It’s the old trio in room 407 Dana , Faith and Shelley , and they’ve been thrown for a loop Canby Hall is opening it’s doors ( for a trial basis ) for three boys. Sheffield Adams an excrusiatingly cool black guy who plays the blues on his trumpet , Terry
O’Shaughnessy a handsome writer , and nerdy geek Keith Milton. The story kicks off with a fire drill over which the girls drag their feet – no wonder it’s during the middle of the night and are slightly embarrassed by the boys because everyone has a grungiest ,
kookiest , craziest robe competition going on. This brings to mind Molly Ringwalds cool vintage satin pink printed robe in Pretty in Pink. While the girls trudge back inside Faith notices Sheff brought his trumpet with him and is dressed to kill in a purple sweatpants and a cream colored muscle t shirt and is treated to a private serenade when later she hears the strains of Blue Gardenia drifting up from under her window. A 40’s cool-twist on Say Anything’s Boom box serenade! Later on Dana writes to her sister to say Happy Birthday and can’t help gushing about Terry O’Shaughnessy when she goes to mail the letter she changes into navy cords , a pale yellow shirt and a pink sweater vest. Irronically though she is feeling fickle she still heads over to Randy’s for dinner ( Randy is her steady boyfriend – who lives on a big ranch / farm near the school ) she says going to his home is like visiting Little House on the Prairie! I love how the writers can not only nail and pinpoint emotions in the Canby Hall characters but explore them – Dana admits that she’s not too sure if she likes the atmosphere that surrounds Randy – his home , the horses , the stability , more than she actually likes Randy. A thought made more complicated by her attraction to Terry. Mulling this over she runs into Casey ( their good friend ) talking with Keith Milton whom Faith has dubbed Milnerd! Rushing back to her room to tell Faith Casey might be in love
dragging out the suspense for latecomer Shelley until- and I love this sentense – ‘she pinched them both to make them tell faster’ Pinching! I remember doing that or rather having it done to me! I had this friend who loved to pinch , when she was excited or angry or just feeling goofy watch out! She would grab you arm and squeeze!
Dana’s dilemma over the two boys reaches a cressendo at the traditional pancake breakfast at Canby Hall , amid mouthwatering discriptions of luschious pancakes so tasty Faith seriously continplates mailing her brother a pancake! ( and great food descriptions in Canby Hall are a rareity – they discribe their cafeteria food with the usual gross-out mystery meat complaints ) When Randy rides out to join the pancake breakfast and annual Hurry Spring pageant – Dana thinks he looks dashing until Terry looks at him like he is the ‘biggest gobbler’ I was stumped over this bit of slang until I was like oh! forehead slap! I got it! –
Gobbler/turkey! He was basically looking at him like he was a turkey – I had never heard that bit of slang before gobbler – that’s pretty neat. Suddenly Randy loses his dashing appeal pretty quick and Dana instantly lies to Terry saying she doesn’t know the boy before rushing off to get ready for the Hurry up Spring pageant. After ransacking the basement of the drama room for moth-eaten tulip gowns , old animal suits and as example for the pageants humor recalls last years – Spring-steen affair performing rock songs they quickly assemble some spring grab. But the pageant is less organised basically a free-for-all with Dana hamming it up singing tiptoe through the tulips! And Sheff showing off with his trumpet. Afterwards Dana tells Randy they can’t go out that day because she has to go into town to support Faith getting a new hairstyle – when Terry comes up and reveals her lie by saying see you in half an hour. Randy naturally rides off in a huff.
Meanwhile Sheff tells Faith he’s glad she’s got a football player ( actually I think he’s a baseball player ) boyfriend because if she fell for him , he’d mess up her life and she’d be so gone on him she wouldn’t be able to do her schoolwork. She is so astonished it takes her a while to tell well obviously – that he’s the most concieted boy she’s ever met. As for Casey and Keith – he dressed in ping pong ball antennae and yellow and black t shirt from the hurry spring pagent – bet you guessed he’s a bee but guess this – he’s sitting with Casey and her costume is long underwear , that she had covered in library paste and rolled in cotton balls – Pollen!
