The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

According to Amanda…The Sweet Hosts of Televised Shopping Networks Comfort One Babysitter

2 min read

I’ve spent a lot of time discussing my secret loves for various embarrassing things in this column, and I think it’s about time that I fess up to a secret love I rarely tell people about.  My name is Amanda Boccuti and I love watching the home shopping network.

Specifically, I like the QVC channel and the Home Shopping Network.  I’m not a big fan of the obscure, generic jewelry programs tucked between the local news and sports channels.  Nope.  Those programs seem to lack the sass and personality of QVC and HSN.  Plus, they never feature guest hosts like Suzanne Somers or Joan Rivers.

I should point out that I’ve never actually ordered anything from a home shopping channel.  I don’t watch it to shop; I watch it for companionship.

I know, I know.  That sounds pathetic and I suppose it kind of is, but my love for home shopping sprung from need.  In high school, I usually babysat on Saturday nights. After putting the kids to bed, I would put the TV on for background noise.  Unfortunately, I discovered that for someone who has a low threshold for scary content, Saturday night TV is pretty limited.

So I turned to home shopping, because there’s absolutely no risk that the plot will suddenly become scary.  Rather, a cheerful, overly made-up host cheerfully talks about some sort of merchandise in a way that makes you think that you can’t live without it.

What gets me is that the hosts really are persuasive.  If you don’t believe me, listen to a few customer testimonials some time.  How can you argue with a customer who raves that the fancy kitchen gadget “had her at the asparagus,” or the one who swears that elastic, high-rise stretch pants are the “best thing since sliced bread?”

I think Tim Gunn described it perfectly when he was advising a “Project Runway” designer who had incorporated human hair as a trimming to the collection he showed at Bryant Park.

“Chris,” Tim had said, concerned, “it’s like when you go to the monkey house at the zoo and when you first walk in you think ‘my God, what is that smell?’ and then after a few minutes you don’t notice any more until someone else walks in and says, ‘that smell is dreadful.’ ”

The designer, Chris, gave Tim a puzzled look, to which Tim responded, “You’re in the monkey house.  Make it work.”

Granted, I may not be a designer on “Project Runway,” but the monkey house theory holds true with home shopping.  Once I start watching, I can’t help but become convinced that I really do need that turntable to fix my hitherto nonexistent back problems or that those Quaker Factory Capri pants with embroidered dolphins really are where spring fashion is headed this year.