Back in the 1970s, there was a lot of discussion about the way TV executives were grabbing ratings with female jiggle. "T and A," it was called. The jiggle continues, but now it's coming from somewhere else. So far, the hot new trend of the 2011 TV season is ... dangling male genitalia. That's full-frontal male nudity... hidden behind graphic effects.
CBS was thrilled the Sept. 19 premiere of its reboot of the sleazy "Two and a Half Men" drew gonzo ratings. After all the Charlie Sheen drama, how could his TV character's funeral not attract a crowd? But that wasn't enough for Chuck Lorre and Co. They had to debut actor Ashton Kutcher in the nude. First, Kutcher pulled the pixilated-nudie stunt Monday afternoon on the season debut of the Ellen DeGeneres show. Then they repeated it on CBS Monday night -- twice. The opening gag of the season is that Kutcher's character has a stunning endowment.
On Fox's "The X Factor," the network is ripping off its own "American Idol" formula, complete with former "Idol" judges Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul. But the "X" could stand for X-rated content. On the Sept. 21 premiere, the second hour began with what should be called an obscene five-minute prank.
"Idol" always airs wacky and untalented oddballs in its audition phase, but has featured nothing like the contestant named Geo Godley at the "X Factor" auditions in Seattle. As he began performing his own ridiculous song called "I'm a Stud," he dropped his pants and displayed his male parts for the studio audience. Fox playfully covered his crotch with the show's red X logo.
If this were an actual, unwelcome surprise, Godley would have been escorted off the stage in seconds by security staff like the human garbage he is. Instead, Fox milked the entire stunt for five minutes. First, he started singing the stupidly awful song. Then he dropped his pants. Fox even showed a close-up with the X. We saw revolted crowd shots. We saw appalled judge takes. Then he pulled up his pants and kept singing.
Then he dropped his pants again. Paula Abdul acted sick to her stomach and cameras tracked her all the way to a bathroom. On and on ... and on it went. We got to hear Paula puking. Then the remaining judges, one by one, denounced the performance.