Vamps are spicing up primetime TV season

`Housewives' among those with no taboos


The vamp is back. Thanks to the modern feminist movement, the exhibitionist behavior of reality show contestants and the frank sexual exploration of Sex and the City, female taboos on TV have been shattered.

These days, prime time is the place for a girl to get in touch with her sexuality.

Nicolette Sheridan's Desperate Housewives divorcee Edie Britt wears her carnal heart on her sleeve. Eva Longoria's Gabrielle Solis is unhappily married to a rich cad. So what does she do? Have an affair with the 17-year-old gardener, of course.

And the women of ABC's sizzling drama aren't the only ones hot to trot this season.

"Nasty hot" is how a Boston Legal character described the brilliant and beautiful lawyer Tara Wilson, played by Rhona Mitra. And her colleague Sally Heep (Lake Bell) is just as hot, if not quite as nasty.

Drea de Matteo may not have the outrageous wardrobe she had as miniskirted Adriana on The Sopranos, but as Matt LeBlanc's sister Gina on Joey, her behavior and, ahem, assets haven't been toned down.

Jenny McCarthy, who rose to fame as eye candy on MTV and in Playboy, is enjoying a career resurgence. She'll star in UPN's midseason sitcom The Bad Girls Guide.

Heather Locklear, TV sexpot pioneer (Melrose Place), is back in prurient form as airport honcho Harley Random on NBC's LAX. Harley plays the sex card with abandon.

"Sex always sells," said Dr. Dawn Esposito, chairwoman of the Sociology and Anthropology Department at St. John's University. "I think the success of Sex and the City becomes a standard for new shows, and it's titillating. I think that TV has expanded its own boundaries."

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