The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Monday, August 25, 2003

jailbait-free (in europe)
Gaze upon the Rolling Stone cover above. It represents the first salvo in the Olsen twins' transition from kid-friendly, Nickelodeon-approved wholesomeness to naughty sexpots, as Mary-Kate and Ashley count their way down to their 18th birthday.

Why are they even going down this road? By some reports, they've made untold millions off their careers so far, starting on "Full House" and on through countless direct-to-kid-vid productions. The answer is, why pack it in when they could rake in even more moula? You don't hang 'em up when you're at the top of your game.

I suppose the next step--probably as soon as they hit the big one-eight--is Maxim, or FHM, or whichever "lad mag" (I hate that term; then again, I'm using it) will cough up the most dough for the privilege of photographing the twins in all their semi-nude glory.

The rise of the lad mag has changed the landscape for coming-out parties like this coming one. If Mary-Kate and Ashely were ten years older, the only recourse they'd have had to demonstrate, with a bang, that they were "all grown up" would have been a nude pictorial in Playboy. All the hype from that would have done the intended job, but with a strong risk of backlash over America's former favorite baby girls appearing in what many consider to be a smutty porn mag. With the likes of Maxim, that sleaze factor is perceived to be lessened (which, as I've said before, is ridiculous).

Can the Olsen twins make a smooth transition from cutsie kids to steamy sexpots? They've certainly done a good job of building up the requisite buzz so far. Whether it works, time will tell. I'm not sure how much they can count on the "all grown up now" angle; it's worked before (Brooke Shields comes to mind, sorta), but it could fizzle if enough guys feel creepy about lusting after girls who, facially, still look a lot like they did when they first started appearing on-camera. I feel that way, and I never even saw a single episode of "Full House".

I'd like to end this by noting that I originally went into writing this under the false impression that Mary-Kate and Ashley were already 18. I guess the Rolling Stone cover and other hype led me to that assumption. That probably speaks of the effectiveness of all this hurleyburley thus far.