Today I watched a few moments of VH-1's "Sexiest Videos" with my brother, over the phone. I had snagged it while zombie-surfing on my giant remote control. (i.e. flipping through the channels quickly, hoping to find some kind of movie or documentary programming featuring or related to zombies, zombie juice, etc.) "Sexiest Videos" is another on-the-cheap hidden camera show that traps innocent bystanders into manipulated, sexy-type situations. The segment I watched went something like this: a beautiful (by los angeles standards) woman in a sexy (by cable standards) outfit is standing on the sidewalk holding a large cardboard box in her arms. She also, inexplicably, has a pair of white, cotton underpants (or "panties", if you're a fan of love, american style or e! entertainment's "wild on..." aesthetic) caught up around her ankles. It's a classic dilemma: she doesn't want to put the box down (???) but she needs to pull her underpants up. Solution: ask a bunch of single guys.
Naturally, she had a lot of volunteers and chances are VH-1 decided not to air the many clips of men offering to actually hold the box while she adjusts her underpants. Clip after degrading clip aired, each one less funny and more unnerving than the last. Finally they showed a clip of the woman pointing out the hidden camera to one of her marks, making sure he knew he'd been seriously busted. The guy's expression barely registered, though, and I think I know why. He just touched a strange, attractive woman's vagina in public and in broad daylight. So, um, who is the sucker here?
It made me feel so sad. Here was a woman who'd subjected herself to the creeping hands of dozens of strange men (most of whom would ordinarily never ever have a chance to date, much less grope, a woman like this), just to add another line item to the back of her headshot, and she somehow convinced herself (or the producers convinced her) that she'd really pulled one over on them. It was like a rape victim faking an orgasm. I really believe, in America at least, people still believe there is no better way to justify your own existence than to appear on television, no matter what the context may be. I just wish that poor, idiotic model could have picked a more dignified way to self-validate: I think Fear Factor is still looking for contestants.