A funny thing happened last week when it was announced that NBC was canceling Lipstick Jungle, the TV series based on Candace Bushnell’s book. Apparently there was an outcry. Women all over the country sent lipstick to NBC in hopes of convincing them not to dump the series. A few days into this crisis it was announced that the show wouldn’t be canceled after all. Execs had failed to count the numbers of off DVRs. I mean, what woman stays up that late to watch the show anyway? We all TIVO it and watch it when we can still think. Or if we can’t think, we can at least enjoy the fashion, the romance, the faux drama.
If they did decide to cancel the show, though, we never would have found out the inevitable conclusion of Victory and Joe. And what of the May/December romance between Nico and Kirby! Will Wendy ever find employment again? Will her sturdy marriage fall apart?
Funnily enough, I never knew how much I would miss the show until I imagined all of those lonely TIVO surfing moments without seeing a new episode of Lipstick Jungle appearing. And then it’s like remembering you had forgotten all about that Almond Roca you stashed in the freezer a few weeks back and you wonder if it’s there and if it will still taste as good. There is something strangely sinful about both the candy and the TV show.
We live in an era that is dominated by the target demographic, particularly on prime time network television. Cable seems to have less of an issue with pleasing those pesky 18- to 24-year-olds.
This was also driven home on the eve of the November sweeps when Gray’s Anatomy’s producers unceremoniously dumped Brooke Smith after her character began an apparently unpopular affair with Callie (Sara Ramirez). They didn’t give her any good reason except that no one liked that gay storyline. So why didn’t they keep Smith and drop the storyline? Apparently it was so upsetting that they wanted any hint of the lesbian doctor gone, baby, gone.
When the following week another blonde showed up on the scene, it became all too clear why Smith was dumped: she simply wasn’t pretty enough. Never mind that she was the only female character on the show who seemed to have half a brain, and the only one who took her job seriously enough not to have emotional hysterics while operating on dying patients. At least not until the bizarre lesbian storyline erupted.
Executive producer Shonda Rhimes put out the following statement:
“Brooke Smith was obviously not fired for playing a lesbian. Clearly it’s not an issue as we have a lesbian character on the show – Calliope Torres. Sara Ramirez is an incredible comedic and dramatic actress and we wanted to be able to play up her magic. Unfortunately, we did not find that the magic and chemistry with Brooke’s character would sustain in the long run. The impact of the Callie/Erica relationship will be felt and played out in a story for Callie. I believe it belittles the relationship to simply replace Erica with ‘another lesbian.’ If you’ll remember, Cristina mourned the loss of Burke for a full season.”
Grey’s is flailing to find an audience and keep its ratings high. They’ve brought in Melissa George, a prettier and hotter blonde, presumably to take Hahn’s place. It will probably bring their numbers up. Grey’s has always been more about the romance than the medical stuff so perhaps George is just what the show needs to get back on track. As for Hahn, hopefully she’s on to bigger and better things.
So it is satisfying news that Lipstick Jungle has not been canceled. If it had been canceled, it would have been blamed on the women not being young enough or pretty enough, then explained away in a press conference as “not finding an audience.” Actions this past week by fans proved that even if it hasn’t found an audience, an audience most certainly has found it.