Dana who likes to write tries to make her move on Terry who also likes to write with a corny poem the old stand by roses are red – but ending with – I’d like to go for a pizza with you. But finding the note gone and he’s not exactly beating a path to accept she goes looking for him. My favorite sentence however is when she looks for him in the cafeteria – ‘Lunch was cod sticks and beets and Terry wasn’t in the cafertia.’ – was anybody?! I laughed like crazy over the unintentional pun. Then she does what Faith has dubbed lunatic thinking – zooming past reasonable explanations for the lunatic ones before discovering that Terry has made the soccer team as assistant coach , though this doesn’t explain things it takes a while for Dana to figure out whats going on though the reader gets it. Meanwhile Casey confesses her love for the Milnerd. Dana says affectionately he’s our nerd to ease Casey’s worry that nobody likes him. and Faith ditches her usual date with Johnny to go to the mixer – and spends two hours getting ready -glitter eye make-up and a worthy fashion discussion of wether ties look good on girls – in my opinion ties only look good in the heyday of new wave – slim girls in high toothbrush bristle hairdos and rad 80’s threads other than that ties tend to look rather masculine. I love the outfit Faith settles on – It sounds dynamite – white silk spaghetti strap camisole , black slacks and a vintage black satin tuxedo jacket. Shelley’s boyfriend Tom spots the glammed up Faith at the mixer and before Shelley can stop him he’s calling up his friend Johnny , telling him he better come to the mixer, pronto. That’s the great thing about the girls of Canby Hall , the writer always surprised you by doing something interesting and unexpected. Most guys in other characters in series fiction didn’t really look out for one another – Even their fights are more realistic – after Johnny punches Sheff ( yup he came to the mixer ) , Sheff says fighting would only make Faith a prize and she’s her own woman , she has to be won by heart. Pretty
heavy. But for all Dana’s confusion about where she stands with Terry instead of going to the dependable house matron Allison, she calls up a local psychic Madame Irene who lives in a pastel trailer park. Amid all the typical gyspy trappings and victorian
settings is a rattan chair with a high peacock back – typical 70’s-80’s I love those chairs! I think Magnum P.I. had one. Madame Irene doesn’t tell Dana what she wants to hear but tells Faith that she’s taken a picture of the man she’s going to marry but hasn’t met and that for now – to thine own self be true. Faith cringes at her purple fingernails and relaxed dare I say Jeri curls?! Part
of her sophisticated image.
Dana runs out to Randy’s early in the morning to break up with him and does it under a double rainbow , I don’t even mind that Randy makes her walk serveral miles back to school. Later the boys room in the basement is trashed and they seek revenge.
While Dana hunts for her feather barrettes a green foil wrapped package containing a bullfrog is sent to Faith , a goofy poem is turned in under Dana’s name and Shelley is taunted during play practise everytime she opens her mouth to deliver her lines a
chicken clucks over the loudspeaker. The last joke was for Casey Flint – in the cafeteria the boy’s rig up a rubber hand emerging from the steam table’s beef stroganoff which has the proper effect on the wrong person – the Headmistress has brought some
benefactors around who have spotted the hand first and of course freaked out.
To make up for it the boys with the girls having made up and realizing the culprits were actually the girls townie boyfriends assemble a huge ‘bouquet’ on Patrice Allyardyce’s lawn for her to see first thing when she looks out her window, complete with an oversized apology ‘note’. Later they plot the revenge on their boyfriends – with the boys comfortable now , with just being
friends – Dana has found out that Terry was never available and was checking out the school for his girlfriend. The revenge is never played out but discussed as possibley painting their boyfriends cars with washable paint.
