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The ‘Bomb Girls’ of WWII

January 4, 2014
By Cindy Votruba , Marshall Independent

I recently stumbled upon a television series that had a strong beginning but was canceled after just two seasons. Fortunately, there will be a made-for-television movie coming out this year to wrap up any loose ends that was left with the show's series finale.

It all started while I was browsing the Facebook page of humor essayist Laurie Notaro. She was looking for a series to watch while she was on a long flight. She's apparently into World War II period and BBC programs. People threw out many suggestions, from "Bletchley Circle" to "Call the Midwife." One suggestion was titled "Bomb Girls." That piqued my curiosity as I'd never heard about the program. So a quick Internet search told me that it was set in World War II in Canada. It's about a group of women who work in a munitions factory. Yep, they're building bombs. I quickly requested the first season through interlibrary loan.

And it didn't take forever to get to me. The first season was only six episodes, so I figured I could get it finished in the time I had been given. From the first episode I was hooked. Each of the characters have their own compelling story - Gladys, the rich girl who starts out in the office of the plant but longs to be working on the factory line; Betty, the best worker in the plant who trains the new girls; Kate, who ran away from her abusive street preacher father and the shift matron Lorna, played by the incredible Meg Tilly. It's one of the first major roles Tilly's had since 1995, and her own quiet, formidable way, she creates a complex character. Lorna married young to a man who was crippled from serving in World War I. She looks out for the girls on the Blue Shift of the Victory Munitions factory. She has two sons who are fighting overseas, and her daughter is a nurse's aide.

As for Gladys, she's the only child of a wealthy family. With this job at Victory, it was her chance to escape what is expected of her. Kate, who was formerly known as Marion, has a wondrous singing voice. But since she led kind of a sheltered life, she's a little naive. Betty's strong and tough and takes no grief from anyone. But she does show her softer side once in a while. Like most of the characters, she also has a secret that is finally revealed toward the end of season 1.

"Bomb Girls" does a great job at capturing the essence of that era, with the music, the costumes, the setting. I found myself starting to care about the characters, something I don't do with most shows. I enjoy how the '40s are depicted, showing something I know little about - the role of women in the munitions factories during WWII. And "Bomb Girls" doesn't shy away from the potential dangers that can happen when working in a munitions factory. There were a couple of moments during the first season. Both seasons are on Netflix, so in order to see season 2, I'll either have to visit someone with Netflix, wait for the DVDs to come out or bite the bullet and get Netflix (which probably won't happen for quite a while). And oh yeah, can't wait for the movie that will end it all. Apparently the show got critical acclaim; wish it could've lasted longer.

As for my phone saga from last week, I finally got it to work. On Friday night, I called customer service and was going through all the steps until I was told I needed an airtime PIN card. Oy. So I hung up with that person, went to buy a card and then got back on the phone with customer service again. Once I got off the phone and was reassured that things would go alright, I called that *22890 number. And got the same result, "we can't program your phone right now, etc." Sigh. So the next day I tried online chat with Tracfone's customer service. This time I was told that my problem needed more troubleshooting and to call this other number with a reference number. OK. I called in and finally got someone who did what I wanted in the first place, transfer my minutes over and I would finally be able to activate the phone. After a few hours, I dialed *22890 one more time and was starting to get the music for what come before "we can't program your phone" and was getting annoyed until I got the message that my phone was able to be programmed. So I texted Ross, only to be told that my number had changed. Oh well, I may have a new cell number, but at least it's workingfor now.



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