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“Agent Carter” Ass-Kicking Women in a Man’s World

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So goes the tagline for “Agent Carter,” and every action-packed moment and snappy comeback proves the sentiment true. Set in post-war 1946, “Agent Carter” hits all the right notes. “Agent Carter’s” world is swanky, retro, and full of juicy, pulp dialogue and action that stands out in today’s television landscape. From the costumes to the music and period jargon, this big screen spinoff just might be the most fun hour on TV. Picking up where “Captain America: The First Avenger” left off, “Agent Carter” pushes Cap’s lady love Peggy Carter into the spotlight. And what a wonderful thing it is. Peggy is adjusting to a world without Steve and where no one knows what she did to help America win the war. It doesn’t help that her presence is casually dismissed by her chauvinist colleagues at the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR). A tough broad in a man’s world. “During the war, I had a sense of purpose. But now, I connect the calls, but I never have a chance to make them. Do you know what I mean?” Peggy muses in the opening episode. With files and papers constantly shoved in her face and requests for coffee being the least of the demeaning comments thrown her way, Peggy does her best not to show her impatience and frustration. But nobody’s perfect. She brushes off a backhanded compliment that she should do the filing because she’s so much better at it with a snappy retort, “Better at what? The alphabet?” The misogynist band of brothers around her does their best to placate her, and Peggy makes the most of their antipathy. She’s not afraid to play into their prejudice, using the female card to get what she wants – which usually means a leg up on the rest of the SSR boys. Having been recruited by Howard Stark to help clear his name and track down his “bad babies,” (weaponized scientific experiments gone missing) Peggy needs some time to conduct her own investigation. She asks her boss, “Boardwalk Empire’s” Shea Whigham, for a day off, providing a reason he just can’t refuse. Needless to say, “Ladies’ things” gets Peggy immediately off the hook and she is free to get down to business, which, of course, she does in style. A different kind of Wonder Woman. Whether it’s going undercover as a buxom blonde at a nightclub or beating a man senseless with a stapler, Peggy is a superhero of the first order. And she does it all without the transformative assistance of spider bites or gamma rays. Peggy uses her smarts to stay one step ahead of the fellas from the office. Thanks to their blindness when it comes to her considerable assets, she is able to stay under the radar. Not only getting to the next clue before them but often slipping right under their noses as she leaves them to her leftovers. Even as the SSR boys scrutinize scandal rag images of the blonde beauty who beat them to the first big break, it never crosses their minds that the femme fatale in question could be their very own underutilized “secretary.” But it’s not always tough talking and ass-kicking for Peggy. She’s given just the right amount of vulnerability as she reminisces about Steve or mourns the murder of her flatmate. And when she finally gives in to the friendship being thrust upon her by gabby waitress Dottie, it’s delightful to see her giving in to some silly, girly fun. Fun that includes schnapps and playful ribbing about customer crushes. It’s refreshing to see a bona fide superhero rule the small screen without need of gimmicks or gadgets. Peggy is true-blue and her antics deliver a rollicking romp of adventure, intrigue, and cheeky comments. Here’s hoping ABC and Marvel opt to give us more than these first eight episodes, because this fangirl just can’t get enough.

About the Author

Rebecca Edwards is a pop culture junkie who loves watching, reading about and riffing on her TV addiction du jour. She has been a writer for over two decades. Her current TV obsessions include "Shameless," "True Detective" and "American Horror Story."

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