Thursday, February 03, 2005
I meant to write about this yesterday. Local radio station 106.7 has switched to 24-hr sports with its local sports programming and nationally syndicated games (e.g., Westwood One's NFL and NCAA coverage) layered on a skeleton of Sporting News Radio. My new wake-up show is that network's "Murray in the Morning," which features Bruce Murray, who may be familiar to Washington Bullets fans, and Second City's T.J. Shanoff. Probably not going to be confused with Imus or Stern in terms of influence, but it's a solid alternative to Tony Kornheiser since I don't yet have an alarm clock that wakes me up to an Internet (or satellite) radio station. (An invention we definitely need, and soon.)
Since the show is new to me, I have learned that they routinely take advantage of their Chicago location to gain access to Playboy playmates for interviews. (Headquarters are at 900 N. Lakeshore Dr., which, incidentally, is the same building in which I would have worked had a gotten and taken the job I applied for at Northwestern. Would make for interesting office parties, no?)
Yesterday, though, they had Meet the Fockers co-star and current Playboy covergirl, Teri Polo, on the show by phone. I've seen the cover advertised on the show's website, and I'm sure she's quite lovely, but I wonder, "Is this who America is clamoring to see naked?"
This is actually related to a couple of questions I've been pondering for the past few months: when did it stop being cool to pose in Playboy, and who was the last person launched to stardom by Playboy? Playboy has always had two key features, besides the interviews and the "girl next door" model for its playmates, and those were that it was the place where you might see some superstar woman naked for the first time ever and that it was a legitimate career move for a nobody actress to become a somebody star.
Who is the last B-level star discovered by Playboy? Jenny McCarthy? She, Anna Nicole Smith, and Pamela Anderson (Lee) are the last to "make it" in the sense of being recognizable by some critical mass of people and having their own tv shows or name modeling gigs. Is there anybody else?
As for celebrities, who is the last person to pose for the first time that made you think, "Oh my god they finally got her!" Maybe Elle MacPherson? (Bill Simmons touched on this topic in a mailbag a few weeks ago, to a degree, focusing on would qualify as a "must purchase." As I recall they considered the Bush Twins, so you it's a slightly different kind of list.)
Perhaps this is just an age thing. Obviously I'm too old to be giving a shit about this, and perhaps I'm too old to care about who the young people care about. For example, maybe Denise Richards would get somebody stoked, but havent' we seen her naked before? Isn't she why Wild Things is part of the "creepy old guy" DVD starter set? (The other is Swordfish featuring a pre-Monster's Ball Halle Berry and a gratuitous boob shot. The criteria for "creepy old guy" status are (a) jaw-dropping nudity in a (b) movie with no other redeeming quality to it than the jaw-dropping nudity. And no, I don't own either, thank you very much!) America's already seen her naked and already ponied up its cash for her. Do they really want to see her after having married Charlie-fucking-Sheen?
And perhaps it's just a sign of market segmentation (e.g., people who are really into naked chicks have cheaply available porn and those who want the "softer side" have Maxim) and better career choices for women. Michelle Pfeiffer and Jennifer Anniston, whatever their merits as actresses, never had to stoop to pimping themselvs to that degree to get a good job.
Whatever it is, the magazine's efforts to hip itself up by poaching Maxim's editorial staff seem not to be paying off in terms of their gets or their launches.
One other element of Playboy (at least early on) was their emphasis on the materially luxurious lifestyle. I remember seeing a clip of some 60s band (the Grateful Dead???) performing on some Playboy TV show - all the men and women are attractively dressed (no bathrobes yet), fine liquor is being served, and the people obviously have money. I don't know if today's Playboy still has this material aspect any more.
Yeah, I don't know if that exists anymore either. I imagine that new mag competitors like Best Life, maybe GQ, and Conde Nast Travel+Leisure soak up the high end lifestyle market, while Maxim/FHM soaks up the low-end "I don't have to feel too embarrassed to buy this" market.Post a Comment
To link the Playboy and Carson threads. I searched for interviews, and apparently Playboy posted full free access to a 1967 interview by Alex Haley (of Roots fame).