All this talk of boys invading a girls school made me think of a little known series that spun off from the popular sitcom Growing Pains back in 1988. It was called Just the Ten of us and was one of my favorite t.v. shows. It was about Mike Seaver’s coach Graham T. Lubbuck who moves his enormous family from their tiny apartment in the city to a small town in California to coach a football team at a catholic school called St. Auggies ( an all boys school! ) – unknown to him an old student of his had to wrangle the job for him. They are given a huge house to live in and boy do they need it! The kids include – 16 year old Marie. The fraternal twins 15 year old Cindy and Wendy , 14 year old Constance ‘Connie’ , 12 year old Graham junior – called J.R. , 8 year old Sherry , toddler Harvey and baby Melissa – whose still in the womb in the first few episodes. Since it came out around the same time as Married with Children it tried to keep an edge and often lifted some eyebrows over the fact that many of the jokes poked light fun at catholics – a smarmy , scheming priest ( Frank Bonner from WKRP in Cincinnati ) , a tottering nun , but also because the girls were boy-crazy. The first episode has Graham glad that he is finally in a home in which he doesn’t have to lock the doors – until he hears the glee-club all boys starting up again outside – singing to his daughterS – Welcome to our World. He runs back down the stairs , locks the door , latches the chain and shoves a chair under the handle!
The show was usually stolen by the antics of the older girls – Wendy’s schemes and wielding ways often lead the group into constant trouble. Cindy whose bubbleheaded naivity made her an easy chump though she always came out on top. Marie a borderline neurotic with ambitions of becoming a nun was quick to try and sabotage Wendy’s schemes only to find herself
being dragged deeper into them. Connie the writer was quick to take notes and potshots.
In the second season the girls began singing at a pizza place calling themselves The Lubbock Babes which became a regular thing – I thing they appeared four or five times as the Lubbock Babes.
Being at the all boy school usually gave the girls an advantage – they could pick up any guy they wanted – here’s an example when Cindy and Wendy went trolling for a geek to pass their fathers dinner test at the library – ( the dinner test decides wether a guy is worthy to take out his daughter – no guys usually make it to the main course ) they come across nice guy – Matthew Perry asking if they can call him Bill , he replies you can call me anything as long as you keep talking to me! Meanwhile Marie battled lusting over young men who flex their shapely buttocks with her calling and was often torn between her heydey as one of the Lubbock babes – abandoning her glasses and high necked blouses for spandex and clevage to calling Wendy a Judas for
dating Cindy’s current boyfriend. Connie was able in her own right to cause a stir among the boys especially after writing a steamy poem about a boy with a purple rose in his lapel – causing all the boys in her class to adopt the look. slightly dim J.R. runs into his own problems when he discovers students will be dropping out of St. Auggies due to a possible tuition raise brags to his sisters – Now I’ll have my pick of the available babes. You idiot Wendy says – You’re sisters are the only available babes. He grumbles – it’s
The fashion on Just the ten of us was phenomenal – a great slice of late 80’s kitsch and color because the girls wavered between average schoolgirls with above average looks and on Friday nights sung at the local pizzaria and played rock-star dress up.
Wendy’s style fluctuated between what was going on – that vampy , dress-up Heathers-look of stylish jackets , skirts and blouses in bold bright colors , lots of dress down sweats – the fleece lined kind with the elastic sweater cuffs , pale sweatshirts with stone washed jeans , fake suspenders attatched to t-shirts , real suspenders , gussied up t shirts – three quarter length sleeve with
knotted detail at the end of the v neck – this was actually a twist on a style that came out strong – an updated Marilyn Monroe look , Wendy also embraced the ‘slut/rockstar’ look – lots of spandex ,neon bright florals , big hot pink circle earrings split with black zigzagging bolts , bustiers , clingly dresses with straps made of elastic suspender material , bleached jeans , crop
tops , high waisted pants , foldover jeans and a school jacket covered with pin-backs , school medals , and little pins. Her purse was usually a mustard yellow leather slouchy boho purse. She wore bobby socks , slouch socks , heels and running shoes. Wendy had the best blonde head of hair ever! in fact the actress Brooke Theiss is responsible for those great Maxie Doll commercials – I loved watching those as a kid – she looked so much like the doll ( unlike Barbie – nobody looked like Barbie ). Wendy’s hair embraced the whole bigger is better theme in the 80’s and it never looked better – it was lemony-blonde fluffy permed and enveloped her head like a sunlit cloud. Her hairstyles fluctuated depending on the episode – she used plastic hair clips pulling the sides back anchored with one clip , she wore banana clips which gave you the look of a permed mane , she did her hair in
curly sideswept – pulling back one side and anchoring it with combs. And for cheerleading she even
displayed bang-less whalespot – top of the head ponytails.
