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Special Episode - The First Wives Club: The You Don’t Own Me Edition

Updated: Sep 17, 2023

And now we call the First Wives Club to order!


Ugh…what’s worse than losing your husband in your mid-forties?


Wellllll….we’d argue, getting stuck with a husband who doesn’t appreciate you, do special things for you, or make time for you is wayyyyyy worse!


Fortunately, three beautiful women agreed with that AND they made a movie about it with an amazing cast for us to talk about! PLUS - we get to sing, “You don’t own me!” at full-volume right alongside them. Join us?


Reads and watches:

Oh, and pst! Come back later this week for a BTS peek at the FWC (for the uninitiated, that's a behind-the-scenes peek at the First Wives Club.)


Come on, let’s get into it! And, remember, don’t get mad: get everything.


 

Transcript

Hey, Nikki.

Hey, Salina.

Hello everyone, and welcome to Sweet Tea & TV.

Hey, y'all, and welcome to the season four special episode.

Are you all ready for a little Operation H***'s Fury?

What happened?

Oh, man, we're ready.

That's right.

You spoke and we listened.

This is all off the cuff, guys.

I can't look you in the eyes while you say this.

We presented you with six movies and you chose the 1996 classic The First Wives Club, starring Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton.

So that's right.

H***'s Fury was not a threat.

It's from the movie.

It's not scary, it's funny.

This is a movie about friendship, love, getting older and getting even.

Well, or not even, but everything.

We'll get into it.

In some ways, this will feel like a Designing Women episode breakdown, where we'll talk about general thoughts, strays and references, what we liked and didn't.

Of course, we'll also have to talk about some movie trivia.

And in our second part of the episode, because there's so much, we're just going to put it in two parts.

We're going to talk about casting and controversies.

Does that get you?

Does the casting and controversies get you?

Anyways, but before we get into our thoughts on rewatch, let's orient ourselves to 1996, shall we?

Well, just the movie, not the whole year.

Okay.

Anyway, I got time for that.

So the synopsis is reunited by death of a college friend.

Three divorced women seek revenge on the husbands who left them for younger women.

In addition to the main cast, it starred Maggie Smith rocking an American accent, marcia Gay Harden, Rob Reiner, Victor Garber, Stephen Collins, Bronson Pincho, Dan HIDEA and Sarah Jessica Barker.

It was written by Robert Harling, as in Still Magnolias, who we discussed at length back in episode 14, and also Olivia Goldsmith, who wrote the book the movie is based on in 1992.

Goldsmith died in 2004.

It was directed by Hugh Wilson and produced by Scott Ruden.

More to come on him, probably in part two methinks.

It was a bona fide hit, bringing in 105,000,000 during its run.

That's 204,000,000 today, and it was the 10th highest grossing film of 1996.

With those basics in mind, are you ready to jump into the big stuff?

I'm ready.

Okay.

Take it away, Nikki.

Let's start with our traditional general thoughts, stray observations, and we can add in, if you have them, memories of the movie, of the time around the movie.

Anything you want to share?

Okay.

If you have them.

If you have them.

If you have I tend not to have the memories.

I think, though, we can both go ahead and just say, before we jump into generals, can we.

Check my notes?

No, it's going to say that this is a rewatch for both of us.

This wasn't an introduction to new content, as it has been in some previous special episodes.

One day we will introduce you to Doc Hollywood.

I can't seem to get the people to vote with me.

But that is a classic 80s movie.

It's one show.

Michael J.

Fox.

It might have been early ninety s ninety s ninety.

I think it also is based in South Carolina, a small town in South Carolina.

So it fits right within our wheelhouse of this here at podcast.

I was really torn between all of these movies.

It was hard.

Yeah.

I mean, it was a hard choice for the peoples to make.

It was a Sweet Tea & TV choice, if you will.

Yeah.

Not to be confused with Sophie's.

It's not quite a Sophie's choice.

Yeah.

I was really torn.

Because I will tell you, though, as it got down to it, as much as I love Thelma and Louise, I didn't know I was emotionally prepared for it.

So I was glad that even though this movie doesn't exactly start off light, I was glad that we got something that was so lighthearted in tone when you look at the whole thing.

Or maybe you don't think that we'll just have to get in these.

I'm really glad you brought that up.

That actually is my very first general thought.

It sounds like you need to start us off then.

I had forgotten how dark the opening was.

Like, how dark the storyline with Cynthia is that brings you into it.

Because this is a PG movie.

I don't know if you realize that.

I realized it when I was, like, clicking play or something.

So it's kind of like I wouldn't say light because it's all about revenge, but it's also not like deathy.

And the beginning is very friend.

So I hope people are watching this.

If we're going to talk about it, I hope people are watching it or have watched it.

But as a reminder, for anyone who.

Has, oh, there's spoilers abound here.

Cynthia jumps off a building and it is just sad.

It's really sad.

And I had forgotten that.

Well, because you also open, we get the flashback of them as friends.

As friends in college, I have to tell you.

So I think when you showed up today, that makes it sound like you.

Showed up in your life.

You finally showed up.

No, but when you got here today, I was on my third watch.

So I did one for notes, one for fun, and then one to get the spirit this morning.

And the more I watch it, I think the more it starts to make me think about friendship and where I am in my life.

And there are definitely parts that I wouldn't have normally cried at that now, I think just like with a let's just say I'm a little more well seasoned than I used to be.

And it really got me.

My first general thought, though, is actually, can we just take a minute to acknowledge how exceptional it was to have a movie in 1996 with an all female cast, all 50 years old now.

They're not playing 50 in the show, but they turned 50, like, during the production.

All three of them did, yeah, and it's actually I spoiled a trivia, I.

Was going to say that feels trivia adjacent.

Well, we might come back to it and pretend I didn't say it, but they were all playing 45 or 46 years old, but still all female cast, all hovering around 50.

