So Matahari was a Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan who was convicted of being a spy for Germany during World War I.

Nikki: Many people believed she was innocent and condemned only because the French army needed a scapegoat.

Nikki: She was executed by firing squad in.

Salina: Mean.

Nikki: Is there a movie about the Monahari?

Salina: Well, there was one, but it was like I think it was super early on, like in movies, like in The Twins.

Nikki: Not a talkie.

Salina: Possibly not.

Nikki: So it probably wasn't that good.

Salina: So I'm thinking like, come on.

Salina: Angelina Jolie.

Salina: Yeah, I feel like she would really kill this part.

Nikki: That's a good idea.

Nikki: You should be a caster.

Salina: I'm like, let's write this thing.

Nikki: You already went through the list of people that Julia mentioned.

Nikki: I'm going to say I looked up a couple of them.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: I had to look up Murphy.

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: Because she said Audie Murphy and then Eddie Murphy.

Nikki: And what I was thinking in my mind was since it's Charlene's dream, she just said the wrong was mixing up things.

Nikki: But no, Audie Murphy really was a real person.

Nikki: Audie Murphy was an American soldier, actor, songwriter and rancher.

Nikki: Most importantly, possibly, was that he was one of the most decorated American combat soldiers of World War II.

Salina: Wow.

Nikki: And like a lot of so well, that's really interesting.

Salina: And the reason I know about him at all is because I think sometime when I was younger and there was reference made to him and I'm like, I think they mean Eddie.

Salina: And my mom was like, no, honey, they mean Audi.

Salina: So back then I was like, oh, whoopsie?

Salina: I didn't know.

Salina: So anyways, that's really interesting.

Nikki: There was something about he held a at 19 years old and this goes back to that point about really young people doing really monumental things in wartime.

Nikki: At 19 years old, he held off the German army, I think it was in a 1 hour battle campaign, which is overwhelming.

Salina: An hour do you see why I can't talk about my achievements?

Nikki: This is what I'm saying.

Nikki: This is what I'm saying.

Salina: Yes, I went to work.

Salina: Agreed.

Nikki: Agreed.

Nikki: 100%.

Salina: Or like we're older than all the people that founded the country.

Nikki: Yeah, I'm just done.

Nikki: But I read something recently that said people hit their creative stride between like 35 and 41.

Nikki: So there's still time.

Nikki: All right, good.

Nikki: I also had to look up Eddie Rickenbacker.

Nikki: I think she said when I looked it up in the script, it was Eddie Rickenback.

Nikki: But when I googled it, it was Rickenbacker.

Nikki: But Eddie was an American fighter.

Nikki: Ace in World War I and a Medal of Honor recipient.

Nikki: He had 26 aerial victories.

Nikki: He was the US's most successful fighter in the war and considered to have received the most awards for valor by an American during the war.

Salina: So not an entertainer.

Salina: Not that that's important.

Nikki: No.

Nikki: This guy was cool.

Nikki: I didn't write all this down, but he was pretty cool.

Nikki: After the war, he became a consultant to the US.

Nikki: Government on military matters, was a big time golfer.

Nikki: He traveled a lot with his wife.

Nikki: But there was something a CEO or CFO of one of the flight lines airlines.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: Until it was one of them that you've heard of but kind of went away in the 80s.

Salina: TWA, maybe somewhere.

Nikki: It started with an E, I thought.

Salina: I can't remember.

Nikki: That might have been it.

Nikki: But after he stepped down, he and his wife traveled a lot.

Nikki: They retired to Florida.

Nikki: They traveled to Switzerland for this is sad.

Nikki: Traveled to Switzerland for some kind of medical treatment for her where he had maybe a stroke and then contracted pneumonia and passed away there.

Nikki: And maybe, like, five years later, she actually died by suicide because she was still so over at 92.

Nikki: She died by suicide because she was still overcome with her grief at losing him.

Salina: Oh, my gosh.

Nikki: Really sad.

Nikki: But the dude was cool.

Nikki: I don't blame her because he was really cool.

Salina: And it's eastern.

Salina: Not Eastern.

