I watched Who’s the Boss as a kid and it wrecked me. All my life I’ve been *expecting* I’d grow up to live in a domestic situation that I now know is next to impossible. When I recently caught an early episode, it clicked- these expectations came from Angeler!
When I was 13, I 100% thought I’d grow up to be just like her. Maybe I’d hire help like her, or maybe my husband would be totally fine with doing the homemaking while I was out making lots of animator money. I didn’t even think of it as an unusual situation. Of course, now I know how the real world works. Hey did you know that statistically speaking, men that make less than their wives are WAY more likely to have affairs? It’s because they feel emasculated. (And I can tell you anecdotally that successful women have a harder time on the dating scene for the same reason *cough.*)
However, my current disappointment in Who’s the Boss isn’t because the premise was misleading… it’s that Tony and Angela actually have a CRAP relationship that is totally unbalanced. Tony is 100% the Boss.
In case you need a refresher: Angela, divorced, lives in Connecticut and works in NYC. She owns an ad agency and is divorced with a son. Tony is an ex pro ball player and widower with a daughter. HILARIOUSLY Tony works for Angela as a live in housekeeper. Also in the house is Angela’s mother, Mona. (Mona is the best part of the show- an older, confident unapologetically sexual woman.) The show posits the question “Who’s the Boss?” in the title, because she’s technically the boss… but is she??
Anyways so here are all the reasons why Tony is the boss:
- Tony bails on his job all the time: There are numerous episodes about Tony moonlighting in other jobs, leaving Angela to cook and clean with hilariously awful results. Sorry, what is she paying him to do?
- Tony is way overpaid: In one episode Tony and Angela are discussing an opportunity for him and it’s revealed that he gets ALL his day’s work done in 3 hours. He gets a wage, (enough to buy a new Jeep and put himself and his daughter thru college) free room and board for both of them, and he only puts in 3 hours a day? And before you say “Amy, the average housewife does the same and gets to own half the family assets,” remember that a housewife is in a lifetime partnership, providing security. Tony was an employee and could bolt any time. Plus, the average housewife probably does way more (I know nothing about homemaking.) Tony only does 3 hours and still gets all that shit.
- All the “kid” stories are about Tony’s kid: You could say Tony has extra emotional labour because of his nanny-like relationship with the kids. Unfortunately, Johnathan, Angela’s kid, is woefully neglected. He has about one line per show. Johnathan’s job is to deliver weak quips and then EXIT the scene as fast as possible for no reason. (If the studio audience is done laughing and Johnathan is still in the room/episode, that kid is walking too slow.) When Sam has a problem, both Tony and Angela stop everything. Many episodes are devoted to Sam. They hop on planes for Sam. Meanwhile, for all we know, Johnathan is out doing whippets in the backyard. You know what, I’ll add Angela’s emotional labour caring for Sam into Tony’s payment package. And the plane tickets.
- All the adult friends are Tony’s friends: Mrs. Rosini, his 5 Brooklyn buddies, the water delivery guy… All Tony’s people. Any side characters from Angela’s world are usually business clients and are never recurring characters. Okay well there is the odd boyfriend, like Geoffery. But isn’t Geoffery really about Tony? Angela has no serious intentions towards any man she dates. She’s just trying to get her mind off Tony. The couples’ world is Tony’s world.
- It’s Tony’s house, not Angela’s house: Tony’s housekeeping is very controlling. For example, the throw pillows on the couch have to placed in Tony’s special way. In one ep when he (again) leaves Angela to do his job, he leaves 5 cassette tapes worth of instructions on EXACTLY how to do everything. HOWEVER I once saw him take the toilet brush out of the toilet and put it into the vanity wash basin where Angela washes her face. Tony is more interested in control than germs IMO
- Tony takes liberties with dependents: In season 7 they foster a kid from Tony’s old neighbourhood. Count in Sam’s new husband (Season 8- they take over Mona’s apartment) and you’ve got 3 extra dependents for Angela. Is it normal for a housekeeper to have more kids in the house than the homeowner? Seriously, I’m asking… I know lots of successful people and none of us have housekeepers (another let down.) But I don’t think that’s normal. Sure, at that point T and A are “best friends” but… maybe Angela would have preferred to hook up in Season 2 and have extra dependents *with* Tony instead? Why are they just friends? Are they not grown adults? Which leads me to:
- Tony and Angela took 8 years to get together and it’s on TONY. Sadly, he had all the power as Angela waited for him, and why would he put a ring on it? The man is a work-3-hours-a-day scrub! Maybe you’re thinking “yeah but surely Tony had a good reason because 8 years is a long time to scrub without any boning.” No- TONY DOESN’T LIKE SEX. He’s generally portrayed as a super conservative prude while Angela only seems prudish compared to her mother… she’s really quite average. Even after they got together and had 2 marriage proposal episodes, they were still sleeping in separate bedrooms! Tony had things just how he wanted them for years while Angela was unsatisfied. And she certainly couldn’t make the first move: she was his employer. It was his move to make unless someone wanted a potential lawsuit. When they finally do get together, it’s because Sam says “Dad, you don’t want to lose the friendship, but Angela is so frustrated, you’re going to lose the friendship anyways. IT’S TIME.” I think if, by season 2 when it was obvious they had feelings for each other, Tony had said “By the way, I think you’re pretty and one day we’ll smooch, but I will NEVER have sex with you. This right here is FINE. FOREVER.”, Angela may have focused her energy on someone else.
- Angela’s own mother likes Tony more than her.
- Angela’s business was Tony’s idea: And I hate that. Let the woman be successful with her own business acumen, please.
- Tony WANTS to be the boss: There are gender role episodes where Tony FAILS. After they get together romantically, Tony struggles with Angela having more money. He takes her to crappy places she hates so that he can pay, or fancy places… where he’s MORTIFIED to discover he can’t pay. NO WAY is the woman going to pay! He takes a second job to get her an expensive gift JUST to prove his manhood. In another ep, Tony’s friends rag on him that he’s letting his “woman” be in charge. Tony responds by going all macho and treating Angela like crap- lying to her, bailing on plans, hanging out with babes. (Where did these babes come from?) They make up when he promises to go with her to some girly thing- and then he… BOLTS FOR THE DOOR! Holy shit that was hilarious. Button for the whole episode. OMG the studio audience was LAUGHING! PHEW!
Maybe you disagree with me. Maybe you think Mona is the Boss. Or Johnathan is the Boss. Well, you’re first going to have to prove to me that you’ve watched “Who’s the Boss” recently. Since you can’t stream it, torrent it or buy more than season one on discs, you’re limited to TV play. I stopped life at 4:30 every day for the past whatever months so that I could prepare this opinion piece for you. Okay??
Okay so now I want to wrap up by clarifying something: I like the idea of a supportive house husband. But I am not into Tony Danza! Please stop tagging me in pics of Tony Danza and articles about Tony Danza. I don’t care that Tony Danza is coming to do a talk in my town. In fact once I saw Tony Danza in person and he talked about sitting on the toilet A LOT and he happened to be very sweaty when he was saying it… We all have bad days where we’re sweaty talking about the toilet but now he’s not attractive to me. Nor was he attractive to me when I was a child and he was an adult man. Therefore, I have NEVER been attracted to Tony Danza. OKAY??
As for Tony Michelli, I’m not saying the man is a monster. I’m not even saying he’s that bad of a friend. All I’m saying is, Tony was the Boss. Tony had everything he wanted for years and Angela did not. She wanted more. Angela was trying to please Tony. Tony had the power; Tony was the Boss.
God I’m glad that’s all settled.