It's still the exception.

It's not the rule today, but it was totally unheard of then.

It really makes me think Robert Harling is onto something because it's Steel Magnolia's in a way.

Right.

Because that was not a particularly young female driven don't.

You know, I don't know enough about movies to know how this happens.

Is it possible that Olivia Goldsmith is like, hey, this is a person who knows how to write women and women of a certain age that I don't know.

I wanted to share a couple of things, though, on that general thought of this being exceptional.

So Goldie Hahn told the press years later that all three ladies took leading ladies took a cut in their salary because basically the studio didn't believe that women carrying a movie would actually work.

Right.

She and Midler have spoken out about the sequel that never was.

It's been attributed to these lowball offers that the studios assumed that they would take.

And they also were making this assumption that the movie's success was a fluke.

I want to give this as an example of how what was happening in the movie may have been somewhat reflective in a way, of what was happening in real life.

I read this Medium article published around the 25th anniversary of the movie's release, and it pointed out that Hahn, Keaton and Midler, they're all three very iconic Hollywood stars at that time, who in the mid 90s, despite their impressive accolades.

Despite their resumes that are probably the length of their bodies, they were no longer able to get these same high profile roles largely due to their age.

Right.

And so it's just so interesting how one feeds the other.

I also just wonder, what is the calculus behind that thought that women driven movies can't succeed?

What is the calculus behind similar thought that a movie driven by a minority lead cast can't succeed?

What is that calculus?

How are they figuring that out?

Because I don't know that that's true.

And I think you have movies like First Wives Club.

We talked in the last episode because I recently saw Barbie.

There's a lot of movies intended for women that do really well.

Bridesmaids.

Right.

Probably like, one of the most iconic in the last decade plus.

Yeah, obviously.

The answer Legally Blonde.

Legally Blonde.

Legally blonde, too.

Patriarchy.

Patriarchy.

That's the answer.

But it's just they speak with such authority that it won't do well.

Yeah, and I think some of it's like a misunderstanding.

It's like when we've talked about the critical reception of Designing Women, and it was all really crappy.

And then we're like, oh, these are all men.

Right.

And I'm not saying that there weren't some criticisms that weren't accurate of the pilot episode, but what I am saying is when you read what some of those criticisms are, you're like, oh, you just don't understand women.

Right.

And that feels like two different things, I think.

Something else that struck me, and I don't know, I can't remember if you and I talked about this or not, like, off air, but before rewatching the movie, I was trying to think back on the memory piece of all of this, and I was thinking, okay, I'm 38 years old.

How strange is it that at 1112 and 13 years old, this was a movie I watched countless times, a movie about 50 year old divorces.

And it's not just me, but it was me and several of my friends, and we watched it together.

All I watched it, too.

I was over in my part of the woods watching it and enjoying it.

Fascinating.

Yeah.

So I started thinking about it a little bit, and then it hit me.

And I'm not saying this isn't a hot take, and maybe this is like a Captain Obvious moment for everyone else, but I guess I'd never really thought about it before.

We just weren't flush with these female driven movies then, and it didn't matter what age you are.

So I did a little exercise and I pulled the top 50 movies from 1990 to 1995.

The top 50.

Okay.

And here's what I found.

Out of 300 movies across those years, 19 were ones I consider female driven.

That's 6%.

A couple of notable notes three of the 19 were Disney Princess movies, and one of those was a rerelease of Snow White.

I could tear every single one of those up if I wanted to about being maybe the best female driven movie.

And then there were zero female driven movies in the top 50 for 19, 94 50.

If you look at the top ten highest grossing films for each year from 90 to 95, only one.

Whoopi Goldberg.

Sister act.

Sister act.

That's a really good movie.

It is a really good movie.

And one of the rare exceptions where the sequel also was very good.

Right.

I liked Sister Act, too.

Yeah.

That was not what you brought that up for.

No, it's not, but, I mean, who doesn't want to hear Lauren Hill sing?

Well, I think that the point you're making about us being young and the movie still resonating with us also feeds into my next general reaction for a different reason.

This movie, if I think about it, has always made me feel empowered, even if I couldn't put a word to that.

When they get to the end and they're all three singing you don't own me, like, as a 13 year old and as a 37 year old.

The idea of being my own person and being able to control myself and my future and what I want to do, it hits hard again, whether you're 13 or 37.

And so then watching three beautiful, smart, funny women sing that and go off into the night sky with their singing, it really hits you.

They have each other.

They have each and they're having such a good time.

They came out on top with their ex husbands.

Yeah.

It's just an empowering movie.

Yeah.

Just empowering.

Yeah.

And they didn't give in to the trope of every single person getting back with their husband.

Right.

You get one who's headed that direction.

But yeah, I really appreciate that all.

Along the way that they were getting back together.

Yeah.

Tell me more about that.

Well, there's just more.

I hadn't really noticed it before because it was in some of the scenes where they're fighting with each other, but they're like, all you care about all you talk about is morty, morty, morty, or something like that.

I was like, oh, we did lay some groundwork here.

Can I ask you a vague question?

Yeah, sure.

It's open ended.

Maybe vague's not the right word.

I don't know.

Let's see.

Was there a storyline or a revenge plot that resonates the most with you?

Oh, what a great question.

Not necessarily, obviously, because you've ever had to get revenge on Casey, though.

No.

Hate if you had, but just is there a character story you see yourself in?

Resonates with me personally, and I'll give you some background.

So an interview I read with Olivia Goldsmith, who you mentioned earlier, wrote the book, said that she writes a lot or had written a lot from an archetypical perspective.

Meaning she identifies a central theme for her stories, then creates characters who are archetypes who support that theme.

So she wanted, like, the beautiful bombshell and she wanted the middle of the road housewife, and she wanted the simpering people, pleaser.

And so I just wondered if there's any one character that resonates for you or Line storyline.

