Saturday, August 06, 2005

Instant Cheese

I was watching TV the other night...well, I say "watching" but I was really just flipping through the dial in a vain attempt to find something worthwhile. You would think I would've taken the lack of decent entertainment as a hint to go do something productive, but no. I was determined to find something that would keep my lazy ass in position on the couch. (In my defense, it's been about 95 degrees every day for the past week, so doing anything that involves any type of kinetic energy is completely out of the question.) I kept flipping around the tube, hoping to find something that I could at least make fun of. And there it was, the Oxygen channel, in all its cheese-tastic glory.

I very rarely watch the Oxygen channel, even though it's targeted towards women. I find that any programming targeted towards women tends to be of the "it's so hard to be a woman, let's all cry about it" variety. I don't really buy into that whole mentality. For example, I don't watch the Lifetime channel, even if it is assertively tagged as "television for women". There are only so many times I can watch Meredith Baxter-Birney or Lindsay Wagner get beat up by their on-screen husbands. And the rising new stars of Lifetime like Kellie Martin, Tracey Gold and Tori Spelling just don't do it for me. I simply don't buy them in any role, least of all the standard battered woman or "someone-stole-my-child-but-I'll-beat-the-odds-and-have-a-
makeover-along-the-way" character. Lifetime Network should really change its tagline to "Television for Whining Women" or "Television for Women Who Hate Men".

When Oxygen first came along, I thought it might be a little different. According to their website, the channel is dedicated to "the development and acquisition of shows that appeal to what we see as the new woman: free–thinking, fun–loving and independent". No. Wrong. I've checked out some of the channel's programming and most of it is the same garbage that Lifetime spews out.

The only program worth watching on Oxygen is Talk Sex. Sue Johansen is my friggin' hero. There is nothing like watching an old woman simulate a hand job on a purple dildo, then wax poetic on topics like anal sex and threesomes. People, think about your grandmothers. Could any one of them even say the word "sex" without whispering it and turning beet red? Probably not. Sue rocks. People call up with the most bizarre questions and she doesn't even bat an eye, regardless of the perv level.

I almost forgot, I have to fess up that I was sucked in by Oxygen's last-season reality show, Mr. Romance. The basic premise was to find the next Fabio, as if we weren't already trying to get rid of the old one. But I must admit that Fabio was rather funny as the host. And there's nothing wrong with seeing buff men wearing very little. The funniest thing about the show was just the idea of putting these men (some of whom were completely clueless) through "Romance Academy" in order to be the romantic ideal that women want. As a woman, I am qualified to say this: nobody knows what women want. Women don't even know half the time.

Shows like Talk Sex and Mr. Romance are cheesy, but they are the good kind of feta or provolone. Most of what Oxygen churns out is the bad kind of limberger or those nasty processed single slices. Worst of all is what I found the other night, which is how my story began. After abusing the remote for a while, I stopped on Oxygen for reasons unbeknownst to me. That stupid Jennifer Aniston movie was on where she pretends to have a boyfriend so she can get a job and sleep with Kevin Bacon. Mind-numbing, I know. At any rate, I was watching it and then was treated to the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen. Apparently some movies are now being hosted by an "Instant Adoring Boyfriend". Basically, this is a good-looking, undoubtedly desperate actor who talks to the screen, pretending to talk to whatever desperate woman is watching and pretending he's really her boyfriend. When I saw it, there was a very cute guy, shirtless (of course) in the kitchen who was chopping up something and then went on to say, "I'm making your favorite dish. A friend of mine said it's also Angelina Jolie's favorite. You're so much more beautiful than her". I'm not making this up. I'm paraphrasing, but the message was pretty much the same. Then he asked how TV-viewing woman's day went and stood there saying things like, "mm hmm", "really" and "wow, that's amazing!". I felt like I was watching an adult version of Blue's Clues. I thought I might have to call 911 with a busted gut. It was insane!

I'm sure the good people at Oxygen will say that this is just good,clean fun and all very tongue-in-cheek. I disagree. I think that the powers that be really believe that there are women out there who are so needy and wishing for a boyfriend so badly that they'll even settle for a virtual one. Maybe there are women out there who fit that description, but then isn't it kind of cruel to take advantage of their issues to boost ratings? And if it really is just meant to be a joke, it's just plain not funny. I'm all for stupid humor, but this is just stupid. It's the bad cheese I was talking about earlier. Sure, I was laughing, but more out of sheer disbelief that such a thing was being passed off as entertainment.


