So I watched the first episode of the new Tim Gunn show, he of Project Runway fame.
Oh sweet baby jesus. Sweet, sweet baby jesus with balled up fists of fury.
How did the usually fabulous Tim Gunn become roped into such a cauldron of sickly sweet pseudo-empowering sentimentality? I know the man is smart (you can tell because apparently he uses big words). And there are one or two moments when he lets that shine through — especially when he talks about hemlines and seamlines and proportions.
But the rest of the show? I feel a little ill.
The premise is that a young woman (“Rebecca”) is judged by her friends to be “unstylish” and given a makeover. Now, I knew that was the premise going in — all these shows have the same premise, and yeah, it’s icky, but I can get over that. I could deal with Tim and his cohort Veronica taking the poor woman shopping for underwear. I could deal with the hair styling and the makeup and the “let’s go shopping” and “ooh, shoes”.
I could not deal with the “life stylist” who made Rebecca wear a garbage bag and repeat a mantra. “I cannot control how I am perceived. I can only control how I am presented.” He was very earnest, too. And yanno, I kinda thought Rebecca looked alright in the “before” pictures anyway.
But really it was the last ten minutes that took the cake. This was the point when I thought to myself, “Tim Gunn, you have lost it. You really have crossed the Rubicon of bad taste. I didn’t expect it from you, but you did it.”
The show ends with Rebecca performing a “fashion show” of the new outfits she’s bought in front of her family and her adoring husband. Before the “fashion show” begins, Tim Gunn takes the adoring husband aside and tells him he has a gift to give him. There’s a blurb about how they got married young and didn’t have much money and blah blah blah, and then Tim Gunn busts out this diamond ring and is all like “so, I know you couldn’t get Rebecca the diamond she deserves when you got engaged, so here, have one now”.
Because, doesn’t everyone need a tv celebrity to tell them how the wedding jewelry that they bought for their spouse is crappy? And they could do better and by the way, hey, I’m your fairy godmother? I would have decked you, Tim Gunn.
So then, they have the fashion show, and just before the reveal of the big finale number, adoring husband gets up and makes a speech about how his wife is a beautiful woman and he always wants to provide for her and he couldn’t prove that when they were all young but this is for her and everybody cries because she is all feminine now and he’s all masculine and providing for her (except for the fact that really I guess she is now married to Bravo since they paid for it. I wonder what three months’ of their salary is?)
And then she puts on the fabulous dress. And then they bring in her mother-just-recovering-from-surgery. (Seriously. I am not making this up.) Who didn’t get to see the whole “fashion show” bit? I don’t get that.
Then they go to Mexico and she swans around in her new clothes and Tim and Veronica talk about how she was an “A student” and she totally “mastered it”. And Rebecca does a little wrap-up spiel about how her friends now call her “Newbecca”. And everyone drinks champagne and feels a little bit sick.