TV Review: SMILF (Season 1, Episode 3)
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Sex sells. That’s something that becomes abundantly clear for Bridgette in Half A Sheet Cake & A Blue Raspbery Slushie, after her struggle to pay the rent opens her mind to new career paths. Bridgette’s getting by on $28 paychecks for veterans’ mental health ads, a job that requires her to wear silicon bra inserts and cry sexily into the camera whilst showering. She’s not the only one who finds sex interfering with her work; Rafi’s girlfriend Nelson can’t get a question answered because the athletes are too busy flirting with her. When even mainstream, well paid jobs like Nelson’s are dependent on sex appeal, sex work doesn’t seem too far off for Bridgette. After her landlord demands she pays her rent, Bridgette goes to a temp agency that can only offer her a job that’s two buses away for $11 an hour. It’s pretty uninspiring stuff. Instead of taking the temp job, Bridgette imagines what it would be like to be a prostitute, picturing herself atop golden thrones with a handsome client. The plan becomes more appealing after meeting up with Eliza, her friend from the food recovery group. Eliza can earn $700 from an eight-hour shift as a cam girl, and all she has to do is eat. Their attempt to find Bridgette a similar fetish to serve fails after she struggles to pop balloons with her body, but the sex work idea sticks with her. SMILF has done a good job until this point of showing the exploitative side of any low-paid work, but it seems to save a more intense ire for sex work. When Eliza admiringly says “I am the product”, Shaw’s distaste is clear; even for those who are making good money from sex work, Shaw evidently sees something universally harmful in the practice.
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