Hate, Hate, Hate

We hate ourselves. We should despise this show

Self-loathing is South Florida's incurable cancer. The fact is, no one loves this part of the country enough to want to save it. There are dozens of other cities that care enough about themselves that they don't chase their symphony out of town. And nowhere feeds its historic architecture and cool old neighborhoods to greedy developers like we do.

Which brings us to Girls Night Out, a television series produced in Broward County. Fort Lauderdale producer Nick Lawrence recently sent me a few episodes for review, with a letter complaining, "The best local show in South Florida can't get on TV." Lawrence says he's sent copies of the program to all the local broadcast stations and never received any response. "I thought at least I'd get a call back saying they don't like the show," he says. "But nothing ever happened." Cable outlets like Comcast and Adelphia have picked up the program. "But I think it's at the level now where a broadcast station could at least give us a look-see," Lawrence continues. "It's a great promotional piece." WSVN-TV (Channel 7), he figures, should be all fired up. "We'd split the money! The show comes in pre-made. They'd just have to put in their own commercials!" He even has a time slot in mind: "Maybe right after Deco Drive." A former radio producer who worked with Steve Kane, Lawrence may be onto something: Girls Night Out caters to the viewer who finds Deco Drivetoo intellectually challenging.

GNO is available on the television monitors showing BarTV (formerly Cybars.com) that are positioned in nightspots between Miami and West Palm Beach. Evidence of self-directed hatred abounds on the show. What else explains someone with the money, equipment, and ambition to begin something like Bar TV, who squanders it all on something so pedestrian? So many opportunities to have some fun with a system of cameras and TVs connecting downtown clubs were wasted.

Why not mount a spycam behind the bar to see who's making strong drinks or watering 'em down? Chuck Berry may have pioneered bathroom-cam technology, but that doesn't preclude Bar TV from improving on it. But no. Bar TV simply creates a sort of drunken late-night version of McLuhan's global village. Belly up and watch someone else in some other bar get drunk while you sit and do the same.

In one episode of Girls Night Out, hapless model-cum-interviewer Deborah Scott prowls Cafe Iguana in Pembroke Pines in a revealing dress, microphone in hand. And what better way to get a feel for the hipness of this suburban oasis than an impromptu chat with Steve, its owner?

"How do you feel about Cafe Iguana being voted the most happening club in South Florida?" she asks.

"Uh, pretty good, actually," answers Steve, slightly confused.

"I'm sure you do," continues Scott behind a horribly false and blinding smile that she can (and does) shut down in a nanosecond. "I mean, that's pretty big news!"

Viewers can expect more intelligence from the trenches like the above, thanks to Girls Night Out. Maybe Scott will get the hang of on-camera interviewing if the show continues (it's celebrating its fourth anniversary next month). For now, though, she picks the loudest possible place in a nightclub and shouts into ears. It sure didn't look like fun when Scott accosted Marc Menard, an actor from the All My Children soap, who was on hand to check out Iguana's "Most Beautiful Man" contest. "You're definitely the hottest guy here!" she yells at the side of his carefully coifed head.

Yet in the very next segment, Scott tries to converse with the contest's winner, Francois. "You're the hottest guy here," she gushes about six millimeters from his eardrum. "You know you're hot, don't you?"

And, possibly as a sort of trial-by-fire boot camp, Scott and her two cohosts travel to New York City to explore its nightlife. Theresa Pancheco corners a Denver Nuggets player beneath some sheet-metal ductwork so she can ask him, "Hey, how're you doing up there?"

The most telling moment comes when Scott ends up at an "off the wall" NYC club called Pressure, where she mingles among clothing-optional A-list guests. The event is called Skin, which also takes place in Miami the last Saturday of every month. While being interviewed, its creator explains, "I've always felt there was a need for some kind of more selective event for just the beautiful people."

"I love the idea," chirps Scott, smile widening, threatening to split her skull in half. "I think it's fabulous. The people here are, like, models."

And that brings us back to South Florida, where someone apparently believes that a show like Girls Night Outis a good idea. And the circle of self-hatred continues unbroken.

 
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