Red Shoe Diaries: “Kidnap”

Beautiful people! Boxy clothes! A narrowly heteronormative view of sexuality! Zero fear of AIDS! Welcome to Hollywood’s view of sexy in the ’90s. Oh, it was a strange time, when it was still shameful to be a Nazi, but The Simpsons caused an uproar for saying “Hell…”

The stage thus set, the early ’90s was a meager time to hit puberty. If you wanted eroticism, you had to steal your friend’s dad’s porn, only to learn that you weren’t much into Shitty-Titty Biddies Vol. XIV – The Biddies Hit the City. We had internet but barely any web to speak of. If you were willing to burn four of your ten AOL hours for the month, you could download LesbianPicnic2.jpg but there was a double-digit chance it would turn out to be Lemon Party, the rickroll of elder porn.

No wonder, then, that so many of us sexually imprinted on the wavy lines of scrambled premium cable. True, the photo-negative skin was blue, but it was bare. Besides, we had Stone Temple Pilots videos and AIDS panic; even unscrambled sex culture was weirdly distorted.

In this miasma did we find ourselves staring at the scrambled lines of Zalman King’s Red Shoe Diaries, whose incredibly troubling episode “Kidnap” is the subject of my latest for 1-900-HOTDOG. You may have watched it as the in-universe Friends episode S0E14, “The One Where Joey Films Another Softcore.” And like most hotdoggery, the longer you look, the darker it gets.