Friday, February 10, 2006

Make it work, slave

Been home sick all week, which has meant lots of sleeping, not much bat-activity, and a HUGE amount of television, including two mini-marathons of season two of Project Runway. Okay, I know what you're saying: "All well and good, Batfan60, but what does this have to do with the stated mission of your blog?" It's true, Runway is simply not about cops or costumed crimefighters--well, unless you count the passing mention of superhero-themed lingerie in one episode, but the proposed relaunch of Underoos for adult women (emblazoned with words like "BAM!" and "POW!" on the crotch) did not make it too far.

No, the thing about the show that I want to mention here is the strong undercurrent of SM in pretty much every episode. In the fantasy dynamic of the series--a multicultural dream world that seems to consist entirely of heterosexual women and gay men--everything revolves around dominance and submission. Sure, the contestants are competing against each other, which involves the usual amount of reality-tv gameplaying, but more interesting is the way they have to answer each week to dominatrix Heidi Klum, prissy taskmaster Tim Gunn, and a revolving panel of hard-to-please celebrity judges. At the same time, each contestant has an accompanying "muse"/model, and these lovely ladies are at the very bottom of the pecking order, who suffer the injustice of being traded in slave-auction-style rituals. (We hear them speak when they're kicked off the show, or--very rarely--when they get up the nerve to complain to their Masters about some especially uncomfortable or humiliating outfit.) Much of the show is devoted to people getting chewed out by their superiors, their faces charged with silent shame or suppressed rage. All that's missing is the "sir, yes sir."

I've come to detest 98% of the "reality" shows that have sprung up in the wake of the first season of Survivor ( a show I did think was amazing for its time), but this one really is pretty addictive. Of course, it helps that I find a lot of the male cast members fairly sexy in one way or another (including the aforementioned Tim), but the appeal is greater than mere cuteness. The kinky dimension doesn't hurt, either.

Bonus TV talk: As I type this, Bravo is airing what I assume is one of many endless rebroadcasts of its 3-part Ultimate Super Heroes, Villains, and Vixens mini-series, narrated by Adam West himself. Not very informative (Stan Lee saying what he always says, plenty of clips for recent movies spun off from DC and Marvel characters, and lots of those ubiquitous talking-head interviews with people who do nothing but provide commentaries like this for cable channels), but it's yet another pleasant distraction from sniffling and sneezing. If you've ever wanted to know what Dee Snider has to say about Batman, now's your chance.

Next up: the Winter Olympics, every lycra-lover's dream. 400+ hours of luge and "skeleton" suits. Hallelujah!

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