Saturday, April 11, 2015

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: The Secrets of Isis: "Girl Driver" (November 29, 1975)

In “Girl Driver,” a young woman, Freddie Charleston (Susan Lawrence), is a mechanic and car lover running for Auto Club President at the local high school. She is the first girl to do so.

But a sexist boy at school, Mac (Steve Doubet), doesn’t believe that a female can possibly know anything about cars.

Hoping to settle the matter, Mrs. Thomas (Joanna Cameron) organizes a rally, a competition for the two drivers. It will occur in the mountains, and involve successfully following a map.

Mac, however, decides to cheat. 

It’s a decision he comes to regret, however, when he runs his car off the road, and nearly dies.

Fortunately, Isis is nearby and ready to intervene…

This episode of Isis (1975 – 1976) confronts an “attitude that is pretty old fashioned,” namely that women cannot be leaders, or even more basically, decent mechanics. Mac is the male chauvinist pig who says things like “No girl is gonna beat me!”

Of course, to prove his point about the inherent superiority of men, Mac cheats and nearly gets himself killed.  

Isis intervenes in the battle of the sexes and teaches Mac a lesson about treating people fairly.  By the end of the episode, he concedes that Freddie is not so bad “for a girl” and that he might even vote for her for Auto Club President.

Isis demonstrates some amazing powers in this episode. She snuffs out a gasoline fire in Freddie’s garage by declaring: “Power of fire at my command, disappear when I raise my hand.”  

Later, she gently rides Mac’s plummeting car down the mountainside to a cushioned impact. 

Perhaps most impressively, Isis is able to look back in time, into the past, and see Mac cheating during the rally.  That’s a power she has never used before, if memory serves.

Every week there’s a lesson to learn on Isis, which can make the series a chore to get through.  On the other hand, it was aimed at kids and every now and then a story would really work, sometimes in spite of itself. 

For some reason I can’t fully fathom, I found “Girl Driver” rather engaging, and found myself looking to see how Freddie would manage a win in the rally, especially with a competitor dedicated to cheating.

Next week: “Scuba Duba.”

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