Well, okay.

So I have two different thoughts that popped in my head, so I'll share them both.

One is that there was something to me that was always just really satisfying about in terms of revenge about Goldie Hahn and her husband.

Yes.

Mine was the yep.

There was something about the oh, just take the whole dollar.

Yeah.

I've always loved that, taking everything away.

He seems the most upset.

Like, he cries when he writes the check at the end.

There's something about that that has and Goldie haunted.

Let this be a warning to you, Casey.

I like it when men cry.

She also had two things had had so much trouble building a case against him.

So it's very satisfying when she found the perfect thing.

But also her character, because she was a movie star, because she was in.

All these, like, you identify with that.

Go on.

No, I was going to say the movies she was in sounded like sexy Bombshell movies.

And so you sort of get this perception that she's not a deep thinker, she's not, like, super strategic.

And when all of that came together, oh, it felt good.

I really liked that.

Yeah.

But if I was caricature, the caricature that I most identify with is probably Bette Midler.

Yeah.

She's mouthy.

Yeah, I'm mouthy.

We have that in common.

Sarcastic and dry.

I could see that.

I think that's true.

I think that you are answering this.

Other question as yes.

Yes.

I went back and forth because I'm torn between Bette Midler's character and Annie.

Bette Midler's character, because she loves her son so much.

He's the center of her entire universe.

I think that that's how I would love if I ever had to get divorced.

That's how I'd love to handle it.

She keeps putting her son first and keeps trying to come together for him.

She's also a little bit goofy and silly.

She's also just like a typical woman.

She has weight concerns and she's worried about her body.

A lot of those things resonate with me, but I also a little bit identify with some of Annie.

Like, I'm not as doting as she is, like, taking care of everybody.

We just talked about this off mic, but I am familiar with how self conscious she is, how she struggles to be straightforward and stand by what she wants.

I identify with that, too.

I also like to think I'm a hype girl for my friends.

Like the way she was constantly the person's, like, you haven't aged a day.

You look just like you did when we were young, or, you have such a good sense of humor.

Yeah.

Okay.

I like that.

I'm glad you asked that question because I started to add something like that and I forgot.

So good job.

What other generals do you have?

That was all my generals.

Okay, so on Strays, I'll start by just saying the opening looks like really ninety s the opening credits.

It looks very clueless.

Love that pop art.

Hot pink.

Yeah, like hot pinks.

And the pictures popping up and the illustrations and the first thing that came to mind was Clueless, which also has Dan hadea.

Yes, sure does.

Can't get it out of my head now.

Just the next year, too.

Or Clueless is the year before.

Yeah.

So how those words land with you in 2023?

Wait, which words?

Over the opening to the song and the opening.

I don't know what you're talking about.

I can't remember exactly.

It's something like, make sure you don't ever let your husband leave while you still have curlers in your don't think he's not going to just run around on you.

I wonder where they pulled those from, because you know they came from somewhere.

That song, I'm sure that was probably just a big song in the 60s?

No, it was was it lyrics of the song?

Okay.

Yeah, it's a really cool opening sequence.

I like it because it's very pop.

Now I'm going to have to watch it.

I was so distracted by the just brightness of it all and I just could not get past Clueless in my head.

Definitely go back.

So while you were looking at the lyrics and listening to the song, I was googling whether anybody from Clueless, like Amy Heckerling or anything like that was involved with this movie because I was like, this man.

Not as far as I could find.

Yeah, I do miss that kind of like cartoony entrance that you would sometimes get in 90s movies.

Though I also had forgotten who Duarto was the worst interior decorator in New York City.

Top forgotten.

I had just totally forgotten that.

Yeah, my very first stray is like something I missed when I was younger.

I mean, I definitely remember hearing the line.

I just don't think it lands the same when you're eleven, but when they're sitting down with the lawyers, elise and Bill, and his lawyer is running through all of her movies and says that her favorite is Animal Nature, in which she played a sensuous veterinarian.

I laughed so hard at that just because it's so ridiculous.

And also because, you know, some version of that movie exists.

But is it a p****?

Because I just kept feeling like they were all p****.

I think it's more probably in the Basic Instinct type of movie.

So like a sexual thriller, which were really hot in the 90s.

There you go.

In multiple ways.

I feel hot just thinking about it.

I guess I realized on rewatch that there are a ton of lines in this movie that live rent free in my head.

Like what?

Well, it's very similar to still Magnolia's.

Okay, so Mom, I'm a lesbian, but don't tell Daddy.

I want to wait for a good time like Father's Day or Christmas morning.

And I feel like just in terms of my type of revenge, that's my.

Brand that feels right for you.

Yes.

There are only three ages for women in Hollywood.

Babe District Attorney and Driving Miss Daisy.

And right now I want to be young.

I want to be science fiction young.

Don't shame me in the synagogue.

I say that, which is weird since I'm not Jewish, but it definitely comes from this movie.

And I think that I just walked it back.

How that's possible?

Two things.

One, I found an article maybe like Cosmo or Variety, something like that, where the author put out like 50 of their favorite 50, not 50, like 20 of their favorite quotes from this movie.

Maybe I should go back and dig that up and put that in the show notes because yes, I think some of your favorites are going to be on there.

The other one I liked was Annie's mother.

She was a fascinating character to me.

And she said, you're married, you have a daughter.

You don't need self esteem.

That just speaks to a certain.

Right.

If she appears in the book, she does.

Or if she does, if she does, she is also a perfect archetype.

So I had two more lines that also live rent free in my head.

Sean Connery is Monique's boyfriend.

Hold on.

Excuse me.

Sean Connery is Monique's boyfriend.

He's 300 years old, but he's still a stud.

And aren't you frustrated?

You climb and you climb and you get nowhere.

Which is exactly how I feel about the freestanding machines.

Bette Meddler is so great.

She is.

