Stylista debuts tonight, and all the mildly-enthusiastic reviews reveal something more important than whether or not the show is actually worth watching: Apparently, we live in a world so ironic, where the line between reality and fiction has been trampled on to such an extent, that we can't even watch a woman pretend to do her job and dole out abuse to eager victims on a set created to resemble an office without suspending our disbelief for one second. Stylista's star, Elle's fashion news director Anne Slowey, is playing a part, you see, and although she's playing it quite well, that won't stop everyone from pointing out that she's doing Meryl Streep doing Anna Wintour:
According to Slate's Troy Patterson, Slowey "has prepared for the vamping her screen role requires by studying Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada, Bette Davis in everything, and, perhaps, actual frost crystals."
The Daily News' David Hinckley: "Slowey can't hold the editor-from-purgatory pose as unblinkingly as ... unlike Miranda Priestly, she doesn't seem to get all her daily nourishment from making other people feel worthless."
Gina Bellafante in the Times observes how Slowey "puts on her very best imperious face as she judges, for instance, the competitors' attempts to present her with a nutritious and artfully arranged breakfast. I say "puts on" because Ms. Slowey's reputation in the fashion world is far from one of a Miss Nasty Pants."
New York's Amy Odell: "Anne is icy when we imagine she's actually a bubbly sort of lady. Also, she walks really awkwardly in high heels leading us to believe she hardly ever wears them."
It almost makes you want to retroactively question the identity of every reality TV personage. Maybe Tim Gunn is actually butch and moody; maybe in real life Heidi Montag shuns make-up and reads Kierkegaard; maybe the Real Housewives are modest, quietly spoken, and unmaterialistic when the cameras aren't around; maybe Heidi Klum is really quite a nice person. Okay, that last one's going too far.