Although the show was initially intended to feature Kate Jackson, then the best known actress of the three, it was Farrah Fawcett-Majors who became the most recognizable icon. Due to some “cheesecake” publicity photos, including a swimsuit poster that quickly appeared on the bedroom walls of every thirteen-year-old boy in America, and a mane of cascading blonde hair, Farrah quickly became a fad.
Farrah Fawcett-Majors – A Pop Icon
Her icon appearred on T-shirts and on toy shelves as Farrah dolls swept the nation. The show became known as “Jiggle TV” and “T&A TV” (or “Tits and Ass television”) by critics who believed that the show had no intelligence or substance and that the scantily or provocatively dressed Angels (generally as part of their undercover character — e.g., roller derby girl, beauty pageant contestant, maid, female prisoner or just bikini-clad) did so to showcase the figures and/or sexuality of the actresses as a sole means of attracting viewers. Farrah Fawcett-Majors once attributed the show’s success to this fact, “When the show was number three, I figured it was our acting. When it got to be number one, I decided it could only be because none of us wears a bra.”
With Charlie’s Angels, Spelling spun a new formula that would attract desirable demographics among young men and women: He combined detective drama with the glamorous fantasy that would become his staple in the 1980s with Dynasty and the 1990s with Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place. Not only were his Angels beautiful and sexy, they were smart and powerful heroines who used provocative attraction (and feminine, often feigned, vulnerability) to lure and capture unsuspecting male criminals. Though Charlie’s Angels was among TV’s first dramas to instill female characters with typically male “powers” via a dominant subject position, the show’s critics, including infuriated feminists, countered that Charlie’s Angels was little more than a patriarchal production that sexually objectified its characters.