The last stray that I had was that I just going back to Duarto because he just blew my mind.

I had forgotten that character altogether.

I had forgotten that character.

Bronson Pincho is like just a delight.

And then I think I had forgotten that Bette Midler's character works for him.

And so what surprised me was when her ex husband allows him to come in to decorate the place, wouldn't he have made a connection between him and Brenda?

I don't think so, because it's insinuated that she was a housewife.

So my guess is she had to.

Get she had to get a job after the divorce.

Yeah.

Okay.

That's my guess.

Okay.

If you wanted to ask me if I felt like I could probably find some plot holes in the story for sure.

So do you have any memories from Know?

I can remember vaguely.

Just vague memories of it being on HBO, for instance.

And anytime it's on TV, I'm going to watch it.

And we might have had I know we didn't have the VHS.

We may have had a DVD of it, but yeah, I just remembering anytime it's on, I would watch it.

And to your point earlier, I can remember being youngish because I would have been living at home and it would have been like pre high school.

Watching this movie, enjoyed it.

So mine is definitely from sleepovers.

And we would just jump up and imitate the last scene and just seeing.

It at the top of that sounds like a nightmare.

Again, I'm Annie.

That sounds like my nightmare.

Yeah.

I would get the most out of it, like cathartically, but I would be miserable the entire time.

I don't know.

You don't drop your garden in front of just your girlfriends.

Not like that.

No.

I don't sing in front of very can you imagine?

And they're like, and take your pants off.

Just all your worst nightmares happening.

We're sleeping nude tonight.

Yeah, I know.

That would be weird.

But you don't owe me.

Like, if that song comes on to this day, I think our friends still lose their minds and we just kind of look at each other and we know and there's something about that.

And I do think that this movie does such a nice job of capturing friendship and all its little nuances.

Speaking of that being a thing that I like would you like to talk about things that you liked about the movie on rewatch?

That was my number one thing I liked is that song, that whole scene at the end.

I also like the scene sort of toward the last half of the movie where they're in their candlelit circle and they start singing it and Annie just loses it and goes crazy.

I can identify with that.

Incidentally, you should know Taylor Swift used You Don't Own Me as the marker song for the start of the Era's Tour.

So if you were anywhere in the stadium and you heard You Don't Own Me you knew to make it back to your seat.

Because her tour and I guess now still her concert's about to start.

That was the cue.

Oh, really?

So I hear it and I think it is a movie.

Wow.

Okay.

And it's just wonder if she's a fan, maybe.

I think she's a real big fan of owning her own music.

It's interesting because I do think I guess Jennifer Lawrence referenced it in a speech where she won the Oscar and she said, look, it's Meryl or whatever.

And people got mad at her not realizing that she was referencing yeah, and she's born in, like, 1990 or something.

So, I mean, she was a real baby when this came out.

Good movie.

Yeah, it's a goodie so for me, my very first like is the chemistry between Han and Midler and Keaton is just perfect.

They play well off of one another.

They have a natural intimacy with one another.

And even the tension between them feels reflective of real friendships.

Particularly if they've been on pause for many years.

Because there is tension in friendships.

Because normally we're not unlike dogs.

There's always tell me more.

There's always someone trying to run the pack, it feels like.

And so I do feel like that was something that this movie gets that I don't always see played out so perfectly.

So that was my number one.

And then I'd already sort of alluded to this.

But I'll go ahead and jump into the friendship aspect because I think it tags in well to their chemistry.

I just think the friendship here that focus so strongly on it and, I mean, it is on revenge and there is, obviously the men aspect of it but it is about the bond between women.

And it is, in a way, to me, that also feels really synonymous with still magnolias.

And what I mean by that is that it sparkles in these little big moments.

So whether it's the they haven't seen each other in 20 years or something but like, the second Brenda says something that's so Brenda.

They just pass these knowing glances at one another or when it's been a while and you need cocktails to kind of warm up again to one another.

And I loved how you even and it's funny you said the thing about the archetypes because I love how the orders on the cocktails told you everything you needed to know about everybody.

Annie's getting a virgin Bloody Mary.

Brenda's getting a regular Bloody Mary, and Elise is getting vodka rocks.

Everything you need to know right there.

And you mentioned the part where they start singing with that first celebratory night or whatever, and they let Annie go on her own.

That is a super friendship thing right there.

You just kind of let somebody smack themselves in the face a little bit and then you all laugh at them and everybody gets a turn.

It's part of the natural hazing of friendship.

Yay, girl.

And then I mentioned that tension between them before.

It just happens when you bring together these different personalities.

And then, look, a healthy percentage of your friendship is dancing together.

And your friendship, well, you just listen.

To this next thing.

If you and your closest friends haven't had a dance party, turn this off now and go take care of that.

You've been to a Taylor Swift dance party in public, so I think you're good.

You have to stay.

Tell me about some of the things that you like the most.

I think you hit on one of my other big bullets was going to be about favorite quotes, every single one you mentioned.

I mean, this is just such a quotable movie.

It is so perfectly written.

I also had a couple of favorite scenes.

One of the ones you just said, like the movie, kind of sparkles in certain times.

I did two watches.

I only watched twice.

On my second watch, I caught the part where they have the big blow up fight in Elise's apartment where they accuse her of being an alcoholic.

Specifically, brenda does.

And they have this massive fight.

Everything falls apart.

And then at Brenda's apartment, she's eating something, which is very like it makes it very clear they all go back to their vices to deal with this huge gap in their lives.

And hers was eating.

So she's eating something and someone rings the doorbell and she puts it down and goes and it's Elise standing there, and she pulls her sunglasses off and her eyes are puffy, and she says, I don't want to be like Cynthia.

I don't know that scene has ever resonated with me the same way.

The body language, there's not even script there to explain what makes that scene so beautifully done.

Like goldie Hawn's face.