Marie’s style was usually low-key calf length skirts and blouses , a gold cross , cardigans and bobby socks with flats , irronically she carried a purse that revealed her old fashioned style it was either an update on an old classic – a patent leather box purse with a bakelite handle or it really was a vintage fifties purse. When she cut loose as one of the Lubbock babes – she wore spandex lace edged capri leggings under spandex dresses – mostly black , turquoise gloves with lace ruffle cuufs once even a spandex catsuit with ruffley chiffon straps. Marie’s hair was dark and wavy downright curly when she was a Lubbock babe but quite often she wore her hair coiled back at the sides and coming together in a ponytail. Sometimes she would gather the top part in the same buffont poof Cindy made and clipped it in place witha heavy spray of bangs.
Cindy, though certainly the most voluptuous of the sisters with the most gorgeous hair, was not the most flashy dresser in fact she really downplayed her style , she was often seen in what was in style for the late 80’s – tiny floral print cotton shirts under cardigans, corduroy straight skirts – above the knee length, black jeans , purple soft knit v necks , pale colored straight skirts
( usually made with a touch of elastic – they clung to curves ) , walking shorts , cardigans , and occationally the dressy suit – puffed sleeve fitted jackets, pale pink , with tight skirt and color coordinated envelope purse. Her daffy personality exploded when she became a Lubbock babe – off the shoulder tops , tiered lace skirts , one outfit was haphazzardly dress-up and clash-y with yellow polka-dotted off the shoulder top – the tiered lace skirt with gathered rosette side , and white polka-dotted pantyhose! Cindy’s hair was looong a mass of fluff and waves of cinnamon -auburn her style was hard to duplicate – the top part was gathered in a poof held in place with a long hidden barrette and her bangs were teased and sprayed into a slight mist over her forehead.
She often wore her hair in a side braid, a side ponytail, and sometimes a bright colorful clip was immersed in one side of her hair – that was very stylish or sometimes it just long and loose. In one episode a tiny mini bun was created just behind her bangs at the top of her head for added interest.
Constance ‘Connie’ with her hoarse husky voice and ambitions of becoming a writer was a bit of a tomboy – she was the closest, of the daughters, to her dad and often played basketball with him and her clothes often revealed this – she wore slashed jeans ( now in the late 80’s slashed jeans weren’t a couple of descreet rips here and there – check out the picture – the slashes run horizontal up the leg – dozens of frayed slashes , the more frayed the better – these were done usually on pale bleached jeans ) Connie also wore button down shirts in pastel prints , colorful t shirts with vests , black capri footless leggings under denim skirts and her hair often in pigtails or ponytails or side ponytails were adorned with either – several different colored terrycloth elastics or vibrant plastic hairclips – my favorite are the rarely seen – see-thru florescent green plastic hair clips. Her other fashion statement was what I and my friends called Dirty-dancing cut-offs they are the above the knee cut off jeans – cuffed of course. She also wore tank style dresses over sweaters , cut off – cuffed denim overalls and during her Lubbock babe transformation wore baggy satin pants – black , a black camisole top trimmed with red lace and pointy boots , later on her rock-star outfits would include bright
orange off-the shoulder tops , flared dark floral skirts – that always make me think of fruit cocktail! and her accessories
were neon! – Fab stretchy bracelets of clashing neon greeny-yellow and hoop earrings. Jean jackets made appearances
– Cindy had a rust colored one , Connie dark denim , and Wendy’s was cut high , a short pale denim jacket with
Neon colors popped up in accessories – most standout Wendy’s backpack – splashed with spatters
of neon bright colors.