Threesomes are Hollywood’s latest obsession. Within weeks of the release of Britney Spears’ asinine “Ballad” about engaging in a menagerie, CW leaked details about a threesome they were planning on the hit show Gossip Girl. In what could easily be confused as part of a massive Hollywood-led campaign in support of teen pregnancy and a wide array of sexually transmitted diseases, CW decided that exploiting filth for a heavy cash flow was more important that exercising common sense and decency. Surprise!
If you’re thinking, “Threesome?! That’s news to me,” be sure to read John P. Hanlon’s article.” Hanlon explains the whole debacle in detail. However, I’m here to delve further into the insanity surroundingCW’s latest scheme to nab viewer appreciation.
The only thing more grotesque than CW’s exploitation of a threesome for ratings is the media’s coverage of the menage a trois. In a recent article, Michael Ausiello (Entertainment Weekly) was ecstatic over the impending sex scene – so excited that he taunted readers with his foreknowledgetelling them, “Though my Gossip mole has asked that I not ID the threesome (on the grounds that it would ruin a major upcoming storyline, or some such nonsense), I can confirm that the kinky tryst will involve one of the following combos…” Ausiello then proceeds to list possible character combos.
Then – no joke – readers (many of whom were not at all phased by the show’s indecency) began commenting about who they thought would be involved! Insanity. Are these really the values our society has adopted as “the norm”? In 2006, alone, teen pregnancy increased significantly in 26 states. Liberals would blame this on “abstinence-only education,” while I’d blame a sizable portion of it on a society that continues to exploit sex for financial gain. Can we really expect people, young and old alike, to respect or even understand sex when threesomes and other unrealistic sexual messaging invade our lives at every corner? Let’s get real.
In the GG case, some media have chosen to downplay the threesome. E! Online’s Joal Ryan had this to say:
“So, was that threesome good for GG? It wasn’t bad, especially considering the event was nothing more explicit than three people (Penn Badgley, Jessica Szhor and Disney grad Hilary Duff) not kissing at the same time.”
Not bad? This dismissal is disturbing. The intensity of the footage shouldn’t be the only issue of concern. CW used a sexually-explicit concept to flavor advertising leading up to the Nov. 9 episode. Plus, the menage a trois isn’t out of GG’s storyline. If people were outraged by the Nov. 9 episode, E! Online reports even more nasty content is coming:
“The dirty deed goes down on this Monday’s episode, but will be recounted with flashbacks the following week, Nov. 16, where we will learn–and see–even more about it.”
So, the debauchery hasn’t ended and will continue on a subsequent episode. Parent’s Television Council president Tim Winter had this to say in response to the Nov. 9 episode:
“Though there was no explicit sex scene on last night’s episode, the CW Network’s behavior was grossly irresponsible by adding a story line where a sexual threesome was to be celebrated as some sort of ‘rite of passage’ for teenagers. The network inserted this story line into a program that they themselves deem to be appropriate for 14-year-old children based on its content rating,”
Many GG enthusiasts have cited the show’s older target demographic (18 to 34) to stake the claim that viewers are old enough to handle the subject matter. Let’s be realistic. Even if women comprise the core viewership, young girls are surely watching the show. Back in September, a CW press release touted GG’s win in the 9 p.m. timeslot among women 12 to 34. Yes, 9 p.m. – a time when one would assume that a sizable proportion of teenagers are channel surfing.
Furthermore, the median age of CW’s viewers is 33; GG’s average viewer age is 27. While the mean age is relatively high, it still points to the fact that young people are tuning in. Plus, this doesn’t take into consideration online viewership, which would likely skew younger.
Let’s remember, too, that this tactic was used for the sake of a potential ratings hike. Last week, Brent Bozell wrote, “There is absolutely no barrier of sexual behavior that TV network executives aren’t willing to cross in a desperate gambit for ratings” and he couldn’t be more on target. He’s right. The entire premise of using a threesome to drive ratings came full circle when E! Online reported CW’s reward for exploiting sexual incongruence for the sake of the almighty dollar:
“The series was up 20 percent from last week: 2.4 million viewers versus 1.95 million, per Nielsen stats. The math worked out even better for the CW: It enjoyed its most-watched Monday of the season.”
So, in this case the ratings battle was somewhat won, but at what cost? This stretches beyond the search for mere ratings hikes. Bozell points to another factor driving CW’s insatiable lust for GG-centered controversy:
“But the “Gossip Girl” scandal isn’t just about winning the ratings battle. It’s about corporate executives who will try anything to get a rinky-dink network out of the basement, with absolutely no concern for the damage its tawdry story lines will do to the viewer who is 12. The show is rated TV-14, suggesting threesome plots are acceptable for high-schoolers, and that’s an insult by itself.”
And what a disappointment Hilary Duff is. Joining the cast of one of television’s most trash-ridden shows appears to be a half-witted attempt to shed the “good girl” image she’s yielded over the years. Unfortunately, as many – like Bozell – have highlighted, Duff is still a role-model to many young people. It’s an unfortunate effect of Hollywood’s liberal lunacy that even the good girls turn bad – eventually.
The mainstream media did cover the controversy, with CNN holding a discussion of sorts. However, the overall chatter has been confined mostly to sleazy entertainment blogs and outlets. This issue should extend far beyond the vapid toilet reads. Teen sex is a major problem that touches the lives of millions of Americans. At what point do we stop and say, “Enough is enough?” CW, thanks for your classless moral “racketeering.” Keep up the good work!