Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Channeling shopping celebrities

 •  Previous About Men/Women

By Christie Wilson
Advertiser Staff Writer

I am an inveterate channel surfer, and while tripping up and down the TV dial, I sometimes pause on the shopping networks. Not that I would buy anything; I just like to look. It's window shopping for couch potatoes.

I haven't seen a single piece of clothing I'd wear, but occasionally they have cool watches, cookware, toys and household gadgets. I especially like to tune in when they're doing Christmas merchandise and other seasonal themes like St. Patrick's Day and Oktoberfest. It helps set the holiday mood, I guess, although who needs help getting psyched for Oktoberfest?

And I always brake for food presentations: savory steaks and chops sizzling on the grill, yummy cheesecakes and those magnificent softball-sized candy apples. It's mesmerizing.

The exotic hairstylists pushing their products never fail to entertain. They just spritz, tousle and, voilà, a head of flat, lifeless hair is instantly a voluminous mane. How do they do that?

I also love the little old lady who used to pitch the sandwich maker, although I haven't seen her in a while. Maybe she ran off with George Foreman.

The only thing I've ever actually ordered was a beanbag lap tray for my father, who uses it all the time. I was tempted to buy that pan you can cook an entire four-course meal in at once — pasta, meat and veggies in layers on the bottom while a cake bakes on top — but it sounded too good to be true.

Although a casual viewer, I do have my favorite hosts, the more outlandish the better. I like adorable, bald Shawn and crazy Charla on ShopNBC. There's madcap David on QVC (I bet he calls his mother every day) and immaculately groomed Bill on HSN who has a waxlike complexion and looks like his eyebrows are airbrushed on.

Aside from their entertainment value, the shopping channels are a study in human behavior. I find it fascinating that while I'm browsing the tube at 9 p.m. Hawai'i time, there's someone on the East Coast at 3 in the morning ordering a specially priced $2,499 18K ruby-and-diamond ring, size 8. Who are those people? Who buys expensive jewelry over the TV? And why am I watching them do it?

Best of all are the doll shows. It's like driving by a car wreck: You want to turn away but you can't.

They sell life-sized baby dolls, ethnic dolls, dolls dressed as showgirls, faeries and flappers, and child dolls in cute poses — some costing hundreds of dollars.

The doll shows seem to air mostly late at night, and you can't help but imagine legions of lonely women, and maybe even a few men, sitting in their darkened living rooms or watching from bed, surrounded by their doll collections as they clutch the remote in one hand, the phone in the other, their faces illuminated only by the ghostly glow of the TV as they watch Tina on HSN with their dead doll stares.

It's riveting television.

Reach Christie Wilson at cwilson@honoluluadvertiser.com.