Major Dad (“Jayne Wayne Day”)

Season 1, Episode 7
Date of airing: October 23, 1989 (CBS)
Nielsen ratings information: 20.3 million viewers, 14.2/22 in Households

In which Mrs. John McGillis is being introduced to a couple of other military wives, which could essentially lead into ARMY WIVES, which aired for seven years on Lifetime once (of which I watched a surprising two and a half seasons of), or an own little MAJOR DAD spin-off show within the mother series. I would not at all mind if this wasn’t the one and only episode that dealt with Polly having to hang out with the other Marine wives, because at least it would prove that Polly’s life is actually changing after having put a ring on a Marine’s finger. Besides that, something has to happen with Polly sooner or later, now that every episode without her job at the newspaper suggests that the writers have forgotten all about Polly Cooper from the pilot episode. At least the writers remembered her liberal views, as she mentioned to her husband after two minutes and fifty-six seconds in this episode that she is a registered Democrat, usually opposing wars. This was the first time since the pilot the writers brought back the initial premise of the pilot episode and it was partially used for a punchline — how I would have loved for Polly and Mac to be in an argument about war, or his conservative views versus her liberal views, but seven episodes in and the writers didn’t seem to be interested in it.

Casey becomes a beautiful but robotic flower.

The episode was okay. This being a military-themed show, it was only a question of time when some of the characters would be shown in green uniforms, having to crawl through tight and muddy spaces to get to the next point, because the base Mac works on should be about training new recruits as well. That Polly would be the first one to wear green was certainly a surprise, but it was also a way to make sure that the Jane Wayne Day story is as funny as possible for the show (spoiler alert: it wasn’t), because who does not have fun watching women in green playing soldier (spoiler alert: I didn’t)? It’s almost like the writers of this show were still pushing the patriarchy, and this time around they paired it up with a little bit of sexism. Yes, the Marine wives in uniform was not used to create laughs, and seeing the wives connect over being lost and not at all being best friends with each other was nice and delivered some character depth (at least for Polly), but who even had the idea to putt he wives in green uniform so they can play recruits for a day? Is it an idea just so the husbands in the military have something fun to look at, laughing while nibbling on their cigarettes like this is a 1980s television show?

It’s time to signal the men that they are in trouble.

I had more fun watching the kids prepare for Halloween, and the three girls telling Mac that he doesn’t get to decide who is doing what during the pumpkin carving. It reminded me that Mac doesn’t have control over the kids’ behavior at all. Sometimes he succeeds in getting his military ways through to them, like when he had the girls recite the rules of Halloween, so they would be safe all night long, but the pumpkin carving showed that the girls still know how to override their Marine stepfather, and that could lead to some great comedic storytelling in future episodes, if the writers were able to find an actual story in that idea. But after this episode it would be nice to know where the girls actually stand with their new stepfather. We already know that Elizabeth doesn’t have a huge issue with him, as it was her okay that led Polly to make the decision to marry him, and Elizabeth also had a good talk with the Major once. But the other two girls? I don’t even know if they like having a father figure in the house, or if they actually see a father figure in Mac. When is the time that will establish Mac as an actual father figure to the girls and he isn’t just the “man in the house?”

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