Okay, here’s the Bravo-supplied recap:
“Chris March and his team are taking fashion to the dogs when television host Maria Sansone wants to be transformed into a 1950s housewife for Animal Fair Magazine’s annual Paws for Style fashion show. Maria not only needs Chris to create a runway look for her, but also a complementing look for her cockapoo, Ralphie. Will Chris’ vision for Maria and Ralphie sparkle on the catwalk, or has he bitten off more than he can chew?”
And here are our thoughts:
Best episode yet! It takes time for a reality show like this to find its footing and we think with this episode, Mad Fashion may have just stumbled upon what should be its central conceit and formula.
First off, this was the perfect setup for Chris and his team. Those “I’m throwing a party to launch my shoe line” or “I’m hosting a drag event” -style episodes tend to fall kind of flat. New York City has some silly charity event every single night of the week. That should be the kind of stuff Chris and his team tackle all the time. It should be bland television personalities and rigid socialites coming up against the Chris March Gang’s idea of what glamour is. That should be the central conflict each week.
They keep trying to play up the whole “Will she like it?” aspect but with this gal – who couldn’t have been sweeter, but let’s face it, you don’t get much more bland and image-focused than “TV Guide Channel presenter” – it finally clicked. She was the first client who we thought might actually balk at wearing the outfit. When she said nervously – ABOUT A DOG FASHION SHOW, WE MIGHT ADD – that this event was going to have the “elite of New York City,” we realized the show had found its perfect client.
You can’t have reality show celebrities, wild socialites, and comediennes each week because it’s practically a guarantee that they’re going to love whatever Chris and his team put together for them. Shove some uptight socialite or image-focused minor celebrity at him each week. The nervousness will be delicious to watch and the central struggle becomes one between conventional upscale glamour and the kind of wild, theatrical drag- and street-based (you don’t get much more of the latter than when you’re paying off the homeless) version of it that Chris and his team dish out.
We didn’t doubt that she would love the dress because let’s face it, it’s ridiculously adorable. It was the wig that provided all the conflict.
To be honest, we thought Izzy was a bit off-base with this wig. She kept talking about her years working on Hairspray and we kept thinking that this isn’t the Broadway stage and the client’s not a musical theater performer. That’s when it really clicked for us. Dirtyglam theatricality vs. upscale pretensions. You can’t get a more winning conflict than that.
But it failed to follow through on the great setup because after all her protesting, she wound up wearing the wig exactly as presented to her. It’s a decision that served her well and we were pleasantly surprised that she was so game, but producers, here’s how we would have done it.
We would have had Izzy make a wig a good 3 times the size of this one; something so outrageous that the viewer will sit there yelling at the screen that she’s lost her mind and waiting for the meltdown to come when the client flips out.
Then there would be conflict, as the outrageous wig is unveiled, to be followed by discussion, compromise, and healing as the client comes to some sort of acceptance, so long as several changes are made. Then, we would have had this wig presented as the followup wig, which the client assents to wear and everyone winds up happy.
Yes, we think about reality TV a lot.
Anyway, our point is, if there’s any sort of direction for the show to take, this should be it. We’re not advocating nasty fighting, just a basic conflict inherent in the setup of the show that allows for some narrative tension and gives the viewer someone to root for.
And of course, part of what made the episode so great was the costume itself, which was absolutely pitch perfect in every way. That dog looks so ridiculously adorable we can’t even stand it.
That’s why we think these silly charity events are perfect for the show. You expect something outrageous for a drag ball or a Mardi Gras float, but if you give Chris the chance to impose his outrageousness on an event with upscale pretensions, you get a great little hook. Also you get the team to dress up in matching outfits to attend the event and that’s kind of cute too.
We’re going to be posting sporadically over the Thanksgiving holiday – but we will be posting on Friday and throughout the weekend – can’t let Revenge and American Horror Story go by without commenting, after all, plus someone’s bound to wear something discussable on a red carpet somewhere. Don’t forget that the season 2 premiere of Joe Zee’s All on the Line debuts at 9:30 eastern on Friday night. We got to see the premiere episode at a screening a couple of weeks ago and we loved it. But then again, we loved season one. We will be blogging this season, of course.
To our American Bitter Kittens, have a happy and safe holiday, and to our impatient international Bitter Kittens, we promise we’ll make it up to you over the weekend. Airkisses and waves, darlings!
[Photo Credit: bravotv.com]