Boy oh boy, we have a lot to talk about. Let’s delve into the world of ice queens and lesbian subtext–two of my favorite things!
Dharma & Greg is a TV show from the 90’s/2000’s that hails from one of the greatest shows made– I Love Lucy. D & G follows the same lines as Lucy, as well as a plethora of other shows like Bewitched and I Dream of Jeanie. They all follow the lines of the wacky, strange wife and the straight-laced, boy-like husband. But, I love it, like I Love Lucy. It’s just one of the popular tropes. One of these days we’ll get to see the same setup with a lesbian couple, or a gay couple, or a couple with someone who’s trans-gendered. Hopefully sooner rather than later.
Dharma is the daughter of 60’s new age hippies Abby and Larry. She teaches yoga, knows of myriad cultural traditions, uses herbal and homeopathic healing tools, and overall, is a giant adorable goof who cares genuinely for others.
Her husband Greg, as you can imagine, is the total opposite. He comes from a very wealthy family, is a lawyer, and regiments nearly everything in his life. His father Edward runs the Montgomery firm, a large and powerful practice, and spends most of his time being the older wealthy man who prefers drinking and being left alone to being present for his family, including his wife. And here we arrive at Kitty Montgomery.
Kitty, or as Dharma calls her occasionally: Kit Kat, is the cold, strict, wealthy, disconnected from her emotions, stuck up, deliciously sultry woman. Repressed, cold, wealthy, stuck in circumstance, and secretly lesbian is my jam and Kitty meets all the criteria.
Here’s what we know about Kitty and her psychological state:
- She feels that she’s lost her soul (that she’s empty). Wealth, her life choices, her fear of appearing less-than all culminates to her feelings of emptiness.
- She isn’t happy in her marriage and stays with her husband even after demanding a divorce. (While this was most likely a choice made by the investing companies for ratings, they could make more money by keeping up the dynamic of the unhappy wealthy husband and wife, this choice still furthers her character development.)
- Others make numerous jokes about her being a lesbian, mainly via the lens of Dharma. Which is quite interesting considering Dharma is the one most connected to other people and their emotions. By season 1, episode 12 we have our first joke from Dharma about Kitty’s sexuality, where she pretends to be a fellow country club member who crank calls her to hit-on Kitty via phone. Greg asks at one point, what would’ve happened if Kitty said ‘yes,’ then retracts the questions because he “doesn’t want to know.” These jokes continue through every season, from Dharma and in imaginary scenes. In one of these imaginary scenes, Kitty is a lesbian dressed in equestrian clothing. She ferociously bites an apple in the hand of another woman. It’s the picture used above. And quite an entertaining scene to watch.
- Kitty works and works and works to maintain her and her family’s social status, putting this idea on a pedestal above everything else, including her own happiness. Seeing herself and those she cares about as having high social status saves her from herself. She is in many ways fighting her own upbringing. While we are told explicitly that Edward’s family has had money for at least 3 generations, Kitty’s past life is a secret. She admires and fights Dharma so hard because she see’s herself in Dharma. Psychologically speaking, Kitty wants Dharma to assimilate to high society, resents her for not, and admires her for not. It’s a complex relationship. Dharma is the maiden-turning-mother, and Kitty is the mother-turning-crone. While Dharma is learning the early lessons of life and marriage, and growth, Kitty is in the stage of regretting some of her life choices, and tragically, she decides to push down her regrets in herself. What she’s done over the years is too much for her to face and deal with. But with Dharma in the picture, Kitty is forced into viewing herself. It is the apex of many fairy tales that include a “witch” casting an evil spell upon the “fair maiden.” The evil witch in Snow White delivers the poisenous apple because she is jealous and afraid of Snow, the maiden. In the old fairy tales we find the crone is presented as ill-willed. In more modern retellings, such as the (amazing and beautiful) rendition Disney actually created, Maleficent.
Here’s another reason why I love Kitty Montgomery…
Kitty brings to mind many similar, and wonderfully beautiful and hard characters.
Although a bit obscure, Kitty is actually very much the prime time TV equivolent of the main character in the 2009 film Chloe. Director Atom Egoyan casts Julianne Moore as Catherine, the unhappy wife and mother of a dysfunctional family, and Amanda Seyfried as the high-end call-girl, Chloe. A thriller at times, psychological, sexy as hell–it’s quite the combo. Liam Neeson plays Moore’s husband, David. When Catherine suspects David of cheating, she goes to see Chloe, who she’s seen before. Chloe, though dangerous and unstable, see’s in Catherine her pain, sadness, and isolation. Chloe uses Catherine’s fears to begin a romantic relationship with her. Erotic? YES. Yummy? YES. A morally good picture of lesbians? No, not really. But damn–Julianne Moore is–wow.
I call this character type the Repressed Headmistress trope (it’s my working term). It’s still in progress. Basically, to talk tropes for a minute, it’s like mesh of the Defrosting Ice Queen and the Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask, with traits of the Don’t You Dare Pity Me trope. It’s actually not all that uncommon, the “Repressed Headmistress.” Other characters who fit into this trope will most definitely be explored here at Why I Love [insert here]. It’s a trope I’m always drawn to.
Can we also talk younger Kitty Montgomery (aka Susan Sullivan)? Look at this jaw-dropping sexy lady!
And I’m a sucker for older women, so look at this damn hot picture of her more recently:
Ok, one more:
Ok! I’m done now.
Thanks for reading 🙂