Female Expectations In The Show
Today I watched the "Cameleon" episode. Ernie's new friend, believed to be a boy named Mike, turns out to be a girl named Michelle. Michelle presents/behaves as a male and, in my opinion, appears to be comfortable as such. This was obviously encouraged by Michelle's father, who is introduced later. I don't recall any mention of Michelle's mother. It's interesting that once the Douglas family discovers this, they "encourage" Michelle to embrace her feminine side. They also begin to treat her differently, speaking to her in a more gentle, friendlier manner. Their mission was accomplished in the end--Ernie and Michelle go to a dance together, dressed to their juvenile nines and getting along just fine.
Some months ago I saw another episode where the Douglases all go to Hawaii--Steve was going on business and invited the family to come along to vacation. Uncle Charley decides to look up an old flame from his Merchant Marine days. He finds her but, to his surprise, she had "changed." She was older. She was heavier. She wanted to get married--he didn't. Not now. Not even with her two muscle-bound brothers defending her honor. He dodged her for the rest his vacation.
These type episodes always catch my eye. Whenever I see an old sitcom where the storyline involves society's expectations of females, I want to see the outcome. The outcome usually is the same--the female conforms to what EVERYONE ELSE wants her to be. Nice. Charming. Feminine. Pretty. "My Three Sons" is no exception. In "Cameleon," Michelle does have a fault in that she enjoys breaking things. The Douglases had a right to be angry when she broke their window and vase. Did they have a right to change her into what THEY thought she should be? Uncle Charley appeared to be at least 75, yet NO ONE said one word about this fact. Surely he'd gained a pound or 30 over time. No one noticed.
I'll admit that I kinda like watching "My Three Sons" overall, as dated as it is. I just don't see why a family-oriented show needed to send this message to females to conform. Was/Is being yourself so terrible?