Oh hell yeah I totally shipped Helen and Nikki from Bad Girls, it was the first season of a show that took its time to meticulously cultivate a relationship between a jailer and her ward for over 3 seasons. Sure NOW in 2016 the dialogue and style of the series seems a bit dated, however this show TOOK ITS SWEET TIME TO GROW THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO LEADS and best of all is the only prison show to date to have a long hoped for happy ending for at least one lesbian character in Larkhall prison.
Helen Stewart could arguably be Bea Smith, given that she ran Lark Hall (Like Bea Smith unofficially ran Wentworth Prison) and had no experience with lesbianism and found herself attracted to Nikki Wade. You know immediately that there is something going on with Helen from the start because she takes a kind and empathetic approach to Nikki Wade with even befuddles Nikki at first.
However Nikki Wade is NO Allie Novak, Nikki is a bit older a bit tougher a little more butch and I remember when Nikki broke out of prison and ended up at Helen Stewart’s flat. Did they sleep together? Shit I really don’t remembver but I think that they finally did sleep together and Helen (so as not to jeopardize Nikki’s appeal of her conviction) actually drives Wade BACK To prison and sneaks her in.
Yeah I know it’s highly implausible, seemingly extemporaneous and peppered unnecessarily with high drama, but you must remember that the writers had 31 or so episodes to create and so they needed to create back stories like: Helen having been raised by a Presbyterian minister after her mother died and her leaving University, and full of ideals, Helen was fast-tracked into the prison system with the System’s graduate training scheme.
Similar to Bea Smith, Helen also wanted a structured life – and she wanted to feel she can make a difference in the world. With a natural sense of justice and an instinctive empathy for those in prison due to a hard life, Helen had all the gifts of the perfect Governor – although her constant fighting with the “Old Boys Network” left her always trying to prove herself, and the inmates life stories and problems tended to take an emotional toll on her.
Talented and intelligent, Helen was always fighting prejudice and internal demons – and her uncompromising stance made her unpopular with some inmates and older colleagues like Hollamby and Fenner. Usually a stickler for the rules, Helen found herself in love with Nikki Wade – and did a few unprofessional (and even illegal) things because of it – but she always considered the moral implications of her actions. Helena Stewart found her: “Happily Ever After” with Nikki Wade
Nikki Wade ran a gay bar with her girlfriend, Trisha. Nikki was brought up by middle-class parents – her father a senior Naval officer and her mother a gin-and-bridge Navy wife. Nikki was expelled from boarding school for ‘lesbian activities’ – her parents, and her married solicitor brother rejected her.
Nikki is a “lipstick lesbian” but with a hard edge to her personality, Nikki’s an out-and-proud lesbian, and her parents rejection lead Nikki to run away from home and travel the world.
Nikki was streetwise and aware of her image, constantly aware of her status. A natural sense of justice ensured that Nikki will look out for the more vulnerable inmates. Being a murderer gave Nikki some respect and fear – and she’ll used this to her advantage. Above all, Nikki’s no one’s fool – and it took a lot of effort for Helen to win her trust. But Nikki’s also fiercely jealous – it almost drove her to the point of self-destruction.
So why couldn’t the writers of Wentworth give us this indepth character study? Having only one episode to hear Allie\s back story and what are viewers expected to do?
Were we expected to delusionally fill in the gaps? Didn’t we do that enough with The L Word and Rizzoli and Isles (which didn’t even have a lesbian story arc)? OMGoddess.
Bad Girls was such a phenomenon that a Musical based on the Nikki and Helen love story was made:
Will There be A Wentworth Musical? There Should Be and that could give fans MORE #Ballie for Sure.
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