Thursday, May 31, 2007

I love the Girls Next Door

Girls Next Door - Deleted Scenes Season 1

I am an intelligent woman; I have an IQ that qualifies me for Mensa with points to spare and I have an advanced degree. I’m talented, creative and worldly … and obsessed with The Girls Next Door. When I recently had to try to explain this guilty pleasure to my husband, I had to dig deep into the reasons why someone who has feminist values would get such a kick out of watching these three women, three young, beautiful women, who happily share an 81 year old boyfriend go about their days. Oh sure, there’s the whole “look how stupid they are!” “did she just say what I think she said?” and “wow, I’m SO much smarter than they are, now I feel great about myself” reasons, but those aren’t my reasons. Then there’s the prurient, Big Love-esque curiosity of “are they all really having sex with Hef and how does that work?” But I don’t care so much about that either.

Some of it has to do with the total surreal nature of their day to day lives. Yes, I’m aware that much of it is scripted and planned for the benefit of the viewers, but it’s easier to succumb to that suspension of disbelief crap and imagine that each episode is a peek into real life at the Playboy Mansion. I’m not all that materialistic, but it’s hard not to drool when one of them has a bright idea to go snowboarding and a few days later a van pulls up with all kinds of free clothes and gear for them to pick from. Then once they’re on the trip, they return from the slopes to their suite to find masseuses, strawberries and champagne waiting for them. At home at the Playboy Mansion, they can pick up the phone anytime, day or night, 24/7, and order anything they want to eat and someone will appear at their door with a tray. [Sidebar: Hef, the one you’d think would be living it up in his golden or should I say, golden blonde years, is surprisingly mundane with his requests, eating the same soup with saltines, lamb chops and hard boiled eggs day after day.] Parties and nights out for the Hefner “family” are huge affairs, with entire days spent primping and having hair, nails, and makeup done and while doing that once in a while sounds exciting, I really wouldn’t want to trade places with any of the girls.

What draws me in the most is that these three women are unflaggingly cheerful and optimistic. They’re almost polymorphously perverse, cooing and gushing over everything and anything with genuine enthusiasm and sincere happiness.
It’s easy to make the argument that if you are empty-headed and shallow, it doesn’t take all that much to make your day, but I’m not making that argument either. One of my other guilty pleasures, “Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica” was not all that happy, despite the decidedly delicious ditziness of both Nick and Jessica. Toward the end of the series you could actually see the first frayed threads of a marriage destined to unravel.

I guess I’m saying that with everything going on these days it’s nice to see people who are happy and grateful to be exactly where they are doing exactly what they’re doing or doing a darn good job of acting that way.

On a trip to Europe in an early episode, Hef and the girls take a tour of London that includes a boat trip on the Thames. Chugging past Parliament and Big Ben, Kendra runs outside and pulls her shirt up, “flashing” Parliament. Describing the incident, she says, “I don’t even know what Parliament is, but all’s I know is, I flashed ‘em!”

Being all worldly and smart and educated and stuff, I know what Parliament is, but all's I care about right now is that Kendra flashed ‘em.

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