Today in Rape Culture

[Trigger warning. And Part 50 in the "Rape is Hilarious" series.]

So I'm watching the most recent episode of Clean House the other night, which features a single dad and his 18-year-old son whose house is, naturally, full of clutter. And a big part of the episode is about how this dad is still hung up on his ex-wife and needs to get over her—leading to a lot of uncomfortable scenes in which he awkwardly flirts with show host Niecy Nash, and culminating in his repeatedly kissing her in what I can only describe as a totally creeptastic scene.

Yet worse was a conversation early in the episode in which the Clean House crew ask if the son and father have many women over to their messy house. As is typical of the show, there is a clip of the conversation followed by inserted comments by the show crew—and "Go-To Guy" Matt Iseman's commentary was, in this case, a high-larious rape joke.
Iseman: Do you ever have friends over?

Son: Never.

Iseman: Ladies over?


Nash: Does anybody have ladies over?

Father: Uh, no. The last one that came over, she made fun of my place; I never invited her over again.

Trish Suhr: Oh.

Son: What about the ones that never called you back?

Dad: That's true.

Nash: Snap!

Iseman: No, I don't think you're getting a lot of women in here—unless you're using chloroform.
This is a perfect example of the rape culture and how it works. It's just a totally casual "joke" about drugging a woman to bring her back to your home for "romantic" purposes. On a family show. Like it's nothing.

This is how rape is normalized and its gravity diminished—by flippant "jokes" like this one, everywhere, day in and day out. And the people who object to the relentless treatment of a heinous, endemic crime against women as a punchline are dismissed as oversensitive, instead of everyone ever stopping to collectively question whether maybe being desensitized to the ugly reality of rape isn't really rather worse.

Clean House airs on the Style network, which is a property of Comcast Networks. If anyone can find contact info for teaspooning, please drop it into comments.

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