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Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Fashion Show, aka Iman's Pit of Flaming Death

"... and you must complete this challenge...UNDERWATER! Surrounded by SHARKS!"

Sitting down to watch our freshly minted screener of the Season 2 premiere of Bravo's The Fashion Show, we had some misgivings. Committed to giving it a go, absolutely; but we were pretty critical of the show's inaugural season and we weren't going to enjoy blogging about this new season if it was equally as flawed. Fifteen minutes into watching it we looked over at each other, surprised as hell. Of all the possible reactions to the show, knee-slapping laughter wasn't one we could have predicted. The word, kittens, is Iman.

This show was never going to be Project Runway and it should never have tried to be. Our criticism of the first season boiled down to: Find a way to be an entertaining fashion reality competition without being Project Runway. What we never considered back then, but now think might just be brilliant, is what happens when you inject something into the proceedings that Project Runway never had: camp.

No, really.

If there's such a thing as a reality TV show host chewing up the scenery, then Iman is apparently the gal to go to. She knows her image and she's selling the hell out of it here. You would have thought she was a supervillain the way she addressed everyone. Practically every sentence she uttered could only have been improved by adding an "...or I will kill you," or just "MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

"Designers, you have two days to complete this challenge... or I will kill you."
"Designers, please step forward. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!"

The only reality show host we've ever seen have more fun than Iman here is RuPaul on her show - and Iman's giving her a close, shade-throwing second in the dragstakes. You know how Heidi has her little velvet bag? They should give Iman a whip. And maybe a leopard in a diamond collar. She's not mean; not really. You can tell she's having loads of fun with it and none of the designers seemed put out by her rather aggressive hosting style. In fact, they seemed to enjoy it. We considered quoting some of her best lines, but there were so many of them and we don't want to give too much away. You must experience them as they shoot rapid fire out of her mouth, the way God intended. Suffice it to say, when a designer tries to defend his banana of a dress with a "tomato/tomahto," line, Iman roars back with "It is not a tomato or a tomahto! It is YELLOW!" That, kittens. THAT is some quality reality television.

The other exciting news we have to report is that they replaced our usual Isaac Mizrahi with Folger's Crystals to see if anyone will notice. He's had a complete personality replacement. Gone is the nasty, focus-pulling bitch judge of last season. People, we wouldn't lie to you about this and we know it's going to be difficult to believe, but Isaac Mizrahi did not say one insulting thing the entire episode.

We know!

Even weirder? He was helpful. They figured out a way to have him mentor that differentiates it from Tim's style. He came in and addressed the teams while they were still in the sketching process, not when they had their dresses half-made. It has a different feel to it coming in at that point in the process and he brought a real "senior designer" feel to the role, offering practical critiques and suggestions based on his own experience. We were dumbfounded. It was like watching Queen Elizabeth make armpit farts.

The other new judge, the chick from Harper's Bazaar, seemed mostly useless. She was trying to play the bitch role on a panel with Isaac Mizrahi and Iman. Talk about bad instincts.

And yes, you heard us: teams. The conceit with this season is that the designers are broken off arbitrarily into 2 different design "houses" for the remainder of the season. You can imagine how the designers reacted to this news. Yes, there is drama, girl. In fact, backstage just minutes before the runway show, two designers took that moment to tell each other to shut their fucking mouths. Most of the drama centers around one amazingly sociopathic designer who you will wind up hating within seconds of being introduced to him, just as he planned. The rest comprise the usual collection of misfits, artists, and technicians. There were a couple likable people in the bunch.

The talent level is about on par with latter seasons of Project Runway. We wouldn't expect this show to stray far from fairly standard dress challenges and that's what we got with this episode. It's a more Super-Glam take on fashion, which you would expect with Iman leading the proceedings. The runway set is something to see. It's huge and well lit. The staged "fashion show" at the end was attended by a surprising large number of people, making it feel like an actual fashion show.

We're in for the season, no doubt about it. It looks like fun. And we can't wait to do Iman captions. Although we're going to have a hard time outdoing anything she says.

The Fashion Show Ultimate Collection premieres on Tuesday, November 9th at 10/9C on Bravo. Oh! And how about we open up the T LOunge on Tuesday nights. Who couldn't use a little extra nip during the week, darlings?

[Photo Credit: Mike Ruiz, Heidi Gutman, BravoTV.com]

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