I never believed the hype about this being all that different from any other fashion makeover show. As it turns out, what makes this one different is that it is twice as long and ten times as dull. They turned a guilty pleasure (basically a Cinderella story that dumps the prince and adds in a shopping spree) into a condescending over-serious lecture on self-improvement full of commonplace "rules" and new age platitudes.
Tim is funny on Project Runway because we just get short doses of his professor-manque posturing and pissy little quips. He becomes tiresome very quickly when you have to put up with him for a longer period of time.
I didn't think it was going to be very good but I also didn't expect it to be this bad. The reviews are uneven. Here are two that best sum up how I feel about it. Even Tom and Lorenzo, tow of Tim Gunn's biggest fans, are not impressed:
Project Rungay's "Oh for God's sake will you people LIGHTEN UP?"
Jesus Christ, was that a makeover show or a hostage situation? Could this show be any more devoid of lightness and humor of any kind? One word kept repeating itself in our heads last night over and over as we watched this thing: dreary.
Troy Patterson's "Fashion Don't" review on Slate.com
Thus, it was disappointing, when watching this new makeover fantasy, to discover a new superciliousness in his tone and a noxious haughtiness in his demeanor. Downer! And it was off-putting that Guide to Style takes a soporific hour to reform the dress sense of one single lass. Drag!
The underwear drawer humiliation ritual on the most recent episode was truly appalling. It is bad enough when Trini and Suzannah do it (on BBC's What Not to Wear) but they are much more bawdy. Plus they are able to convey--and this is essential--a comfort in and an appreciation of women's bodies. Tim "zaftig debacle" Gunn does not possess these particular gifts. Going through a woman's underwear drawer is the last thing he should be tasked with doing. It was an unmitigated horror for everyone.
It isn't enough just to like clothes. You also have to like bodies. Imperfect bodies. I don't mean this sexually. I don't think Tim has it in him to really "get" the beauty in the ordinary, flawed, messy, lives and bodies of real women. You just can't get away from his standoffishness -- at times it is more like squeamishness -- toward these people and the lives they lead. There's just too much of a disconnect. It is all too forced: nothing in this show really fits.