I'm thinking of becoming the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against the Bravo network and WE tv. Why not? Suing a television network would be far from the weirdest lawsuit ever brought by an American. There's a woman that sued the city of Detroit over her co-worker's strong perfume. And don't forget that $54 million suit against the Washington, D.C., dry cleaners that lost a judge's pants. Why shouldn't there be a legal way for me to punish these networks for the damage they've done to American women? I'm talking about programs like Bridezillas, Real Housewives of Wherever and all those other "reality shows" that sound like porn. (Women Behind Bars? Wicked Attraction? What do those names say to you?)
Thanks to this ridiculous programming, sexists everywhere can make a cogent case that women are weak, shallow, vain, stupid, gold-digging, desperate delusional bitches. Clearly, it's time we normal women got our day in court. For every 21-year-old knucklehead screaming because she wants faux ostrich feathers for her wedding centerpieces, I can put a million sane brides on the stand who somehow managed to get married without making fools of themselves. And I'm calling on at least one of the tens of millions of stay-at-home moms with IQs above 70 to rebut those "real housewife" dummies from New Jersey.
How does such bad TV happen to good women? Let me explain. (And because I'm in a legal frame of mind after watching season 2 of FX's Damages on my iPod, I'm going to throw around a bunch of legal terms to get my point across):
1. Intent: You have to work to find that many bratty brides and money-grubbing housewives, which means that these shows have to dig up women that fit every negative female stereotype. The diversity of idiocy that the shows have dredged up is staggering. After just 30 minutes of browsing the women's channels, I saw a bride take to bed because her bridesmaid brought sex toys to her bachelorette party, only to watch in horror minutes later as the bride gave her fiancé a lap dance in a bar. Then I switched channels and watched a young girl get a new car from her parents because she was so stressed out over failing her exams. Wow. A mom and dad who reward failure. What's next? An apartment for your first felony conviction?
2. Means: When the WE channel debuted Bridezillas, it was an interesting show because it revealed that weddings (or more accurately wedding salespeople) can make even the mellowest woman go a little batty. That's amusing (sad, but still entertaining). Now, the show is as close to parody as it can get without actually producing a script.
3. Motive: I think these shows are trying to raise our self-esteem, but simply showing us women who are crazy is a quick fix. It's like eating candy bar when you're exhausted. It raises your blood sugar, but in the long run, it just makes things worse. I want the kind of self-esteem that comes from my abilities and potential, not from other folks' shortcomings.
4. Opportunity: Look, I like weddings and fashion and sex and love and money and my job all those things that the WE channel is supposed to be about, so I know there's a huge untapped market out there for shows that present those topics in a way that make women feel empowered and smart, not small and stupid. I would have loved a show on how to throw a wedding on the cheap when I was getting married instead of Barbie dolls fighting over "the best of the best" on Platinum Weddings. And now they've made it worse with this other horrible show, She's Got the Look, whose whole point seems to be that all women, no matter how successful in other fields, just want to be models.
Why do we have to turn to fictional shows such as Damages, The Closer, CSI: Las Vegas, In Plain Sight, Saving Grace, etc. for portrayals of real women who can walk and emit coherent sentences at the same time? Despair not, however. Once I announce my lawsuit, we will force reality TV to put at least one woman who can speak without mangling a cliché (or better yet, not speak in clichés). Then TV executives can go back to putting bimbos in sitcoms!