Salina: Eastern Airlines.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: That's probably something I thought it was called when I was a kid or know, because the holiday I also had.

Nikki: To look up Bergen Belson Camp.

Nikki: So this is the concentration I put together two and two that it was a concentration camp.

Nikki: But this was the camp referenced by the African American soldier at the end of the episode when he's talking to Anthony.

Nikki: This is the camp he helped liberate.

Nikki: This was incidentally where Anne and Margot Frank were there were at that camp and died.

Nikki: Anne Frank.

Nikki: Of course.

Nikki: Diary of Anne Frank, which led me down a rabbit hole in Anne Frank and her life.

Nikki: Of course, I've been down that rabbit hole before, but it was a nice reminder of again, we're talking about young people doing extraordinary things.

Nikki: She just wrote down her observances and became sort of a cultural icon for what this did to a generation of kids and families for just existing and existing under a certain belief system.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: Well, and I think it's always pretty amazing to see what's something that's, like, serious, like, really serious, the way it affects the world.

Salina: I mean, we're living through that time right now with the pandemic, how it's affected the entire world together and the kind of I mean, I'm not trying to bring it down, but it can do two things.

Salina: We can do thousands of things.

Salina: But one of them is it is a little scarring because it's like everyone experiencing a trauma at one point in time and Earth.

Salina: And to me, that's mind boggling because we as a global unit, don't get to experience much together.

Salina: We don't even understand hardly anything about each other.

Salina: I don't even know anything about the guy across the street from me.

Salina: You know what I'm saying?

Salina: So I think there's something really monumental.

Nikki: Pressure washes his driveway a lot.

Salina: He does.

Salina: The brightest driveway ever.

Nikki: You know something?

Salina: Actually, he's the only one I do know, and he's a lovely person.

Nikki: Terrible example.

Salina: I will not throw out his name on the podcast, but he's a lovely human being.

Salina: But anyway, so I don't know.

Salina: I think it's nice to stop and reflect on that kind of thing.

Salina: And if this episode makes you and I be able to sit down and do something like that, then five out of five isn't that crazy?

Nikki: That's sort of my point about this episode.

Nikki: It was entertaining and light, but also there was so much about it that when I really sat down, I think in a pre Google world, I would have struggled with it, although maybe I would have had encyclopedias.

Nikki: Who's to say?

Nikki: But I maybe wouldn't have stepped away and taken that time to look into each one of these references and remember what each one means.

Nikki: So it's cool to have the podcast as an opportunity to do that, but also, it's all just a Google search away, and you owe it to yourself to sort of say, like, Bergen Belson.

Salina: What is that?

Nikki: And then, oh, like, there are certain concentration camps that you'll say, and we're all like, yeah, of course.

Nikki: Bergen Belson was not one of them for me today when I watched this episode.

Nikki: So when I looked it up, I was like, oh, Anne Frank.

Nikki: And sadly, she died, like, a month and a half or two months before it was yeah.

Nikki: After existing the entire war.

Nikki: And it's just tragic.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: Did you have others that you that was it.

Salina: So, look, I'm going to tell you what.

Salina: I have ones.

Salina: I think the only things that I want to say, because I just thought this mary Jo calls somebody palukas.

Nikki: Oh, yeah.

Salina: And did you know what that was?

Nikki: I've heard it as a word before I meant to look it up, and I never did.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: Something good about it.

Salina: It just means stupid, clumsy, or uncouth person.

Salina: And I just thought uncouth was funny.

Nikki: Because we use that word all the time, right?

Salina: So no matter what era we're in, we're we're gonna find the synonyms for uncouth and then tipperillos.

Salina: That's what Mary Jo was selling.

Salina: And I'm only mentioning that it's actually not a cigarette.

Salina: It's a cigar.

Salina: A shorter, thinner, milder cigar.

Salina: Should you be interested.

Nikki: Is that a cigaretto?

Nikki: cigarello.

Salina: Cigarillo.

Salina: I think that's also, like, a small cigar.

Salina: Okay, don't quote me on that.

Salina: I am the one out of the two of us that used to smoke, though.

Salina: But I wasn't smoking a ton of cigars.

