The Model Paradox: Ken and Barbie Vs. Homer and Marge

Truthfully, do we prefer to see perfect airbrushed models or just reminders of our own bodies?  Is beauty really in the eye of the beholder or does how we spend money on magazines what we actually believe?

America has always had a love/hate relationship with Barbie and Ken. Unsurprisingly, it exactly reflects the way we both worship and curse the models we see everyday on TV and in movies and magazines. During the Fall season of 2009, there was a lot of Internet buzz about a model named Lizzie Miller who was featured in the September issue of Glamour magazine. The picture showed her proudly smiling, displaying her nude yet self-censored body, seeming both unaware and apathetic about the fact she has a “belly”, stretch marks, and thick legs.  The letters and emails poured in by the masses, praising the magazine for showing the beauty of a “normal” woman. While Glamour has been known to feature plus size women on the cover, like Queen Latifah in May 2004, the magazine mainly uses thinner models instead on a regular basis.

But, if normal sized and average looking people are what the general public really wants to see and even the magazine editors know this, why consistently do we continue to see models with perfect abs and bodies with less than 2% body fat? Because when it really comes down to it, we don’t truly want to see a model who reminds us of what our own bodies look like. The proof? Lean models sell more magazines. Bottom line. And we the average people are the ones buying.

In 2006 Dove soap began their Self-Esteem Fund campaign, featuring “real women” in their TV and Internet ads.  While the ad campaign is still active as of today, according to their website it will be ending after 2010, for whatever reason.  But even if these ads with “realistic models” help sell more soap, why are there still skinny, muscular, sexually provocative models on the covers of fashion, beauty, and even health magazines?  Because despite increased sales of soap, the image of the person on the cover of a magazine is largely what sells it. And on a regular basis, I continue to see the real life equivalent of Ken and Barbie on fashion, beauty, and health mags, not Homer and Marge Simpson.

The physical ideal self is what so many consumers are looking to become. It’s a nearly impossible image that we may be able to get close to, but never actually permanently attain for ourselves, unless we own a gym.  And that perceived void in our lives to feel beautiful or sexy (or maybe simply to feel worthy of being in a healthy relationship) largely helps to magazines to sell, by feeding into our subconscious. It’s the image that some people keep stuck in the front of their minds when they work out or when make a conscious decision to eat grilled salmon and a salad instead of a bucket of fried chicken and a 48 ounce soda.

We blame the magazines and media for bombarding us with unrealistic models. And it makes us feel good when magazines do display people that remind us of ourselves. For about five minutes. Then a flash of a shirtless Ryan Reynolds or Jennifer Aniston wearing nothing but a men’s tie on the cover of GQ changes that. We can say we want to see imperfection, but how we spend our money directly affects what images continue to show up on magazines covers and retail ads.  Tired of seeing unrealistic models?  Stop reading and buying those kind of magazines until they only feature people who look like you and me.

But that obviously will never happen.  Because our love/hate relationship with models is somehwat like a kid who goes to Disney World for the first time but is old enough to know that Mickey Mouse is not actually a 6 foot tall mutant mouse, but instead a college student in a really expensive costume.  Even so, this child is no less excited even though he or she knows it is just a fantasy.  And that’s just what models are- a fantasy, both equally demotivating and inspiring.

The Ethnicity of the Cast of The Wonder Years (Plus, Who Did the Voice of Kevin Arnold as an Adult?)

The classic All-American drama/comedy was played mainly by minorities: Italians and Jews.

Fred Savage (Jewish) as “Kevin Arnold”

Dan Lauria (Italian) as “Jack Arnold”

Alley Mills (English) as “Norma Arnold”

Jason Hervey (Jewish) as “Wayne Arnold”

Olivia d’Abo (Italian but raised in England) as “Karen Arnold”

David Schwimmer (Jewish) as “Michael”, Karen’s boyfriend/husband

Josh Saviano (half Jewish, half Italian) as “Paul Pfeiffer”

Danica McKellar (half Portugese; Scottish-Irish-French-German-Dutch) as Winnie Cooper

Ben Stein (Jewish) as Mr. Cantwell

To learn the mysterious setting of The Wonder Years, read The Wonder States- Using Deductive Reasoning to Determine the Setting of The Wonder Years, My Name is Earl, and The Simpsons.

And lastly, who did the voice of Kevin Arnold as an adult?

Daniel Stern (Jewish)

He’s probably most familiar from Home Alone (1990) and its sequel two years later, as Marv, the more idiotic burglar.

One of his first major acting roles in a movie was Diner (1982).  After the first Home Alone, Stern did City Slickers (1991) and its sequel a year later.  Mostly recently he starred in the TV show Monk and the Drew Barrymore movie Whip It! both in 2009.

