This article was co-written by Elaine Atwell and Heather Hogan.
Have you been thinking about watching Bomb Girls but putting it off? Maybe you’re already too committed to other shows or history isn’t your thing. Well now is not only a good time to jump on the bandwagon, it may be the last; the show’s producers have said that the show’s renewal hinges on tonight’s episode getting good ratings. Need another reason to tune in tonight? Here are 10.
1. Betty McRae
This is not an exaggeration: You have never seen a lesbian character like Betty McRae on your TV. A lesbian Rosie the Riveter who can’t be open about her sexuality without risking her career, her relationships, even her safety— but who also refuses to stuff herself into the heterosexual box 1940s society demanded of her. She knows her life would be easier if she could date a nice guy, keep her head down, and force her gob shut. But like history’s very best women, Betty McRae just can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Whether she’s marching to a suggestion (hat)box to make her demands for workplace equality or fist-fighting the layabouts who mouth off to her girlfriend, Betty is a bona fide hero, even though she’s really only trying to live her life. She’s got swagger. She’s got style. She’s got our hearts on a string, flying our feelings like her own personal kite.
2. Rosie O’Donnell
Tonight’s special guest star is Rosie O’Donnell. She may not be the “queen of nice” anymore, but her character definitely seems to be channeling the A League of Their Own days we all remember so fondly. Her character, also named Dottie, is a hard-nosed reporter, uncovering inequality in the workplace.
Betty McRae spent most of season one pining over Kate Andrews, her lovely but fragile best friend. This season it seems the tables have turned, with Kate throwing a lot of longing looks Betty’s way. Agonizing over whether this pairing will/should happen is some of the most fun you can have with a television.
4. Vera Burr
In the series premiere, Vera was the victim of a dreadful workplace accident, leaving her disfigured. But did she sit around moping about it? Well, OK, she did for awhile, but after that she became the spunkiest, sassiest, most unabashedly sexual character on television. Along with the other characters, Vera takes feminism from being a dry academic concept and gives it a strut, a sway, a swagger. Whenever she walks into a scene, magic ensues.
5. Lesbian universe crossovers
In addition to Rosie O’Donnell’s guest appearance, the show is like an Easter egg hunt for gay film and TV lovers. Peter Outerbridge (Bob Corbett) was Judy from Better Than Chocolate. I mean, the show would be worth watching just to look at him as a man and be like, “Wow. WOW.” Also, Ali Liebert had a cameo in The L Word pilot and Antonio Cupo (Marco Moretti) was the guy Bette and Tina tried to “steal” sperm from, which was apparently a thing in LA at that time.