Salina: But the reason I mentioned them is because they're made in the south, in Dothan, Alabama.

Nikki: Oh, interesting.

Salina: So I had to get that Southern connection in there, otherwise we could be doing this.

Nikki: There were a lot of references until.

Salina: The cows come home.

Salina: Wait, one more.

Salina: Jitterbugging itself.

Nikki: Oh.

Salina: I only say that because I think there's something that is so interesting when there is, like, an export of ours that kind of just goes worldwide.

Salina: And Jitterbugging was one of those.

Nikki: Oh, is that right?

Salina: The way my reading of it is really a type of swing dancing.

Salina: And so it originated here in the when everybody was going overseas.

Salina: It spread internationally by American soldiers, like other things.

Salina: Dang it.

Salina: I had to use the word spread, didn't I?

Salina: She means syphilis.

Nikki: I had to get that in there.

Salina: And babies.

Salina: Probably.

Nikki: Busy time.

Salina: Yay, babies.

Salina: Yes.

Salina: Yay.

Salina: Syphilis.

Salina: Cut lines.

Nikki: I have just one.

Nikki: I don't know if it's the only one that I saw, but in the interest of scaling back, I'm going to mention just one that I'm going to argue passionately against.

Nikki: I do feel like it should have been included.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: Because I think it sets the stage for Charlene and Bill's fast and furious relationship.

Nikki: Do you have this one too?

Salina: I bet you we have the same one.

Salina: Go ahead.

Nikki: So at dinner, right after, bill says something about I think it's where he was saying, like, this is the first time he's felt like he's alive, being alive.

Nikki: When talking about all the feelings meeting Charlene has stirred up in him, she says, I know, and I just can't believe how we feel the same way about everything.

Nikki: We both cry when we listen to the national anthem.

Nikki: We both get mad when people don't put their hands over their hearts.

Nikki: And our favorite song is I'll Be Seeing You.

Nikki: And he says, yeah, I think maybe this calls for children.

Nikki: And then she says, did you ever get the feeling you were born in the wrong time?

Nikki: And he said, all the time.

Nikki: And she said, Bill, he said, what?

Nikki: Would you like to come in?

Nikki: Charlene, I want you so bad my teeth ache.

Nikki: But if I go in there, even the jaws of Life couldn't get me out, so I better not.

Salina: What the worst line to cut?

Nikki: This is what I'm saying.

Salina: Can you imagine being LBT.

Salina: You make a decision to put I'll be seeing you as the title episode, and then also this kind of dot connector, and then they just rip it out.

Nikki: Yep.

Nikki: I just feel like we talked a little bit about red flags around Charlene, and the whole idea that she fell so fast for him was a red flag for me.

Nikki: And then if you read this line, you're sort of like he was feeling it too, though.

Nikki: Like it wasn't as one sided as it felt.

Salina: Yeah, I still feel like I came away with thinking that he was really into her.

Nikki: Yeah.

Salina: I mean, all those warning flags, he still comes back, but also you could just see it, but yeah, this crystallizes it and that was a silly cut.

Nikki: I think it was.

Nikki: And there was something else I was going to say as I was reading it, gears shifting in my head, I was thinking, is that what she said to Mary Jo's dad when they were having drinks?

Nikki: Something along the lines of, did you ever feel like you were born in the wrong think?

Salina: I think that she says something about how she feels like she was meant to be alive then.

Nikki: Yeah.

Salina: The only other thing I had I mean, I do have others.

Salina: There was one that I don't think is important, but one that I did think was important was between Anthony and the.

Nikki: Veterinarian.

Salina: And the vet at the VA hospital.

Salina: And basically him saying that pretty soon all the people who fought that war would be gone.

Salina: And I just feel like that is very relevant to this conversation right now because it is talks like this and reflecting back that keeps those memories alive.

Salina: And those memories are important because if you learn anything in history, if you don't pizza itself.

Salina: And there you go.

Salina: So let's not do that.

Nikki: Let's not.

Salina: Let's do something different.

Nikki: You want to do something different and go to episode ten.

Nikki: I do Stranded.

Nikki: But first, hang tight for extra sugar.

Nikki: What do we got this week?

