Charlie’s Bimbos

Your complete field guide to bimbos

Read any early speculative review of Charlie's Angels: the first impression was that the Angels were just some dumb models who got themselves into trouble. "Three female clowns in bikinis," one review put it. (Why did people keep complaining about them all wearing nothing but bikinis at a point when only one Angel had worn one?) To sum it up, people initially thought the Angels were a bunch of bimbos.

Admittedly, the show did start out with more sex and suggestion than it ultimately retained. Following a seemingly cold reception to the series pilot, the producers were advised to make the Angels appear less like hookers, and more like competent professionals. Thankfully, this suggestion was taken. However, they were also advised to ax those bimbo scenes altogether:

"Tone down considerably Charlie's womanizing and playboy personality so that he appears less 'like a silly Hugh Hefner who controls a harem of female servants.'"

Yeah... that didn't happen. Instead, womanizing became perhaps THE central aspect of Charlie's existence, beyond even the secrecy thing. Bimbos remained a staple. Perhaps they weren't just an excuse to sneak an extra bikini on screen, but an intentional contrasting strategy; perhaps they were supposed to remind us of what the Angels were not  (even if they sorta acted like it at moments). In effect: "The Angels aren't bimbos - see, THIS is a bimbo." This decoy system may have worked on us, but apparently not on critics; their snarks were always aimed squarely at the Angels themselves.

But we don't have to go over the Angels' development story for the millionth time. Today, we're here to talk about those brave babes in bikinis, oft seen but never discussed: the bimbos.

BACKGROUND CHECK

Townsend Agency original article by Anna June 28, 2011

THE WAY OF THE BIMBO

First of all, they're not all that attractive, but by golly you're going to see a lot of them. Volume is compensated for quality. Even though they exist only to make the Angels look smart and dignified, they still aren't allowed to compete in attractiveness. (Or else Charlie would hire them instead.)

charlies-angels-bikinis"But we ended up seeing as much of Kelly/Kris/Julie as we did the bimbos," you're saying. True. But what's interesting is when you see them.

Consider this: there are 24 episodes with bimbos, and 23 with Angels in swimwear. 8 of those coincide. But as a rule, you'll never find them in the same scene. Take the Hawaiian episodes - imagine shots of Charlie entertaining a bikini-clad bimbo, intercut with scenes of all 3 Angels also in bikinis. It never happened because the lines would blur way too much.

However, that's not to say that whenever Angels wear bikinis, everybody else puts on a snowsuit - there are very, very few times when the Angels are the only girls in swimwear at a public place. Angel on High, for example - ever look in the background when Cheryl has on that bikini? Haha, of course you haven't. But try it next time. It's hard to even keep count of all the other bikinis ambling through the shot. But again, no true bimbos.

Charlie doesn't seem to have much tact about when it's inappropriate to have a bimbo over, like right after the Angels have gone through some traumatic experience. In The Seance, when Kelly's just had an orphan crisis and nearly killed Jill and herself, Charlie basically replies "Yeah, yeah... let's wrap it up, it's bimbo time." In To Kill an Angel, after Kelly couldn't make a meeting due to some prior appointment, Charlie jokes(?) about starting to interview right away, and some busty chick appears in the doorway. Although Kelly hadn't yet been shot at that point, it still felt kind of insensitive to have that in the same episode.

Another inappropriate time would be during meetings with clients.... nope. He bimbos with clients around (4 times). Worse, they're usually female clients, and worst, those are the only times he brings it to their attention. (Although maybe it's Kelly who could have handled that more professionally and refrained from asking "What's that giggling sound?" when there's a client present. She knows full well what's going on over there.) Since the Townsend Agency seems to have some level of non-disclosure agreement with its clients, isn't it kind of a security breach to have a bimbo listening in on the conference?  "My trained operatives, and this naked girl playing with a beach ball in my office, guarantee confidentiality."

%

OF EPISODES FEATURE BIMBOS

BIMBOS ENTERTAINED

MOST BIMBOS SEEN AT ONCE

CLASSIFICATIONS

Even among the bimbos, there is a hierarchy of dignity. Sort of.

The Classic Bimbo

The early bimbo is seen clad in swimwear (but not necessarily poolside) serving Charlie a drink, or perhaps just posing and grinning mindlessly. The scene usually concludes with an obvious audio clue that they have begun to make out. Or something. Not much thought is put into these scenes. There's no pretense. They're born to bimbo.

