Lifetime Network is playing dirty. The network claims to offer "the highest quality entertainment and information programming content that celebrates, entertains and supports women." But this time their fear-based programming may have ventured too far into tasteless territory. For some, the new weekly series debuting on Easter Sunday (April 8, 2012), "The Client List," promises a guilty pleasure, much like an erotic romance novel. For others, particularly licensed massage therapists, the show is a slap in the face.
Star Jennifer Love Hewitt, who refused to pose nude for Hefner's Playboy in December of 2007, has been wearing lingerie and a coy smile in ads promoting the show. Other promos, in form of magazines for J-Love showing lots of skin have appeared on Maxim and the coveted back cover of Entertainment Weekly (April 6, 2012).
It's worth noting that her Maxim cover shows less skin than a Shape magazine cover from December 2009. On Maxim she has a robe The difference may be that she's wearing a bathing suit and not a bra and panties. One was promoting fitness, the other a show about a real life massage therapist (term used loosely) turned prostitute.
Women have been blasting the show for glamorizing prostitution. Complaints about "Pretty Women" didn't seem to have an affect on the movie's popularity, which has earned a domestic total gross of $178,406,268. Women have been posting on the Lifetime Network forums concerned about kids seeing the show (it's airs on Sundays at 10 p.m.).
A few people have stuck up for both the show and Love Hewitt, stating it's just fiction, it's just for fun, Jennifer is beautiful, sexy is in, and if you don't like it, don't watch. The majority of posters take great offense that the show taints the valid occupation of massage therapy. Some are worried that the show will sully their own reputations. Other posters are reacting on a more visceral level, fearing for their own safety due to massage clients that have asked for sexual favors, stalked them, and sexually assaulted them.
While the intention of the show is to be provocative, it seems to be striking a deeper chord, and some say, will put women working as massage therapists in harms way. Will "The Client List" become one of your guilty pleasures or does the whole show rub you the wrong way?
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