And then Brenda just taking her into a big hug because when there are no words, what do you do?

You just hug someone and make them feel okay.

I don't know that scene has ever resonated with me the way it did on my most recent watch.

And I thought that was beautiful.

Yeah, well, it was very speaking, I think, to Goldie Hahn, right?

Like all.

You need is a look.

It's so easy to take her for granted as a funny, goofy character know, also obviously beautiful.

But there is so much more there based on even just like tiny little glimpses throughout this movie.

She goes from playing a raging alcoholic to a very strategic, calculated, strong woman to a really good friend.

And you see all of that play out.

Maggie Smith's scene with Sarah Jessica Parker is like top notch comedy.

It's so was.

She's so amazing.

That was so good.

Everything unspoken in her face.

It was glorious.

It was just glorious.

And the way she holds, like the business card.

And then the last one I wanted to mention was just every one of Diane Keaton's over the top reactions during the scene at Morty's apartment.

Just like if you're watching her that entire time, she is losing her freaking mind.

Just like in a very Diane Keaton way.

I should have taken it, paused it right then because I'm pretty sure I saw someone almost break for a second, like a flicker of a smile, because it is so ridiculous.

And I'm genuinely certain Diane Keaton is the only person who can play that level of high strung and panicky in that.

And you're not annoyed?

I wasn't glorious.

I know.

I love it, but I think anybody else I'm annoyed.

Yeah, but her, she just so panicky.

And it was perfect to the character and everything.

So those were the things I liked in this rewatch.

Well, so I did have like, these instead of just the little sparkly moments.

I think this kind of all tag in well with what you're saying.

So that entire scene is just magic to me.

I mean, them escaping on that scaffolding, the physical comedy of that.

The part where the person, the couple's in bed and they're like, Elise, you look so good.

She goes, you look great.

Then they fall down.

It's so good.

It's really funny.

And I also really enjoyed the auction scene.

Auctions are just fun anyway, but the trickery behind it and everything's just nice and fast paced.

I love every scene from the time you mentioned this already, but Elise hits Brenda's doorstep to apologize through the very last frame of the movie is just for me.

It is Chef's Kiss.

You've got the Operation H***'s Fury where they take on each of the husbands.

Like I said, I could poke some holes in the logic there, but if you just sit back and enjoy the ride, then the way they thread those plans together, it's enjoyable.

So good assembling all the husbands like their kids, like they've misbehaved because, haven't they?

And then the needle drop of sisters are doing it for themselves with the montage sequence.

I learned this season that you don't love a montage, but I think that that was a really smart way of taking care of what I understand.

It was a very long script that needed some editing.

So that was, I thought, a good way and kind of interweaving those different pieces of the X's paying up.

And then we get to see that all the things that we learned across the movie that our leading ladies are struggling with, they're solving them.

Are we solving it a little quickly?

Of course we are.

It's 1996, but it's happening very beautifully.

And then the closing dance sequence, I mean, there's just nothing like it.

It's all time.

I did read that critics, some of them thought it read as hokey.

My answer to that is pish pish Porsche.

You have Bette Midler in your movie.

Yeah.

You let that lady sing.

Now, one of the more interesting sound editing things I've seen, because you can definitely tell that they had to go back in and drop over voice over them.

Probably lip syncing.

Oh, okay.

It's pretty obvious I didn't pay that much attention.

I think I just assume in those scenes, they're always lipsy.

Yeah.

So I don't really pay much attention anymore.

My guess is, like, once we entered the high def era, it's things that you couldn't see then, but now it's just super.

Uh, was that it on things you liked?

All right, I've got just a handful more when they're at the funeral and what's it the decorator's name?

Duarto Duarto.

He says, you don't know what Gil is feeling right now.

And it cuts to Gil, and he's feeling on Heather Locklear.

Oh, my gosh, that was so gross.

I like the bye bye, love.

Hello, Pop Tarts line.

That one's a really big one for people because I think it just resonates so much with so many.

I mean, everybody loves Pop Tarts.

Yeah.

Come on, Pop Tarts, man.

When Annie sees Morty's girlfriend Shelly at Brenda's son's b*** mitzvah and she asks, is she a gift?

And then Brenda and Elisa's reaction to Annie saying that she separated at that first lunch, their laughter was it a mean friend move?

Yes.

That wasn't appropriate, but in terms of just nice, pure comedy oh, it was good.

That was good.

That was the end of the line for me, I promise.

I want you to revel in it, Salina.

I want you to enjoy I told you I love it.

Well, now we got to talk about things you didn't love.

Okay, we can do it.

What was one of your things?

So I'm going to start off with something that's a little, like, ease our way in.

Okay.

You may have to lead us through this because I only have, like, two things.

Oh, okay.

We'll have three.

Okay.

So Morty and Shelly's penthouse for me was ick personified.

It's just the Vatican fountain in the foyer and the foyer, that peach canopy over their bed that Bette moodler loses her mind over.

I was like, you keep that.

Yeah, I'm sure it was very beautiful in 1996.

I thought the stairs were weird.

So of that time, although you see that in some of the modern kind of whatever.

For me, it looks like she said she was getting nauseous or whatever.

Yeah.

Not practical.

Was just gold and gaudy everything.

And I even saw a glimpse of a gold toilet at one point.

And you're just like, okay, so that was my easy one.

I also feel like it starts to SAG a little towards the middle to the end, like after the auction and up through where they make up.

It loses steam a little bit when the pace picks up.

They end it really well.

What was yours?

Well, I think that's adjacent to what I would say is there were, like, multiple montage moments.

I would consider montage moments.

So after they have the big fight, they're all sort of walking very sadly with their heads down in different places.

It was a little long.

I know they needed to show how sad they all were, but it was very long and also somehow still felt like it was intended to be the same night or something.

Like the timing felt weird to me.

Again, I try not to overthink it because I also think there were holes in this movie.

