Monday, February 19, 2007

TBG Reviews: The Sports Illustrated 2007 Swimsuit Issue (Part I)

My Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue arrived last week. At 238 pages, it's thicker than most of the women inside. Anyone else remember when SI was once the most relevant sports medium in the world? While they still hold the crown for the written word, SI has been living off their legend for the last few decades.

The "Sportsman of the Year" award is as empty as an ESPY and serves mostly as a self-congratulatory way for SI's parent company, Time-Warner, to promote their own brands.

As for the swimsuit issue, SI has taken to piling the gimmicks on top of what was already a once-a-year money grab to begin with. "Swimsuit 2007" is subtitled "The Music Issue". Featuring Beyonce on the cover and models posing with Gnarls Barkley, Aerosmith, Kanye West, Kenny Chesney and Panic! At The Disco.

Has there ever been a running diary of a magazine?


Now, let's do this thang.

Cover: Beyonce is rockin' the cover shot and she's as delicious as ever. But, c'mon, SI. Her layout is billed as "The Dreamgirl as You've Never Seen Her". Doesn't she do these shoots about eight times a month? Is SI telling me that If I were to Google "Beyonce bathing suit" I'd come up with nothing? Nick'a please. Oh, and whoever thought that a little caked-on sand would look good on Beyonce's left elbow obviously mistook "authenticity" for "ashy".

Ad Break: "Old Spice: If your grandfather hadn't worn it, you wouldn't exist." That's seriously the slogan. Who is this supposed to appeal to: young adults who want to smell like their grampies or current grampies who wanna smell like 1945?

Pages 6,7: Marisa Miller gets us off (hee) and running with a two-page spread wearing what's described as an "iPod swimsuit by Apple". See, she's wearing nothing, but an iPod, people. Edgy. Jimmy Buffet's "Getting the Picture" appears on the display. 20 years ago, I'd have lost my mind to this. Today, I'm wondering why anyone would want a white iPod and worried that someone got sand or salt water in it.

Page 13: Ana Beatriz Barros is our early leader in the clubhouse. She's got that whole "ethnic lips/light eyes" combo plate thing, with a side of caramel complexion and honey brown hair. Brazil? Sao Paulo, perhaps? That ain't
crème de papaya in my pants.

Page 20: "Rookies '07" features the first time SI tits-n-ass appearances of several swimsuit models. First up is Ana Paula Araujo. Each pic includes such vitals as birthplace, current residence, where she was discovered and "at the top of her playlist", which I assume is each models five favorite songs, right now. FWIW, Araujo's got two from Nirvana and two from Elvis Presley. I'm not buying it. I'm sure her real response to that question was "I don't know American music. Who is popular? Say I like them."

Page 22: And, here's our first "first name only" contestant. "Irina" comes to us from Russia and if not for one small problem, she might've taken the lead from my girl Ana Beatriz. Y'see, she's kind of hairy. Not in a nude, 1975 Burt Reynolds on a bearskin rug "hairy", but that light wispy kind. Forearms, torso, thighs…Jesus, Steve Carrell, why not stay for the whole wax, next time?

Page 24: Billed as "the first Israeli-born SI swimsuit model", Bar Refaeli still resides in Tel Aviv. She's hot enough to convert the Ku Klux Klan to her side, I tells ya. I can't, in good conscience, give her the crown until I see a few more shots, but Ana Beatriz has officially been put on notice.

Page 26: San Diego, represent! Our own Tori Praver (who looks a little like
Erika Eleniak at around the three-minute mark of her 15 minutes of fame) is putting my tiny adopted hometown on the map. Extra points for the inclusion of a Barrington Levy song in her "playlist". Sadly, it wasn't that "Bad Boy" joint he did with Shyne back in 2000. Andrew Cunanan-azz n*ggas…

Ad Break: Axe body spray ran several, consecutive odd-numbered pages of empty beach scenes with fake model names and swimsuit descriptions in the upper right. The payoff? All the missing bikinis are scattered around some dude's tent on the last page. I don't want to live in a world where showers and deodorant are no longer enough.

Page 28: Sorry, Selita Ebanks…while I appreciate that whole "half white-half black" thing; your eyes are just too far apart. Anyone else remember Jay Sherman's adoptive mother on The Critic? Yeah, it's like that.

Page 30: Houston's own Julie Henderson cites Jay-Z, Beyonce and Usher as her current favorites. Work it, white girl. But, she loses those points right back with the odd-looking top to her "swimsuit by Letarte (special order)". I'm sure I wore that shirt on my first day of first grade.

Page 32: It's back to Brazil for a look at 23-year-old Raica Oliveira. Her bio claims she "beat out 30,000 other girls" for first place at some model search when she was 15. It's a shame her little boy boobs stopped growing at 11. With huge hands and a head not unlike a hexagon, it's obvious that I no longer know beauty.

Page 37: "When They Were Rookies" is a collection of shots from some of the more memorable SI swimsuit models with a chart that lists even more names and the year that they made their SI debut. Has it really been 15 years since we first saw Tyra Banks? 20 for Cindy Crawford and Elle Macpherson? Great shots here of a topless Kathy Ireland (1984), an out-and-out A+ pic of Stacey Williams (1992) and all the areola that Heidi Klum can carry. And, then there's Christie Brinkley (1975) or Leif Garrett, I can't really tell.

Ad Break: Hey, it's a nude, 1975 Burt Reynolds on a bearskin rug. No, seriously. It's an ad for DirecTV HD. If it wasn't for the petrified tongue and teeth of the bear, I wouldn't know where Burt's ass and back hair ended or began.

No comments: