Saturday, December 16, 2006

FHM: R.I.P.


It seems like I'm talking about girls all the time here, lately. I can't help it. This has been a big week for news about babes--- thank you very much, Tara Conner.

And here's some really big news that isn't going to sit well with lots of guys: FHM is toast.

Wow. I didn't see this coming, although I shouldn't really be surprised. These "lads magazines" have had their problems lately on both sides of the Atlantic. Definitely the end of an era for all guys, though, as "lads culture" is finished.

You know, the lad mags like FHM, MAXIM, Loaded (U.K.), Stuff and the rest of them were once all the rage. Dave Itzkoff wrote a book about it called "Lads", about working in the biz for MAXIM. These rags did so well that Playboy had to do a big redesign and stole an editor away from MAXIM just to keep up. Even Details, which these days doesn't give a hoot about girls, was a "lad mag" for a time, putting gorgeous actresses on the cover.

It was the height of "lads culture", with Toronto's Mojo Radio going heavily into the beer and babes theme; with Spike TV showing reruns featuring Pam Anderson every evening; with TV hosts like Craig Kilborn putting hot models on his show every night; and with The Best Damn Sports Show, Period and ESPN's Cold Pizza trying to go the same route on TV. But it was these mags that started it.

The "lad mags" fad has proven to be just that, a fad, and FHM has become the first big casualty. Today, they announced they are shutting the US edition down and that the final issue is slated for March 2007. Ad sales have gone right into the tank for this magazine, with the flight to the Internet. The "lad mags" are also getting clobbered in the UK and have had to up the sex content and make it more risque in order to lure buyers, but they are doing a lot better there than in the USA. The good news is the British title is not going to close down, so FHM will remain--- with the UK edition and their other titles around the world.

The thing is, though, that FHM is really a British publication anyway. These "lad mags" were part of the British invasion of American popular culture in the late 1990s/early 2000s era. The first one to arrive on US soil was MAXIM, and then came FHM, Stuff, and other second-rate imitators. (Loaded was slated to come too, but never did, probably because they couldn't come up with an American version that could do justice to the wild and raunchy British effort.)

They caused a sensation by featuring the hottest young TV and movie stars. They had no trouble finding actresses to pose for them- these actresses from Hollywood who appeared in TV or in the movies. They didn't want to do Playboy, so they went to the lad mags. So we got to see Jill Hennessy in her underwear, and Melissa Joan Hart, and all these other girls.

Problem was that these magazines were too tame, too chicken! They needed to get on newsstands and get ad revenues in the USA, though, so they figured they had to show no skin or else be deemed "pornography" by these uptights. FHM and MAXIM were timid as heck with their pictorials, showing bikini-clad women and the like. That worked for a while with advertisers, but nowadays FHM is getting kicked off of newsstands because people think their covers are too risque for the USA! These lads mags are getting tossed out of Wal-Mart and out of train stations by these religious fanatics and other pro-family groups. What a country, the US.

Meanwhile, guys got frustrated with these lazy magazines showing us the same actresses from these TV shows all the time, teasing the readers wearing their hotpants and swimsuits! What was really maddening was that the UK edition was able to get away with a lot more. In fact all the American "lad mags" were pale imitations of the British versions, which didn't have to worry about these uptight American advertisers. There's really no point to buying the US rag when you can just go and purchase the "real" FHM and see a magazine that guys would actually be interested in reading, with editors willing to show some daring pictures--- for a change. This year, FHM was going crazy showing pictorials featuring their latest cover girl, 20-year old Page 3 sensation Keeley Hazell, in the British edition. Naked.

Like heck will you see Keeley Hazell in the American edition like that! Instead, Americans get stuck with the same B-listers like Vida Guerra all the time in bikinis, all covered up. This rag has done Vida Guerra to death. FHM bragged about how they made her career and so on, but who cares about seeing a rear view of her in a swimsuit yet again, especially now that Vida's stripped for Playboy. People are sick and tired of seeing the same boring women all the time. Last month was another perfect example. The best FHM could do was lingerie shots of that boring tease Jeri Ryan. Again.

And you wonder why FHM is going out of business in the USA?! FHM serves up Jeri Ryan; meanwhile that magazine run by that pajama-clad guy with the three girlfriends was running a pictorial featuring another notorious tease, the most downloaded woman on the planet Cindy Margolis. Except this time Cindy was totally naked. Cindy had just turned 40 and wanted to prove to the world what a hot babe she still was. FHM got smoked.

FHM is also infamous for airbrushing and photoshoping their models to death. These women looked nothing like how they looked in real life after getting the FHM treatment; it was worse than any airbrushing stunts anyone else ever did. Let's face it, this magazine is crap! FHM is junk! The American version, anyway. It only took this long for guys to realize that the magazine was garbage and to stop buying it, and to go buy the British edition instead!

As for MAXIM, that rag that promoted the "beer and babes" lifestyle in the first place, it was always a lot better and funnier than FHM. But it's losing audience and going downhill fast, too, because guys are fed up seeing these timid, gutless tease pictorials and the stupid articles that they run all the time. In fact, they did a whole revamp of that rag, too, trying to class it up, because they realize guys are sick of the stupidity of that piece-of-junk magazine. Guys are fed up with the whole MAXIM lifestyle; it's a good way to get fat and die of a heart attack! Guys want more than beer and babes these days, they want fast cars and fast women, and tips on how to down a martini and how to win at poker. Fat chance MAXIM will give you any of that. If they give you advice, it's probably stupid advice that will help you lose! So they pretty much have to make changes over there, too. What a waste of time these rags are. These "lads mags" have had it.

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