CLASSIC MOVIE MONDAY: Pour Yourself a Cup of Ambition with 9 to 5

Break out your hog ties and a box of Skinny and Sweet because it’s time for another installment of Classic Movie Monday, where I sift through Netflix’s Classic section so you aren’t stuck watching Zombeavers.

I’ve been watching a lot of Grace and Frankie lately so I decided to revisit a classic Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda film, 9 to 5, which also stars Dolly Parton. Lily Tomlin plays Violet Newstead, a businesswoman who works for a large conglomerate called Consolidated Companies, Jane Fonda plays newly divorced Judy Bernly who is working her first job ever, and Dolly Parton is perfect as Doralee Rhodes the bombshell secretary of sleazy and egotistical Franklin Hart (Dabney Coleman), the ladies’ boss.

The film begins with Violet (Tomlin) showing newbie Judy (Fonda) around the office and telling her how things run at Consolidated. Despite being at the company for years, and training Hart herself, Violet has been leap frogged by men her entire career, peaking as a senior office supervisor. Constantly peeking over Violet’s shoulder and hiding in bathroom stalls is office spy Roz (Elizabeth Wilson), who constantly reports back to Mr. Hart.

When we meet Hart for the first time we see that not only is he a misogynistic asshole (he constantly yells at Violet to bring him coffee even though that’s far below her job description), he’s also a lying scumbag. He spreads his own little rumor that he is having an affair with his secretary Doralee (Dolly Parton). Poor Doralee is oblivious of this fact until the middle of the movie and doesn’t understand why no one in the office likes her.

As the film progresses, Hart shows more and more of his supreme assholiness. Judy, Violet, and Doralee all share a drunken, marijuana induced slumber party and start to fantasize about how they would murder their boss if they could get away with it. Violet takes a Disney approach, dressed as Snow White and poisoning Hart’s coffee with rat poison rather than his signature Skinny and Sweet. Doralee, in prime Dolly Parton fashion, envisions hog tying the bastard and treating him the same way he treats her—as nothing more than a piece of meat. Judy’s fantasy involves a fox hunt and Hart running for his life.

Without spoiling the rest of the film, fantasy accidentally blends into reality and the girls get themselves into a bit of a pickle. They make lemonade out of lemons though, and end up changing the office for the better while simultaneously being horrible people. Like any good feminist anthem, the film pushes for equal pay for women, day care in the work space, shared work programs, and the ability for women to rise up into leadership positions.


Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda are fantastic together in Grace and Frankie and frankly Lily Tomlin is even better in 9 to 5. The only thing I’m left wanting is a Dolly Parton cameo in the Netflix series.


Here’s some trivia to get you through the workday:


- This was Dolly Parton’s film debut

- Dolly Parton accepted the role with the condition that she would write and sing the movie’s theme song

- Jane Fonda really pushed for this film to get made and this was the third film her production company was involved in