Posted: July 30, 2008 in FBI, Kitsch, Spy Dames We Wish Were Real

After yesterday’s entry, this Agent is requiring a little levity. Levity in the form of a guilty pleasure. Oh, guilty pleasures, they’ll get you in trouble every time…

Mary Gross and Rebecca De Mornay star as Elli and Janis in the 1988, fluffball comedy “Feds” as two FBI trainees who couldn’t be more different, but team-up to get each other through their training.

Girl Power and Sisterhood aside, the movie does has something to offer (other than co-star and former presidential candidate Fred Thompson) and that is: the recruitment process.

Now clearly, this Agent is not suggesting that a movie of this nature is going to be terribly accurate, but again, there has to be some element of truth to the proceedings. De Mornay is former military, Gross is a brainiac. If you want Special Agent status in the FBI you have to be a little of both. Rigorous testing, interviewing, and security checks are performed on potential recruits before they are accepted. And the story doesn’t end there. Recruits are then put through 17 weeks of intense training at the FBI Quantico facility, where by, at the end, you must learn constitutional law, investigative procedure, how to defend yourself, and how not to get innocent people killed in the process, less you want to get the boot.

The thing to remember is the FBI is a law enforcement agency. Aside from requesting their applicants to have a big brain, the FBI also puts their trainees through physical training that some say is more stringent than the military. Throughout the film “Feds”, one sees the instruction of hand-to-hand combat, firearms, interviewing techniques, forensics training, lots of test taking, enduring male chauvinism, and all while reliving the wonderful existence of college dorm life. You see a smidgen of training in Silence of the Lambs, but this movie is certainly a lot more fun.

And let’s get back to that male chauvinism bit: while the feds have come a long way in employing women, it isn’t without the occasional set back. The FBI only just swore in its first women (Susan Lynn Roley and Joanne E Pierce) back in 1972. Since then there have been charges of harassment, protests over lack of promotion, and allegations of discrimination. And let’s not forget that nonsense about the Feds spying on the League of Women Voters back in 2006. Seriously, what the heck was that about?.

The point is, no matter how long it took the gents to get their act together and include the dames, the FBI is a government entity, it does take time to catch up, and it is not going to be without its unique set of problems: just like the rest of the world.

And one thing to admire about this silly bit of cinema is this: sisterhood. It’s a tough life out there for the skirts of this world and instead of tearing each other down, women really ought to be helping a fellow sister out.

So watch the movie, enjoy Elli and Janis ripping it up, and then throw your hat in the ring, ladies. Change won’t come if all the good broads watch from the sidelines.


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