Salina: This week we're going to discuss the role and experiences of African American military members during World War II.

Salina: Not necessarily rolling off the tongue, but stick around.

Salina: I think you'll like it.

Nikki: I think it'll be a good one.

Nikki: So, as always, follow along with us and engage.

Nikki: We're on Instagram and Facebook at Sweetteantv.

Nikki: Our email address is and you can visit us on the World Wide Web,

Salina: You know what that means?

Nikki: What does that mean, Salina?

Salina: We'll see you around the bend.

Salina: Bye.

Speaker C: A few months later, we rolled into Bergen Belton concentration camp.

Speaker C: And I'll never forget this one little old crumpled pile of a man, jewish man, couldn't have weighed more than 80 pounds.

Speaker C: And he looked up at me with those great big hollow eyes.

Speaker C: They told us that most of these Europeans had never even seen a Negro before.

Speaker C: So I figured he was wondering.

Speaker C: But you know what he said?

Speaker C: He didn't say, are you a Negro?

Speaker C: He said, Are you an American?

Speaker C: And I said, yes, sir, I am.

Speaker C: And he started to cry.

Speaker C: And then he took my hand and kissed him and he said, God bless you, son.

Speaker C: We have been waiting for you.

Salina: And welcome to this week's edition of Extra Sugar.

Salina: But seriously, today's segment was inspired by the mentions we get, or got rather about African American service members in World War II.

Salina: So, I mean, we just went over a good bit of this, but.

Salina: Starting with Anthony's story about his uncles who had to endure segregation while fighting for their country.

Salina: The scene that you just heard.

Salina: And finally Charlene welcoming Anthony into her dream, her dream canteen, in spite of the racist grumblings of the other patrons.

Salina: So it felt like too many mentions to not take a moment and reflect on what exactly it was that was being faced in this time period.

Salina: World War II expert Stephen Ambrose put it this way the world's greatest democracy fought the world's greatest racist with a segregated army.

Salina: And that's really something that when I read that, it really hit me because it's not something that I learned about in school.

Salina: Did you learn about this in school?

Nikki: I don't think so.

Salina: Segregation?

Salina: Sure, yes, but not at the military level and certainly not in World War II.

Nikki: I don't remember it being like a big part of our history class, okay?

Salina: And even when I got into college and college history is not the history of high school and middle school.

Salina: It's more in depth.

Salina: And even there, we just didn't get that.

Salina: So let's back it up for a little bit of a set up to say during World War II, we're still 20 ish years out from the legal end of segregation, which comes with the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.

Salina: And so the military, including the draft, was also segregated, and the Roosevelt administration initially didn't want to allow African Americans to register for the draft at all.

Nikki: Oh, wow.

Salina: It does hit you in a certain way, right?

Salina: Because we look at not everyone, but I would say that most Americans look at FDR in that time period with a lot of reverence.

Salina: That was a word that you used that really resonated with me during the episode.

Salina: And I would think that here too.

Salina: I think that really speaks for the time.

Salina: There goes on, though, to be about 1.2 million African Americans who fight in the war, mostly men, but notably thousands of women as well.

Salina: The blueprint of Jim Crow is applied directly to the military.

Salina: So here's what that means.

Salina: On the military basis, everything was separate.

Salina: Blood banks, hospitals, medical staff, the barracks, recreational facilities, all of it.

Salina: And I say that to say to really just stop and think.

Salina: We know from civilian history that this whole idea of separate, okay, separate but equal, was a bunch of baloney.

Salina: So I'm guessing that these facilities that were specifically for African Americans were not the same as what white bases have.

Nikki: Seems like a fair assumption based on.

Salina: Everything else we so we know from some of our history professors like Matthew Delmont at Dartmouth.

Salina: Here's what he had to say about that experience.

Salina: The experience was very dispiriting for a lot of black soldiers.

Salina: The kind of treatment they received by white officers in army bases in the United States was horrendous.

Salina: They described being in slave like conditions and being treated like animals.

Salina: They were called racial epithets quite regularly and just not afforded respect either as soldiers or human beings.

Salina: So I know it's very disheartening.

