Saturday, January 5, 2008

How To Look Good Naked

It is no secret that I LOVE my Lifetime. (I was going to be really dorky and make my New Year's resolution to stop WATCHING so much Lifetime and start LIVING more of my OWN lifetime...then I realize how a) cheesy that is and b) how very unattainable it would be.)

I really can't even count how many rainy or snowy or cold afternoons that my mom and I spent watching television melodrama after television melodrama. "Valerie Bertinelli Sunday"..."Give Me Back My Baby! Saturday." We even watched Lifetime the morning of my sister's wedding...Patty Duke's beautiful teenage daughter is murdered by her jealous/frumpy teen mom best friend, and then the best friend moves IN with Patty Duke and gets really close to her and pretends she is trying to find the killer with her...and the mother never suspects a thing! Until the very end! It was a really happy, uplifting movie to begin something as major as a wedding day. Certainly. Oooh, and there's also another really good one with Patty Duke and Melissa Gilbert...Melissa Gilbert is an adoptee who needs to find her biological parents to get her medical history before she can get an operation that will save her life! And then she finds her mom, played by Patty Duke, who screams-out, in the rain, "I don't KNOW who your father was! I was raped!" Together, they go on a journey to find Mel's biological dad. Good good good stuff.)

(When I entered Project Greenlight seven years ago, my screenplay got pretty good feedback...one review said that it was too much like a Lifetime movie...okay, THAT is supposed to be a BAD thing? That is the best thing you could have said to me, random person!!!!!)

Lifetime is a fun place. It is also full of Golden Girls and Reba reruns. (I love Reba. I wish she was my aunt or neighbor or something...we would have so much fun together.) And, hopefully soon, it will ALSO be the home to Family Practice, a new hour-long drama starring Beau Bridges, Ann Archer and some guy named Cheyenne Jackson (ever hear of him???)

This morning, I was watching Lifetime, as I do most lazy Saturday mornings, and tuned into How To Look Better Naked.

I am in love with this show.

I was never really a Queer Eye for the Straight Guy fan (I know, that's probably a surprise to most people about me...but I think I probably just have enough funny gay men in my life that I don't need to watch a show about five of them.), but I am already a fan of Carson's just from this one episode of How To Look Good Naked that I have watched. In this show, he takes a woman who doesn't feel so great about herself and brings her on a journey to self-acceptance. He just comes off as so warm and kind and sweet.

I cried! I cried when the girl felt good about herself because Carson helped her pick-out a nice bra and underwear set and they ran through the rest of the store together! I cried when they revealed a billboard of this girl showing a lot of skin and another woman commented that she was hot and the girl gave her a big hug! I cried when she thanked and hugged Carson at the end! It was so touching! I WILL be watching every week!

Without getting on a complete soapbox (I could just go drag-out the very long paper on body image that I wrote for one of my Communication courses in college, but that paper was really boring and had a lot of studies in it), I would just like to say that I honestly hate it that so many women are so insecure with the way they look! And it is no wonder WHY. I clearly remember when Alicia Silverstone gained a little weight when Batman and Robin came out (I think it was considered the worst Batman movie yet, but Chris O'Donnell will forever remain my first big movie star crush), and there were headlines all over saying, "Batman and Fatgirl", "Look out Batman! Here comes Buttgirl!" and that she was more Babe(you know, the pig) than "babe."

(It is really weird that I remember this...it was more than ten years ago. I guess it made quite an impression on me.)

I also remember when I used to read YM and Seventeen Magazine when I was a kid. There would be ads for weight-loss products in these magazines, with a smiling teenage girl saying, "I was fat and now I'm the homecoming queen and I have a bikini for every day of the week!"

Amazing how magazines that would include articles on health, eating disorders, exercising, and self-confidence would include such advertisements. The most classic example of putting money before the well-being of their audience, in this case, very impressionable teenage girls. I wonder if they still do that. I'll thumb through an issue the next time I'm in the bookstore. Shame on them if they do.

I think it's all really sad, and as uplifting and touching and great as this new Lifetime show is, the fact that it needs to exist at all is even sadder. Do THAT many women feel badly about their bodies that there needs to be a whole television show dedicated to them gaining confidence? (Well, there are shows for everything these days. Scott Baio is 46 and Single, anybody? Corey Feldman and Corey Haims take Over the World or whatever the heck that one was called...the Gotti Grandchildren...)

Every so often, however, a reality show comes along that is just worth watching. Nothing will take Dancing with the Stars' #1 spot in my heart, but I think How To Look Good Naked just might come in a steady second.

Leave it to Lifetime to produce a winner. Lifetime can do anything.

Diana Rissetto