Season 1, Episode 4
Date of airing: October 2, 1989 (CBS)
Nielsen ratings information: 22.2 million viewers, 15.1/24 in Households
Wow, Polly’s induction into the Marine Corps. by marrying Mac was kind of sexist at the end. As they were walking out of the chapel, they were blocked by two swords, just so one of the soldiers standing in the aisle can swing his sword at Polly’s butt like she is the only women in a sea of military men who haven’t seen a person of the opposite sex in a long time. If that is really how it’s like to be inducted into the Marine Corps. for a woman, then we are truly screwed, and #MeToo reaches everywhere. It’s one of those moments that continue the male fever dream imagery of MAJOR DAD, as well as one of those moments proving that women had nothing to say during the production of this television sitcom. The 1980s are in full force in this show, and seeing how MAJOR DAD is objectifying their central woman character makes me remember that I am watching a television show from that decade and that there is probably no hope that Polly will ever be anything more than Mac’s foil. We are four episodes in and her reporting duties for the newspaper has only been a premise for the pilot. I’m pretty sure the writers have forgotten by now, because they never thought of women being the breadwinner in the house.
The episode was okay. I was still hoping for the wedding to be cancelled or moved to a later episode, as I still have a problem with the fact that Polly and Mac got married after they knew each other only for weeks, but at least it took the show four episodes to get to the wedding, which by itself is a bit of a surprise, as I was sort of expecting it in the first or after two episodes. One can only hope that the dynamic of the new family changes from here on. Mac has to be a stepfather to three sometimes unruly girls now, and with the arrival of Polly’s parents, who could be recurring characters just for the fun of it, Mac also has to realize he very much married into a family. He may not have had one before he met Polly, but now he has a wife, three step-daughters and in-laws, and that should definitely give him some pressure to perform. But yeah, that pressure to perform should also be depicted through Polly’s point of view. I don’t want her to be the housewife from now on. I don’t want the show to lose its initial premise of a liberal reporter and a conservative military man getting married. I’m interested in seeing how the kids react to having a step-father, and I am definitely interested in seeing less patriarchy in the show. Like I said, we are only four episodes in and it’s already wreaking of macho man stuff. As seen with Lt. Holowachuk who really tried to be as cool as Major McGillis has been. It seems like being a Major has to come with screaming privileges. That’s what I always hated about top brass in the military.
In hindsight, the episode didn’t have much of a story. The only thing the writers wanted to tell was the wedding, and in the middle of it one could have been allowed to believe that Mac silently and secretly ordered a base-wide drill, because maybe he was uncertain about getting married this early (after all, his talk with Polly in front of the chapel doors hinted at that). Maybe Polly would have grown some cold feet during the drill that actually turned into a terrorist hunt (and of course it was an elderly black lady who created all this chaos) — anything that would have cancelled the wedding and given Mac and Polly a chance to continue dating and getting to know each other before taking this big step. But MAJOR DAD wouldn’t be this male fever dream if the titular character wouldn’t be married off to the central woman character of the premise by this episode. I’m kind of intrigued now how this show is going to develop over the course of the next episodes — will it get more patriarchal and therefore annoying?