Television has found a happy medium in breast cleavage--that innocent eye candy for emasculated husbands and prepubescent boys alike. However, cleavage is such an effective marketing tool that it also turns up in the most unexpected--and disturbing--places.
Dr. Alexx Woods, Medical Examiner (CSI: Miami)
Suspicious deaths are serious business. That's why the state employs a specially trained medical examiner to determine the cause of every death. To properly study the victims, you must spend most of your day leaning over them, for hours at a time, in front of other people.
What better job to wear a skimpy tank top! Really, who would you rather have investigating your loved one's death? A sober and analytical clinician, or Dr. Alexx Woods, the sassy and emotionally labile medical examiner with a porn-star name and grade-A rack?
Sure, she has this disturbing habit of talking to dead bodies like they're still alive and she gives all her co-workers a heaping helping of homespun sass that several years of graduate training should have extinguished, but don't let that shake your faith in her professionalism. If anything, you should be concerned about her baffling knack for cleavage flashing next to cadavers.
We suppose that her impressive chest-chasm might be construed as an artsy metaphor for the gulf that separates life and death. We like that metaphor because it insinuates that death is simply another boob, and we hope it's really like that.
But, at the end of the day we'd rather not develop any unfortunate unconscious associations between corpses and big ol' titties. After all, funeral tumescence is the most inappropriate kind.
Giada de Laurentiis (Everyday Italian on the Food Network)
There are no official standards for becoming a television chef, but you've got to have personality, and you have to be able to cut an onion really fast on live TV without looking like a moron. Most importantly, though, a TV chef has to make menial tasks entertaining.
Hmmm ... what are some ways we can do that?
Giada is blessed with certain characteristics that might be described as obstacles to achieving optimal TV-chef charm. Her mouth, for instance, is Tony Robins-esque and she's got a gigantic head. In order to overcome these liabilities, she seems to have resorted to one of the more time-tested of feminine wiles: showing off the goods.
If it's done tastefully, this is a perfectly respectable strategy for increasing ones marketability. Giada, though, has taken it to the rarely vaunted 'wanton medieval barmaid' level.
That seems to send a bad message, since all of us know what it's like to get splattered with grease while frying an egg shirtless (or, you know, naked). And really, while enjoying what should be an innocuous family program, we shouldn't be provoked into involuntarily imagining anything splattered on the host's chest, even if it's just hot grease from a frying pan.
Dr. Lisa Cuddy, Dean of Medicine and Chief Hospital Administrator (House)
As Dean of Medicine, you have a tremendous burden. You must earn and maintain the respect of patients and egomaniacal doctors alike while asserting an air of leadership the moment you walk in the room. Significantly less important to the job is asserting that you have huge boobs.
For an eminently successful and intelligent medical professional, Dr. Lisa Cuddy has certainly amassed a number of self-sabotaging behaviors. We suspect all that stems from her frustration at having earned everything that she has received rather than sleeping her way to the top. This type of frustration can manifest itself in many ways, a soft-spot for inveterate misogynists for example.
None of these side-effects are more unfortunate than her desperate insistence on flaunting her well-supported sweater kittens at every opportunity. Working in her office, making her rounds, evaluating a patient: it doesn't seem to matter who she is distracting, or how much she risks undermining her authority.
Her cleavage is probably responsible for more off-screen deaths in the House universe than cancer.
Melinda the Ghost Whisperer (Ghost Whisperer)
You can't go to school to be a ghost whisperer: it's in the genes. The kid from The Sixth Sense and Melinda the "ghost whisperer" both have the gift of seeing freaky dead people and being able to talk to them. Melinda, though, seems to have doubled up in the "gift" department.
Unlike the kid from the Sixth Sense, Melinda does not spend her time being scared shitless, huddled under a mountain of blankets and dressed in conventional sleeping attire. Neither does she go with the Shaggy technique of cowering inside a suit of armor with a talking dog and self-medicating with a huge bag of weed.
No, that would hinder Melinda's work as a ghost whisperer and would deprive the world of her spectacular rack.
Does it seem all that strange that Melinda is constantly encountering spirits of the hostile variety? After all, she seems intent on reminding them that they have passed from the world of flesh and that there are no boobies in the afterlife.
Catherine Willows, CSI Supervisor & Forensic Scientist (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation)
Among other amusing activities, CSI's often get to crawl around a dead chick's apartment on all fours looking for blood, semen or blood and semen. That last one is known as the CSI spritzer, which is the correct technical term for a drink we just made up whose ingredients include Bailey's, milk and grenadine.
Yes, the CSI franchise makes its second appearance on our list. Seriously, what the hell? Why in the CSI universe, where every day is spent pouring over the grim details of some schlub's death, would you wake up every day and squeeze into a low-cut, come-hither top?
Yes, we know that in the show Catherine Willows used to be a stripper. But you don't see lawyers wearing hairnets just because they once worked a few shifts at McDonald's, do you?
Mrs. Garrett, Chaperon/Maid/Dietitian (Diff'rent Strokes, Facts of Life)
A staple of many '80s sitcoms, the live-in maid is a jack of many trades, including cooking and cleaning. None of these trades, however, is more important than serving as the role-model and moral center for the children on the show. The job requires integrity, common sense and a willingness to impart bits of wisdom that will be ignored at first with humorous consequences.
Also, a huge rack helps.
Mrs. Garrett's rack spanned two sitcoms from 1978 to 1986, Diff'rent Strokes and the Facts of Life. with Natalie, Jo and Tootie, Mrs Garrett's boobs taught the early '80s about the dangers of drug use and plagiarism. In fact, Mrs. Garrett's cleavage is so legendary that it got referenced in a Family Guy episode.
There was an air of desperation about Mrs. Garrett, still trying to turn heads by showing off the goods even in her golden years. Yet, every male teenager in the Facts of Life audience knew the strange feeling they got when Mrs. G and her low-cut blouse entered the room. Facts of life, indeed.
"I may have some wrinkles," her look seemed to say, "But when the lights go out, I know tricks you've not had time to learn."
Remember earlier when we said funerals were the most inappropriate time to get an erection? We think we just discovered one worse than that.