Sometimes the point of comedy is more than just laughing. He can do as little as he can.

This year is the 40th anniversary of 9 to 5 years. Looking at the last four decades, I can see why this was no ordinary working comedy. It was, and still is, a message film. But the message is rooted in laughter, which makes it more powerful and leaves its mark on the audience.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Today, we no longer think about a woman’s career, regardless of her marital status or motherhood. But forty years ago, women were just starting to establish themselves in the labour market. The old ideas of just wanting to be a woman, a housewife and a mother are slowly fading away. But the fact that the doors open slowly does not mean that every job, in every profession, will automatically accept women in the ranks.

Judy Burnley (Jane Fonda), Violet Newstead (Lily Tomlin) and Doralee Rhodes (Dolly Parton) are as smart and competent as their male counterparts. But his boss, Franklin Hart Jr… (Dabney Coleman), has other ideas.

I wish this movie was just a reminder of how far we’ve come. But the reality is that decades later the same thing happens. When it comes to the professional development of women, we are constantly reminded that there is still a lot of work to be done. Complaints about sexual abuse in the workplace, the gender pay gap and the lack of women in management positions are still widespread.

Debney Coleman: Perfect ass

Every genre and every decade has its villain. But not all actors are willing or able to play the opponent. But some of them are so good that they force the actor to play against the man to prove that he is not a one-way actor. In the early ’80s Coleman was an actor.

According to the film’s slogan, Coleman’s character is a sexist, selfish, lying, hypocritical bigotry. I don’t think there’s a better description of this person.

Coleman also played a sexist and unethical soap director in Tootsie from 9 to 5 and a crook who posed as the producer of Muppet’s Take Manhattan. This man has been acting for sixty years, but at this point in his career he was exactly the kind of actor an asshole should have played.

Fantastic sequences make a film

If I had to name a 9-5 game that stood out to me over the years, it would be the fantastic series. Even if they are exaggerated and not in touch with reality, this is the relief that the audience and the characters need. Doralee’s fantasy makes her a boss who doesn’t drop such subtle sexual allusions and turns Hart on like the recalcitrant cow she is when he tries to escape. Judy considers himself a big-game hunter with a big gun. His target is the man who turns his professional life into a living hell.

But if I had to pick a favorite, it would be Violet. After the transformation into Snow White (with an emblematic costume, a high voice and cartoon animals for companions), she throws a little more in her morning coffee. I love the contrast between the soft, obedient princess she pretends to be and the rage that bubbles just beneath the surface.

There are two ways to make a movie with messages. Filmmakers can enter the stage and impose the essence of their film on the audience.  They can also make a compelling story and integrate the message into the script. The first method may work, but will the public respond positively to it? Probably not. The second method is successful because the public doesn’t know what kind of education it gets.

Forty years after its first release, 9 to 5 is still a beloved comedy classic and a feminist story as true as it was in 1980. Sometimes I wish it was just a good movie. But unfortunately, it’s still as relevant as ever.

Follow on Twitter @MovieBabble_ and follow Adina @writergurlny

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