I’m always thrilled to see a new South Park, and I was going to just leave the TV on during the half hour between its end and the start of my beloved Daily Show. I already knew from the sexist, juvenile commercials that I had no desire to watch Comedy Central’s new series Secret Girlfriend, but I figured I could leave it on in the background with the sound turned down while I did dishes.
Then I glanced at the show’s description on my cable menu and saw that the premise is that the main character is “you,” the viewer, whom the other characters address by speaking to the camera. Apparently they are trying to find “you” a new girl after a breakup. In case the viewer is in any way unclear about who “you” are, we start off with an oh-so-brilliant joke in which one character suggests “you” masturbate and another counters that masturbation is automatically gay because you’re touching a penis. Just in case you missed the fact that the viewer, the default, “you” are male.
This is where I switched over to the History Channel, because while I am normally strongly opposed to criticizing media without fully watching it, some days I can’t. I just can’t. I don’t have the energy.
I watch a lot of stuff that’s typically geared towards male audiences. A lot of horror movies, a lot of Apatowian comedy. I’m used to the implication that the assumed viewer is someone with a penis, and some days I can ignore it and some days it annoys me (I’m particularly aggravated at that Gamefly commercial currently airing, the one with a montage of players screaming about bad games, all but one of whom is male) and some days… I’m almost grateful to Secret Girlfriend for letting me know where I stand, for making it clear up front that I don’t matter, that I’m not real, that the only women who exist are the conventionally attractive ones that the show objectifies.
Almost grateful, but mostly just tired. And sad.