Lastly, if you’re hoping for The Wonder Years to be released on DVD set anytime soon, keep hoping.  Remember all the awesome music from the show?  Red tape, legal issues, and a very high price tag associated with the soundtrack may indefinitely keep us from ever buying the show on DVD.  Sadly, The Wonder Years may simply remain a part of our own “wonder years”.

LOST Recap: Season 6, Episode 16- “What They Died For”


I can’t always be right- Ben is definitely ultimately a bad guy, at least in reality.  Ben is doing his best to keep his promise to Widmore that he will kill Penny. 

So I was wrong about Ben, but I still think the finale will end in modern day 2010, which so far has never been seen on LOST, only up to 2009.

Desmond in alt-reality is starting to make a lot more sense now.  He ran over Locke to jog his memory of reality and his gathering everyone he can for a reunion which somehow will serve a purpose of changing reality, despite living in alt-reality.

Two minor questions were answered.  Why does Faux Locke walk when he can fly?  He likes the feeling of having his feet on the ground as it reminds him of being human.  Why was Kate’s name crossed off the list on the cave wall?  She became a mom to Aaron, that’s the only reason.  But by her coming back to the island, she technically put her name back on the list, as Jacob offered to change it back.

Though I already knew it in the back of my mind, Jacob confirmed why he chose the candidates: They are all flawed, alone, and looking for something- just like Jacob.  As is the newly orphaned Ji Yeon who will replace Jack as the island’s protector.

Well, I’m pretty excited about the LOST party I will be attending Sunday night.  Now I understand how the rest of America feels when the Super Bowl is on.  As far as my expectations, I have a feeling the finale will evoke the same feel and emotion as the episode “The Candidate”, where Jin and Sun died.

It will be sad, yet it will be the only way for the thing to end properly. And all of our questions will not be answered.  Just the main ones.  The unanswered ones will help keep LOST alive by all our theories that will continue to be born, keep LOST alive in our hearts.

I wonder if at the end of the finale on Sunday, if the screen will say “FOUND” instead of “LOST”.  Probably not.  Too predictable.

LOST Recap: Season 6, Episode 10- “The Package”

My sister Dana, the one who got me started on LOST three years ago, often teaches me good theories about the show.  She picks up on details I miss.  Today for my recap, I am copying and pasting her e-mails as a way for her to co-write this with me, despite her living in Alabama and me in Tennessee.  I’ll let her take start us off.


Some things are just meant to be, so Mikhail would have lost an eye no matter what.  Are the 2 timelines intertwined, like The Butterfly Effect somehow?

Sun was pregnant and got shot. At the end of season 2 (or maybe it was 3 and shot an Other (who was pregnant) who came onto their boat. But maybe she wasn’t pregnant. Sun shot someone, and Sun got shot.  Balance.

Also, once someone becomes evil (Claire and Sayid) they stop feeling emotions. But Claire seems to have gotten hers back in the last episodes. She showed rage toward Kate and then later felt sorry and hugged her.

Any thoughts on why capturing Desmond would be so important to Jin? Not sure why Widmore wanted to show him to see Desmond ‘The Package’ Hume.

Do you get the feeling that Widmore is somehow one of the good guys?

Widmore warned that “a war” was coming. And now that we know he and Smokey are on different sides, he appears good. Widmore said that if Fake Locke were to escape the Island, everyone they cared about would cease to exist. (Sound familiar?) That’s what I thought he said.

There’s got to be so much more to Desmond than we’ve been told. Eloise Hawking appeared to him several times trying to get him not to marry Penny. Then he crashed on the Island, worked for Dharma, got rescued by Penny. I wonder if Widmore knows that Desmond is somehow a bad guy (connected to the smoke monster somehow?) and he’s trying to protect Penny.

We saw “room 23” again finally, where Alex’s boyfriend Carl was being brainwashed with subliminal messages about God and Jacob.


Well done.  My take on Sun is that she doesn’t die.  After us waiting two seasons for her and Jin to reunite, I just think that would be cruel of the writers.

I agree Widmore is ultimately good, just like Ben.

I stand by my prediction that the Kwan Kid is the chosen Kwan, not Sun or Jin.

I remind you yet again that at no point so far in the series has it showed what happens in the year 2010.  It’s only showed up to early 2009 so far.  A major twist in episodes to come will involve the year 2010: present day.

So far we’ve only seen the past (though at the time it sometimes was the future, but not the timeline never ventured into life after 2009).  The LOST writers are keeping us in the dark about the immediate present day as far as where the characters are and the island itself.

In closing, I think it’s interesting to see the names of the upcoming episodes, with my predictions in parenthesis:

Episode 10: Happily Ever After (Jin and Sun reunite?)

Episode 11: Everybody Loves Hugo (Hugo and Libby get a second chance at love, in a flash-sideways?)

