During the doldrums of summer TV, we’ll settle for brainless eye candy
The summer television season has rarely if ever been a hot-bed of must-see TV, which is too bad since, especially in Texas, where staying cocooned indoors with the A/C blasting and the boob tube on sounds like a pretty good idea. But if television programmers haven’t discovered how to make good shows, at least they have found a way to make mediocre shows better.
While most primetime series are in a Groundhog Day of reruns, the original shows have the good sense to keep their stars shirtless. Personally, I like the idea that beefcake has gone mainstream: Our culture can sustain bimbos and himbos.
Which is why I have spent the last week staring longingly at mixed martial arts athlete Russell on "Big Brother 11," the hottest thing on my set since I set down a skillet accidentally. He’s part of the jock clique on this season’s snoozefest, which also includes last season’s musclehead Jesse, who looks like a steroid in Spandex.
The men don’t mind stripping down on "So You Think You Can Dance," either, which last week narrowed down the pool to five unqualified dreamboats, especially Ade and Brandon. (And you can’t tell me that four of them aren’t totally gay.)
Over on HBO, "True Blood" is back for a second season with Aussie hunk Ryan Kwanten fearlessly showing off his killer abs (and don’t get me started on his equally awesome back side). And Bravo’s new "Miami Social" doesn’t hesitate to display beach bodies with a wantonly leering lens.
Does the objectification of men for their bodies instead of their minds diminish them as people? Don’t get all Gloria Allred-and-Camille Paglia on me. Just enjoy if for what it is: A summer flirtation that ends by Labor Day when the adults take over.
HOW BIG A LOSER CAN YOU BE?
"We’ve never had a high-profile gay contestant on the show," a rep for NBC’s "The Biggest Loser" tells me. "I wonder why that is?"
"It’s because we’re all fabulous and slim," I deadpan. "Right? All gay guys are gym rats who don’t need to lose weight."
Of course that’s not true — not even close to being true. (Check out the Hidden Door during a Sunday beer bash: bears rule!) And the rep has a point: Why can’t a gay man or woman show American not only how to look fabulous, but to be fabulous while doing it?
If you and a family member have a few extra pounds to shed, this is the weekend to show your commitment to it. The reality series is holding an open casting call for its upcoming ninth season, which will feature teams of two, each of whom want to lose at least 100 lbs.: parent-child, couples, cousins, in-laws, siblings. (You can audition without a partner, too.) The winner walks away with $250,000, which can be used to buy a new wardrobe of skinny jeans and muscle shirts.
Auditions are at Dave & Buster’s, 10727 Compsitive Drive. July 18. 10 a.m.â€“6 p.m. (do not line up earlier than 7 a.m.). Up to 500 people will be called in. Application can be filled out online at TheBiggestLoserCasting.com.