“Bomb Girls” Cancelled, Fuck Me In The Ear

This morning I was contacted by two intrepid Bomb Girls fans, TeeJay and Yolanda, who were attempting to ensure a third season of our favorite historical television drama and hoping to enlist the support of this website, the first lesbian media outlet to notice or write about the fan-fucking-tastic program. TeeJay and Yolanda informed me that  “the ratings were very good considering the amount of total viewers from Canada AND an immeasurable number of overseas fans who are (unofficially) watching the show from all around the world.” Obviously we were prepared to throw our entire selves into this effort.

bomb-girls-needs-you

But only moments after reading that email, one of our Contributing Editors informed me that today, Bomb Girls was officially axed. They will finish the season and then that will be the end of the show.

yup (graphic by kate severance)

yup! really! (graphic via kate)

The bright side is that Global will conclude the series with a two-hour movie event! See:

Global is honoured to have been able to bring the award-winning and critically acclaimed Bomb Girls to audiences across Canada.  This truly unique original drama series illuminates the life-altering experiences of brave Canadian women who risked their lives working in a munitions factory during the Second World War. We are pleased to share that we will be creating a Bomb Girls two-hour TV movie event to premiere winter 2014 which will conclude the rich storylines and the amazing journeys of these beloved characters which have strongly resonated with the show’s loyal fans.

Needless to say, this remains an immense loss for all of lesbiankind. Although her style vacillates and is largely constricted by the time period, Betty McRae is as close to a lead masculine-of-center lesbian character we’ve got on television right now (arguably Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones is another contender, although as far as I can tell — and I can’t tell much because Game of Thrones confuses the living fuck out of me — her sexual orientation hasn’t been discussed), and Betty’s one of a few queer female characters to make it into a historical television series ever. It’s so incredibly rare that we’re granted a glimpse of pre-1990s lesbian life in a television program like we are in Bomb Girls. (The BBC’s adaptations of Sarah Waters novels are billed as miniseries/made-for-tv movies, not TV shows.) We were blessed with Lana Winters, the lesbian lead of American Horror Story, this year, and her story, while hardly rooted in historical fact, did take place in the 60’s. But besides that it seems like every journey back in television time grants us at least a few leading homos, but it’s aways men: Downton Abbeys ThomasGame of ThronesRenly Baratheon and Loras TyrllThe BorgiasMichelotto CorellaMad Men‘s Salvatore Romano, a few of the guys on The Tudors and some of the dudes in Spartacus. (Yes, some of those shows, like Mad Men, have had little lesbian parts, but not leads.)

It wasn’t until I saw Betty McRae that I knew I’d never seen anything like her. Bomb Girls got me interested in learning about lesbian history — I was interested in the kind of lesbian culture that was able to thrive in wartime due to the absence of men and the ease with which women were permitted to enter the workforce. Fast forward several history books and a few months later, and we were launching Autostraddle’s Summer of Lesbian History, The Way We Were/The Herstory Issue, an article series which included the madly viral and widely talked-about gallery 150 Years of Lesbians. That never would’ve happened without Bomb Girls.

But it’s not just lesbian representation that makes Bomb Girls so special, it’s its exemplary feminist leanings. Rosie O’Donnell‘s guest spot as a journalist two weeks ago was perhaps the show’s most explicitly feminist episode, as the expose her character did on the factory revealed the enormous pay gap between men and the women who were doing the same, if not more, work. This was a revolutionary conversation to have during a time when middle-class white women weren’t allowed, let alone expected, to enter the workforce in the first place and were only in the Bomb Factory to begin with because all the men were overseas. But even cooler and more feminist than that is the character of Vera, who has blossomed this season into a delightfully promiscuous sex-positive woman of the world.

These were full female characters I could’ve followed for seasons upon seasons to come. I mean, they just introduced the first black female character! Like five episodes ago! And now it’s almost over? I was looking forward to seeing how the girls would adjust to post-wartime life, when mainstream culture did its very best to put middle-class working women like them back in their place (the kitchen!). With few men around, two women going out to a bar together wasn’t seen as suspect, but that would change in the 50’s.  There’s just so much to work with there, so many stories to tell, and I feel like we’d barely gotten started with this one. Are Betty and Kate gonna hook up or what.

The movie is a consolation, to be sure, but damn I’ll miss this show (and, of course, Kate’s recaps). If anybody has a billion dollars laying around they’d like to donate to Autostraddle, we’d be more than happy to air the show right here every day, forever and ever.

** tweet with the #savebombgirls hashtag to make @Global_TV change their minds!! **

Profile photo of Riese

Riese is the 33-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York City, and now lives in The Bay Area. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are!

