Saturday, September 15, 2007

tim gunn's guide to style

I had a bad feeling about this show from the promos. Everytime I heard Tim Gunn bellow out-- in that pompous and patronizing tone of voice of his--that we were going to have to follow "My Rules!" my gut response was always: "fuck you." Whenever someone tells me that I am going to have to follow their rules (especially in that pissant manner) I immediately want to break every one of their goddamn rules just on principle.

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
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.

Monday, September 03, 2007

design star 2 : kim todd will

I thought Will's design was the most professional looking. I would watch a show with him as a host. He is a professional designer who has intereting ideas. He is also very warm and relates well to clients on a level that is not just superficial. As I said last week, I like his low-key manner. It would be nice for HGTV to think people can have a show without seeming like lunatic game show hosts.

There is no way I would watch a show hosted by Todd, unless it was to mock it. His manner is too immature and "dude-ly" to be taken seriously. He's like a cartoon. At least it was cold enough in Indiana so that he kept his shirt on. He really doesn't know anything about design and he doesn't seem interested in knowing anything about it. It is all ignorant showmanship. For his Indiana family : he had lots of carpentry ideas (that didn't pan out) but design-wise he mainly put furniture around the room circle (of course there were a few built-in items like a book shelves and a built-in box). I have to admit that the red and orange paint didn't turn out to be as overwhelming as I thought it would. But who wouldn't know that was a load-bearing beam?? His was the least ambitious and the least of the transformations. Todd just has a very limited range. What would have happened if he had ended up with Bridget? I don't think he could get into the mind-set of a 14 year old girl in a wheel chair. And what was the deal with those black satin pants he was wearing at the judging?

I'd be happy to see a show with Kim. Her space-planning does need help. She needed more furniture in that space. However she also had the most amount of work to do. She had to basically rebuild the space: floors, walls, etc. She didn't just paint but hand stained all of the walls. She created a built-in a bar which transformed the space by providing an additional area for living and conversation and connecting the kitchen to the living room. Plus she decorated the dining area and it wasn't part of the plan. It wasn't my style but it probably wasn't Kim's style either and that is the test of a good designer. It is hard to judge in some ways because Kim also didn't have a lot of choice since she was in such a rural area. However, the furniture layout in the end was a problem. I would have also used rugs and pillows to add more color.

One thing I would have done is create an entry area that had a linoleum floor and had a place to leave dirty shoes and coats. It was obviously a problem that you entered immediately on to the carpet! That said, Kim's was the most rewarding transformation to watch.

Kim is such a natural in front of the camera and she is such an appealing person. It seems like she is the obvious choice. I don't even care what they do for the final competition. I know I don't want to watch a show hosted by Todd. Although it would be awfully fun to mock.