But the second time I watched it, I realized this part I could have gone without or, like, done it in a different way.

I don't know.

I don't know how you convey how sad they were without showing that.

But you can't give me so many montages.

Yeah, it was really kind of I remember thinking, it's a Billy Porter song when they're all sad and it's a great song.

It didn't really feel like it fit into this movie.

And so that also stood out for me.

I think the older I get and the more thousands of movies I've watched, middle feels like a rough spot for a lot of movies.

So I don't think it's an uncommon problem.

And I just think that's just such a shame.

Again, as long as you end strong, I guess it's okay.

And then the big fight is really rough, I think.

I mean, you don't ever really want to see people fight.

But mostly it does get mean.

Between Elise and Brenda, they're ripping into one another about weight and plastic surgery.

They're turning on Annie when she won't take a side and they're hitting her right where it hurts because they know that she has trouble asserting herself.

And then the scene, I have to say, especially where they all slap one another, though I'm not saying this is a dislike, necessarily, it's fine.

But it was, like, maybe the worst version of Still Magnolia's in the funeral scene.

Yeah.

And I had never made that connection before until knowing that Robert Harling was behind both of.

Just I see some symmetry there.

I think it was a literal reality check for all of them.

Yes.

The slap was intended to represent we.

Could not get to that point, though.

If you might just want to diffuse we need a code word, and I'm more okay with that.

I don't know, I think if you've never slapped your friend, it's like a dance party.

The other thing I'll say, I didn't actually write this down because I thought we'd cover it in cast, but I cannot move past it.

Sure.

I used to love 7th Heaven.

I used to love Stephen Collins.

I cannot watch that man.

Just seeing him on screen was disgusting to me.

I just cannot look at him anymore.

And so then to see him on screen one, I was like, Ugh, ick factor.

Then what he did to Annie and then gaslit her, it was also hard for me to watch.

Yeah, I just didn't like that.

Yeah, that part hasn't aged.

And, you know, if you guys don't know what that is, we don't have to go into it.

I actually did have that in the controversies which we'll cover in our next episode, but I didn't really want to talk about it anyway.

So if you feel like you must know, just go Google it.

Yeah.

But let's just say Hollywood showed him the door even before me, too.

Struck rough.

There's that.

Do we want to talk a little movie trivia?

Let's do it.

Little background.

So I've rounded up some interesting background trivia, and then also, I think you may have dug up some things as well.

I have some things about the person who wrote the book.

Okay, perfect.

Well, why don't we do you want to start there?

Does that make sense as a framing?

So you mentioned at the top of the episode that this was based on a book.

It was a 1992 book by Olivia Goldsmith.

So you also mentioned she died January 15.

No, 2004.

Not terribly long after this movie was made.

She died of a heart attack induced by cosmetic surgery.

And incidentally, she had a cameo in the movie.

Do you know who she was?

Only because I saw about the cameo.

Okay, so we'll get into it in the next episode.

There's, like, twelve cameos, so we can talk about it.

Okay.

Who is she?

Oh, okay.

So at the funeral scene, she, I think, has short, dark hair, and it's.

Real quick, like Cynthia's funeral.

Okay.

So when the ex husband is coming down with locklear, she looks over and notices them coming down the aisle.

It is so brief, but she has real, real dark hair, and I'm almost sure that's her.

So she was fascinating.

I think the very short version of her life is that she claims first wife clubs kind of mirrors her life.

So she said she met a high powered man, she married him, he cheated, and then divorced her and took her Jaguar.

For what it's worth, he says that's not true.

He says basically like, he was a guy who was in retail, and that wasn't fancy enough for her, so she left him and maybe took some of his money, I'm not sure.

She also really struggled with aging and body image.

She described herself as mousy.

She told about how she posed for her first publicity photos wearing spike heels and a blonde wig, which she says was a dig at her editors and publishers who were, quote, disappointed in her appearance.

They thought she just was kind of bland looking and would never sell books.

So she fancied herself up just to show them.

Like I said, she also died after cosmetic surgery.

Sounds very sad.

Like an anesthesia situation gone wrong.

Her friends and her she wasn't terribly close with her family, but her friends were devastated by it and they said it was all the hospital's fault.

I think her estate ended up suing the hospital.

This was a hospital with kind of a sketchy record anyway, so that was really sad.

And then while a lot of people are inclined to say her novels all center around the theme of revenge, she said that's not true.

It's more about betrayal and then justice, which was very important to her.

It was important that her characters always get a sense of justice at the end of the books.

But if you read like the list of her books and then read their summaries, they're all justice books.

They're very first Wives Clubby first Wives Club was rejected 27 times as a book before it was published.

We talked about how it was co written by Robert Harling, who co wrote Steel Magnolias.

I think she was a co writer on it.

And you mentioned how much money it made.

So those were the things I wanted to mention.

Okay, yeah, that's really sad.

Especially like all the things that kind of tie in with the Elise character and mean, there is definitely something I can't believe just how much it comes up in everything that we talk about and everything we do, how much women put themselves through to fit some mold of something we never chose.

Can I just say again?

Go watch the Barbie movie they'd speak to that I'll include in the show notes.

I think I included a link to her obituary, which was really more of a profile.

And they interviewed some of her friends and a couple of the themes that sort of just kept coming up were her feelings about her appearance.

And so each of these three women in the First Wives Club was an archetype, as she says.

But I feel like each of them in some ways has a piece of her personality.

Yeah, I think about that a lot and I do think that has it feels worth saying that has a tie in to Designing Women or Sex in the City or you name it on Golden Girls.

All of these things are very archetype and then you can kind of take that and feel know, I know a lot of times we'll be like, I'm a Samantha or I'm a this or I'm a that.

And the truth is that most of the time we're a little bit of all of those.

She also, I think, was a little bit polarizing.

She had some very passionate friends.

