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Time Slot:
  Saturdays at 4:00 p.m./Sundays at 1:00 p.m. EST  
Reviewed by:
  The Priestess  

Hear the name Pamela Anderson (sometimes Lee), and the first thought to come to mind may be that nasty home video scandal with then-and-again hubby Tommy Lee of Motley Crue fame. Or maybe you remember her best from the early Baywatch days, when she set the standard of "beauty" for that show for years to come. Maybe you're a fan who remembers her fondly from her first gig on Home Improvement. Or perhaps you're less familiar with her talents than her, ahem, biggest .... assets. (I thought she had those implants removed!)

Whatever initially comes to mind, I can pretty much guess you're thinking of Anderson in all her tattooed glory, legs up to her armpits and big blonde hair bouncing. It's easy to dismiss her as a ditzy Barbie doll, molded in the image of what man thinks woman should look like. But if you believe that's where Anderson begins and ends, you need to tune in to VIP, some of the best programming on daytime weekend television. The basic premise of VIP is explained at the beginning of every episode. Vallery Irons (Anderson) was "plucked from obscurity" and plopped into the role of sexy figurehead for an "elite bodyguard agency." Hence, Vallery Irons Protection, or VIP.

It's a little-known fact that Ayn Rand, modern philosopher and founder of Objectivism, once confessed to Phil Donohue that she was a big fan of Charlie's Angels. Why? Because she believed that good art reflects the Romantic ideal that individuals should live as heroic beings, achieving their greatest potential and aspiring to achieve the impossible. If Rand were alive today, she'd be tuned in every Saturday and Sunday to VIP. The show is similar to Charlie's Angels in that it has all the gratuitous T & A you can handle combined with story lines of international espionage and all the patronizing macho action you won't admit you really want. It is chock full of beautiful people, car chases, machine gun sprays, and "hee-yah!" martial arts. And of course, none of it is one bit believable. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Suspension of disbelief is too hard to achieve, so why not take a long, steamy soak in a little make-believe? VIP has all the incredible action fantasy and heroism of James Bond with all the convenience of hitting the remote on a quiet afternoon at home.

But I would be misleading you if I made you think VIP takes itself that seriously. Quite the contrary, the real beauty of the program is the fact that it can be incredibly funny. Vallery Irons, for instance, is simply a quite clever parody of Pamela Anderson. She's a bubble-headed sex kitten who Forrest Gumps her way through life. In the season finale, Val is in a boat explosion and mistakenly believed to be dead, a not-so-original take on a classic plot line. After Val's supposed death, Nikki (played by Natalie Raitano) asks, "What does she contribute [to VIP] but skimpy outfits and a big, goofy smile?" Good point. For the most part, Val is running around wearing less than J-Lo would, delivering brilliant one-liners like, "Hey, you yucky bad guys!" But her charm doesn't end there. Somehow, in spite of herself and never because of anything other than her incredible luck, Val always seems to save the day. In this way, VIP is like Being There with feather boas and stilettos. As Kay (played by Leah Lail) says, without Vallery Irons, VIP is "just a lot of P."

That's not to say Anderson is all there is to the show. Actually, the entire cast is good, most notably Shaun Baker as Quick Williams and Molly Culver as Tasha Dexter. Not only can they act (most of the cast, anyway), but they, like Anderson, are also pretty tasty eye-candy. And this is one nice-sized sampler box, sure to have something to fill every sexy stereotype from perky blonde bimbo to brainy girl with glasses to hot Asian karate master. Plus, the cast is supplemented with special guest appearances by the likes of RuPaul Charles, Hugh Hefner, Ice-T, Jay Leno, and Weird Al Yankovic.

If you think the weekends are for yard work and grocery shopping, give the FOX network an hour of your Saturday or Sunday afternoon. It's the perfect weekend happy hour, best washed down with a salty margarita. When your brain is fried from the work-a-day world, escape to the Romantic fantasyland of L.A., where a heroine can save the world without so much as chipping a nail or smudging her mascara.

Related Links:
  The show's website.
(See also: for a giggle.)

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