Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Fan Defends Shelley

A clipping from 1980 featured a fan asking a columnist why Shelley was let go from Charlie's Angels. They "didn't give her a chance" according to him. "How dare they fire Shelley. They gave her maybe one paragraph."

I don't know why she was let go either. Many said she couldn't act or didn't blend in when, if you watch her second episode "Angel's Go Truckin'", she was able to achieve both. In fact, it can be considered one of the best episodes of the season if not the entire series - the rapport between the three Angels in the episode was reminiscent of the first season. But early on, except on that second episode, she was a very underused character. She made the most of her limited screen time though, making every line given to her count. But when she was given more to say and do in the latter half of the season, she actually shined as a character. In fact, she came across as a full-fledged, believable detective in "One Love, Two Angels."

left, Shelley making a face at Cheryl in "Cruising Angels"
right, Jaclyn and Shelley share a laugh in "Nips And Tucks"

But repetitive scripts and predictable outcomes plagued the final years of the series, as well as unkind cuts. Moments of rapport between the Angels were left on the cutting room floor, because scenes were cut a little too soon. Check out Shelley making a face at Cheryl Ladd when Bos calls the office in "Cruising Angels." You'd hardly see it if you don't press pause. The thing is Cheryl reacted to Shelley's face-making, which would have established the characters' closeness. And what about the little laugh Shelley and Jaclyn Smith shared after Jackie said "hitperson" in "Nips and Tucks." It was cut so soon that you wouldn't even notice it. And there were many more throughout the season.

left, Shelley and Cheryl in "Avenging Angel"
right, Shelley with David and Jaclyn in "Love Boat Angels"

Also, there are many incidents where the dialogue seems to have been removed, like in "Avenging Angel" when Shelley and Cheryl leave the ladies room. There seems to be funny dialogue going on between the two, but there's no audio of it. In fact, Shelley's very first line in the series is missing. When she says "hi" to Jaclyn and Cheryl in "Love Boat Angels" as she walks into the Townsend office for the first time with Bosley,  there is no audio of her voice.

So you see, I sort of agree with the the columnist. I believe it wasn't her acting or her rapport with the other Angels that sparked Shelley's dismissal. It was just that someone had to take the blame for the falling ratings that year. As Shelley told People magazine in 1980, "What happened was a network war. A business decision was made. Change the time slot or bring on some new publicity. How to get publicity? A new Angel hunt. Who is the obvious person to replace? I am—the new kid on the block."