Bomb Girls

Common Sense Media says

Canadian WWII factory drama has strong, empowered women.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series celebrates the role Canadian women made to the World War II effort. Their struggle to play that role in a patriarchal society is a major theme in the show. The (mis)treatment of Italians and other races/ethnicities during the war are also themes.

Positive role models

They're not perfect, but these women are strong, hard workers, and yearn to be independent in a society that does not want them to be. While a few men are supportive of them, most are not. Some of the women are mean to each other.

Violence

The women make bombs; sometimes they accidentally detonate. Factory floor accidents lead to bloody cuts, burns, and other wounds; one accident results in a scalp being ripped off of a woman's head (lots of blood visible). Occasionally thrown punches lead to black eyes. Death (usually of men at war) is frequently discussed; a disturbing drowning sequence and an attempted sexual assault are shown.

Sex

There's lots of flirting between women and soldiers; half-hearted marriage proposals are exchanged. Conversations about sex, although spoken in metaphor, are frequent. Sexual harassment and men "peeping" at women in showers. Double-standards, adultery, and other mature themes are discussed. Women and men appear in their underwear and skimpy outfits. An unplanned pregnancy is alluded to, and a desire for a lesbian relationship leads to trouble.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

As was typical of the time, cigarette smoking is frequent. The consumption of hard liquor and champagne is visible; occasionally characters get slightly drunk. A few secondary characters are alcoholics.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the Canadian drama Bomb Girls highlights some of the social barriers that women faced when they replaced men in factories during WWII. It contains lots of sexual innuendo, including references to sexual activity, as well as violent scenes (punching, attempted sexual assault, drowning) against women. Adultery, lesbianism, and pregnancy are also themes. Bombs occasionally detonate, and factory accidents lead to some bloody wounds and other injuries. Drinking, drunken behavior, and lots of cigarette smoking is common. Despite all of this, the series is rather mild in comparison to some American dramas, and contains strong, empowering messages about women's roles.

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Kids say

What's the story?

BOMB GIRLS is a dramatic series about the experiences of a group of Canadian women at an Ontario bomb factory during World War II. When Gladys Witham (Jodi Balfour), an engaged socialite with a rebellious streak, goes to work at Victory Munitions, she finds herself surrounded by strong working women like Betty McRae (Ali Liebert), the flirtatious Vera Burr (Anastasia Phillips), and Edith McCallum (Lisa Norton), all of whom question her motives for being there. Also joining the "Blue Shift" is newcomer Kate Andrews (Charlotte Hegele), an innocent girl with a lovely voice who is hiding from an abusive past. Keeping them in check on the factory floor is Lorna Corbett (Meg Tilly), who tows a strict line in order to protect them from the dangers of the job, while tolerating the scorn of management and the impact of the war on her family. It isn't easy, especially when they're surrounded by men like Antonio Cupo (Marco Maretti), who spend as much time insulting the women as they do bomb making. Despite all of this, the women work hard to support the war effort, and try to create a life for themselves that offers them choices and independence.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Part docudrama, part soap-opera, Bomb Girls offers an entertaining interpretation of Canadian factory women's experiences during WWII, which includes doing the jobs that the men usually did, and coping with having loved ones go to war. Central to the show are the multiple issues that factory women faced at the time, including sexual harassment, poor working conditions, and the constant need to prove themselves to a society who viewed their role in the workforce as being both temporary and of limited value.

Both the factory and the cast are uber-stylized, which creates the sense that the series is offering a sanitized and somewhat glamorous version of what munitions factory work was really like in order to create a more pleasant viewing experience. It also features lots of jazz and blues performances, which are trademarks of the era. But the overall show features a group of strong, empowered female characters, and offers an important history lesson about what the war was like for the working women at home.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what it was like for women during WWII. What kind of factories did women work in? Did all women work in factories? Once the war was over, why did they leave their jobs? How has media portrayed the experiences of these women over the years? Is their contribution viewed as a positive one?

  • Behaviors like smoking and hitting women were not thought to have negative consequences in the 1940s. Given what we know today, is it  appropriate to show this behavior in the media, even in a historical context? How can showing these acts in the media potentially send mixed messages to kids?

TV details

Cast:Charlotte Hegele, Jodi Balfour, Meg Tilly
Network:Reelz
Genre:Drama
Topics:History
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Bomb Girls was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 15 years old Written byhoneyliz March 13, 2013
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Ok for mature audiences

Since I love vintage things, I love this show. It's very educating about the second world war. Some blood are seen, but the girls are mostly inside the factory making bombs. Sometimes things go wrong. A lot of outside drama as well, sex, alcohol and smoking.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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