4 July 2001 | consortpinguin
This IS the Seventies
"Serial" IS the Seventies!!! With the exception of Disco (and I'm not complaining) this movie captures all the angst, sexual pseudo-liberation, and self-help movements we experienced in the 1970s.
Martin Mull and Tuesday Weld made a perfect Harvey and Kate Holroyd, a "typical" Marin County couple. They make their way through a sea of 1970s kitsch, complete with sexual experimentation and cults. Their teenage daughter Joanie also tries everything, eventually joining "The Sunnies," a religious cult.
The movie abounds with scenes of the 1970s. For example, in Kate's women's conscious-raising group, the wives invite the African-American maid to join them. When they ask her about the sex in her marriage, her husband's prowess doesn't disappoint them. When they ask her about Black men's sexuality in general, she answers "I wouldn't know. I've never been to bed with anyone but Wong." Reverend Spike (Tommy Smothers) makes religion hip at all occasions.
Kate and Harvey both learn the hard way that sex is not the euphoria as overhyped in the 1970s. They separate for a while, and Harvey has an affair with an 18-year old cashier from the supermarket. They have so much sex that Harvey gets worn out. Kate has a very unsatisfying affair. She also tries to start something with a young South American man who turns out to be gay and living with her hairdresser, who nearly uses his scissors on her in jealousy. Kate also tries est, a popular cult of the time. I got a special laugh from the est references, as I worked with a few estholes (that's what they call themselves) who tried to recruit me. Kate and Harvey manage to retrieve Joanie from the Sunnies and they get back together, giving the film its obligatory happy ending.
I also highly recommend the book, "The Serial" by Cyra McFadden.. It may not still be in print these days, but if you can get a hold of it, you won't stop laughing. I had the opportunity to read the book before I saw the movie and I got a lot more of the subtleties. There were a few elements, like the Skulls and Rev. Spike, that the film added. I believe the book was originally written in installments (hence the name "Serial") in Marin County.
If you ever get the chance to see the movie or read the book, do it! A great comedy gem!