Nikki: I'm self censoring the words that are going through my head.

Nikki: That's just so messed up.

Salina: I think it's just so hard to hear now.

Salina: And we continue to learn and grow.

Salina: We're not even close to perfect is something way out there.

Salina: So I am in no way saying that, like, hey, we've got things solved now.

Salina: No, we got lots of problems today, but this is just like a whole different level.

Salina: And that right there is a real racket because they basically had to fight just to get through the door.

Salina: And then once they finally got through that door, they were relegated to support roles cooks, mechanics, building roads, digging ditches and unloading supplies.

Salina: Now, look, I'm not trying to crap on those roles.

Salina: Those roles are important, but the difference is if you can't get anywhere else, that's the problem.

Salina: It kind of pokes holes in that whole American dream thing that you can be anyone anywhere and get anywhere and.

Nikki: Go anywhere as long as you're white, middle class or upper middle class.

Salina: Right.

Salina: So there's lots of addendums to that.

Nikki: Right?

Salina: So African American soldiers, they were deemed unfit for combat.

Salina: And what I was picking up on when I was reading these articles is that American politicians distrusted African American soldiers to have weapons.

Salina: That's what I read in it.

Nikki: Oh, wow.

Salina: So I want to spend a few minutes on what I imagine is a lesser discussed aspect of the segregated military.

Salina: And that's what happened with African American nurses.

Salina: And I say that too, because we're largely talking about women in the military at this point.

Salina: And even though they made up a smaller segment, I feel like they probably get talked about even less.

Salina: And that's why I wanted to set aside some time.

Salina: So here's the background.

Salina: Much like the military at large, the US Army Nurse Corps reluctantly admitted African American nurses to serve during the war.

Salina: But with political pressure from civil rights groups and then also the African American press, 56 African American nurses were finally admitted into the US Army Nurse Corps in 41, and then they're all subsequently sent to segregated bases in the south.

Salina: So I'm sure that went swimmingly.

Salina: Well, by the end of the war, that number had only grown to about 500 out of 59,000.

Nikki: Wow.

Salina: So what strikes me as I'm reading all of this is it's very interesting because I'm guessing there were more than 500 able bodies.

Salina: And so we're not only we as in the collective we of this country deciding to be exclusionary and racist and all of these other things, but we're also putting that ahead of getting people in the door to help in the war effort.

Nikki: We're limiting our response.

Salina: Exactly.

Salina: It's like nonsensical all the way around.

Salina: So here's a really interesting aspect of what was happening with nurses.

Salina: So there were almost 400,000 German prisoners of war or POWs, who were captured in Europe and Northern Africa and then sent here and detained in more than 600 camps across the country.

Salina: This was also something I had no idea about.

Salina: African American army nurses were overwhelmingly assigned to these camps, but they were considered second rate assignments.

Salina: And the reason why is because most of these POWs were healthy.

Salina: That was a requirement of the travel.

Salina: So not only are they being isolated and they're lonely and all these other things are happening, they're not even having their skills used.

Salina: And so a senior lecturer at Exeter, Matthias Reese.

Salina: It just sounds right, doesn't it?

Nikki: That's a nice name.

Salina: So he described German prisoners as being surprised by the racism and segregation upon arriving in the US.

Salina: Here's just one example.

Salina: So he's in a train depot in Texas and he's not matthias was not there, but his name sounds like he could have been there.

Nikki: I don't know.

Nikki: Matthias sounds like somebody who could have been, like, in Quaker, Tennessee.

Salina: Sorry, Matthias.

Salina: Sure.

Salina: You're wonderful.

Salina: So in a train depot in Texas, there's a group of African American soldiers who were denied access to the whites only dining hall, yet saw through a window.

Salina: A group of German POWs and their American guards sitting at a table.

Nikki: Come on, man.

Salina: All together, laughing and eating.

Salina: Come on, man, be better.

Nikki: Jeez, Louie, be better.

Salina: 1945.

Salina: Just be better.

Nikki: Good Lord.

Salina: Yeah, I know.

Salina: It's terrible.

Nikki: It's infuriating.

