Such is the question to ask oneself while watching The Girls Next Door spin-off Kendra.
I’m now going to admit something now that may shock you. I have little use for the E! Network.
I know. I know. Try to contain yourself and let me explain. Or rather, I guess the programming explains itself. Still, there was a time when E! was the first channel I went to, out of sheer habit. Perhaps there would be a fascinating THS (True Hollywood Story for the uninitiated) on the cast of Blossom or Seal and God forbid I miss THAT. In its hey day, I had one-season wonders like Love is in the Heir and Taradise to giggle over and network stalwarts like Talk Soup (which is still good as long as it’s in Joel McHale’s capable hands) and yes, I enjoyed shows like The Girls Next Door which, though it’s about a bunch of loopy Playboy bunnies, is far less smuttier than Keeping Up With The Kardashians (blatant fame whoring being so more revolting than a little honest full-frontal nudity).
These days, the only reason I wander over to E! is to find out who poor Chelsea Handler is forced to interview from her own brain-dead network. And I could be petty and tell you exactly what the final straw was that forced my break-up with E! but I won’t sully this blog with her name or the TV show in her name THAT WAS RENEWED FOR A SECOND SEASON.
Where was I? Oh, right. Kendra.
Watching Kendra is kind of like watching your retarded cousin’s dance recital. At some point, you clap but it’s really just a mixture of encouragement, pity and horror. If your retarded cousin dances her way through the introduction to some ridiculous hip hop song set to her name, then you do what I did which was shriek, “This isn’t happening!” and busy myself in the bathroom for five minutes until the madness was over.
And look, I really liked The Girls Next Door. I found it FASCINATING that Hugh Hefner was acting out this little sociological experiment- three hot girlfriends under thirty (except for Bridget, I think) all living under one roof, sharing him like a shiek. It’s the same reason why I love hearing about the Mormons. I was also intrigued by how the three filled their days- talking like little girls, playing with their brood of dogs and kittens, hosting dress-up parties, commiserating in horror over Hef’s ex-girlfriends. The subtle Machiaveliness of Hollie trying to undermine her two “friends” while not-so-subtly cooing to Hef that she wanted to marry him and have a baby, Bridget’s incredibly creepy lifelong obsession to be in Playboy magazine and going so far as to show a picture of her as a TODDLER staring longingly at her father’s jizz-covered subscription on the coffee table… etc, etc.
And Kendra. It was hard NOT to like Kendra. She was twenty-one years old and completely devoid of schemes, too sweetly dumb and easy-going to have any emotional baggage. She only really cared about working out, sports, hip hop and The Olive Garden. You quickly got the impression that if someone got Kendra a room over a garage in hell but stuck a treadmill, a TV and a box of powdered donuts in there, she’d be just fine. There’s low maintenance and then there’s homeless-person crazy and Kendra towed the line perfectly. After feeling all that exhausting pity for Bridget and Hollie (especially Bridget, screaming Daddy Issues in her pig-tails and her princess room, nursing dreams of being the next Diane Sawyer), Kendra’s messy room was a welcome break.
But Lord. Who thought it was a good idea to give her a show of her own? Because while she was a welcome respite on The Girls Next Door, on Kendra, there is NO respite from Kendra herself. Watch her giggle madly at the bridal salon and irritate the salespeople with her big, honking laugh and clueless questions. Watch her eyes glaze over as she wonders if she had the cable hooked up. Watch her mother’s face as her only daughter responds to her question about having no furniture- “Who moves into a house WITH furniture?” Um, everybody does, honey. EVERYBODY.
While I enjoyed (if by enjoy, you mean covering my eyes with horror and saying things like, “Does she seriously not know the difference between an orange and a PRUNE?”) last night’s premiere, I think it’s going to be a while before I drift over E!’s way again. Sure, I’ll continue haunting Chelsea and Joel but the original programming? I’d be better off watching my own smelly trash.
And oh, Hank? Honey, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? You seem normal and down-to-earth in a way that’s distressingly similiar to Nick Lachey and we all know what happened there. I know she’s got nice boobs and all but really? I want you to really think about this. Doesn’t it seem a little bit like you just proposed to a twelve year old girl on the playground?