The show runs against The Wonderful World of Disney in the 7:30 slot on Sunday night, and there is something wackily inspired about this amusing little coincidence that the CBS programmers have arranged. Just standing there on her runway, half-clad in one of the twelve to 15 costumes Cher Sarkesian Bono wears out every broadcast hour, she inspires more and infinitely richerfantasies than all the plastics of Disneyland. Indeed, it is barely possible that Cher in Cher may with a little help from the many shrewd friends who so elaborately package her each weekredefine that grand old American cant phrase, "family entertainment." For if her style is at odds with that of the competition, the fact remains that like everyone who aspires to success when all of America is still awake, she must offer a little something for every member of the family. What is different about Cher is that every member of the family may not feel like discussing the message he or she is getting from her with the rest of the household.
For Dad (and the older boys) she appears to be a sex sym: bol, impure and simple as her long, sinuous bodyhigh fashion, but with some meat on her smoothly articulated bones slithers into closeup, her navel twinkling as invitingly as her sequins. Then, however, a shy smile splits her deadpan. As she speaks a few words of earnest greeting in her curiously flat voice, Pop and the other males see they can afford to relax. Underneath all that finery and a ceramic of makeup there is a rather awkward, imperfectly beautiful girl. She appears no more daunting than the nice new kid in the secretarial pool or your home room when she finally talks to you someone, perhaps, who could use a little protecting.
As for Mrs. America, she has a choice. If she is into liberation, she can see Cher bravely soloing as a variety-show star after the breakup of the Sonny and Cher partnership (and marriage) as a blow for emancipation. It may even be a vindication of sorts. Sonny, who had the reputation of being Cher's Svengali, suffered the ignominy of having his solo show canceled in midseason, not long before Cher rose into Nielsen's top ten. If sexual politics is not Mom's bag, then she can sit back and relax while enjoying the fashion show and some mildly envious fantasies about the corps of hairdressers and beauticians required to construct such a perfect example of feminine artifice.
Mother is joined by the group that forms the heart of Cher's fan clubgirls who are sub-teen and even younger. For them she is, in the current phrase, "jive." Cher proves that at least one American dream lives: she gives evidence that show biz can still reach out among the adolescent millions andwith a little luck and a lot of hypetransform a mildly talented young woman into a hot, multimillion-dollar property. And that the chosen one gets to have inch-long fingernails for a trademark, if she wants to.