May 4, 2005

Like Mother, Like Daughter

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Secretly shameful behavior is a normal aspect of day-to-day life. Whether its knowing the words of at least one Britney Spears song by heart or actually being able to tell the Olsen twins apart, we’ve all got that one little deep, dark, pop culture secret that we’d prefer no one else to know about. In honor of this being my last column for the semester, I’ve decided to break my vow of silence and confess one of my secretly shameful indulgences. Of course, I’m referring to Gastineau Girls.

Hopefully, you don’t have a clue as to what I’m talking about. Touted by my apartment as “the worst reality show ever,” Gastineau Girls is also surprisingly (and regretfully) entrancing. The girls in question are Lisa and the ever-so-vowel-phobic Brittny; not sisters, not friends, not two random strangers but mother and daughter. Living the high life off off Lisa’s divorce settlement with Brittny’s father, former New York Jets superstar Mark Gastineau, the show is like some version of a my-mother-looks-young-enough-to-be-my-sister fluff piece from Cosmopolitan gone wrong.

So what are the two socialites like? Well, Lisa (the mother) is a blonde, while Brittny (the daughter) is a brunette. Oh and they’re both size sixes in terms of clothes. You’d be surprised at how much these two pieces of information actually motivate linear plot progression, and how doing nothing all day can actually construct the basis for great television — or more like so-bad-its-good television. Petty drama, inconceivable shopping sprees and laugh-out-loud problems (only through the audience’s peasant perspective) constitute the whole of Gastineau Girls. Lou, the “doorman” from the girls’ building acts as your somewhat creepy tour guide through it all, prepping scenes and giving us inside pointers like some sort of sportscaster for the rich and frivolous, with lines like “If Lisa doesn’t nail this interview, it could mean the end of her budding career.”

My favorite episode is perhaps Episode 8: “L.A. Women.” Melodrama and retardation never found a better mix than in the decision to move the Gastineau girls to Los Angeles for Oscar week. Watching Brittny interview with modeling agencies that deemed her already emaciated frame as a bit too heavy for properly portraying fashion was simply ridiculous. I guess they went with the thinner alternative, which in this case would simply be a clothing hanger attached to a pole with wheels.

Meanwhile, Lisa drifts into the irreconcilable land of fashion malfunctions (oh the severity!). Scheduled to give blurbs on E!’s live Academy Awards pre-show, the Gastineau girls are decked out in jewels and couture galore. Everything is going swimmingly until Lisa’s normally meaningless posing reveals that her dress is actually see through! Vanity pays off once again and Lisa is forced to wrap some sort of ugly green, tasseled tablecloth device around herself to keep her derriere off of the air. Needless to say, awkwardness soon ensues with fluttered stuttering at the E! live report and an angry call from the dress’s designer.

Now would be the time in a normal show’s progression for some deep introspection and reflection on past mistakes. Instead the girls head off for some more fun a l