Riese has written 1785 articles for us.

90 Comments

    • Thumb up 8

      Please log in to vote

      Dear America,

      Please invade. Our TV networks are no longer capable of serving the World’s best interests and have clearly been taken over by the monkeys from The Planet of the Apes.

      Ape shall not kill ape. But ape also shouldn’t cancel the best thing produced by its TV network in, like, EVER.

      Hugs and kisses,
      Canada

    • Thumb up 0

      Please log in to vote

      Actually I would prefer if Canada only aired Canadian programs and news, regardless of how shotty some of them are. With the infiltration of American headlines into our country I’ve notice more and more ignorant people jump on the wrong side of the bandwagon on issues Americans are currently fighting. Issues we as Canadians have already dealt with and solved correctly many years ago. For example gay marriage has been legal here since 2005 and yet my fiancée and I are still asked if we can actually get married here. Unfortunately that’s not coming from people who have lived under a rock we just have such a focus on what our neighbours are up to that we forget the amazing progress our own country has made.
      As much as I can from up here in the land of maple syrup and moose (or whatever) I’m fighting for what’s rightfully yours.

  1. Thumb up 10

    Please log in to vote

    Re: Brienne of Tarth; as far as I understand it it’s implied that Brienne was in love with Renly. Then it’s more or less explicitly stated in one of her POV chapters in the books. Don’t know if the HBO adaptation will do anything different.

    • Thumb up 1

      Please log in to vote

      Dena – you’re spot on. It’s the reason she wanted to join the Rainbow Guard in the first place, and the reason Catelyn believes her when she (spoiler alert) says she didn’t murder Renly, despite the fact that she’s covered in the man’s blood.

      There’s also some implied, interesting chemistry between her and Jamie in the books as well.

    • Thumb up 5

      Please log in to vote

      i honestly thought she just felt a Gay BFF connection to him
      also seriously it’s called THE RAINBOW GUARD come on guys

      i honestly feel like i never have any fucking idea what’s happening in that show, i don’t think i’m smart enough for it. i’ve witnessed every episode and barely understand what winterfell is. i like the little mini joan of arc tomboy and the mother of dragons tho

      • Thumb up 0

        Please log in to vote

        Don’t feel bad. I’ve read through 2000+ pages and five books and I still have no idea what the fuck is going on.

        Besides- Brienne’s story is really depressing and disappointing. She basically only falls in love with Renly because he’s one of 3 people that’s nice to her. And then she gets her cheek chewed off. Literally.

        Although she does tell a guy who her father tries to marry her to that she’ll only marry a man that can best her in combat, and then proceed to break three of her unwanted suitor’s bones. That’s pretty badass.

      • Thumb up 0

        Please log in to vote

        Yeah it was explicitly said in the show that Brienne was in love with Renly and so far she didn’t show any interest in women, so I consider her straight until proven otherwise. Which I think is cool, as badass butch straight women are seldom represented on TV too.

        OTOH I’ve heard that it was stated much more explicitly in the books, but there was still strong subtext in S1 and 2 of the show that Dany (MOTHER OF DRAGONS) had the hots for one of her maids (Doreah I think?) and ended up sleeping with her.

        (Also about the cheek getting chewed off thing OMG BOOK READERS KEEP YOUR SPOILERS TO YOURSELVES please :( )

    • Thumb up 0

      Please log in to vote

      Yeah it was explicitly said in the show that Brienne was in love with Renly and so far she didn’t show any interest in women, so I consider her straight until proven otherwise. Which I think is cool, as badass butch straight women are seldom represented on TV too.

      OTOH I’ve heard that it was stated much more explicitly in the books, but there was still strong subtext in S1 and 2 of the show that Dany had the hots for one of her maids (Doreah?) and ended up sleeping with her.

      (Also about the cheek getting chewed off thing OMG BOOK READERS KEEP YOUR SPOILERS TO YOURSELVES please :( )

  2. Thumb up 9

    Please log in to vote

    I am heartbroken, but not surprised; what’s more worrying is that the tweets from the cast indicate that production of the tv movie is still very much up in the air.

