Your Sick Boss Fantasies Acted Out On Stylista

In its review of Elle-focused reality show Stylista, the Times finds plenty to like, surprisingly. It seems hippie editor Anne Slowey does a surprisingly convincing impersonation of Meryl Streep imitating Miranda Priestly standing in for mean old Anna Wintour of Vogue. (So much for those embarrassing preview clips from a few months ago.) The catfighting is inspired and "novel." And yet that's not what will hook you on the show. You'll watch because you are aching to pretend, for an hour each Wednesday, that the brutal hierarchy of yesteryear lent work an elegant simplicity. Writes the Times' Gina Bellafante:

Are there any bosses anywhere as demanding as Ms. Slowey pretends to be? Not really, and maybe on some level we miss them. Part of the appeal of a show like “Stylista” is that it resurrects a long-vanished way of office life, one filled with rules and regulations, distinct hierarchies and dress codes and nothing as fuzzy as flex time. As Ms. Slowey succinctly explains to the contestants at the outset: “To be in my world you either get it or you don’t.” No one has to spend a lot of time figuring out a manager like this.

The same sort of nostalgia fuels fans of Mad Men, whose womanizing, emotionally-distant leading man Don Draper is beloved by women not only for his smoldering good looks, but also because they long "for an era they never knew and a type of man to whom they definitely aren’t married. Who, in fact, may no longer exist." Or at least that's what the Observer would have you believe.

It's all kind of sick, isn't it? Tapping into our worst impulses toward emotional self-immolation while rebuking decades of progress in our professional and emotional lives? Yes, yes, we can agree.

What's that? Oh, yes, Stylista debuts tonight at 9. What? Oh, CW, I think. Tivoing. For your friend. Gotcha.