During the broadcast, a commentator introduces pretty young Chrissie Evert and asks her to pick a winner. She picks Margaret -- joke's on her! "She's stronger and faster than Bobby," Chrissie says. Her beau, Jimmy Connors, sits next to her and snickers, because the only fast women he knows are the ones from the street corner who, for a small fee, will sit on his lap and spin. Margaret walks out to shake Bobby's hand, and of course her husband walks with her. I mean, who knows when he might need servicing by his little wifey. Bobby presents Mags with "a beautiful bunch of roses for a beautiful mother on Mother's Day." The commentator orgasms that Bobby is such a wonderful gentleman and has made such a wonderful gesture and isn't he just wonderful and aren't we impressed! Rifling through a few apropos responsive gestures, I settle on a fist up the anus, but Margaret instead opts for a curtsey. Yeah, honey, Marie Antoinette used to curtsey, too, and she lost her head. I'm just saying.
On the plane, Billie Jean freaks out because the pilots are fucking MEN! No, wait, it's because they won't update the score of the match and won't speed up the plane for her. The stewardess -- not "flight attendant," see -- says she bet one month of her salary that Margaret would win. "Are you freakin' nuts?" Rosie asks, gaping. Billie Jean just smiles.
Margaret clears her throat and looks around her, clearly wowed and cowed by the crowd and its obvious fascination with a match she thought was just for kicks. Bouncing the ball, she makes a motion to serve, then calls it off and kicks the ground. She's wearing a bright yellow and lime-green tennis dress. She looks like Sprite. As the audience quiets down, Margaret whiffs her first serve, then nets a forehand in the next rally. Jimmy Connors grimaces. He hates when women mishandle balls. Chrissie looks concerned, probably because she bet Jimmy she'd marry him if Margaret lost. "It's just one point," someone calls out to Margaret. Intent on proving that she's a consistent player, Margaret messes up all her other shots, too. Bobby handles the situation with all the delicacy one would expect -- he feigns concern for her breakdown, plays trick shots, dances around the court, and won't do her the courtesy of breaking a sweat. As Margaret's gaffes, Bobby's tomfoolery, and the cringe quotient all increase, kicky music plays to punctuate the farcical, garden-party "I say, anyone for tennis?" atmosphere Bobby's cultivating with all his behind-the-back shots and pity-the-poor-woman glances.
Billie Jean dashes off the plane toward a coin-operated airport TV. Frustrated, Billie roots through her purse, but all she has is yen…a serious yen for a good woman, that is. As Bobby takes the first set 6-2, Billie fails to see any of it. We see Margaret's shadow on the court, and she misses the ball on yet another serve. "You okay, sweetheart?" Bobby asks, with all the sincerity of Pamela Anderson at an anti-silicone rally.
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A commercial! Wow. Has anyone noticed that there are other black actors, and indeed black families, besides the Wayans brothers? Because, you know, some of them might actually not suck on a sitcom, unlike the aforementioned.
On Mother's Day in 1973, Margaret Court faces off against Bobby in San Diego. The promoter blathers about how, with an audience in London, Australia, Japan, Mexico, and Canada, "more people will see this than died in World War II," so why don't we just take this snazzy implication the logical step further and flat-out state that this match is more important. Sure, we could all be Nazi fascists, but we'd still lie awake at night and wonder if a woman could take a set off an aging portly hustler. A limo pulls up and Margaret steps out timidly, dressed in lime-green and toting her husband and baby, because she knows her damn role. A tacky mariachi band -- and really, is there any other kind? -- croons a Spanish song about "Margarita…flower of the fields," and Margaret looks appropriately stunned and sick. The subtitles translating the song are enormous, a total throwback to seventies-style technology. You know some ABC intern worked unpaid nights just to craft the perfect antiquated font, all so we could dream our way back to simpler times, when Dennis Rodman was just a glint in some mad scientist's eye and Dick Clark was a spry 63 years old. Margaret and her husband look bothered and ease their way toward the tennis court.
In a giant leap forward for the women's movement, Margaret wins…the toss, and Johnny Carson gleefully tosses out the "tails" jokes and proceeds to write "Bobby watched Margaret get heads" into his monologue. This coin toss earns her the chance to select the brand of tennis ball used for the match, and given that she exudes the kind of American patriotism that only an Australian can, she's given the three ball options atop a dish cloth printed to match the US flag. Margaret reaches for one ball. "That's a mistake, sweetheart, that one's too heavy for your type of game," Bobby slurs helpfully. She looks blankly at him, stopping short of saying, "I'm married, asshole, so I know from balls." The crowd is silent. "Margaret," Bobby smarms, "I just want you to play your best, and this ball isn't it." She can't speak, she's so annoyed and distracted. "You're carrying the banner for women all over the world, but you can't let that get to you," Bobby offers, soothingly. He continues his blustery posturing, trying to psych out Margaret, who has apparently never encountered a "chauvinist" before and doesn't know how to flip the bird at one. The screen splits: Margaret edges into a golf cart and speeds away, and on the left side, Bobby flaps his gums. "If I can't play for a lot of money, I'll play for a little money," he grins. "And if I can't play for a little money, I'll stay in bed." The crowd laughs appreciatively, egging him on, and laughs again when Bobby predicts he'll join the women's tour. Little do they know he'll do so, successfully, under the pseudonym "Martina Navratilova."
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