Hewitt Rubs the Wrong Way with Poor Portrayal of Massage Therapy
There’s a certain formula to Lifetime Original Movies that have made them both a running joke and an inevitable draw for a certain demographic. Take one mother (usually single or with a no-good husband), add two heaping scoops of dramatic Hard TimesTM, throw in a dash of over-the-top dialogue, shake well and serve.
In 2010, Lifetime’s soapy summertime flick was “The Client List” – a Jennifer Love Hewitt vehicle where she played Riley, a mother with an unemployed husband who becomes a massage therapist to help pay the bills. She soon discovers that her clients expect more than a massage – and that she can turn a pretty profit by adding these “extras” to her services. The movie was such a hit for the network that they turned it into a full-on series that premiered April 2012 to some of Lifetime’s biggest ratings.
It’s not hard to see the draw: small towns, scandal, and the fact that Hewitt spends most of her time in lingerie “working on” equally attractive male clients.
The problem is the gross misconception it’s promoting about the massage therapy profession.
It’s been around for years, and we deal with it every day: an inappropriate comment, an attempt to grope us or to get us to grope them, a question about whether the session comes with a “happy ending.” It shouldn’t happen, but it does. And a show like “The Client List,” while all in the sake of soap opera fun, does nothing to help us curb the perception that we’re engaged in a slightly classier version of prostitution instead of what we really are: trained professionals dedicated to alternative, holistic medicine.
Maybe the realities of a massage therapy career aren’t as interesting as Jennifer Love Hewitt showing off her figure, but we find what we do rewarding. And we certainly believe massage therapists deserve more respect than either “The Client List” or some of our misled customers seem willing to give us.
What do you think about this new show mis-representing our industry?