Saturday Night Lobotomy 

The Cindy Margolis Show downloads a full-sensory beating.

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Ever heard the word “beating” used to describe an extremely negative experience? I’ve heard it twice in the last week: The first was in reference to ex-City Weekly columnist John Harrington’s old talk-radio show (“Damn, listening to that show was just a beating”); the second concerned a current City Weekly columnist’s—no names, please—somewhat incoherent know-it-all ramblings (“Damn, reading that article was just a beating”).

A couple of weeks ago, I would have added my own regarding cultural crapfest Survivor and the whore-like tendencies the show’s entire network lapsed into while overpromoting it (“Damn, even turning on CBS anymore is just a beating—and why am I watching The Early Show, anyway?”).

That was a couple of weeks ago. Survivor is now but a bad, bad memory, and Bryant Gumbel has since returned to his original pre-Survivor viewing audience of 40 housebound oldsters (actual ratings, rounded up). During the weekend prior to Survivor’s last stand, a new syndicated TV show debuted, and anyone who actually saw it can attest to this: The American lexicon now has an unequivocal definition of “beating.”

It’s called The Cindy Margolis Show (KUWB 30, late Saturdays/early Sundays, 1 a.m.), and I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize for ever criticizing Survivor. Or Who Wants To Be a Millionaire. Or any program dissed in the short-but-spectacular history of The Only TV Column That Matters®.

See, Tube Town was launched a little more than two years ago because ex-basketball player Magic Johnson had this gawdawful talk show called The Magic Hour, and it had to be stopped—or at least ridiculed mercilessly [City Weekly, June 25, 1998]. Now, like a long-dormant warrior in some cheesy sci-fi/action series, Tube Town has been summoned forth by the powers of good to lay the smackdown on The Cindy Margolis Show, which seems designed for people who find E!’s Wild On … series a little too “thinky.” Courage.

Where Johnson was a rich, successful celebrity who was superhumanly nice but showed no discernable talent for speaking out loud, Margolis is a rich, successful celebrity who’s superhumanly nice but shows no discernable talent for speaking out loud who just happens to be the sexiest woman in the known universe. How hot is she? Besides being The Most Downloaded Woman on the Internet (averaging more than 500,000 hits a month to her website, www.CindyMargolis.com), scientific studies have proven that Margolis can cause sturdy tents to be pitched in even the furthest corners of Confirmed Bachelor Campgrounds. What chance do straight young males—Cindy’s target demographic—stand against her King World/CBS-syndicated wiles?

Even though straight young males are generally really, really stupid (witness the continued popularity of Creed), they ain’t yet seduced by The Cindy Margolis Show. The kickoff Aug. 19 ratings were dismal (a 1.3 rating covering 91 percent of the country’s monitored markets, in layman’s terms, sucks), and last weekend’s were just south of UPN territory.

Is this concrete proof that Margolis’ fans—or, as she calls them, “Cyberbuddies”—would rather hold their mouses with one hand than their remotes? Will Cindy follow The Drudge Report into good-websites-make-bad-TV oblivion? Gird those loins, because Cindy can’t be counted out this soon in the game. We’re talking weekend syndication, where shows can linger for months and months without an audience—remember Relic Hunter? What? It’s still on? Jesus, it’s worse than I thought.

There’s a reason this column is nearly over and the actual “show” portion of The Cindy Margolis Show hasn’t been laid out for you: I have no freakin’ idea what this tawdry train wreck is about.

I know it’s a beach party, taped in Florida’s South Beach, with plenty o’ hard bodies shaking their groove thangs. Margolis has one talented co-host (DJ Skribble manning the turntables) and one supremely untalented co-host (“comedian” Lance Krall, a slithering geek who has yet to produce a funny nanosecond) doing a good chunk of the talking. This is mostly a smart move because, sweet as she is, Margolis’ detached banter is flatter than one of her cheesecake mousepads. Is she a hostess, or a screensaver?

Every show has a different “theme” (last week was a “pajama party,” with Margolis and another lingerie bunny pillow-fighting in bed … oh yeah). There’s a “Webkini” contest, wherein nubile honeys prance around in bikinis as the Cyberbuddies viewing at home use that one free hand to click on their favorite. Oh, and boobs, boobs, boobs! There are more boobs per TV-screen inch on Cindy than C-Span’s coverage of the Republican, Democratic, Reform and Hooters National Conventions combined. Uh, this straight young male seems to have misplaced his “beating” thesis—this show doesn’t sound bad …

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