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''Cindy Margolis'' and ''G-String Divas'' are T&A TV at its worst

Ken Tucker says these late night shows have been stripped of entertainment

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”Cindy Margolis” and ”G-String Divas” are T&A TV at its worst

Pictures of Cindy Margolis may be, as they’re often touted, the most downloaded images on the Internet, but the poor woman’s new TV venture is just a load. The syndicated ”Cindy Margolis Show,” which airs in many CBS TV markets right after ”The Howard Stern Show” on Saturday nights, is a lewd, loud, creepily unfunny ”party” show. Taped in some Miami den of iniquity, it features Margolis yelling lame jokes and exhortations over screechy dance music and the squealing of a gaggle of wiggling idiots who look like leftovers from one of MTV’s Spring Break debacles. Her smile fixed, her famous form displayed to maximum effect in bathing suit and spiked heels, Margolis seems distracted and overwhelmed.

Like so many TV shows designed to capitalize on someone who’s made her fame in another medium, ”The Cindy Margolis Show” doesn’t seem to understand the nature of that person’s appeal. In Margolis’ case, it’s the fact that she’s a curvy babe who comes on like the girl next door — she doesn’t do nudity, she seems likable, pleasant, polite. Everything, in other words, ”The Cindy Margolis Show” is not. One big mistake is the presence of Lance Krall, a goggle-eyed squawker who tries and fails to provide comic relief. Worse, this production puts its star in the position of asking her viewers to leer at scantily clad women: Poor Cindy, smiling gamely while pimping for the fans at home.

Speaking of pimping, HBO has gotta pay its bills, which means if it wants to finance the ”Sopranos” cast’s pay raises and to continue airing the terrific ”Chris Rock Show” (Did you SEE that amazingly funny, cruel taped bit about Halle Berry’s driving this past week? Somewhere, Howie Mandel is sobbing the tears of a wimp.), they have to attract subscribers. And since their desired demographic tunes in — in great numbers — for the softcore docuseries ”Real Sex,” (now in its 10th season) HBO now offers ”G-String Divas” (Thursdays at 11 p.m.). It’s a documentary series about strippers in a club in a Pennsylvania town that will, I’m sure, be grateful to be left unnamed.

If the predictable part of ”G-String” is that the guys for whom these women shake their booties are sad-sacks equipped with wads of damp dollar bills to stuff into the titular thong, the unpredictable part is what good actresses these real women are. I mean, you see a stripper named Ginger having an earnest, sweet heart to heart with a guy with whom she’s sitting groin to groin. Then a few minutes later in her dressing room, she’s virtually a different person — a tough businesswoman calculating how many guys she has to flatter and cajole to make the maximum bucks.

Although there’s lots of sexually explicit dancing and wriggling on screen, ”G-String Divas” is one of the least arousing TV shows I can imagine. It places anyone who tunes in to be turned on in the position of the exploited john. I haven’t felt like such a sucker for watching HBO since it premiered ”Wild Wild West.”

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