Is it us, or have a lot of reality TV shows kind of gone off the rails lately? We watch The Rachel Zoe Project because we’re fascinated by what she does for a living. We don’t watch the show so we can see Rodger doing a badly scripted reality TV version of The Hangover or to view wholly unbelievable situations like showing one struggling pretty boy furnishing an entire 7000-square-foot house overnight. We get that her 3rd trimester is forcing her to work less, but somewhere along the line the people involved convinced themselves that Rachel’s home life was the draw here and it’s not. It never has been. Sure, we always enjoyed the rather colorful cast of characters populating her world (although much less so since Brad left) but an entire episode centered around their wacky antics and manufactured stress situations is pretty much unbearable.
And the worst part is, we can’t really think of anything funny to say about this episode. The reason for that is because the people involved are all trying way too hard to be funny on their own. Reality TV always works best if the personalities appear un-self-aware. Brad is a truly funny, witty person and that came through on camera somewhat effortlessly. Taylor really was kind of a bitch, so she didn’t really have to try that hard to be the villain in season 1. Joey, you’re not the clever queen you think you are. And Jeremiah, so help us, if you break out that “Aren’t I adorable?” expression one more time, we’re going to reach through that screen and slap you. And Mandana, people who say “OMG” out loud should have a bucket of cold water thrown at them by someone saying “LOL” over and over again.
In the good old days, the stressful situations actually felt like stressful situations. We didn’t believe for one second that Rachel just handed over the decorating of her new house to an inexperienced assistant without giving him any other input than “White.” She’s too much of a visual person and a control freak for that. We don’t believe for a second that “Ohmigod we need to be out of here by 5 pm!” or “Ohmigod, I have to furnish this whole house singlehandedly overnight!” or “Ohmigod, Rachel and Rodger will be here in 5 minutes and NOTHING IS DONE.” In all seriousness, packing, unpacking and organizing Rachel’s closet is a job that would have taken at least a week.
The scenes with Rachel sitting on her bed and sadly calling her designer friends in New York during Fashion Week were kind of cute, we have to admit. Although it didn’t escape our notice that Kors never once asked her how she was feeling and the conversation instead turned to how she was dressing. That was kind of unintentionally hilarious. At least Prabal Gurung had the decency to wish her luck. What we don’t get is, why didn’t she send someone to those shows in New York? We don’t care who: Mandana, Jordan or Joey would have made the most sense. Just a couple of scenes of one or all of them trying to navigate the fashion scene in New York while Rachel barks orders at them from her hotel bed about which dresses they have to secure for her would have been so much more interesting than watching them unpack sunglasses and act like they’re stressed out about it.
We could have forgiven a lot, including the furniture drama, but MAN, that Vegas crap went on forever. BRAVO: NO ONE CARES ABOUT THIS. It was just so lame, especially when they “woke up” the next morning with “hangovers” in a suite that was so obviously art-directed to look like they partied all night we were a little embarrassed for everyone involved. We liked Rodger a lot better when he was more of a peripheral character. Say what you will about R & R; they’ve been together a long time and you can tell they get each other better than anyone else. So injecting all this faketey-fake-fake tension, with Rachel acting like a nagging sitcom wife and Rodger trying to act all dudetastic (when he rattled off that info about the Hermes charms for the Birkin bag like a pro, revealing how un-dudely his life really is) is boring and silly.
Dresses, bags, jewelry, celebrities, fashion shows. That’s what it’s about, people. Stick to storylines and tension that arises out of Rachel’s actual professional life instead of trying to do The Honeymooners. Hopefully, we’ll be back to form when they have to dress Anne Hathaway for the Oscars, since that was some of the most talked-about styling of the past year. If they gloss over that project just so we can have scenes of Rachel and Rodger arguing over a crib or scenes of Joey and Jeremiah re-enacting “All About Eve,” we are going to be mighty disappointed. Rachel used to have a pretty bad public image and the show helped turn that around by reminding people that her job isn’t easy and she is, in fact, quite good at it. But if they persist with all this Real Housewives-style silliness, all that’s going to get undone.
In other words, we better see Anne Hathaway in her panties trying on dresses soon.