Episode 12: The Last Recruit (Desmond?)

Episode 13: The Candidate (The Kwan Kid?)

Episode 14: Across the Sea (We get to learn more about Widmore’s life off the island?)

Episode 15: What They Died For (Not necessarily implying that more main characters die, but instead an explanation on why favorite characters had to die, like Charlie and Libby.)

Episode 16: The End (The timeline finally reaches the year 2010.)

"The Package", brothah!

The Most Popular (and Favorite) Posts of 2009

It’s been a big year for Jenny Slate, and for some reason, pickles. After writing over 250 posts this year, I now present the best 25 of them which readers unknowingly chose as the Most Popular and Favorite of 2009.

When I have a stream-of-consciousness thought, I write down a rough draft title for it on a slip of paper which later becomes a page and half long post. Sometimes these subjects I write about magically connect with readers. But I can never know which random topics will fly or land. I just throw them out there and see what happens.

Since September, I have been exclusively publishing my writings on this site, which provides built-in technology that shows me which posts are clicked on the most. Therefore I can determine which are the Most Popular of 2009.

The Top Most Popular Posts:

Jenny Slate Will Not Be Fired for F-Word Accident-

Without exception, this post makes an appearance every week in the Top Posts section of my site. Though the mishap took place a few months ago and is no longer entertainment headline news, there are still curious people out there finding my article through Google searches. It’s so popular that twice as many people have read it than the #2 post.


Pickles Make for Good Reading Material, Episode 3-

How would you waste $50,000? There are, of course, plenty of annoying and limited rules placed on this question.

Pickles Make for Good Reading Material, Episode 4-

What if you could only eat free restaurant food for the rest of your life? No more of Mom’s lasagna or double fudge brownies.

Paranormal Activity Vs. The Fourth Kind-

My review of two thriller movies was taken to a whole new universe when a random “alien abductee” left an out-of-this-world comment at the bottom of the post.

New News-

The human race is hungry for new information. But we tend to settle for celebrities making fools of themselves and infomercials that promise a cure for male hair loss.



#8 (tie) Boyspeak-

This Manspeak spin-off/prequel became quite popular thanks to a friend who advertised the post on her facebook wall to her thousands of facebook friends. This post confronts the fact that many men never grew out of their “own little world” mentality from when they were boys.

#9 Manspeak, Volume 7: Bromance-

It’s pretty obvious that bromantic comedies outsell romantic comedies these days. But bromance isn’t anything new; it’s been around since Biblical times.

#10 (tie) The Invisible Touch, Yeah (The 2nd Installment) –

What causes us to become close to certain people but not others?

#10 (tie) Big Hands-

For some people to be wealthy, it means that others must be poor. This post takes a look at what things would be like if America was neither.

For the slight majority of this year, my posts were exclusively published on facebook. I wasn’t able to have a clue of how many people read them. All I had to go on were comments people left. Therefore I deem these most-commented-on writings the Favorites of 2009.

The Top Fifteen Most Favorite Posts:

Snail Trails- If I’m the only person who remembers something happening, I hold the exclusive rights to that event actually being real.

The Opposite of Evolution- A scientific explanation of how the Earth was created by God in 6 literal 24 hour days. Intelligent Design 101.

Red and Yella Will Kill a Fella- Flashbacks from the Snake Man and how his words of wisdom also apply to fast food.

Manspeak, Volume 9: Appearance- The episode introducing the term “Bachelor Pants”.

Barley Into Beer- Comparing beer to soda, from a Christian perspective.

The Funny Thing about Jews- The Hebrew people make up less than 2% of the US population, yet dominate American entertainment. A brief look at some of the actors you didn’t realize were Jewish.

Robes Man- How a robe makes any man more sophisticated and at the same time a bit creepy.

The Magically Disappearing Friend- They only exist in our minds.

Dog Whistle- What does God think about his name being on our dirty money?

Story of My Life- Why I can remember such amazing details.

Party Like It’s 1999- Ten year reunions can actually be awesome.

Hedge of Protection and Travelling Mercies- Analyzing our goofy-worded prayers.

Hungry Heart- We will never get over our selfish past of life in the womb.

My Jewish Upbringing- Seriously, I’m not really Jewish?

Campfires- As kids, we knew how to hang out with our friends. It’s gotten more complicated as adults.

Like an actor who is blinded by the stage lights and is therefore unable to see the faces in the audience, I can not see who the people are that read my writings each week. But whoever you are, I thank you. Thank you for sharing my weirdness. Takes one to know one, yes?

Honorable Mentions:

No Pork on My Fork- We don’t eat possums or vultures, but we do eat pigs and shrimp.

The Modern Day Tortoise- Working hard vs. working smart.

Most of Life is Just Simply Showing Up- The rest really is just details.