Nikki: I mean, to fight your way tooth and nail into an army that doesn't want you to defend a country that doesn't want to take care of you.

Salina: I feel like I almost want to pause and stop at that because I think that shows one thing.

Salina: I think we're sort of circling around today is like, so people in World War II are called the greatest generation, and maybe there's a reason for that.

Salina: Let me tell you about elder millennials.

Nikki: How hard it was for us to come up with achievements.

Salina: Let me tell you how hard it was to get my phone to download this morning.

Nikki: It can be a struggle if your Starbucks app isn't working.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: So there's like that frivolous aspect to it.

Salina: But I'm also thinking about the draft and just thinking like, I'm a lousy human being because I'm like, you're telling me I'm out of the draft.

Salina: And I'm like, cool, all right.

Salina: And they're fighting to get into it.

Salina: Right.

Nikki: Do their part.

Salina: It's just like a different caliber of person that I'm really feeling lowly about myself.

Salina: And you know what?

Salina: I think I should well, you haven't.

Nikki: Been faced with a dare to be great moment like that.

Nikki: Though, to be fair.

Salina: Did I not tell you about trying to download the latest settings on this?

Nikki: The closest we came was, like, 911 and the Iraq war and my sister joined the military straight out of high school.

Nikki: My brother joined the military out of high school a little bit later, but we were still stationed over there.

Nikki: I have friends who joined the war, but war was different in World War II than it was by the time we came along.

Nikki: So the way you waged a war was just so different.

Nikki: So they just did what they had to do.

Nikki: And I think, again, going back to that podcast I mentioned while we were in the main episode, Smartless, where they interviewed Tom Hanks, he tells a story about a guy who served in the war that he just met, sort of that Tom Hanks met, just like in his pre famous life.

Nikki: And the guy basically just says it like, it was my job, I had to do it, and I did what I had to do, basically.

Nikki: And so I think that on the one hand, yes, we're a different generation because we face different challenges and different things.

Nikki: The Iraq War never escalated to the draft and to us having to serve, though I certainly knew a lot of friends who did serve.

Nikki: And I had a history teacher in high school.

Nikki: He got fired after he said this, but he told us, look around this classroom.

Nikki: Look at the men and the boys sitting next to you.

Nikki: In ten years, they won't be there anymore.

Nikki: They're probably going to die in this war.

Nikki: I think we were expecting something, and certainly many did die.

Nikki: I don't want to take that away.

Nikki: Many did die, but it's just not been the same kind of war campaign that it was for World War II.

Nikki: So don't take too much away from yourself.

Salina: Thank you.

Nikki: You haven't been faced with it.

Nikki: Did you or did you not stay home when they told you to stay home during the pandemic?

Salina: Yeah, I did.

Nikki: You did your parts?

Salina: I watched Netflix.

Salina: So while all this is going on, I think in all these different facets of the war, you have people fighting to get through the door and then fighting once they're here.

Salina: Well, there were advocates back home that were taking a stand for these injustices as well.

Salina: And a big player being the African American media, and one of those things being the Double V campaign, which was led by the Pittsburgh Courier newspaper.

Salina: Double V is in double victory, winning the war overseas and the one against discrimination at home.

Salina: It's seen as an early part of the civil rights movement.

Salina: So I wanted to give that a nod because that probably wasn't an easy campaign at the time.

Nikki: Yeah.

Salina: In the final year of the war, african Americans begin to be used differently by the military.

Salina: I hate to report it's, not because of a change of heart, but because so many soldiers were dying.

Salina: However this happenstance opens the door for some really important contributions because we don't want to end this thing on the lowest of notes.

Salina: So let's talk about some really cool things.

Salina: The first one is called the Red Ball Express.

Salina: Now, this is a unit of mostly African American drivers who delivered critical supplies to General George Patton's Third Army in France.

Salina: They drove up to 400 miles on narrow roads in the middle of the night without headlights to avoid detection by the Germans.

Nikki: Oh, wow.

Salina: Nikki, I can't even drive to Kroger at night.

Nikki: I can't drive on the south side of Atlanta where my husband's family's from after dark because there are no streetlights.

Salina: It is very dark in that area.

