Monday, 21 June 2010
Here we are, right at episode 1 of Prisoner Cell Block H, and the episode begins with a montage of some of the prisoners we are about to meet, and hopefully become obsessed with over the coming weeks. The show's early "star" is Karen Travers. The year is 1979 and Karen is a "modern" young lady, tripping around the cosmopolitan streets of Melbourne with not a care in the world. We know she is carefree because it is "referenced" with that ascot and the open-necked beige blouse. And constrast with the grim-faced harridens who flank her. Pretty, normal Karen could be your neighbour, your child's school-teacher, or your wife. Not your wife hopefully - as in a series of chilling flashbacks we see Karen stab her husband to death in a shocking homage to Psycho. We'll later learn that she had "justification" - he'd made her have an abortion "Just get rid of it!" and she found him in bed with another woman when she got home from the clinic. Catholic guilt!
The early heroines of PCBH were "traditionally" pretty - perhaps the writers didn't think that audiences would be able to empathise with wizened old hags. Later, as we'll see, once the pretty heroines get their happy endings, all that's left is those old hags.