TV in this day, in this age of beauty and perfection, is sometimes agony.
Hard, confusing, delightful agony. Gold medals to us, the viewers who sit and watch, wondering as we do how on earth the characters get to look so sweat free, so smooth-haired even though they're shouting like nutters or running for a bus.
Right now my obsession TV-wise, following a box-set splurge of Grey's Anatomy, is The West Wing. Having started more than a decade ago, The West Wing is one of the best TV shows. Ever. It's got it all. Politics. Intrigue. Fast, mind-bending dialogue. And good-lookers. Or, in this case, Rob Lowe.
Mr Lowe may be mid-forties now, but back in the day, back in a time when he was a Brat Packer along with Demi Moore, Emilio Estevez and Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe was the man.
Look to the rest of the cast of The West Wing, and they're all lookers, too, and I can't help but wonder if, in America, Barack's administration are all as hot as the fictional President Bartlet's. Not that it matters.
And that's the thing, that mattering. That's what niggles. I've come to the realisation that TV cares too much what its actors look like. Botoxed. Line-free. Wash-board stomachs. So perfect.
Thank the Lord then for change. Girls is a show in the USA that's taking stereotypes by the scruff of the neck and giving them a good shake. It has women on it who ain't ugly by any standards, but – and here's the deal breaker – they have flaws. Wobbly bottoms. Cellulite. Wonky teeth. These bits of us, these areas, they are all items that, come TV time, we don't see on screen, and yet every day, off screen, they are there, like little reminders of a life we have led.
TV shows – dramas, comedy – they serve a purpose: to entertain. Sure, that often means allowing us to forget the bits of ourselves we'd rather not remember. But go too far the other way and we start to feel pressure, to feel that those bits of us are wrong, or, heaven forbid, not normal, and the last thing we need is to feel rubbish – we have the British weather for that. Spots, skin, frown lines and thighs – that's what real people are. Not botox and white teeth. Although, fair's fair, they are much better than my yellow toenails.
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