Nikki: I have headlights, and I'm like, I can't do that's.

Nikki: Amazing.

Salina: And I don't want to make light of that with my Kroger story.

Nikki: No, that's amazing.

Salina: It's one of the ways I know I can't do it.

Salina: That thing in the Netflix comment.

Salina: Another really cool thing was the 761 Tank Battalion.

Salina: This is the first African American division to see ground combat in Europe.

Salina: Joining Patton's Third Army in France in November 1944, the men helped liberate 30 towns under N*** control and spent 183 days in combat, including the Battle of the Bulge.

Salina: 183 days is half of a year.

Salina: I mean, that's nuts.

Salina: Then probably the most famous example is the Tuskegee Airmen.

Salina: I imagine that most people are familiar with that.

Nikki: I sure hope so, because it's amazing.

Salina: Yeah, well, I think the reason I put it last is because I felt like people were most familiar with it.

Salina: And I really didn't know about these other examples, and I wanted to spend some time on those for that reason.

Salina: But yeah.

Salina: This is a fighter pilot group trained at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

Salina: They escorted bombers over Italy and Sicily, flying 1600 combat missions and destroying 237 German aircraft on the ground and 37 in the air.

Nikki: Wow.

Salina: That's amazing.

Salina: Unfortunately, everyone returns home and what they encounter is racial violence and denial of benefits.

Nikki: Well, of course.

Nikki: Isn't that what they deserve as American heroes?

Salina: Absolutely.

Salina: So we do get President Harry Truman.

Salina: He signs an executive order that is going to desegregate the US armed forces.

Salina: He signs that in July of 1948.

Salina: By the way.

Salina: That's three years after the war is over.

Salina: More so than that, we know I don't know if you know this, but the government's a slow moving machine.

Salina: Do you know that?

Salina: Anyways, the military wouldn't be fully integrated until the Korean War.

Nikki: Wow.

Salina: I just want to say that this is sort of my takeaway on this are especially within the context of this larger episode in Charlene's way of thinking about things.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: So several sides to every story, and World War II is arguably one of the most important moments in all of human history.

Salina: It is highly scrutinized, deeply studied, but it's things like this that make me think about how it may be overly you know, someone like Charlene thinks of valiant men returning to ticker tape parades and Times Square kisses, by the way.

Salina: The woman said she didn't want to be kissed, but whatever.

Salina: And there were those things, and no one's denying that or taking that away, but there were also these other things.

Salina: Someone else's glorious memory may be someone else's heartache.

Salina: It may be their worst day ever.

Salina: And so that's why it's important for us to consider these multiple perspectives to come outside of our bubble, to learn about things that may be hard or troubling to.

Salina: So thank you for allowing me to share this.

Nikki: Thank you for sharing.

Nikki: Thank you for doing that research and sharing all that.

Nikki: I think we have the benefit of having Saving Private Ryan style movies and movies that I feel like have tried to tell the less romantic version of the war story, whereas she's watching movies like Hollywood Canteen, which to me sound like they weren't these highly orchestrated representations of the battle on the field.

Nikki: What was that other movie that was completely silent for almost the whole movie?

Nikki: Oh, gosh, I'm forgetting the name of it was just a few years ago.

Nikki: It was amazingly moving with the two.

Salina: Kids trying to deliver the message across the lines.

Nikki: Dunkirk is the one I'm thinking of.

Nikki: It was incredibly moving to see these young people existing in this war.

Nikki: So we have the benefit of seeing that side of the war.

Nikki: And so I wonder if it was different during Charlene's time.

Nikki: Maybe she only saw the romantic side of it.

Nikki: Although I think LBT, by referencing the issues with segregation, brought it in.

Nikki: But I feel grateful that I at least respect enough to know that it's not all jitterbugs and pretty dresses.

Salina: And to that note, let's say that even though Charlene is, like, maybe overly romantic about it, LBT did give nods to these things as well, which is what propelled us to look it up.

Nikki: So thanks for doing all that research.

Nikki: That was incredibly informative.

Salina: Well, we'll include these sources in our show notes and we'll leave it there for this week.

Salina: That's our edition of Extra Sugar.


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