Sep 8, 2016

Just Shoot Me: Buddy Bonding and Snark

Beginning with The Mary Tyler Moore Show, many, many sitcom have featured a gung-ho female journalist paired with a stick-in-the-mud male boss.  Usually a romance develops.  But not in Just Shoot Me (1997-2003). 

 Its premise: aging playboy Jack Gallo (George Segal) runs a women's magazine, Blush, which offers frothy fashion and sex tips.  His daughter Maya (Laura San Giocomo) arrives, all but waving a "Women's Lib" sign, ready to fight the objectification of women and write hard-hitting articles about human trafficking and date rape.

She is shocked to discover that everyone at Blush is extraordinarily horny.  Sexual desires, exploits, adventures, and come-ons occupy all of their free time, which is all of the workday.

Photographer Elliot DiMauro (Enrico Colantoni) sleeps with every female model, no exceptions.

Wise-cracking secretary Davis Finch (David Spade) makes crude come-ons to every women in sight, no exceptions.

Fashion editor and former supermodel Nina Van Horn (Wendie Malick) sleeps with every man she sees, no exceptions.

There are episodes about the clash between hard-hitting journalism and froth, but mostly the series is about relationships.  Maya bickers with her Dad, clashes with his new wife, and gets boyfriends, eventually Elliot.

Nina competes with other supermodels, falls in love with the wrong man, pretends to be things that she's not, and gets her comeuppance.

Davis pursues a father-son relationship with Jack, pursues a relationship with his real father, and has the insecurities beneath the snark revealed.

They all become close friends.

There was some gay interest:

Nina Van Horn was an outrageous, boozy, profane type, the sort gay men like to emulate in their drag queen personae.

Everyone is shocked to discover that Davis is an extra-extra large (he didn't know himself, assuming that the guys in porn movies were about average, and he was just a little bigger than them).

Enrico Colantoni,  hairy and rather muscular, took off his shirt often (he even posed semi-nude for Playgirl).

Gay people were referenced on occasion, the usual "mistaken for gay" and "pretending to be gay to enjoy the tremendous advantages gay people have" episodes.

Only two actual LGBT persons: the high school buddy who had a sex change; and a female model has a crush on Maya.

Typical for how the 1990s handled gay "issues," as a problem for the heterosexuals to solve.

You'd think they could do better, and have an actual gay character in a recurring role.  But it came on just before or just after Will and Grace, and network execs probably figured that viewers couldn't stand two programs with gay characters on the same night.

See also: Suddenly, Susan

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