She had some other friends, though they noted a couple of times how she was quick to drop friends.

I think whenever she felt like they were kind of holding her accountable or making her feel uncomfortable, she was quick to drop people.

I think one of her early publishers, something happened.

There was some sort of fallout.

He was really kind of mean to her and said she was sort of like a mediocre writer who just got really lucky with this one story.

And so she never actually found the same success.

So, again, like the parallels of the Elise character, she never had a chance to redeem herself the way Elise kind of does in the movie.

I think a lot of her novels never sold as well as what she made off of the rights to this movie.

But she had other friends who said she was very generous in giving with her money.

So she was complex, I think is the bottom line.

Well, you know what?

A lot of people don't get lucky one time.

Yeah, that's true.

So I think I would be really happy to get lucky once.

She seemed to do all right.

Yeah, she seemed to do okay.

Yeah, so we'll go ahead and jump into some of the other trivia for the movie.

Thank you for sharing that and looking that up.

So it was a surprise hit.

We sort of circled on that already.

Not only because it did better than expected, but because they were actually bracing for a flop.

The script had issues.

It had a lot of fingerprints on it.

It was very long, which I alluded to.

Which why I thought maybe the montage at the end might have helped.

In fact, if I had to guess oh, no, this isn't a guess.

The movie also went through really extensive edits.

And when it first screened, it didn't screen well at all.

I think maybe they wound up doing some more editing after that first screen.

But it wasn't even screening well with women.

Even the women were like, well, we're glad you're trying this, but I didn't really like it.

So the studio had a lot of heartburn, as we've discussed, about the sex and the age of its lead cast.

It was famously shot on location in New York City.

This is something that just doesn't happen a lot anymore.

And Joan Rivers was among the annoyed New Yorkers.

In fact, I think she went out and scolded the director, Hugh Wilson, like, what are you doing here?

Why are you here?

And it was, like, kind of kidding, but kind of not.

I'm pretty sure he said he was hiding from Bette Midler.

Producer Scott Rudin wrote the final script, but according to Wilson, demanded his name not be in the credits because he was so confident in the movie.

Jon Stewart was cut from the movie entirely.

He was Goldie Hahn's younger boyfriend.

He gets referenced towards the end, but he was like in 45 minutes of.

It, that's how much got cut.

Oh my gosh.

So not because he wasn't good, but because, again, the movie was so freaking long, they were looking for ways to edit it down.

He didn't make the cut.

That amazing musical number at the end happened because the movie had no ending.

They wound up using the very last take, which is why the sun, you can see it kind of breaking in the background.

Goldie Hawn was apparently coming down with the flu at the time.

Bette midler broke two hills.

It was all very dramatic.

Goldie Hawn, bette Midler and Diane Keaton.

Sorry, guys, I gave this away earlier.

But they were all born within 45 days of each other and they celebrated their 50th birthdays together while filming the movie.

That's nice.

It's really kind of amazing, like, what.

The odds are of that.

Yeah.

And I mean, we're talking about like iconic, iconic.

And I don't know if it's just because more women have come into Hollywood as time has gone on and it was harder to get through the door.

I'm not saying it's easy now, but it was harder.

And maybe that's why they were so close in proximity.

But I can't think of necessarily three that kind of level icons who were born the same year.

Even so, the Oscar Brenda picks up at Elisa's house was a real Oscar belonging to Goldie Hahn that she won for Best Supporting Actress in Cactus Flower in 1970.

Oh, good for her.

Yeah, that was totally new movie trivia on me.

And that just goes to show you never stop learning.

And then just for funsies okay, in 2020, if you just can't get enough First Wives Club and you've watched it 500 times, and like, now what?

In 2020, Midler, Han and Keaton all signed on to star together in a comedy called Family Jewels.

The script revolves around three women who were all once married to the same man.

Then it's like the aftermath because he passes away and somehow they all get smushed together at some sort of, like, holiday.

Sounds wacky.

That was 2020.

I haven't seen anything else.

Yeah, hopefully it doesn't get killed completely.

We're in a rough time right now.

I shouldn't say we, I'm not in it, but entertainment know when the next things are going to get made, so fingers crossed.

But it would be amazing to see those three starring in something again together.

If you don't already know, there's an all black cast TV show of the same name on Bet starring Jill Scott.

I think the fourth season is set to come out later this year.

Again, it's difficult times, so I don't know that for sure, but that's what things were alluding to online.

There's also an impersonation of the iconic dance scene at the end of the movie that went viral on social media a few years ago.

It's quite delightful.

So we'll drop that into a blog post for your viewing pleasure.

But it's basically like one person who does every single character.

And it is lovely.

Yeah, it's really good.

All right, that's all for can I.

Say one more thing, actually, I tried to find this book.

I was going to read this book before we fell or before we recorded.

I can't find it anywhere.

I can't find it.

The library.

I had trouble I don't think I was able to find it on Amazon for anything other than, like, a ridiculous price for an old book.

No offense, but in all that research, I was reminded, and I cannot remember if this is how this came up such that we wanted to cover it here, but I wanted to remind folks that there was a play, like a musical in the mid 2010s.

So about 2015, there was a musical, and as part of that, a new version of the book, like an updated version of the book was written by LBT.

Oh, I feel like we talked about that.

Maybe in my LBT segment.

Is that my segment?

Your segment, yeah, I think maybe I mentioned that.

So maybe the look you're giving me makes me feel like no, maybe we didn't touch on that or register that.

But she wrote the book that accompanies the play.

What?

Yeah.

So it all comes come on, LBT.

Send it to us.

Yeah.

And talk to us.

Covering your show all the time.

A one for one, if you will.

Stop it.

Are we ready to go to references?

I'm ready if you are.

So we're going to do like we normally do for our main show.

We're going to do 90s.

We're going to broaden it up to just outdated or dusty references, if there are any Southern references, and then if there's anything we feel like in terms of references, we need to talk about.

