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Chosen One of the Day: Ms. Petrie from D.E.B.S.
The years of the late '90s and early aughts gave us a good helping of queer classics. There’s But I’m a Teenager and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. There's Imagine Me & You and Bound. But only one of those has Holland Taylor saying, and I quote, “DUDES.” And that film is D.E.B.S.
D.E.B.S. is the work of writer/director Angela Robinson, who two years ago was responsible for the underrated Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. D.E.B.S., Robinson’s first feature, has substantially more schoolgirls-turned-elite-super-spies than Professor Marston. One might say Professor Marston has … no schoolgirls-turned-elite-super-spies? It’s OK. We still love it.
Those super-spies work at an elite academy run by Ms. Petrie, played to hilarious perfection by Holland Taylor. A legend among the D.E.B.S., Ms. Petrie loves power suits, publicity, and taking credit when her star pupil, Amy (Sara Foster), does something right. Too bad that Amy falls in love at first sight with an elite supercriminal named Lucy Diamond (Jordana Brewster of the Fast and Furious movies) who has an obsession with blowing up Australia.
D.E.B.S. is ridiculous in the best ways, from its outrageous early '00s spytech to a pre-Westworld/It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Jimmy Simpson popping up to deliver the chestnut "Love ... is harder than crime." Ms. Petrie is the icing on top of this lesbian camp cake. Most of the time, she doesn't even talk to people directly, preferring instead to flit around via hologram. Honestly, goals. And, again, because I cannot stress this enough: This is the vocal inflection when she says the word "DUDES" at the D.E.B.S' annual prom.
And yes, the teenage-girls-turned-super-spies do have a prom. I'm telling you. Watch D.E.B.S.