Babes is an American situation comedy series that ran for one season on the Fox Television Network from September 13, 1990 to August 10, 1991. It was created by Gail Parent and executive produced by Dolly Parton and Sandy Gallin's Sandollar Productions for Twentieth Century Fox Television. Parton even guest starred as herself in episode 15, entitled "Hello, Dolly".
The series follows babes a trio of plump siblings who had other things on their mind besides their weight: like work, relationships, popularity, and starting a family. The ladies also shared a small one-bedroom apartment in New York City, which added to the comic friction.
The Gilbert sisters include Darlene (Susan Peretz), the eldest, who was a dog groomer and recently divorced (her husband had an affair with their weight-loss counselor); Charlene (Wendie Jo Sperber), the middle sister, who was a makeup artist for a commercial photographer and was the most active one out of the three; and Marlene (Lesley Boone), the youngest sister, a former toll collector (and later an actress in a pantyhose commercial and a soap opera), who was seen as a dreamer with a naive, yet trusting, personality. Also in the cast was Charlene's boyfriend, Ronnie Underwood (Rick Overton), a restaurant owner. He disappeared at mid-season, as a result putting all three sisters on the dating market. At that time, the girls' landlady, Florence Newman (Nedra Volz), became a regular.
All three also had physical elements in their resume and it was evidenced in most of the episodes whenever something would tick off the sisters. Among the notable examples: Charlene getting blown up in a helium dress, Darlene breaking a hockey stick while attending a New York Rangers game that got her on probation and head-butting Ronnie over who was going to spend the night at the apartment, Marlene waking the sisters up with potato chips after they didn't hear her come in, and the sisters ganging up on a mime after he mocked them.
Controversy and cancellation
The show was initially criticized by several groups for making fun of overweight people due to some of the jokes that were used in the show's early episodes, but the controversy faded as later episodes began to put a more positive spin on the characters when it came to weight issues (this was pointed out in one episode in which they vowed the word "fat" would not come up in the conversation while they had an argument).
Although it had the Top 30 hit The Simpsons as its lead-in, it could not hold on to a large enough percentage from that show, and also at least partially because of the controversy, it did not earn a second season and was cancelled at the end of the 1990–1991 season.
Outside the US, the series also aired in France under the title Jamais Deux Sans Trois (Never Two Without Three).
- at the Internet Movie Database
- at TV.com
- at epguides.com
- , a 1990 Entertainment Weekly profile of Sperber that discusses her role on the series.