Tuesday, April 28, 2009

TV/FILM TOPIC: The Girlfriend Experience

For those of you who were searching for an escort service, I'm sorry Google misdirected you. But for those of you who have heard the term "The Girlfriend Experience" pop up more and more recently, stick around.

I'm not a hooker aficionado, and I'm genuinely stumped when TV shows try to cleverly name drop rare sexual positions. But every now and then TV schools me on things I probably could've lived my whole life without needing to know.

For example: The Girlfriend Experience.

The phrase first came up on my radar when Steven Soderbergh (Ocean's Eleven) announced he was making a comedy by the same name, which would be a day-in-the-life of a high-end call girl. It wasn't until I caught the first four episodes of "Secret Diary of a Call Girl" that the term was truly defined for me. Apparently, there is a service that escorts provide—among many others—that consists of them pretending they are their client's girlfriend. They could go to a hotel and sleepover for one night or an entire weekend. They could act out a previously agreed upon script where they have a lover's spat and make-up sex, or even pretend it's their anniversary. If you're thinking, like I was thinking, Why don't they just get a real girlfriend?, perhaps you should think of the un-obvious benefits to this fake relationship.

Last night's episode of CBS's "Big Bang Theory" was a perfect example. Wolowitz was feeling down in the dumps because his friend-with-benefits broke up with him. So Leonard and Raj thought it would be a brilliant idea to not only take him to Vegas, but pay a hooker to give him The Jewish Girlfriend Experience without his knowledge. I mean, eventually he figured it out, he is somewhat of a genius, but it was amusing to watch her (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe, Gretchen on "Prison Break") get all Jew-ified for a buck. And it sort of de-sleazed the concept.

But now that I think about it...I've seen this Girlfriend Experience before! Richard Gere totally paid Julia Roberts for that very same service in Pretty Woman. Melanie Griffith was roped into it by children in Milk Money—in a totally PG kind of way. They explore it a bit on FOX's "Dollhouse," when they send actives out into the field as the perfect wives or girlfriends. Also, technically Michael Angarano was just a dying kid who wanted to go on a date with Sunny Mabrey's actress character in One Last Thing, but they slept together so it counts. And the only film where I've seen a woman use this service was in Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney's rom-com The Wedding Date, where she pays a high-end prostitute to pretend to be her boyfriend at her little sister's wedding and make her ex-fiance jealous. Naturally, we ladies have to give the service higher meaning than it merits, lol, but it's good to know it's an equal opportunity practice.

I wonder who else on TV would benefit from The Girlfriend/Boyfriend Experience. Ooooh Rusty on "Greek." He's definitely in need of a confidence boost after Jesse McCartney's character stole away his crush. I feel like Christine on "The New Adventures of Old Christine" would probably make it a hilarious experience for everyone. And almost anyone on "The Office" would certainly qualify as pathetic enough to use and abuse that service. Anyone else?

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