I’m going to ask you to read this italicized text, not in your normal internal reading voice, but you’re a somber and perplexed Ian Darke reacting to a striker who has just missed an open goalmouth by an acre: Erin Andrews, Charissa Thompson… oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.
That’s the most tonally appropriate response for this embarrassing Hollywood Reporter video in which Andrews and Thompson try to affect “blonde-tastically flirty” and end up somewhere around a generic Esquire Hot Lady Profile that’s been left outside during a hurricane. The only time we hear either of them speak, in the midst of so much doe-eyed preening and hair-flipping, is when Andrews jokes “Are these our engagement photos?” to which a photographer chuckles “Haha, yeah.” And then what I imagine we don’t hear is him mumbling “…now kiss” because that seems to be exactly the sort of thing a photog at this event would say.
It’s not that I’m outraged over the fact that two female sports reporters are made to feel like they have to act like they’re at some vaguely porn-y slumber party, though that’s definitely a thing to feel angry about. I’m more uncomfortable than anything, because both Thompson and Andrews appear to not know what they’re doing and not feel great about it. I’ve seen those smiles they flash in the video before; they’re the painted-on type that you apply when you want to leave a social gathering but decide I guess I need to stay for at least another 45 minutes to not seem like a jerk.
In other words, Andrews and Thompson are indulging us, though I’m not sure who the “us” is supposed to be. Is it the Ted Nugentian types the NFL seems to imagine their audience to be? I guess so, but the ridiculous cringe-worthiness of the video indicates how silly it is to market oneself to a beer-drinkin’, deer-huntin’ stereotype that surely exists but can’t possibly be worth the stress or the cost of making anyone with a progressive bone in their body dislike you.
Fox has been blitzing us with promos and advertisements for Fox Sports 1, and they’ve covered all the angles. The network, depending on what ad you’re watching, will be fun, smart, inventive, unpredictable, provocative, etc. One can imagine the THR photo shoot and accompanying video is Fox asking Thompson and Andrews to announce that the network will also feature good-looking women. Being that I’m no longer 12 years old, I don’t feel like this is something I need to know, what with my ability to be interested in things that are not even obliquely about sex. All I want is for Thompson and Andrews to be good at their jobs. Fox should, too.