So, sigh, last night was the premiere of the new CW reality series Stylista, in which a bunch of sad and insecure "fashion people" compete for a shitty editorial assistant gig at Elle magazine. Their woodenly cold and Miranda Priestly-esque overseer is Anne Slowey, the fashion director for Elle and enemy of Project Runway judge Nina Garcia. And what happened last night? Well a tired old formula creaked out from behind the curtain and sputtered and died before the episode even ended. The contestants, who appear to be the understudies for circus performers, all trotted out and stood in their assigned gates. There was Kate the big-boobed halfwit, Arnaldo the soulful minority guy with funky hair, William the fey British lady, Megan the weak-chinned bitch, Danielle the overweight girl, etc. Blah blah. Upon their arrival at the show's HQ, Megan, as if prodded by some unseen producer!, immediately started acting bitchy about everyone, talking about how she used to own a boutique and she is so very very experienced for someone who is 22-years-old. She also oozed insecurity and miserable sadness, so while you know in your heart of hearts that you should pity her, you... meh, kinda don't. William was dressed up as a gay droog and everyone sort of snickered at him behind his back. Then came the first challenge in which the foolish contestants were told to hoof it down to a deli to provide a healthy morning meal for the impending Ms. Slowey. Aiee! To a deli they all went, picking out silly things like, um, celery and a pineapple. Blah blah, they put their little trays together and then Anne came galoompfing in. It was sort of telling about the Ice Queen role she's been pigeonholed into that neither her clothes nor her shoes seemed to fit, and that she seemed wildly uncomfortable the whole time. Willy got dressed down for his ridiculous chimney packer ensemble, the overweight girl was told that her glasses were nice, and the girl who was least prepared, Ashlie who got lost on the way to the deli, won for being "a minimalist" I believe it was. So. Yeah. Next the idiots were tromped off to see a fellow named Joe Zee, who critiqued their style to prepare them for an upcoming challenge. The busty Kate got a reprimanding for being a little too revealing, and that Megan character smirked in her sad little self-satisfied way. None of these kids got picked first for capture the flag at summer camp, did they? Like not one single one of them, not even one time. Again, sigh. The big challenge was to make yourself business presentable. This was an editorial challenge! So it involved having a little fashion show for the pursed-faced Anne, then putting together, in small teams, a mock-up Contributors page. All three teams epically shit the bed, but in the end Arnaldo was sent home because all he could talk about was how he wanted to be a writer—signified by his carrying a notebook all the time because that is not a devastatingly 1992 Ethan Hawke of a cliche at all! So the affable boring dude went home and the be-boobed Kate got to stay another day. But not before she broke down because everyone hates her clothes and she likes them!, so she wept and Megan and her little gal pal DyShaun (which I believe is a brand of vacuum cleaner) said mean things to her. And that's really what these shows have come to, isn't it? 1) I'm so sick of people trying to defend fashion as anything but frivolity by saying that it's "wearable art!" and that it "makes people feel good!" because, um, by and large it's insanely expensive silliness that, in the end, makes most people feel miserable because it's not the right fit and they can't afford it and why can't they be skinny like the Olsens. If you want to be looks-obsessed and shallow, fine. But just admit it. There's nothing wrong with having a shallow job (umm..?) as long as you don't pretend it's something it's not. 2) Upon discussing this with a friend last night, we wondered: why do these shows seem hellbent on finding people with near-unrealizable dreams so they can tear them apart, beat them down, and crush them mercilessly for supposed entertainment? And, more importantly, why do these contestants submit themselves to this? Haven't they seen at this point? Especially on the C-fucking-W, which has churned out season after ungodly season's worth of America's Next Top Model wastrels who will never amount to anything? Sure one of these Stylista kids is actually going to get a job and a place to live out of this, but they'll forever be tainted by this low-production-values, Miranda Priestly-wannabe, ugly gay mess of a series. Shame on all of us for indulging the whole enterprise, really. That said, see you next week.
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