Somewhere out in Hollywood there is a dusty old tome that is sacred and profound. It is not quite the Holy Grail of TV screenwriters, producers and network executives, but it is mighty important. Perhaps it was handed to the first TV executives by an ancient Aztec god on the messenger of an alien civilization. Perhaps it was discovered buried deep within a gold mine. Whatever the source of its mystical existence, it is considered holy. For within that book lies what so many in the industry have come to see as an easy road to riches. That book outlines in detail the many ways to create a TV show about three women and a dream.
3 Girls 3
“3 Girls 3” was one of the stranger and more innovative examples of the “three girls and a dream” approach to pitching a TV series, but also perhaps the one the penetrates most deeply to the core of the trope. Three young women with very limited experience in TV essentially played themselves as three young women very limited experience in TV who won auditions for roles in a new variety show. Half the episode would show the women in their personal lives and the rehearsal process and the other half would be presented as the variety show. Three girls and the dream of becoming stars. And who were these three lucky young unknowns? Debbie Allen, Ellen Foley and Mimi Kennedy. All still working their real life dreams.
Not the first, but one early example of the three women and a dream plot concept that stands out for the weirdness of the dream was “Harry’s Girls.” Even by the early 60s time period in which this sitcom aired, vaudeville was considered an ancient relic of another period in popular entertainment. Except, apparently, in Europe, where Harry Burns took his young beautiful dancers. The dream of the three women that made up his act was to hit it big in vaudeville in Europe in the 1960s. Weird.
Probably the most successful example of the truly rich history of three women and a dream. “Charlie’s Angels” teamed three women who wanted to succeed the very much male-dominated world of private investigation. One could probably say with confidence that their dreams were realized beyond all reasonable expectation.
Such has been the long term success of three women with a dream to become major players in private investigation that it eventually spawned a parody show of sorts. “She Spies” subverted “Charlie’s Angels” by being about three ex-cons rather than three police academy recruits who are hired by a mysterious agent to become a crimefighting trio.
Three women and the dream of the dream of being a stewardess just before it became the politically incorrect term for a flight attendant. Lisa, Marcy and Pam had just graduated from flight attendant school and ready to ride the skies for Sunwest Airlines. (That’s Sunwest.) Interestingly enough, they all worked on the same flight which was flown by the same pilot.
Sugar was the name of the rock trio in this sitcom about three women and the dream of becoming rock stars. “Sugar Time” was a by-the-book template for just about every three women and a dream TV show that has or will ever exist. Sugar was made up a naive girl pitted against a cynical wiseass who were brought together by the practical one with a good head on her shoulders. Sound familiar? Music by Paul Williams.
Birds of Prey
A strange dream here. Three women and the dream of bringing a sense of order and authority to a Gotham City with a departed Batman. The former Batgirl who recreated herself as Oracle after being paralyzed by the Joker. The offspring of Batman and Catwoman. And a teenager who joined the two older women to live the dream.