Chillin' with ''Are You Hot?'''s Lorenzo Lamas -- Boldly going where most comic writers fear to tread, Joel Stein offers up some gems to the innuendo-happy judge
There aren't many opportunities for me to give back to society. I can't heal the sick, free political prisoners, cook, do simple home repairs, or clean up after myself. But watching ABC's near-perfect reality show ''Are You Hot?,'' in which judge Lorenzo Lamas not only uses a laser pointer to evaluate bikinied women's bodies but delivers poorly constructed sexual double entendres to those he deems hot, I finally found my chance to contribute. Having finely honed a skill at writing sexist punchlines, I could up Lamas' clever quotient, thus enhancing America's TV-watching experience. I would be the Sally Struthers of slime.
Lamas, as I suspected, writes most of these lines the night before he tapes each ''Are You Hot?'' episode, furiously scribbling bons mots such as ''I'd get up to greet you but I'd tip over my water.'' He comes up with others -- such as ''I've got a burrito cooking south of the border and it's almost done'' -- during commercial breaks. ''I'll run them by [fellow judge] Rachel Hunter,'' he told me last Friday from the backseat of the stretch ferrying him to a taping in L.A. ''Sometimes she just rolls her eyes at me. That's when I know they're good.'' Hunter actually disapproved of ''Do I have to give you the last score? Because if I do I have to say goodbye to you.'' Sometimes Lamas can be a sweet, gentle man. So gentle, in fact, that -- in my most frightening discovery since a Rogaine-fueled hair popped out of my forehead -- I found out that his eldest daughter, Shyne, is taking classes at home. I'm guessing she got an A in both Keeping It Real and Chillin' Like a Villain.
Though his burrito metaphor had strong imagery, and the allegory about the spilled water was hard to get out of my head, I knew I could help the former ''Falcon Crest'' star, ex-race-car driver, and three-time Playgirl cover boy do better. And Lamas, who had read my EW columns, was eager for my professional help. ''You're one of the few intelligent people out there who gets it,'' he said, in a compliment that somehow made me feel neither intelligent nor likely to get it. Still, we both saw an opportunity to build a woman-objectifying duo not seen since the breakup of Corolla and Kimmel.
My first suggestion was ''Lorenzo Lamas wants to get in your pajamas,'' which he didn't like. ''I don't want to come off as a leering child molester,'' he explained. He had the same problem with ''Honey child, you're so hot that after the show, Lorenzo gonna tell everyone he had sex with you.'' They were too sexually direct, he argued, in a way that I suppose the burrito line wasn't. Lamas lives in a world with shades of sexual grays that even Freud couldn't find.
''I'm 40,'' said Lamas, who was born in 1958. ''These girls are 18, 19, and the audience is all over the map in terms of demographics.''
I was starting to understand. Using a laser pointer to act like a sexual predator is one thing, but to do it on network prime time is another. He had a similar problem with my personal favorite suggested Lamasism: ''You're making my p---s very hard.'' Not only did he think that one was too direct, but he worried that the ABC censors wouldn't let him say ''p---s.'' ''You can show someone's hot zone, but I don't think you can say what [that] hot zone is,'' he said.
Looking to zig where leering child molesters zag, I suggested, ''If pv=nrt where p is pressure, v is volume, n is the number of moles, r is a constant, and t is temperature, then your p and v are off the charts...babe.'' Lamas turned that down, too. ''People who watch our show can't think much,'' he said. ''You can grab a beer, watch our show, and totally check out.'' Similarly, he thought that ''You're so hot you make me want to get some dignity'' was ''too cerebral.''
That's when I hit him with ''Baby doll, you're making my falcon crest.'' This was a big hit. ''That's a killer,'' he said. ''Guaranteed on the network for that one, bro.'' He scribbled it down for use on next week's show. ''It's not so blatantly sexual. You have to think about it for a while before you get it.''
I know it's not much, but when that little gem airs, I'll know that I've slightly improved the viewing experience for 10 million people. Or at least the small percentage who watch the show with the sound on. While the bulk of America may mock ''Are You Hot?'' for being exploitative, I'll be comfortable in the knowledge that there will always be a small place in the culture for Lorenzo and me. To deny us would be to deny a part of you. A part of you that luckily, for at least half of the viewers, can be described by the word ''falcon.''