MONDO EXTRAS

When Billie Beat Bobby

by Heathen April 25, 2001
When Billie Beat Bobby

"What channel is CBS?" screams Billie Jean. Passersby say they can't get the match because they can't find Hawaii's CBS station -- it has a weak signal. By the way, this television moment is brought to you by ABC. By the time Billie Jean secures a radio, Margaret Court has lost 6-2, 6-1. Billie Jean can't speak. At the venue, Bobby leaps over the net and hugs Margaret, who looks bummed. Bobby looks totally proud of himself, yet at the same time acts as though this was no big deal.

At one match-watching party, women reluctantly whip out their wallets and fork over cash to their gloating hubbies. On TV, Bobby is bragging. "I am the queen of tennis, and I want King bad," he shouts. "I will play her!" This guy is such a blowhard. It's hilarious. My mother recalls him being exactly this way -- a washed-up old egotist, never truly a champion, with nothing going for him but his arrogance and the occasional decent tennis shot. ["So does my mom, who also recalls grumbling at the time of the Court match that Billie Jean could have kicked his ass, and my father agreeing with her." -- Sars]

Stunned, Billie sits on another flight and realizes that she now has to play Bobby. "Riggs is a jerk. He walks like a duck," Rosie says, helpfully. "In a few days, people will forget." Again with the advice! I can see why they remain one of the world's best doubles duos. Pensive, Billie watches as an unsuspecting stewardess gets her ass groped by an obnoxious pilot. "Not a chance," BJ says softly.

And so, in commercial, we transition from Billie Jean King to the very pinnipple -- er, "pinnacle" -- of women's liberation: Britney Spears, who has crusaded for a woman's right to bare arms (and almost anything else), bounce her breasts, and dance for free soda. Nobility, thy initials are B.S.

Cooling down in a hotel suite, Bobby thanks "sweetheart" for calling, telling her she has spunk. Apparently, "some rodeo broad" challenged Bobby to a goat-tying contest. He doesn't want to do it; after all, goat-tying hits too close to home, being an integral part of so many of his favorite, private weekend sexual romps. The Court-Riggs promoter has offered Bobby fifty thousand dollars to play anyone else, and Jerry Perenchio says he'll promote a match against Chris Evert and give Bobby three times that much. "I can turn this into a national event, just like I did with Ali-Frazier," he says. Ali MacGraw and Joe Frazier fought each other? Head-to-head yoga? Stretch to the death? Bobby flat-out decides he doesn't want to play Chrissie. "People are going to feel so sorry for her, I don't want to look like a bad guy," Bobby says, a portrait of deluded sincerity. "What I really want is King; she won't go near me." Perenchio promises he'll get Billie Jean. "I'd play for free!" crows Bobby, then he chokes a desperate, "Kidding! Kidding." He pauses. "That would be terrific," Bobby spittles, horking enough saliva to turn Stonehenge into Atlantis II: Waterlogged Boogaloo. Bobby then becomes insane. "I could be a sex symbol at age 55!" he grins. Paging Mental Clarity. You're wanted in Aisle 55.

The subtitle reads, "King vs. Status Quo, Part II." Billie Jean has gathered the women's tennis players into a room and is arguing for a new association -- the Women's Tennis Association, it'll be called -- that will lobby for pay equity in the sport. "We'll be seeing women players making a million a year," Billie Jean insists, wildly. She tosses Chrissie Evert a clipboard and says no one can leave until they've passed this initiative. A rich, throaty Ovary Of Gender Equality warbles in the background as the clipboard makes the rounds.

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When Billie Beat Bobby

by Heathen April 25, 2001
When Billie Beat Bobby Billie Jean is in Tokyo at this time, flying back to the US and panicking because the match will have ended by the time they land in Hawaii. Her doubles partner, a woman called Rosie Casales who is also a tennis player and may well have been Billie Jean's first foray (of many) into lesbianism, corrects her on the time difference and exposits that they'll be able to see the third set in Honolulu. She signs autographs for some Japanese lasses, one of whom shouts in subtitles, "Margaret Court will kill Riggs!" Stupid, naïve girls. Didn't you read the movie title? "Women rule!" shouts the other girl. 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.

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