Heads up: your wife has thought about divorcing you. Not that she wants to divorce you, not that she’s unhappy with you or your life together. Just that she’s thought “What if?” This is all based on my very scientific study of asking happily married women I know if they have daydreams about leading a different life. And at least in my experience, the happiest ones have most enthusiastically acknowledged imagining what they’d be doing if they hadn’t met their partners.
I’m not saying that this is exclusive to women. Married men clearly have the same thoughts, but those are more publicly accepted in the forms of Man Caves and City Slicker movies. When men are the main characters in Hall Pass, we all sort of understand. If it were women, we’d all wonder what’s wrong with their marriage.
And it’s why even though Hindsight is mostly 90s nostalgia driven fluff, it’s also more subversive than it seems. On the eve of her second wedding, Becca is having doubts about her marriage to Andy. Andy is very nice. And devoted. And cute. But he’s clearly boring. Through some unexplained elevator magic possibly arranged by a mysterious stranger, Becca wakes up 20 years earlier on the morning of her first wedding to Sean. Sean is hot. And he has long hair. And he’s passionate. And it was clearly never going to work.
But while those diametrically opposed men are as clichéd as the Madonna-whore complex, they have surprisingly little to do with the next three episodes. Instead Becca focuses on preventing a friendship ending fight with her old BFF, getting out of a dead end job before it ruins her career, and generally engaging in activities that she missed out on her first time around (it’s a one- night stand).
So while I appreciate that Becca uses her magical time traveling escapade for more than just fixing her love life, the draw of the show comes down to one sentence: HELL YES, FEMALE TIME TRAVELER.
You guys, we never get to time travel. Like never. We are Sarah Connor, not Kyle Reese. We’re Jennifer Parker, not Marty McFly. We’re Rachel McAdams in several of her recent movies, not the men she marries. And it’s bullshit. We think about time travel too. We imagine what we’d do if we could go back and do it all over. We know what we’d change. But we never get to be the one that travels. And don’t start with Peggy Sue Got Married. I am not willing to accept one movie from 30 years ago as sufficient female time travelers.
And we should get our own time travelers. Because time traveling is the ultimate “What if?” The sci-fi element is fun to talk about theoretically, but the reason people are drawn to the idea of time travel is the Get Out of Jail Free- ness it offers. Want to know how your life might have been if you’d dropped out of college to follow that band? Time travel. Or if you hadn’t screwed up in high school and got into that college? Time travel. Or are you wondering what it would be like if you’d married that co- worker instead of you husband? Time travel that shit.
Of course it’s not just the female time traveler that makes Hindsight subversive. It’s great, but not subversive. What makes it subversive is this: the thing that propels Becca 20 years in the past is that she doesn’t really want to get married. Up until a couple of generations ago, women were told the only thing they should want is to get married. And almost anyone would do. Hell, 20 years ago we still had nationally bestselling books about essentially tricking men into marrying us. It’s not necessarily a huge milestone to watch a woman reject a marriage and travel through time to find out “What if.” But damnit if it’s not fun.