As Valentine’s Day approaches, The Box addresses the question that’s on everyone’s mind: How feminist is the sex on my favorite teen dramas? I graded the biggest shows of the last twenty years on their sex positivity. Click to see who came out on top.
This week the box has a good old fashioned feminist crush on Kirsten Gum, the Travel Channel’s Treasure Hunter. There’s no stretch of the imagination required to understand her appeal: She travels the world searching for treasure, often braving intense elements and physical challenges to get to it. Watching her accomplish her goals is inspiring, but Gum’s sense of humor and winning attitude makes it fun, too.
"Terrible boyfriend? We can fix him. Complete tools transformed into knights in shining armor." These are the promises of the opening credits of Tool Academy, VH1’s latest trash-tastic series in which women drag their truly terrible boyfriends through a relationship boot camp in hopes of turning them into nice guys. The tools agreed to come on the show thinking it was called Mr. Awesome, a competition to determine "the biggest Alpha male in America." After they learned the show’s real premise, they all stayed on in hopes of proving themselves to their girlfriends...and winning $100,000 for being the best boyfriend.
If you’re wondering what makes a tool a tool, it appears to be a combination of made-up names (Celebrity, M.E.G.A., Matsuflex, etc.), excessive hair gel, and behavior that’s just…well, look if you dare.
(Note: The videos in this post contain ads. Blame it on VH1.)
Extensions off to Jaime Pressly, one of the funniest women on TV. Her Emmy award-winning portrayal of Joy Turner on My Name Is Earl is so solid that it’s easy to forget she’s a bonafide sexpot (with credits like Playboy spreads, countless "sexiest women" list mentions, and the lead in Poison Ivy: The New Seduction on her resume). Of course, Pressly’s hotness isn’t anything out of the ordinary: she has blonde hair, blue eyes, big boobs and a button nose. Yawn, right? But it’s Pressly’s self-awareness that allows her to take her conventional looks to cartoonish heights as Joy. And therein lies the comic genius.
There are a gadzillion reasons why I'm not a fan of Barbie dolls, and they all apply to the new Lt. Uhura doll, part of Mattel's upcoming Barbie Doll line being released in conjunction with J.J. Abrams' new Star Trek film. But there's also a hilariously awesome reason to love these dolls: fanboys are freaking out that they make Star Trek too girlie.
I’ve been avoiding Grey’s Anatomy for 5 seasons now, but with critics bemoaning the show’s rapid demise (as in sex scenes with a g-g-ghost!) I decided to check it out while I still could. Best case scenario: It’s so bad it’s good. Worse case scenario: It’s offensive enough to warrant a scathing blog post.
As a kid watching The Cosby Show -- the only primetime program my parents permitted back in the ‘80s -- I was completely in awe of her. As an adult who’s watched many, many hours of TV since (I do what I want!), I’m more impressed than ever. 20 years after The Cosby Show’s peak, Clair is still more progressive than most of the TV moms who’ve succeeded her.
It’s sad to remember how high my hopes were for CW’s 90210 last summer. I love Fox’s original series, Beverly Hills 90210 (though bad dialogue and one-dimensional characters make for a rocky relationship) and I love Rob Thomas (of Veronica Mars), who was supposed to be writing this thing and making it awesome. But he backed out at the last minute to work on stupid Cupid , leaving us with a badly acted, poorly lit, script-challenged mess.
I thought it’d at least be worthwhile to see Shannen Doherty reprise her role as Brenda Walsh, but not even one of my favorite characters ever could keep me watching for more than 3 episodes. I gave it another shot for the sake of research, and what I found out was…it’s still not good. But it had a good moment. You might even call it a feminist moment.
If you love TV but don’t have time to watch all of it, then you should at least be watching The Soup. It’s the best way to get caught up on all the bizarre moments you missed on soap operas, obscure reality shows, and even regional morning newscasts. A team of writers and interns for the show actually devotes their day to watching TV and then goofing on it for our entertainment. What better way for feminists to keep tabs on the world of pop culture?
But the best reason to watch is Joel McHale. His criticisms are sharp, his delivery is hilarious, and his suits are mesmerizing. (I totally want to kiss him.)
There’s a lot to love about Tina Fey’s sexy-geek image. For instance, "Geeks can be sexy!" is an awesome message, as is "Sexy women can be geeks!" (Okay, maybe there are only two things to love.) I think it’s safe to say we get it: She’s hot. She’s smart. She’s hot, yet smart. And vice-versa.
But Fey’s sex appeal is no accident — it’s the price she paid for fame. In January’s Vanity Fair feature, Maureen Dowd gushes about "how a tweezer, cream rinse, a diet, and a Teutonic will transformed a mousy brain into a brainy glamour-puss." Dowd thrills at the success of the makeover that made Fey fit for the camera, and her enthusiasm for weight loss and designer clothes is unsettling. No one wants to picture Liz Lemon doing Weight Watchers...