Raucous reality show boasts battling beauties
Some Italo TV might well be a feminist vision of hell: a relentess parade of busty, six-foot blondes twirling in scanty costumes at the beck and call of irritating, 50-year-old male hosts.But it’s something that Italian viewers are treated to every night. And “treated” is the word. The evergreen appeal of the TV showgirl is underlined by the popularity of an Italo reality show in which 5,000 women battle it out for two posts (one blonde, one brunette) as TV showgirls or “veline.” Tasks in the raucous auditions that take place across Italy include such demeaning challenges as lapping up milk squirted from baby bottles — just the thing to deliver a 21% audience share to Silvio Berlusconi‘s Canale 5 TV net. The lucky winners get a contract to spend the next year dancing in bikinis and hopping on the desks of the male presenters of the “Striscia la Notizia” (Hot off the Press) news satire show. Media analyst Luigi Pugliese sighs that it’s effectively Italo TV’s “bread and butter.” But Antonio Ricci, the brains behind the veline reality show, counters that it’s not just low-brow exploitation but also a provocative critique of vacuous light entertainment.