Tomorrow Elle's fashion-assistant-competition reality show, Stylista, premieres on the CW. But don't order the good cupcakes and invite all your friends over just yet. We've seen the first two episodes, and frankly, we found it kind of boring. It has its redeeming qualities, however, so we can't decide if Stylista's closer to guilty-pleasure-bad or just bad-bad. We'll have to watch another episode or so before we decide. (You know, kind of how we were on the fence about Work Out, but after spending a good part of an afternoon with it, we were hooked).
So in anticipation for Wednesday night's premiere, let's reason through the show's guilty pleasures and why it's also just plain guilty.
WHY IT'S A GUILTY PLEASURE
1. Boobs. One of the contestants shows up to work on the first day with her ample bosom bursting out of her dress. The bitchy contestants label her Boobs and call her this loud enough for her to overhear them. Then she gets overdramatic and cries about it a lot.
2. These people have no idea how to make a magazine. One of the contestants edits NYU's fashion publication. Yet in the challenge requiring them to make a contributor's page, she makes hers neon yellow and hideous in every other way you can imagine. You don't have to work in the magazine business to know Elle would never run something like that. Oh, also, she's majoring in fashion marketing and writing for fashion (or something long-winded like that), which she probably made up herself since NYU lets kids do that.
3. Joe Zee says what we're all thinking. Joe tells the contestants to their face in the first episode exactly what he thinks of their clothes, and his opinion is kind of, well, factual. For example, the NYU girl wears a fifties-style purple hat, and Joe basically tells her it's annoying when people wear purple hats in the office all day.
4. Someone goes to the hospital in the second episode. We won't spoil it by saying anymore, but it's so dramatic!
WHY IT'S GUILTY OF BEING BAD-BAD:
1. Too much acting. Joe and Anne Slowey are not acting like themselves. Anne is icy when we imagine she's actually a bubbly sort of lady. Also, she walks really awkwardly in high heels leading us to believe she hardly ever wears them. And Joe is much more delightful than the hard-ass he plays on the show. We think their true personalities would have been more entertaining.
2. It's obviously not shot at Elle. You'll see when you watch the show how staged their "office" is. We know the reality-television business is all fake, but we like to be able to pretend it has at least a little bit of authenticity to it.
3. The stakes are too low. And this is a fundamental problem with the show. Project Runway is exciting because the designers get to show in Bryant Park. The stakes are actual career advancement. This show is only going to help the contestants get a job on another reality show.
4. The challenges are boring. Watching models wear steak bikinis in photo shoots on ANTM is a phenomenal way to spend an evening. Watching people snip at sheets of paper and glue the pieces together to make a magazine page (because that's how magazines do it these days?) is a snooze.