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"Shear Genius": So Much Better Than I Expected

"Shear Genius": So Much Better Than I Expected

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was pretty wary about Bravo's haircutting competition show, "Shear Genius." Oh, how times have changed. Somehow, I've become a huge fan — possibly the show's biggest fan, given some of the other reviews I've read.

"Shear Genius" is still no "Project Runway," and not just because it lacks Tim Gunn. But it's the most over-the-top of the Bravo competition shows to date, and that alone is a reason to watch. Here are five more:

  • Jaclyn Smith's voice. OK, so at first her weird, robotic monotone really got to me, but by the end of last week's episode, I was oddly entranced by it. While she talks, I try to figure out what could be making those noises — because guys, seriously, it's not a person. Is it that weird garbling machine they use to disguise people's voices during interviews on "Dateline"? The robot who records the "no-one-is-here-to-take-your-call" messages on answering machines? An invisible alien baby? Whatever it is, it's fascinating.
  • The challenges. Simply put, they're ridiculous. In the first episode, the stylists had to incorporate stuff they bought at a craft store into their hairdos, and the winning look involved a treasure chest plopped on a model's head. In tonight's episode, the stylists have to give a long-haired woman a short 'do — using hedge clippers, pinking shears and those wavy-edged scissors people use for scrapbooking. A few more I hope to see: an updo that uses fruits and vegetables; extensions done with ribbon, lace and yarn instead of hair; and something — anything — involving live animals.

Three more reasons — and a clip from tonight's episode — so

  • The pacing. After the plodding, drawn out dullness of "Top Design," "Shear Genius" moves refreshingly fast. The producers squeeze not one but two challenges into every episode, and the judging fits nicely into the final 15 minutes rather than taking a full half-hour the way it did on "Top Design." Plus, the producers have put a big digital clock right in the stylists' workroom, so we can watch the time tick away for ourselves.
  • Dr. Boogie. The name says it all, right? I've seen some arrogant reality TV contestants in my day, but Dr. Boogie might top them all. I love his penchant for wearing scrubs and his wild exaggerations ("Who is the best stylist working today?" "Dr. Boogie."). And talking about him means I get to say "boogie" a lot.
  • The potential for disaster. Who hasn't been driven to tears by a bad haircut? When most people sign up to be models for a reality show, I doubt they expect to end up looking like a Thanksgiving centerpiece or a model of the solar system. Someone is going to end up with blue hair. Someone is going to get a horrid chop that will take months to grow out. Someone is going to cry. And while that might be a morbid reason to watch a TV show, it's certainly got me glued.

Here's a video of the moment when the stylists learn they'll have to use the hedge clippers. I can't wait!

Photo courtesy of Bravo

Join The Conversation
JennyJen2 JennyJen2 10 years
I love this show too - and agree that Top Design was a HUGE letdown. I think I am hungry for PRoject Runway and Top Chef and this has filled that temporary void. BRAVO - BRAVO!!!!
wiggy wiggy 10 years
thanks to this post, i checked out the show and now my roommate and i are addicted...something's got to keep us entertained till project runway comes back.
Entertainment Entertainment 10 years
I think you're right, LaLa -- when I watched last night, I realized her voice only sounds weird in the shots where you can't actually see her talking, so it must be something wrong with the dubbing
lem0n lem0n 10 years
yay im not the only one who watches this show?? does anyone think that theodore looks a bit like ryan phillippe?
LaylaCams LaylaCams 10 years
I really like this show too, actually!
LaLa0428 LaLa0428 10 years
I just figured out Jaclyn Smith vocal "problem". It's dubbed, I think something happened in production, because she is definitely doing voice-overs in a lot of her dialogue. Especially, when she talks to the contests before or after a competition. That's my theory anyway. Style Before Comfort!
tigra tigra 10 years
i am addicted to the bravo reality shows but just couldn't get into top design so i didn't even try to watch shear genius...until i was home 'sick' yesterday and caught the first two episodes. it's definitely something i'll be watching.
LaLa0428 LaLa0428 10 years
Oddly, enough I love this show. I am shocked because I know nothing about hair styling. Top Design was such a huge let down. :( And Dr. Boogie, is my favorite so far. Style Before Comfort!
ruthieroo ruthieroo 10 years
I am totally enjoying the show. I think Smith is expressive and knowledgeable. I don't get the robotic voice thing. I don't hear it at all. The challenges are a bit far out, but I think it works. Go Dr. Boogie! ************************************************************ Some days it's not even worth chewing through the restraints.
bizzyatwork bizzyatwork 10 years
Yeah. Scrubs. Seriously. Using the Project Runway characteristics: combine Austin Scarlett's flamboyancy, Jay's odd sense of humor, and the weird-confidence factor that Santino had, and you get Dr. Boogie. I didn't think that I would like this show, but I'm hooked.
Beauty Beauty 10 years
Haha. This really makes me want to check out "Shear Genius." And seriously: Dr. Boogie wears SCRUBS?!
krampalicious krampalicious 10 years
*sigh* bravo reality shows make me long for cable.
bizzyatwork bizzyatwork 10 years
Funnier than hell. My sister is a stylist and she is absolutely in love with this show. I like it just because of the ridiculousness of the hair (Faded to a nice copper? WTF). I think the pacing is a huge deal, half the show just dragged Top Design down.
Linda-McP Linda-McP 10 years
Looks like fun. I just came from getting my haircut; my stylist loves the show!
Lindsb Lindsb 10 years
Haha.. it's most definitely entertaining. They've rounded up some characters for this one!
LuciLu LuciLu 10 years
I LOVE this show!!! The first challenge was hilarious, with the winning cut having a box on her head, THAT OPENED BY PULLING HER HAIR!! Thats FIERCE. ;)
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