Bravo’s Project Runway replacement, The Fashion Show, premieres tonight. It’s been too long since a new episode of Project Runway aired, so we’re actually kind of excited about The Fashion Show, even though it’s a blatant Runway knockoff. Also, Isaac Mizrahi, who hosts the show, says consistently entertaining things. However the Times gave the program a pretty bad review, noting that Project Runway was better. Where Runway offered a nurturing environment, with Tim Gunn giving designers constructive criticism, the host-judges of The Fashion Show, including Mizrahi and Kelly Rowland, mostly just tell the designers they suck, according to the paper.
“I sat at that fashion show a little embarrassed,” Mr. Mizrahi tells the designers after their first runway test. “And I thought to myself: If any of these people worked for me, they would be fired immediately.”
Mr. Mizrahi, who can be very funny as well as flamboyant, is mostly a scold here. Ms. Rowland is not exactly nurturing, either. “Is that supposed to be like that?” she asks Haven, 29, a contestant who is struggling with a misshapen fold on her blouse. “No, it’s not supposed to be like that, Kelly,” Haven replies, barely concealing a bristle.
The Times laments that the show is behind the age we are in, where reality TV that lifts people up (like T.I.’s Road to Redemption, which helps youngsters get their acts together) is thriving. But when we sit down to watch TV, we just want to be entertained, which often involves being dismayed by people (Tool Academy, anyone?). And Kelly Rowland doing fashion-bashing backup (that girl’s stuck in a rut, eh?) to Isaac Mizrahi is reason enough for us to tune in. After all, the Real Housewives series, which are based on a complete lack of socially acceptable behavior, have been so successful that they’ve spawned a New Jersey version. So maybe the absence of nurturing won’t stop this show from spreading its wings and soaring.