Posted at 5:00 AM Jul 07, 2009
By Kathleen Willcox
Is it possible for a woman to get married, raise a family, hold down a job, dress herself or breathe without acting like an infantile, desperate and cognitively challenged ninny? Despite the overwhelming empirical evidence that points toward "Yes!" that I've gathered in my three decades on Planet Earth, apparently that's not the case at all.
As members of the "weaker sex," hissy fits, maniacal demands, verbal and physical abuse and crazy peepered/goggly-eyed confrontations are de rigeur when executing the simplest of tasks - if you consult reality television, anyway.
Ever since the hideous dawn of The Real World, it's clear that "reality" TV isn't going to make anyone look good - but women seem to fall prey to (and to be fair, to enroll themselves in) the degradation of the genre with more frequency than their male counterparts. Below, a round-up of the 10 worst offenders currently flopping on (or about to bitch-slap) the airwaves.
10. The Bad Girls Club
Mimicking The Real World formula (except with an all-female cast), The Bad Girls Club documents what happens when a bunch of psychologically damaged people live under one roof together with carte blanche access to booze, Jacuzzis and general fanciness. Unsurprisingly, a bleep-heavy "oh no she did-nnn-t" fest ensues. Watch the magic happen. This Emmy shoo-in is totally not cashing in on stereotypes about fat girls, skinny girls, black girls, white girls and strippers.
9. The Girls of Hedsor Hall
The series (produced by the kingpin of discretion himself, Donald Trump) features 12 wild n' crazy American party girls who are recruited to be whipped into shape at finishing school in England under the watchful eyes of headmistress Gill Harbord and "disciplinarian" Rosemary Schrager. Is it just me or does this sound like a porno to you? (The girls have to wear Catholic-style girl-school uniforms, so it looks like a porno too.) The lass who shows the most improvement will win $100,000 - an all-American motivation for refinement if I ever saw one. Stay classy, MTV.
This cultural tour de force is the highest-rated show on the WE Network. And it's no wonder: if it just happened to be on, say, at the gym or a less-enlightened pal's apartment, even the staunchest feminist would have to stare in horrified fascination at the Seppuku being blithely committed on screen. In the latest season, my fave candidate for a lobotomy so far is Bridezilla Christine, who actually required her bridesmaids to weigh at least 200 pounds. One lass who wasn't, er, pulling her weight was forbidden from wearing Spanx under her dress as Christine plotted ways in which she could "stuff her face" before the Big Day in a desperate bid to pack a few more pounds on the poor girl. Check out the feel-good fun here.
7. Charm School
Oh, Ricki Lake. You used to be so cool: Hairspray, your own talk show that actually didn't totally suck. Why are you wasting your smart-girl time hosting this D-list sleazoid spin off? Probably because it's as addictive (and about as nutritious) and adrenaline pumping as slamming a can of Red Bull first thing in the morning - why even bother working out or getting off the couch when you can consume this crap and still work yourself up into a lather without moving an inch? Charm School: Season 3 is basically a gaggle of girls who bombed out of other reality shows (like the charming Rock of Love Bus With Bret Michaels and Real Chance of Love) who are forced to dress like slutty Catholic school girls (this is a constant theme on reality TV, am I right?) and learn the error of their ways through charity work, bending over a lot to show off their cleavage and luscious thighs and cluelessly batting their eyelashes. Oh, and flipping their hair around and saying "like" a lot.
6. More to Love
Hardy-har, get it? It's a Fox dating show about fat women who can't find love! Set to air July 28, More to Love is billed as a "dating show for the rest of us." Which is a great concept ... except it does little more than highlight, circle, underline and italicize the fact that "normal people" like "us" don't have a chance in hell at finding love if we're more than "a size 2." How ... liberating?