SIGHTINGS: Pilot, Hellride, The Killing Kind, Angels in Paradise 

The Hobbyist

bimbo-casey-jonesThe most prevalent type of bimbo is given a distinct theme or novel activity of neutral sexual value. It may involve music, sports or games. Then they attempt to sex it up by having the girl wear very revealing clothes; this tends to garner more confusion than excitement.

Activities have included operating a toy train, playing Pong, playing a sitar, playing golf, building a house of cards, and exercising with a medicine ball. (Sorry if that list got you all hot and bothered.)

This type starts to worry me a little - a generic girl in a bikini, I can understand - but these ones have motives and origins I have to wonder about. Does Charlie assign them themes according to his weird interests, and dress them up? Or do they show up with their own themes? I'm especially intrigued with the more elaborate ones, like the electric train conductor. That's not a spontaneous idea. Does she have to show up early and assemble the train?

Hobbyist bimbos experienced a strange revival at the end of the 2nd season, just when the phenomenon looked to be fizzling out.

SIGHTINGS: Angels on a String, Little Angels of the Night, Angels on the Run, Winning is for Losers

The Career Bimbo

Really proper and effective use of this kind of bimbo requires two scenes - one in the beginning office scene, and one at the end.

Charlie will often claim his bimbos to be various service workers. Some have business suits and particularly boring, deliberately UNsexy activities, usually clerical work such as accounting or reading a stock ticker tape. It's work from which double-entendres cannot be wrung.  Of course, the girl looks like a stripper dressed up as an accountant - we're intended to think she'll pull off her breakaway skirtsuit to reveal a bikini the moment the scene ends. But she sells her professionalism for the entire scene. Maybe we're meant to think this is sort of a missing link between the bimbos and the Angels - maybe Charlie really is just helping out womens' lib and hiring a female um... stock tickertape reader?

Nope! By the end of the episode, she's gonna be in a bikini. You know it even if you don't see it. The weirdest example is Gloria the Ichthyologist from Dirty Business. By the end of the episode, someone's carted Charlie's 10-gallon aquarium outside - complete with dead fish floating at the top - to sit abandoned while he gives her a suntan lotion rubdown. Hope she's a better bimbo than she is an ichthyologist. (Or.. oh no, wait, is she even an ichthyologist, or is this just one of his weird themes?)

SIGHTINGS: The Blue Angels, Dirty Business, Angels on Horseback

THE DARKER SIDE

The more I think about this, the more sinister it sounds. Is there any possibility the bimbos could genuinely belong to the professions Charlie claims? The only one I can think of is the one in Angels on Wheels, who seemed to be legitimately employed at the Board of Insurance. But for the rest, there's no proof. I hope they're all legit, otherwise this guy has really weird, tragically boring fantasies, which could be a definite warning sign. For instance, his "plumber" in The Blue Angels - not only is there a toolbox sitting there, but she's wearing a uniform that says "Piper's Plumbing" on the back.  If she isn't really a plumber, then he either:

A) specifically requested that she show up in a mundane service-industry uniform, B) bought a uniform from some defunct company at a thrift store, or C) had it specifically made.  (ominous music)

I'm also curious about the ones who appear in more than one scene, on more than one day. This means they're putting the same outfit back on and doing exactly the same thing again. It's like Groundhog Day for those poor girls. Does he provide housing? Does he even let them leave?

Remember when they were at Charlie's house in Target:Angels, and Jill found those framed pictures with Charlie cut out? They were just stills from various episodes' bimbo scenes, but the real-life explanation has to be that Charlie employs a photographer to document his bimboing.

Sure, plenty of guys like to have pictures of themselves with random girls in swimsuits, just because. Today, you simply post a picture right to Facebook on your phone, but in 1976 it's a whole process, with driving and developing and waiting and printing and framing, and then maybe hanging it up somewhere. It takes determination. Even if he has a servant to do all this for him (maybe that old man who's always unpacking stacks of boxes of wine bottles in his office?) the pictures have to be pretty important to him. I keep imagining a deleted scene where Kelly goes looking for the powder room, opens a wrong door at the end of a darkened hallway somewhere, and finds a creepy room absolutely covered in these framed bimbo pictures.