So for ninety s or outdated references.

Yeah.

So I feel like over the course of the movie, we get all these things that are so very ninety s and dusty at this point.

So we get a walkman, we get pictures in a wallet, a cell phone the size of Zach Morris's, a business card, taxicabs writing checks, like all the classics are know.

And then we get Pete Kether locklear.

That felt very it felt like the exact casting selection they would have made at that.

Like, probably I think we're still in the Melrose Place era at that time, so it's a very sensible choice.

What did you have?

All the plastic surgery bits.

Just like all of it felt really ninety s and really Hollywood Elise smoking in a restaurant in pretty much everywhere.

Yeah, that was really 90s.

Elise climbing on the Stairclimber was super 90s.

Bette Midler's son says look, mom, get real.

We've talked in Designing Women.

This whole, like, get real.

Come on, man.

It's the 90s.

There's just stuff like that.

And then the entire lesbian subplot for Annie's daughter.

It obviously felt dusty.

I don't know that we would get that.

It certainly would not have the same payoff.

I feel like in the current environment, that in 1996, it had, like that favorite line you had, I don't think would have the same resonance today.

No, I think that's right.

The thing about the 90s definitely came up for me.

I don't know how you explain to someone who didn't grow up then what a big deal that was, how that just kept coming up over and over.

And everybody it's the 90s.

Everybody said it.

And it's so funny to watch this movie because it's really a timestamp in that way, because they say it a.

Good bit in this movie.

Yeah.

In Designing Women, though, we've also heard, come on, man, it's the 80s.

It's the 90s.

So I think just every decade we're like, now, come on, it's 2023.

Get with it.

That's right.

It does get harder to say the.

Eventually we're going to say 23.

It's 23.

Come on, man.

I'm bringing it back.

It's the two and the three.

The attitudes about fascination with the same topics, those came up with me, too, about plastic surgery and stuff.

But what I wanted to tag into that, too, was that that feels also much like this.

It's the it's the 90s that felt like hearkening back to Designing Women.

I guess it's not out of the ordinary since they're not that far apart.

So when this movie came out would have been four years after Designing Women went off.

It's hard to kind of think of them in the same universe, but it's a good reminder.

They very much.

So are Shelly and Garson Goldberg's fur coats.

It's such a good name.

It's a really good name.

Mission Impossible gets a call out.

Oh, yeah.

But what I actually wanted to say is, it's not that dusty of a reference, given that the 7th one just dropped.

Well, this is 90s references, too, so you're right there.

Well, they are referencing the very first one, and that's all that existed then.

And then you mentioned earlier the montage where they're all sad.

Yeah.

There's also, like, the answering machine montage.

Oh, I liked that one.

Oh, I didn't dislike it, but that's not how we would get in touch with one another.

That scene wouldn't happen today.

It would be a group text.

It'd be a group text for sure.

Yeah.

Guns N'Roses.

Who.

Guns N'Roses.

The way she delivers it is so Bet Midler.

It's so good.

And then the way Elise tracked down the truth about Bill's Underage girlfriend, aka Jesse Spano, like her physical yearbook, that all was like, that's not going to happen today.

I mean, the situation would for sure, but they'd find out a different way.

Yeah.

Southern references.

I only have two things.

I only have one.

Okay.

What's yours?

The vampire, lestat and Louise.

Oh, that's a good call out.

That's what Bette Midler calls her.

Would call Cynthia's husband and his new wife.

That's a reference to Anne Rice's interview with a vampire, which is based, it sounds like, at least in the beginning in Louisiana.

That's right.

That's a fantastic catch.

Yeah, thanks.

The only one I had mine is I think the Southern reference is two Southerners covering a New York City movie in a podcast.

But you know what?

After we were talking about Annie's mom earlier, I think it's worth mentioning there's a couple of times where she just is really giving off some strong old school Southern mom in their vibes.

Yeah.

Yeah.

I think there's not a far removal from Southern mom vibes and high society New York vibes.

Like, there's a through line.

You rely on a man and carries you through.

Right.

A little bit of I set out a path for you.

Do it or I'll kill you and.

Say yes, ma'am while we're doing it.

So something to be said for that.

I send him my reference.

Okay.

And then for references we need to talk about, we agreed before we started recording that we don't have any.

That's right.

But we're going to talk about casting controversies in Extra sugar.

You can consider this your references you need to talk about this being extra Sugar or the second episode we're doing this week.

However you want to word it.

Love it.

So we'd love everyone to follow along with us and engage Instagram.

Is that really all we have to say about it?

I want to make sure you've been through everything.

Okay.

I gave like, 18,000 lines from the movie.

Perfect.

Okay.

Instagram and Facebook at Sweet.

TNTV TikTok at sweet tea ttvp pod.

We're on YouTube.

Just search sweet.

I can't bring myself to do it.

Just search sweet tea and TV podcast.

You can find us in metro Atlanta.

Salina's address is email sweettvpod@gmail.com.

And our website is WW.

Sweettv.com.

Did you see my brain just turn off in the middle of that?

I sometimes power all the way down.

Oh, my God.

No judgment.

I feel like I just restarted.

And then from the website, you can find other ways to support the show.

We'd also love if folks could rate and review us wherever they listen.

And then for season five this year, we're going to do something a little different.

And we talked about this in the finale.

Finale.

We're going to re air some of our favorite episodes each week from all of the Sweet Tea and TV archive.

Doesn't that sound nice?

It does from the archive.

So want to mention that and just remind you that you'll still have the same posting or listening cadence.

Mondays and Thursdays, but they'll just be old episodes for you to refresh your memory on.

And then starting in October, it's going to be season five.

So thanks for listening.

You know what that means, Nikki?

What does it mean, Salina?

It means Salina, Mr Q again.

And we'll see you around the van.

Bye.



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