Melanie said...

You are hilarious...I look forward to your posts!

I agree about the Lifetime movies, but I have to admit that I am hoplessly addicted to The Golden Girls and watch it constantly. The best was when the Golden Girls fans brought the e-mail smackdown on Lifetime when they tried to put The Nanny into GG's time slot. We were furious! They switched it back soon enough after we complained :-P

teletart said...

I'm LMAO about that Instantly Adoring Boyfriend (IAB). Brilliant! Of course the flaw in their Nicely Scripted Dialogue (NSD) is obvious to all women: what fantasy object would introduce Ms Jolie into the conversation? Even using the ruse of the subsequent compliment... oh boy. Wrong. A man who insinuates that he was casually discussing Angelina and her 'favourite dish' with a friend... Yeah, I bet you talked about her dish. A true IAB refrains from reminding one of the existence of stunning, svelte film stars, even in passing (take notes, boys).

Sangroncito said...

I love how you describe those two "women's" channels!

Doggie Extraordinaire's Mom said...

Okay, first of all, I thought Melissa Gilbert and Valerie Bertanelli (sp?) were the heroines of Lifetime. Did I tune out for too long and miss a generation?

Second, Oxygen's defintion of the perfect boyfriend leaves a lot of room for improvement. Forget the food prep -- I want action! Fix my car, you dipshit, I can cook my own food! How about telling me you just read up on how to locate the clit and are prepared to test out your new knowledge all night if necessary? Maybe do something sensitive like play me a song on your guitar. The rest is just condescending B.S. I would be willing to bet that a man came up with that idea.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

you're right, besides Sue The Oxygen channel is more like No2

Bar Bar A said...

I am dying over here! This is great stuff!

I can not believe they have the Virtual BF thing! You did a great job describing Lifetime TV. I can barely stand to channel click through it, although I have a friend who likes it.

My son actually pointed out the sex show by Sue. He was up late watiting for me to get home from a date and when I arrived he said "Hey mom, there's an old lady on TV playing with a dildo". Well, I just about tripped because I ran to the TV so fast but was pleasantly surprised that he was talking about Sue rather than watching porn or something! (to him old is anyone over 25 so I was thinking maybe it was Pamela Anderson...)

Anyhow, you are a witty, talented writer...definitley feta or provolone!

Prométhiûs said...

Awesome...muhahaha..still cant keep myself from laughing..lolz
nice to meet ya..drop by my blog sometime..

Rex Venom said...

Cheese sells, but who’s buying (like a weird Megadeath song….)
Rock on!

pia said...

I long ago gave up women's TV stations. I'd much rather watch the millionth rerun of an early Will & Grace

Lee Ann said...

Nothing wrong with a little "good cheese" every so often. Oh, you forgot to mention Valerie Bertinelli. She used to do movies of that sort. I will have to check out Talk Sex.

BeckEye said...

Boy, everyone's giving me hell about leaving Valerie Bertinelli off the Lifetime Movie Queen list. Sorry, all you Val fans!! How could I forget? Maybe I'll write a piece entirely devoted to her and her wall of hair one of these days. But I can't think that far into the future. Gotta take it ('s coming...) one day at a time.

still_figuring_out said...

thanks for visiting my blog.

and talk about having nothing to watch on cable tv.

i have god-know-how-many-channels available, but some days i cannot find one decent show to watch.

and i identify with your "determined to find something that would keep my lazy ass in position on the couch".


i do that all the time!

Serena said...

I love Talk Sex and I love watching reruns of The Sunday Night Sex Show!
And I agree the only thing programming on networks like Lifetime and Oxygen offer is fodder for drinking games and a good example to trannies of how to handle themselves as pseudo members of the softer sex (b/c those are the only examples of 'women' that type of programming offers: faux female persona).
I like your blog, will check back.

Kate said...

I can not believe that there are people out there who would think some poor girl would be lonely enough to watch that thing and play along with the video of the "boyfriend."
There was also something I saw years ago back home called boyfriend in a box, complete with photo of guy, messages from him you could place on your desk and a birthday card or love note from him as well. That's useful for trying to deter any ver eager office mates, but any other use would just be too sad I think.

JC said...

This is why I don't watch tv very often. I feel the same way about romance novels. I read a couple in my early teen years and was like UGH!!!! Give me a break. I had almost forgotten valerie bertinelli existed. A blast from the past.


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