Either an interest in bad television, sex and cultural criticism or the ability to consume virtually anything that comes in the form of TV led to this summer’s small obsession with Hugh Hefner’s The Girls Next Door. The show is about as stultifyingly boring as you’d expect of course, the girl’s desires frequently and obviously fabricated for the sake of some thin plot line, while each scene is largely determined by what skimpy outfit Hef’s girlfriends will wear next. However, these characteristics aren’t all that unfamiliar to reality tv, and were it not for the promise of frequently blurred out nipples I’m not sure anyone would watch.
My own interests are not limited to looking at blurry boobs but rather the larger effort to construct a particular kind of attractive woman. In stark contrast to every other reality show, the stars of this program, Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson almost never argue. In fact, they wish only the best for each other, despite the fact that they are a nationally televised and accepted harem, in which a pecking order does exist (Holly is Hef’s “primary” girlfriend, Kendra and Bridget are second and third). None of these inevitable power struggles are documented, I suspect because they make the women appear less attractive to their intended audience when they bicker.
The above animated gif comes from my favorite episode, wherein the girls have to “convince” Hef to give them individual spreads in his magazine (as opposed to one with the three of them as he had in the past.) No mention is made that Playboy would have to shell out a boat load of money for shoots Hef somehow isn’t aware of, but I guess in this show, fake power struggles are better than the real ones. Each girl choses a profession that best identifies her personality, the sets and costumes creating a nudie cartoon version of whatever kind of girl she is – sporty, creative, and uncreative. The results may be basically what you’d expect, but as anyone can see from the gif above — a photo shoot for the front and back covers of the magazine that will host their features — the kind of response it engendered is a very warm one. The camera is slowed down, the light is softened, the loss of image quality in its rendering only heightening this; it’s hard to imagine in a gif made with greater care. And this more than anything, is the inspiration for the post. Show commentary aside, the aesthetic value of the gif is, in its own right, worthy of contemplation.
Lesser Girls Next Door gifs here.