- Even on a medium prone to the tawdry, seldom have we seen a seamier battle than tonight’s competition between CBS’ Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and ABC’s The Bachelor (both 9 ET/PT). For anyone out to prove that TV is on some wild hormonal binge, it’s a confluence made in heaven. Or elsewhere.
Still, hats (or shirts) off to CBS for being upfront about what it’s doing. Sure, there’s a ”fashion show” in the Victoria’s Secret special, but everyone knows it’s not the fashions that matter. It’s what’s barely covered underneath. The network is selling sex and selling it hard, from the King of Queens’ promo-jokes about touching yourself to the supermodel crossovers on Yes, Dear. Because getting someone to say ”yes” is what Victoria’s Secret is all about.
I agree with Bianco here: not much wrong with a little traditional T&A when it’s not being sold as anything else, especially when the T&A in question are the hottest models in the world. And by “hot” I am not just talking about appearance: appearance is a given at this level, but what separates the supermodels from the also-rans is attitude, carriage, personality conveyed wordlessly. At this level we are talking about something akin to stylized “art,” and the insurmountable distance – literal and pyschological – between the models and the world is what distinguishes a “display” such as this from the lubricious exchange of bodily fluids on display in shows such as The Bachelor – ick, ick, triple ick.
- Young women are hopping into hot-tub three-ways on Real World and baring their breasts for the cameras on countless spring break specials. Compared to that, the look-but-don’t-touch Secret is practically Victorian.
But never mind low points in TV history. Secrets isn’t even the most degrading exercise in voyeurism in its time slot. That honor goes to The Bachelor, which reaches its possible proposal conclusion in tonight’s two-hour special. Both shows parade their women out like cattle at an auction, but at least the models on Secret get cash in return. They’re not being put through emotional torture for our amusement, and they’re not being awarded as a prize to a man at the end of the show. That should count for something.
Despite the allure of Secret’s’ bras and panties, those of you who have stuck with The Bachelor probably will feel obliged to find out whom Aaron Buerge will choose, Helene or Brooke. The betting money seems to favor Helene, but how much faith can you put in the thinking process of people who would risk money on the results?
Yet while America ponders whether Aaron will pop the question, I have a few tiny questions of my own for the Bachelorettes: Are you insane? Can you actually think the best way to find the love of your life is to compete for him on a game show?
Amen, brother. Yet none of this would be happening if there weren’t public taste for it – the abhorrent state of commercial radio reflects the same “taste” – I fear Mencken was correct – we are debased.