What do women really want?
According to Lifetime, it's more of Jennifer Love Hewitt, rubbing men the right way.
On Sunday - because nothing says Easter like a hot chick who gives "happy ending" massages - the television-for-women network added the series "The Client List," produced by and starring Hewitt as a strapped Texas homemaker who's willing to try just about anything to keep a roof over her kids' heads.
Based on the 2010 Lifetime movie of the same name that attracted an impressive-for-cable 3.9 million viewers on a Monday night in July, the series tosses aside the film's happy(ish) ending, renames Hewitt's character and tweaks her backstory to make her just a little more relatable. But while she no longer appears to be an ex-beauty queen possessing the phenomenal memory that helped make the previous character's journey into prostitution such a rewarding one, she's still a good listener and she still, of course, looks great in lingerie.
And Cybill Shepherd is still playing her mama. So there's that.
You wouldn't know it from Lifetime's promotional campaign, which has been pushing Hewitt's cleavage like it's the daily special - her eyes are way up there, fellas - but in the first two episodes, at least, what's going on in the day spa where her character, Riley Parks, works isn't quite as well-defined as it seemed to be in the movie.
There is a list of clients who pay for unspecified extras, explains her boss (Loretta Devine), but plenty of people, male and female, come in for your run-of-the-mill Swedish, or a bit of reflexology, the sort of thing that Riley, who went to school for massage therapy, expected to be doing.
And, yes, Riley's shocked - shocked! - when it turns out that "the girls that don't give extras don't really do very well here."
As someone who has routinely tipped 20 percent for the occasional day-spa massage, I was shocked myself to learn from a montage in "The Client List" that massage customers aren't just terrible tippers, but that we're also ruder, hairier, older, less hygienic and generally just a whole lot less attractive than guys who pay for sex are.
I mean, who knew?
Not only are the guys Riley eventually volunteers to handle mostly built like underwear models, but they're vulnerable sweethearts, eager to talk about their lonely lives or their wives who don't understand them but whom they still love deeply.
Makes you wonder why women still go on "The Bachelor" when guys this great are just lying around naked on massage tables.
It's all a fantasy, of course. Like hookers with hearts of gold who really want to hear men moan about their problems and johns who look like Richard Gere and take call girls on Rodeo Drive shopping sprees. And unicorns.
Out here in the real world, "happy endings" too often go hand in hand with human trafficking.
I get it that there are guys who'd rather believe in the fantasy.
I just don't understand why women - and a TV network aimed at them - would be so willing to play along.