Want to know how long it took me to declare myself hooked on VH1's slick new modeling series "The Agency"? Thirty seconds. Thirty seconds in which an odd-looking man named Pink unceremoniously turns away more than a dozen hopefuls at an open call at the Wilhelmina Modeling Agency. One pretty young thing asks Pink what he suggests she do, and Pink responds: "Do something else."
Maybe it's because picking apart the faults of others makes me feel better — come on, you do it too — but "The Agency," which premieres Feb. 20 at 10 p.m., looks addictive. To find out why I'm already sucked in to this reality show — and to find the premiere episode online —
We're always told fashion is a cutthroat business, but I never realized how much of that throat-cutting comes from the models' agents. The first episode of "The Agency" has a lot of the nastiness you'd expect from a show about modeling (one teensy girl gets dubbed "doughy Chloe," while another is told to stop being hungry for sandwiches and start being hungry for fame), but there's also a whole level of psychosis among the agents that I didn't see coming. In the pilot, one hot male model can't even get his hair cut without consulting a room full of agents debating what the change could mean for his career; apparently, it takes a village to spruce up a surfer dude.
The agents aren't exactly endearing; I wanted to slap Becky, one of the women's agents, by the end of the first episode. Luckily, another agent slapped her for me — but in the future, can I have less Becky and more Pink, please? But at the same time, their harshness is part of why they fascinate me. After all, you'd have to be a pretty off-kilter person to make your living, as Becky bluntly puts it, selling flesh.
Also, can we talk about how the Wilhelmina owner's name is Dieter? I mean, it's pronounced "deeter," but wow. Diet-er? Most perfect name for a modeling agency guy ever.
You can check out the first episode of "The Agency" on the show's Web site or download it for free from iTunes. Will you be watching along with me? Check out this clip from another upcoming episode, then let me know.
Photo copyright VH1