    I’m glad everyone loves Betty so much – she is truly fabulous, a unique contribution to lesbian tv history and so wonderfully and empathetically played by our dear Alibear. But I really want to put a shout out here for Kate Andrews, and her own special contribution to the pantheon of televised ladies who gay. One of the most frustrating things for me was that as this lovely fandom grew I was unable to enjoy the show’s rising popularity because so many watchers seemed hell bent on condemning Kate to the fiery pits her father so loved to evoke. I know, I know, we’re sick of coming out stories (although how many are actually any good?) and tedious gayngst, but Kate’s story was something else. Her struggles to survive her abuse and to fight for who she is – in her music, in her relationships, in her faith and her work – was so unbelievably affecting, and every second she breathed was a triumph over those who would drag her down. Her strength was astounding, and this season I’ve enjoyed nothing more than watching her systematically tell anyone who tried to control her to go f themselves with a tin of beans, with the possible exception of the jump cut from Betty’s first lady bang to the word ‘VICTORY’. It makes me really sad that, realistically speaking, we wont see Kate’s story resolve fully in the remaining episodes, and possibly not at all. In the end I just really hope that wherever she decides she stands on the old sexuality spectrum she can keep building that self-love and remain the badass Disney Princess we know she is inside.

    So yes, I love Betty more than everything else on TV in the last ten years, pretty much, and I am so terribly sad that the future will not hold my regular injection of Ali Liebert’s ridiculous heartbreaking face, but hats off to Katie too.

  3. Thumb up 9

    Please log in to vote

    It hurts my heart that Bomb Girls has been cancelled, yet Glee will live to see another season. I’d rather have two more seasons of fearless females characters navigating their identities with real depth than two more seasons of lackluster covers of popular songs and half-assed attempts to to discuss social issues–and I’m an ex-Show Choir kid.

    • Thumb up 1

      Please log in to vote

      Yep, I’m in total agreement. Also, as an Australian, I had a sort of empathy with the base story, being part of the ‘empire’ and all.

  4. Thumb up 6

    Please log in to vote

    Here’s crossing our fingers that the tv movie actually happens.

    Bombshells are circling the wagons and coming up with a game plan to either try to make sure Global makes the movie, or to get another network (like CBC) picks up the show. Whatever the outcome, we will NOT go down without a fight.

    #SaveBombGirls

    • Thumb up 0

      Please log in to vote

      I sent them an email too and they just replied this :

      Thank you for contacting Global Entertainment and for your interest in Bomb Girls.

      Global is extremely proud to have been able to bring Bomb Girls to audiences. While the program will not be renewed for a third season, we are thrilled to announce that we will be creating a Bomb Girls two-hour TV movie event to premiere winter 2014! This event will conclude the rich storylines and the amazing journeys of these beloved characters which have strongly resonated with you – our loyal fans.

      Thank you again for taking the time to get in touch with us and share your thoughts on the show. Viewer feedback is extremely important to us and we really appreciate your input.

      Regards,

      Global Entertainment
      Viewer Relations
      http://www.globaltv.com

  5. Thumb up 8

    Please log in to vote

    I hope I didn’t bust y’all’s ear drums with my anguished cries just now. I wanted to make sure they could hear them in Canada.

    Dear Shaw Media and Global TV: I will start saying “aboot” instead of “about” if you please just renew “Bomb Girls.” I will even adopt a moose. And try poutine. And enroll at Degrassi High. Just renew the damn show.

  6. Thumb up 3

    Please log in to vote

    NOOOOOOOO!!! Canada, how can you do this to us? I thought you were friendly and inoffensive and effing good at making quality TV! Why are you breaking my heart like this?

  7. Thumb up 14

    Please log in to vote

    I feel like a lot of people are just getting into Bomb Girls and falling in love with it, and then they go and fucking cancel it!?

    MY BREASTS ACHE WITH RAGE!

  8. Thumb up 2

    Please log in to vote

    Seriously the worst news I’ve received in a while. Why would they do this? I know Canadian film/tv industry is really struggling right now, but they had a gold mine! I just don’t understand why they would just throw something like this away.

  9. Thumb up 7

    Please log in to vote

    I would just like to join the chorus in hollering about how much Bomb Girls’ cancellation sucks. It’s sad that we have only a handful, if that, of shows featuring strong, well-developed female characters on TV. It’s even sadder that we have to import them from other countries (here in the US), and it’s the saddest that they get cancelled after two seasons, in spite of decent ratings and good streaming numbers. It just doesn’t bode well for other TV being made that appeals to women, let alone lesbians. I mean, when was the last time you can think of that a decently watchable lesbian movie was made in the US? Or that a lesbian character served as anything other than eye candy or monster bait on a TV show, or had any semblance of a real romantic relationship that didn’t involve a man? Ugh. I’m just so damn frustrated.

    What we need to do is to start writing and funding queer movies and TV shows ourselves. That’s what the Internet and Kickstarter is for, right? Either Autostraddle or AfterEllen (does anyone between the ages of 16 and 40 read AfterEllen anymore?) should have a feature where they spotlight the Kickstarter film/TV/short movie projects of lesbian and bisexual women and tras* folks that pass some kind of sniff/laugh/Bechdel/actual quality test that need funding. If we start showing mainstream production companies that there is interest and buying power behind lesbian/queer/gender queer films, then maybe better products that are more relevant to our interests will get made. Sadly, it seems to late for that to happen for Bomb Girls – because apparently logic doesn’t apply to Canadian broadcasting, but maybe we can help get something else going that is just as good.

