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23 January 2005

Guilty pleasures

I have a confession to make. I started watching Desperate Housewives at its UK debut, and I am an open and practicing viewer of the show. In short, I am hooked. In Red Sluts, Blue Sluts, The Nation's Richard Goldstein deconstructs the show in an attempt to answer the question of why it appeals equally to bi-coastal gay and metrosexual men, married Christian conservative heartlanders and American feminists from states of every colour. (And, I would add, the Brits who love them.)

While the creators of this show understand the golden conservative rule of sinful pleasure--it must beget ruination--on TV this could take many seasons, and meanwhile everyone can focus on the hot means to that hellish end. For different reasons, secular humanists and fundamentalists alike can revel in the foibles of idle, affluent housewives. The right can view the show's sexual politics--women competing for men, men struggling for dominance over their wives--as fidelity to the patriarchal code, while lefties can see the same thing as camp. What's more, a babe is a babe, a hunk is a hunk, and the joys of watching their unseemly meeting cross party lines.

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