I'd have to hope that the Angels don't really know the true extent of this issue. They don't get the visuals that we do. If they knew this sort of stuff about any male suspect, they would all be deeply terrified, much like Kelly in Angel On The Line. But he pays well, so maybe they  just try not to think about it. "Tee-hee, you're incorrigible!"

ANGEL REACTION

For being totally private and secretive, Charlie's also as much of an exhibitionist as he can possibly manage to be. If sound effects don't give it away, he'll make sure to mention it. (There are only 3 times I'd say a bimbo went undetected.) Why? It's uncomfortable for everyone. I'm sure there's some psychology to it, but I'm also sure it boils down to him being a jerk.

Farrah Fawcett Jaclyn Smith Cheryl Ladd Kate Jackson David Doyle

Generally the Angels' responses went along the lines of "Tee-hee, that Char-lieeee!" even though with feminism and everything, you'd think there would some backlash. Their whole attitude toward him is much more sexual in the beginning - not only do they know he's a cad, but they're sorta flirting with him themselves. Stuck in her early airheadish trend and always the most interested in Charlie's doings, Jill often seemed borderline titillated to learn that there was a bimbo afoot. Kelly and Kris were usually polite enough to disguise their uncomfortable "oh, no" with a sheepish smile. Tiffany was unaware of the only bimbo during her era, and Julie had none.

Sabrina was always the Angel openly disgusted, and progressively moreso as time went on. In the first year she'd smile with the others, though with definite lack of enthusiasm; in the second year, she progressed to thinly veiled hostility. She's talking about crumpets but actually means, "Shove it." The last bimbo ever on Sabrina's watch was in Winning is for Losers. Please watch her reactions in both the intro and wrap-up office scenes. That face is not emoting a character. That face has to be the real Kate Jackson hating to have anything to do with this nonsense. Maybe it's because Charlie's acting freaky in front of Jamie Lee Curtis.

Most interestingly, Bosley either seemed as off-put as the Angels, or more frequently, had absolutely no reaction.  Let's all take a moment to be thankful that he never went in a  "You sly dog!" direction, which would be gross.

NOTABLE BIMBOS

Though the pilot's bimbo is unnamed, she is billed in the credits as "Bathing Beauty" thanks to her four words of dialogue.

Besides being one of only a few ever to be given names, Carlie Higgins backed up Sabrina's cover at the State Board of Insurance in Angels on Wheels, and thus became the only one ever truly, usefully involved in a case. Furthermore, she could be called Charlie's favorite bimbo, since she's the only one to appear in more than one episode - Hellride, Night of the Strangler, and sort of Angels in Chains too (as stock footage).

Gloria the ichthyologist could also be proud that she got a name, but then so did the fish (Millicent), so you tell me if that's much to brag about.

Casey Bakaleinikoff (the one with the train) was Cheryl's friend Cis Rundle, who can be spotted as an extra in practically every episode from Season 2 forward. She's the only one of these actresses ever to graduate to a real (non-bimbo) role as a cheerleader in Pom Pom Angels.

THE EXTINCTION OF THE BIMBO

Bimbos started strong as a major part of Charlie's identity; you almost never saw him alone. But, as the Angels and their material matured (for the most part) the need for a bimbo comparison waned, and these scenes started to look more and more silly. Here is a timeline of the series with dark blips indicating episodes with bimbos:

We saw Charlie entertain 29 bimbos total, across 24 episodes. Right at the halfway mark of the series, they vanished. Although, perhaps that doesn't mean they ceased to exist. You might notice that in the last two years, they don't even show Charlie as much as they used to. Maybe this is is to allow tasteful viewers to assume he stopped, and nasty viewers to believe that he still is bimboing and they're just not showing it.

The final bimbo floats idly around Charlie's desk in The Prince and the Angel while he tries on the ugly purple sweater Kelly bought for his birthday. She's not even doing anything bimbesque. She's not dressed as a sexy phlebotomist, or playing with a Chinese finger trap, or even handing him a glass of scotch. No theme at all, no interaction with Charlie, and dressed almost tastefully. She defies the classifications of her ancestors. What a rebel. It could even be possible she's not a bimbo, just some actual woman standing there. Could it be that Charlie's tastes are growing more dignified? ...Nah. The fact that she just happens to be there on his birthday has its own distasteful implications. She's the last of a dying breed.

