13 Questions from A Man’s First Time Viewing of Reba’s “Fancy” Video

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In 1969, Bobbie Gentry released “Fancy,” the tale of a young woman overcoming poverty to become a successful woman. Of course, she found success as a prostitute, but Gentry said of the song, “‘Fancy’ is my strongest statement for women’s lib, if you really listen to it. I agree wholeheartedly with that movement and all the serious issues that they stand for — equality, equal pay, day care centers, and abortion rights. ”

Reba’s 1990 take on the tune is likely the one most music fans have come to know and love, especially after the video was released. The video shows Fancy as an adult going back to visit the homestead where she grew up and where “mama washed and combed and curled” her hair before imploring her to be nice to the gentlemen. And though the song and the video have become an absolute classic in the hearts of many, one man in our office had somehow never seen the video for the song.

The viewing of the video actually brought up some great questions that should probably be addressed:

1. Did this video inspire any television shows?
2. Did this video inspire the Don Draper flashbacks in “Mad Men”?
3. Did this video inspire “True Detective”?
4. How much did that cab ride cost Fancy?

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5. Was this video shot in Louisiana?
6. Was this video shot in Kentucky?
7. Does the Golden Rule apply to prostitution too?
8. Could Kelsea Ballerini release this song today?
9. Could anybody release this song today?
10. Is Fancy a real person?
11. Why does she say she never went back, but the video shows her going back?
12. Can you criticize your mama in the South?
13. Is this really a feel-good story?

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A few of these questions really stand out:

First and foremost, does the Golden Rule apply to situations where one is forced into prostitution? I can’t answer that. Can anyone?
Second, could Kelsea Ballerini or anyone else release this song today without backlash? Doubtful. It is literally a song about overcoming poverty by getting into prostitution. No one wants to hear that story, right? Right. Carrie Underwood probably couldn’t even get away with it.
If this is a feel-good story, it’s one of the weirder ones of our time.
And no, you can’t publicly criticize your mama in the South.