Thursday night saw the premiere of Lifetime's new couch-yakking talk show, The Conversation. (And no, there was no sign of Gene Hackman.) The show is a passion project of host Amanda de Cadenet, a British photographer and former actress (and wife of Strokes guitarist Nick Valensi), who filmed most of the conversations from her own home. The show is a platform for women to engage in honest, substantial dialogue, with guests ranging from nineteen-year-old Miley Cyrus to seventy-four-year-old Jane Fonda.

During her segment, Sarah Silverman spoke to issues of female empowerment, and how women often compromise themselves for the sake of relationships. Having paid her dues as a "female" comedian, Silverman knows from condescension, and the false outrage over "vagina" humor. Admitting to watching empty-calorie TV shows like The Bachelor, Silverman opined that that particular show is "offensive" and degrading to women. She said:

"I'll tell you what's offensive about these shows... that are on ABC during prime time. Twenty-five women in JCPenney prom dresses, fully grown, going, 'He took us to a castle!' No he didn't. Producers procured a castle. And there's twenty-five of you — that's how special you aren't."

Dilating on how values get distorted in the quest for almighty ratings, Silverman cautioned:

"I think, 'Wow, some young girl is watching this, and there should be a warning saying this is not acceptable behavior.' The biggest thing that a woman should realize is that there is not just one slot for a woman in any given thing. I think that's something that society, men and women both, have enforced. It's in the ether that one woman's success can only come at another woman's failure."

Silverman obviously makes good points, and women's success shouldn't be a zero-sum game, but, unfortunately, watching dysfunction on television is fun, whether it's watching people elude creditors behind a facade of wealth, or connive to "win" a romantic object of affection. Still, it's helpful for public figures like Silverman to point out that it's unbecoming for young girls to emulate those who sell out and attempt to force "true love."

Commentarium (10 Comments)

Apr 27 12 - 4:22pm
Hampton

Watching dysfunction on television, is NOT fun, Jeff

Apr 27 12 - 4:41pm
Wordchoicematters

Sarah Silverman would not have said that "it's unbecoming" for young girls to do anything. The point is we shouldn't judge women of any age on how something looks. It's ignorant for young people of any sex to emulate those who sell out and attempt to force true love.
Would you say something was "unbecoming" if you were talking about boys?

Apr 27 12 - 4:57pm
Gazbo

You've never heard of "behavior unbecoming a gentleman"?

Apr 27 12 - 5:07pm
uhhuh

there's actually a criminal offense in the military 'conduct unbecoming a' whatever branch the 'offender' happens to belong to.

Apr 28 12 - 8:38am
Squish

I mention this when ppl talk about how we need to "defend marriage". Getting married these days is a joke.

Apr 28 12 - 6:32pm
melancholy_owl

I think what Silverman is saying and what a lot of people need to realize is that shows like The Bachelor are OK, if you watch them objectively. You need to realize when something is BS and be able to laugh at it.

Apr 28 12 - 7:22pm
SaraS

Wow. Um, NO. Doubt Sarah Silverman watches this show, ever. And neither do I. It's disgusting, and stupid, and laughable. (Not in a good way.)
I can't even suspend belief for a second that people might find romance in that atmosphere. They get, what, 2 hours alone together a week? How is he supposed to really know these girls past the superficial? And how on earth do these idiots say they "love" each other? Ridiculous.

Apr 29 12 - 8:10pm
Rachel

Not to mention they're not very interesting people.

Apr 30 12 - 1:43am
nope

I don't know about the Bachelor, but I think with something like the Jersey Shore or Teen Mom people have this totally bullshit sense of outrage based on the postulation that everyone ELSE is watching it in complete earnestness, just waiting for the chance to emulate these people, and unable to see that their lives are objectively shit. It does seem like people watch the Bachelor somewhat earnestly, so maybe this isn't the case here, but I think in general people preaching that young girls shouldn't take Snooki or the Teen Mothers on as role models is usually met with a resounding "Duh."

Apr 30 12 - 10:23am
Pork Floss

Reading comprehension much, SaraS?