Television is rich with inspiring and complicated female characters. Career-oriented, strong-willed, fun and funny women who know exactly what they want. Women we can look up to and admire and love.
And also, there’s some sluts.
Sluts in real life are pretty lame. They’re usually pretty sad with low self-esteem and perhaps a bad-touch or two in their pasts. They’re kind of bummers, and they’re usually trying to sex up your boyfriend, and that’s not really cool.
TV sluts, on the other hand, are always awesome.
In real life, if someone’s dumb and slutty, it’s painful to be around them. In television, dumb slutty people are funny and sometimes secret geniuses. In real life, when you meet someone who’s a slut in a feminist way, it’s eye-rollingly obnoxious and phony. On television, you raise your fist to the air and say, “You go girl!” (Note: this only applies if you are watching television in 1998.)
In the words of Coop from Wet Hot American Summer, “Sluts rock.”
The idea for honoring these delicate flowers who allow themselves to be pollinated by any and all manner of bee came last Monday at 4 a.m. I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep. So I ask you, what was there to do but watch six episodes of Full House in a row?
The six particular episodes reminded me of my first exposure to a slut: the human cautionary tale that was Kathy Santoni.
For you non-Full House fans (a.k.a., liars, because I know you all are), Kathy Santoni was the go-to character for any and all sexual dealings, utilized to spread Christian values without ever having our precious innocent Tanner girls find themselves in questionable situations. Kathy Santoni was the first girl in school to develop breasts. It was Kathy Santoni’s idea to play Spin the Bottle at DJ’s 13th birthday party. Kathy Santoni stole DJ’s boyfriend because he thought Kathy was prettier (i.e.; would put out). Kathy Santoni ended up pregnant and married junior year of high school, though not in that order, because apparently Full House writers expected us to have the single largest suspension of disbelief possible to buy that a 16-year-old got married without being pregnant first, but I digress.
Kimmy Gibbler was given large amounts of undue shit by the Tanner family (who, by the way, were REALLY cruel to this young and obviously unloved child from an emotionally abusive home) but she still didn’t have it as bad as Kathy Santoni and her karmic bastard child.
Kathy Santoni was killed by a john who refused to pay her for her sexual services. (This is unconfirmed, but most likely true.)
Kathy Santoni wasn’t the only big boobed blonde in 90s Sitcom Land. Arguably the most famous, possibly the ultimate slut of all time, was one Ms. Kelly Bundy.
These damn kids today with their hula hoops and Dan Fogelberg and Pac Man videogames, they only know Christina Applegate as Veronica Corningstone, love of Ron Burgandy’s life. We of my generation know her best as Kelly Bundy, love of every penis’s life. She was blonde, rock stupid and wore lots of midriffs with high-cut jeans. In my youth, I felt that midriff tops and high-cut jeans were the pinnacle of class and elegance in mature womanly fashion. I am not yet certain that I was wrong.
Sluts weren’t just nubile teen girls. Delta Burke gave BBWs everywhere an easy hero in Suzanne Sugarbaker, sister to (*sniff* RIP) Dixie Carter’s Julia Sugarbaker on Designing Women. She did nothing except have sex with men, marry them and bother Annie Potts and Jean Smart with her Georgia peach fanciness. She also sometimes did beauty pageants. Anyone who’s had a lot of experience with sluts knows that this is a redundant character facet.
There are those who would say the ultimate television slut would be Kim Catrall’s Samantha Jones. As Samantha was basically a drag queen parody of a slut, I must respectfully disagree. Because everyone knows that there are two ultimate television sluts of all time, and they are both national treasures.
Betty White. Hero. Wonder. Genius. Big giant TV ho. Sue Ann Nivens was a husband-stealing bitch and she was insanely awesome. I grew up on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and my Betty love began because of that show. She was so awesome, and she seriously boned everyone. You out there reading this, imagine your most beautiful dream. Does it involve Cloris Leachman and Betty White catfighting over a guy? BECAUSE THAT REALLY HAPPENED ON THAT SHOW. Nick at Night needs to get its shit together and stop airing The George Lopez Show and go back to its awesome roots.
Sue Ann was amazing and perfect, but obviously there can be only one Queen of All Things Whorey, and that woman is Betty’s Golden Girls co-star Rue McClahahan as Blanche Devereaux, the Southern belle who rang her bell for every Medicare patient in Florida. She shook what her mama gave her and her sequin-beaded shoulder pad dresses and her jangly arm bits and got herself some old dude nasty.
We celebrate these sluts, young and old, blonde and brunette, thin and Delta Burke, and we love them as hard as every single man who ever met them.
Courtney Enlow is a writer living in Chicago and working as a corporate shill to pay the bills. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.