Pat Clark

Bad body images, TiVo joy and joyless sex scenes

Random thoughts on an almost fall evening.

Some things do change -- they get worse: The outcry against scary-skinny models and the message they send to young girls isn't new by any means. I remember fashion magazines back in my college days and the same outcry.

Twenty-five years later, not only has the issue not gone away, the women are even bonier and the ranks have expanded to include actresses and pseudo-celebrities.

So it was especially sad to read stories in the aftermath of the mess that Britney Spears made Sunday night on the MTV Video Awards.

OK, so her dancing was horrible, she looked dazed and confused and the lip-syncing was downright pathetic. But -- despite the stories and blogs and rampant gossip mongers -- she did not look fat.

Even The Associated Press had the nerve to ponder whether Spears was "bulging" out of her black sequined bikini.

Look, I'm not going to defend Britney Spears. But I'm not going to lampoon her, either. The facts of the performance are facts. It was bad. No jokes. Beyond that, she seems to have sunk to such a dire emotional place that it's just no fun to make fun of her anymore.

But to suggest the girl looked fat goes past not funny. It's dangerous and, yes, a horrible message to send to young girls -- just as horrible as it was 25 years ago.

The problem is that three-quarters of Britney Spears' career was built on her toned body and six-pack abs. Now, two babies, a passel of bad decisions and too many parties at Pure nightclub later and the tone has been untoned.

Still, there is a big difference between untoned and fat. Anyone who wants to tag Spears as overweight needs to take another look -- and possibly have a sandwich.

Oh, Oscar, my hero: Jon Stewart will return as host in February for the Academy Awards ceremony, and that is such very good news. Apparently, the organizers at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences realized after last year's bland-fest led by Ellen DeGeneres that Oscar viewers can handle a little edge, that the stars can take a joke and that Stewart is just the guy to do it.

Why TiVo is golden: The Gallo Center for the Arts and the National Football League clashed in my world Monday night, and it again proved why the digital video recorder is one of the world's greatest achievements ever.

I mean it: ever.

I don't want to say the Gallo center folks could have picked a better night for their ribbon cutting and public dedication than the 49er's season opener on "Monday Night Football." I'm guessing the NFL's schedule didn't factor into the equation over there.

But, gee, that was kind of a drag. Thanks to TiVo, though, I didn't really have a conflict. I caught both -- one live, one recorded.

Turns out we really can have it all.

Is this HBO or Cine-sex?: I read many critical praises for the new HBO series "Tell Me You Love Me." Yes, I was warned therein about the graphic sex and nudity, but was assured that it was secondary and almost insignificant next to the fine writing and insightful drama. So I decided to tune in.

Um, hello? TV critics? What show were you watching?

I did not see an abundance of fine writing or insightful drama. What I did see was three whiny upper-middle-class couples with the same problems that millions of real couples face, but without a brain among them to act like intelligent adults.

Oh, and I saw a lot of naughty bits in naughty places.

A lot.

Maybe I'm just not a sophisticated viewer, but the sex scenes were neither secondary nor almost insignificant. They were in-your-face and unnecessarily drawn out. I wasn't shocked by it. Just bored.

Really, if I wanted soft-core porn, I'd have subscribed to Cinemax instead of HBO.

Scene editor Pat Clark can be reached at or 578-2312.