  10. Thumb up 2

    Please log in to vote

    N-n-no more reise recaps? Where else will I get my hilariously-out-of-place LSP references? No more loveable Lorna? No more badass Betty? Oh my giddy aunt. Today is a sad day for the world of entertainment (not that there will be any, anymore). Please tell me you’ll do a movie recap reise? Pretty please? For old times sake (well, it will be old times by winter 2014..)?

  11. Thumb up 1

    Please log in to vote

    NO. Back-to-back viewing of Mad Men and Bomb Girls created such a beautiful balance in my week…this is a sad day for lesbian- and history-lovers everywhere.

  12. Thumb up 1

    Please log in to vote

    There was Alice in The Playboy Club as well but that show was cancelled prematurely as well.

    So gutted! I hope the tv movie gives bomb girls the ending it deserves.

  13. Thumb up 2

    Please log in to vote

    Ugh…. I just started watching because of AS!!!

    Why do all the good things get cancelled?

    I think we should petition Netflix to pick it up like they have with Arrested Development.

  14. Thumb up 2

    Please log in to vote

    I feel like Global or Shaw or whomever really dropped the ball here. If you know you have a big international following for your show, give the fans outside of Canada a legal way to watch it that will generate ratings/ad revenue for the network. That’s what Lost Girl has done and I think they’re doing well with it. (It got renewed for a 4th season, at any rate.) If you can’t get a foreign network to pick up the show, at least unlock the streams on your website so international viewers can watch there. (I don’t at all know how these things work, technologically or legally, but that makes sense in my head.) It does no good to have an international following if they can’t help with ratings/revenue because the only way for them to see the show is via illegal means.

    Bomb Girls is a brilliant show; I started watching because of the lesbian character but she’s not even my favorite now. (That honor goes to Ms. Gladys Witham.) I feel like that’s how I know a show is really good – if I’d watch it even if there weren’t lesbians. Really sad to see it end so soon.

  15. Thumb up 1

    Please log in to vote

    Take a good damn look and remember this, Ladies. This is how much respect these media companies do NOT have for you. They don’t give a rat’s ass when an amazingly well-written, multidimensional slice of historical story telling with women at its core and with complex characters that we NEVER EVER get to see anywhere else on TV comes along. All they care about is how much $MONEY$ they are or are not making on a show. And yes, this is why pathetic, vapid shows like Survivor and The Voice persist, while critically-acclaimed projects like Bomb Girls are maimed (by horrible scheduling) and eventually killed (when heads-up-their-asses MediaCo execs claim the ratings are not there). Bye bye shitty television and the shitty media companies that force feed it to us. I’m done.

  16. Thumb up 1

    Please log in to vote

    To rub salt in the wound, Global is the network in Canada that airs Glee.

    CBC is more history oriented, but I honestly can’t remember there ever being a significant queer fictional character or storyline on a CBC show (apart from Coronation Street).

    It is very disappointing to lose the show, especially since it was so unique. I believe we desperately need more masculine of centre female characters, and positive portrayals of women’s sexual agency in the media.

  17. Thumb up 2

    Please log in to vote

    the Canadian networks of which Global is one was supposed to have a certain amount of shows originated Canada to provide a buffer for the onslaught of American shows….that has not happened ever…and , now we will not have any more bomb girls…a show that showed how many of our grandmothers and mothers worked so hard in ww2 … not just because the men were not there but because there were no one to fill some of the worst jobs ever ..like air traffic control…going without much food for many hours in freezing towers wearing ridiculous uniforms suited for the summer. The stories portrayed on the show managed to personalize for many of us ..the true underrepresented stories of what women do during wars.It is a real shame that we have so much shit on TV and yet cannot come up with the money to keep up with quality shows because some executive does not understand the need for entertainment and education.

  18. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    This… blows. I don’t get it. It’s apparently like a national home-grown TV sensation in Canada. Strange decision.

    In terms of awesome historical TV characters, however, I humbly offer a shout-out to Isabel on the Spanish cowboy epic Tierra de Lobos. She’s a gun-totin’ tequila-drinkin’ babe with a (mostly) convincing storyline. Unfortunately getting the English subtitle versions are difficult at present *holds out hope for DVD*! I also don’t know how stable that show is at present, in terms of renewal- argh! What is WRONG with the world.

Contribute to the conversation...

You must be logged in to post a comment.