>> Elle's first major foray into TV — aside from a long-running but now defunct Project Runway sponsorship — premieres tonight, and the reviews are in. Fashion news director Anne Slowey has restyled herself from a reasonable person to someone more cold-hearted, working in an obviously staged Elle office. For the so-called reality show Stylista is supposed to be, there are an awful lot of facades going on, but one thing is real — the critics have spoken, and while there are no caustic words, the general feeling seems to be apathy: "Oh, another reality show? Ho-hum."
Stylista is — what is the phrase? — like a little tick that you want to flick off, but it's no worse than other reality games that have come before and will come after. It celebrates and elevates life's most trivial drivel, but if that were a crime, reality television would quickly go the way of the crooked quiz shows of the '50s.
"It is exactly the same as every other gimme-a-job reality show . . ." »
Are there any bosses anywhere as demanding as Ms. Slowey pretends to be? Not really, and maybe on some level we miss them. Part of the appeal of a show like Stylista is that it resurrects a long-vanished way of office life, one filled with rules and regulations, distinct hierarchies and dress codes and nothing as fuzzy as flex time. As Ms. Slowey succinctly explains to the contestants at the outset: “To be in my world you either get it or you don’t.” No one has to spend a lot of time figuring out a manager like this.
Any resemblance between the entrance of Anne Slowey in the new fashion reality show "Stylista" and the entrance of Miranda Priestly in "The Devil Wears Prada" is just what the producers wanted. Alas, a competition to find a junior editor for Elle magazine, where Slowey is fashion news editor, differs from a two-hour drama in enough ways so the TV show doesn't have quite the same charm. It's fun. Just not as much.
Except in the decorative details, it is exactly the same as every other gimme-a-job reality show ever made, with the contestants all banged up in a fancy dormitory from which they disappear one by one after themed weekly challenges.
*image: photo courtesy the cw