2007 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

This Tuesday (or December 4th, if you're reading this after then) marks the return of one of television's more unusual events: The 2007 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. This now-annual event is interesting for several reasons beyond prurpeience (though let's be honest: that's why most of us who will watch it will tune in).

First, the VSFS pretty much nukes the whole "too much sex on television" debate. This show is an hour of virtually nothing but gorgeous women strutting their stuff in extremely revealing underwear. And it's on a major network -- one usually considered more conservative -- after the "family hour" but well before late night. There are always people and groups that protest, but these attempts at protest don't amount to much -- these have aired for several years now -- and most coverage tends to be more positive. So if you want less sex on television, know while this is airing you're on the losing side of that debate.

Second,the VSFS is a COMMERCIAL. I know some companies sponsor movies (Hallmark has its Hall of Fame movies); some companies pay to have their products featured, or digitally added to, television shows; and some programs have their overt ulterior motives (American Idol is both a talent show and a launching pad for the record label to create their next hopeful best sellers). But there's a impetus to these programs, some level of plot or conflict. The VSFS has nothing even remotely approaching this: no plot, no contest, no examination of how fashions are designed -- the only non-lingerie element is the inclusion of guest singers (this year, Seal (hubbie of VS star Heidi Klum), Will.i.am, and the Spice Girls reunion). I suppose there's something to be said for honesty, but this is brazen product promotion, like a show parading IBM computers or different flavors of Pepsi across the screen for an hour. Then again, those shows would get far fewer viewers...

Third, and arguably most important, the VSFS may very well be the most honest special on television. There are lots of crime shows that seem to revel in gruesome or sadistic sensationalism while claiming it's part of the drama, plenty of "news" shows or specials lure viewers with the promise of t&a while pretending they're offering news, and shows from the moronic (Baywatch) to the creative (Alias, Charmed) always find a way to work in situations where their female stars are nearly nekkid'. When you tune in to the VSFS, you know exactly what you're getting -- models wearing Victoria's Secret fashions -- and you'll get it from start to finish. Wouldn't it be great if more shows promised what they delivered? Or had Victoria's Secret models?

Of course, one must wonder why the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show actually airs commercials for Victoria's Secret during its own show. I'll ponder that while I watch.

Jim Lynch

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