Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Favorite Things: Reality TV, II

What Not to Wear.

Not a guilty pleasure at all.

Why should it be? Like Clean House, this show is all about solving problems in the most positive way possible. In one hour, Stacey and Clinton (with help from their pals) confront the subject's clothing issues, clean out their closet, give them rules, force them to shop by the rules, correct mistakes, and bring it home by putting the subject back into the bosom of the friends and family who turned them in in the first place.

And I say this without irony: the narrative structure of this show keeps me interested. It is a fairly traditional three-act drama. Act I: the problem. Act II: confronting the problem. Act III: climax and resolution.

And the resolution is happy! The friend or family member who sent the (embarrassing) video of clothing issues is gratified: he/she was right all the time! And even though they couldn't solve the problem, they brought in the Big Guns, who closed the deal.

The subject has learned to face the truth about body/style/mental issues re: clothes and shopping, and has a new wardrobe (on smeone else's money!) of great stuff, head to toe, work and play. And a haircut and make-up fix, as well. With rules and reinforcement to follow so it can't go wrong again....

I love it!

Granted, sometimes Clinton and Stacey are a little snarky, and I don't always agree with their taste. And I wouldn't shop in those stores; what happens when the subject is back home with only Wal-Mart for an option? And I don't think they do enough middle-aged women... but otherwise: an hour of pure joy.

The humilation is kept to a minimum (usually only when the subject refuses to admit that leopard knit jumpsuits in a size too small are not really really attractive...really!), the hard work of cleaning out the crap from your closet is done by the couple (who don't have the sentimental attachments and guilt, say, that keep my closet full), and it ends with applause for the subject's new look (and no plastic surgery or exercizing necessary!). They point out the subject's assets on the way: coloring, height, body shape, etc.--so uncovering assets and forcing the subject to see them is central. And I find the hair and makeup people so helpful, for women who never wear/cut/color their hair to women who have done it completely wrong for decades (who hasn't?).

It is not about extremes of weight, or ugliness, or phobias, but "regular people." What woman in American doesn't have days where her closet is full of clothes but it is all ugly or makes her look too fat/too tall/too old/too young? And ads are all wrong, with nothing that interests her or would make her look good? Or, confronted by the racks of choice in Wal-Mart or The Loft, one wonders what to buy? Or what cut/color to do to one's hair? And, like Say Yes to the Dress, it is clear that one's friends or family should not be the ones making the decisions....

This is what I consider "good expert TV" without humiliation and with applicable results. Yay!

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