Bonfire of the Vanity Presses

This television season, it's a battle between luxurious fabrics and makeup (yay, feminism!). Who do we blame for shows with titles like Cashmere Mafia and Lipstick Jungle? The very same people who imprinted the phrase "I couldn't help but wonder" into the American lexicon - Candace Bushnell and Darren Star, of course. The newer of the two shows, Lipstick follows the lives of three high-powered New York BFFs,
each one working in a different industry; magazines, film, and
fashion. How perfect.

But NBC wasn't content to stop the hype there. When Lipstick premiered Feb. 7, the women's Web site (and NBC-TV sister company - you go girl - by the way) also debuted an online version of the show's fictitious magazine, Bonfire. Helmed by editor-in-chief Nico (Kim Raver), Bonfire, according to NBC, covers celebrities, politics, and culture, though the magazine's pseudo-content suggests otherwise (makeovers! love affairs!).

Call it gag-inducing or clever synergy (heck, call it both), the network's deal with iVillage not only gives NBC a leg up on the Star-produced Cashmere, but draws readers further into the near-evangelical cult of Bushnell (and you thought Mike Huckabee was frightening). Each issue of the fake mag draws its content from the show's plotline, though the pub might outlast the series. We just wish the site featured stories about the show's stars' real-life issues. An article about a Scientologist dissing your postpartum depression? We smell a Pulitzer. Well, we smell something.

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