I always thought the bimbo thing ranged from unnecessary to gross, so I don't miss them at all.  But I do wonder why they resisted using bimbo scenes just to fill time in one of those mind-numbing 4 or 5's where they were just struggling to stretch out a threadbare script. I bet lots of viewers would rather trade 20 seconds of a bad-guys-conspiring scene for even a mediocre bikini. I mean, Moonshinin' Angels? Charlie's got absolutely nothing to do that whole time. Some weird part of my brain that likes patterns always wonders how the first half of the show is chock full of bimbos, and the second half only has that one little straggler. It bugs me when a regular staple abruptly disappears forever, like the "SABRINA" necklace. Or Sabrina.

FULL LIST

Pilot Charlie's first bimbo ever comes to serve him a drink in the pool. Later he's in a steam shower, and it's only sort of implied that there's a bimbo in there with him. The same dialogue from the first scene is repeated over this, even though it makes no sense.

Hellride Charlie hurt his sacroiliac and some girl with nasty feet is standing on his back. Later, he seems to have recovered and is hanging out in his jacuzzi with five bimbos splashing water on him. This is the most bimbos Charlie is ever seen entertaining at one time.

The Mexican Connection Some babe in ski-esque attire (because they're supposed to be in Aspen) drapes herself over Charlie. His leg's in a cast. Later he's laid out and the same babe comes and starts making out with him.

Night of the Strangler "Meetcha down unda, Charleh honeh!" the swimsuited bimbo proposes, bouncing on the diving board before leaping into the water.

Angels in Chains Charlie’s out at the pool again and there’s a bimbo swimming toward him underwater, which it doesn’t seem like we’re supposed to notice. She’s recycled stock footage from Night of the Strangler.

The Killing Kind Charlie concludes his conference in order to attend to "double trouble," a set of twin bimbos in bikinis lounging on his boat.

To Kill an Angel When Kelly fails to show at a meeting, Charlie invites a bimbo into his office and asks to see her credentials.

Consenting Adults Charlie's got a bag of ice on his head and has "scotch poisoning". Treatment? Being handed another scotch by the bimbo of the week.

The Seance "Personally, I like grown-up games." Charlie's snapping shots from a tripod camera of some broad in a bikini posing with a beach ball. In his office. Neither this nor his previous line have anything to do with anything.

Angels on Wheels Bimbo's playing cards with Charlie poolside. This is her 4th bimbo session and we finally learn that her name is Carlie Higgins. Later she's drinking on his desk.

Angels on a String "I'm giving it my best shot -" Charlie's practicing putting in his office while a bimbo sprawls on the floor reading a magazine.

Dirty Business Gloria the ichthyologist comes over to study Charlie's dead fish with a magnifying glass, then strips to a bikini later for a suntan lotion rubdown.

The Blue Angels Charlie's "plumber" hands him drinks while he tells the Angels that "they should see his electrician," which is kind of a burn on the plumber.

Angels in Paradise Charlie's having a martini shaken for him on his boat.

Angels on Ice During the opening conference an over-excited blonde is playing Pong with Charlie. Later some broad is sitting on Charlie’s desk building a house of cards. She’s only visible from the boobs down so we can’t tell if it’s Pong Girl again.

Circus of Terror All aboard for Casey Bakaleinikoff and her sexy (not sexy) train set.

Angel in Love Charlie wants to interrupt Kelly's phonecall to tell her all about the bimbo he's hired to read his stock ticker.

Angels on Horseback After the Old Sawtooth incident, Charlie says Bosley should sit down with his accountant (who's in a bikini) and there's minor sexy music, but the Angels don't react and Bosley keeps talking about his butt.

Little Angels of the Night Charlie’s playing backgammon with some broad in huge glasses who strips down to her bikini in the middle of their game. At the office wrap-up scene they are STILL playing, but she’s wearing a different bikini… ?

The Jade Trap Charlie derails yet another office meeting to ask the Angels if his English maid will think he’s too vulgar if he dunks his crumpet in his tea. The maid looks on with brainless approval opposite his desk.

Angels on the Run This week’s bimbo is playing a sitar in the opening office scene, then weirdly rubbing Charlie’s arm while he plays the sitar during the office wrap-up.

Antique Angels This week’s bimbo is actually recycled footage of the accountant from Angels on Horseback, which is why he never acknowledges her presence.

Winning is for Losers Charlie's pervily teaching an overexcited bimbo how to putt in his office.

The Prince and the Angel Bimbo stands near Charlie's desk while he tries on his new purple sweater.