The CityIf You Want Something Done Right Season 1 • Episode 22
Whitney’s exciting journey as a fashion designer reaches a pivotal juncture this week on The City when her very first samples arrive. It’s like she’s a real person with a real job! Like. Kelly Cutrone — who has obnoxiously but also probably necessarily decided to micromanage Whitney’s design career — says it’s time to get a look book together. “This is your one moment to have a visual identity,” she reminds Whit, adding that the book could “make or break her.” (Technically not always the case — a slutty fashion show might carry considerably more impact.) And so she enlists Roxy, who needs things to do, to help her. Kelly prevents Roxy from screwing everything up. If only Olivia had had a handler at Elle to help her do the same.
Lesson 1: Casting a look book.
Do: Hire a casting assistant who is capable of listening. Whitney says she wants Roxy to work on the casting. Bad idea, because Roxy is not capable of catering to someone else’s vision. All she cares about is getting herself in a Quentin Tarantino movie and being “edgier” and therefore cooler and more important than Whitney. She will always think her ideas are best, and getting her to take direction from Whitney will require beating her over the head with the long-lost tutu from her youth. So the first round of girls she calls in for the “fairy-tale tea party” shoot are all pale brunette Goth types.
Don’t: Treat the models like they’re blind, deaf, and dumb. We don't enjoy watching model castings on this show because they treat the girls like they’re standing inside a soundproof glass case. Kelly calls the first round of girls a “Gothic nightmare” and refers to them as “that one.” Sadly, the girls have to take it with smiles and rays of sunshine emanating from their irises if they want the job. Which is why we’d make horrible models. “Just because I might have to wear your vulgar cellophane dresses doesn’t mean I don’t have a name or my own identity,” we might say, and storm out.
Lesson 2: Working under pressure.
Do: Get a little stressed. We are seriously getting annoyed with the script writers, because this episode is like the hundred millionth (or third) time Olivia has to work on a television-show segment at Elle. Erin books Joe on the Today show, and he wants Olivia to pull outfits for the models (he doesn’t do this himself because he, as the creative director of a giant fashion magazine, has more important things to do than dress real people, such as style Sarah Jessica Parker for her cover shoot). Erin objects because she hates Olivia, who admittedly sucks at life, but to no avail. She tells Olivia she has to pull a few looks, and Olivia doesn’t look stressed out at all. She probably isn’t, because she’s thinking about whether or not to wear her hair in a frigid-bitch bun the next day and whether she has enough lip gloss to get her through the rest of the week. But worrying about the task at hand gives one nervous energy sometimes required not to fuck everything up, which should be a concern of Olivia's.
Don’t: Show too much stress. Erin is freaking out over Olivia’s nonchalance, but this just makes her look a little crazy. Keep it on the inside. Or IM it to your friends so the national television audience can’t see.
Lesson 3: Conceptualizing a fairy-princess tea party look book (ugh).
Do: Keep the models clean. Whitney boldly includes cake and cupcakes on the set of the tea-party shoot. Roxy suggests the models actually eat the baked goods. They do, and everyone is happy. But then she suggests they have a giant food fight, which is ridiculous because the point of the book is to show the clothes in their freshest state, not matted down with colored frosting.
Don’t: Force them to pop bottles. Roxy suggests one of the models pop a Champagne bottle. She probably envisioned a spectacular shot of a girl with a bunch of Champagne fizz in the air with a big smile on her face — like an ad for those plastic New Year’s Champagne cups that come in two pieces. But the model can barely wield her own arm, much less a fired-up Champagne bottle, and drops the thing immediately after opening it. Roxy is still new to the city, so she hasn’t quite absorbed that models and bottles do go together, but only when there’s a hired scantily clad waitress or insecure banker around to pop the cork for them.
Lesson 4: Getting your friend to like you again after you’ve been a pain in the ass on her first-ever look-book shoot.
Don’t: Throw cake at her. When Kelly and the crew finally exit the look-book set, Roxy is still itching for the cake fight (because she’s so bad, you know), and throws cake at Whitney after apologizing for getting Champagne on her cellophane dress (which would have been fine if they'd just sprayed it with Windex, FYI). Whitney, a noted pushover, finds this funny and gently lobs cake back at her. The sultry-girl music sets in and we are left with one of the most awkward scenes in the history of MTV’s reality programming. Watching them lurch around in slow motion tossing carbs on each other’s heads made us feel embarrassed just for witnessing it.
Do: Accept your position in the shadows. Roxy should learn that she is the supporting cast member in this show, and the supporting cast member at People’s Revolution. Whitney is the soon-to-be star designer, and she is the annoying best friend. She should stop acting out and start shutting up.
Lesson 5: Being a tolerable shopping partner.
Don’t: Praise your own skinny figure. Olivia goes to pull outfits with Bryn, the intern, who is obviously far more competent at Olivia’s job than Olivia. She suggests a sequined dress, and Olivia said she nixed that because it “hugs in the wrong areas,” adding that she herself could pull it off, but not everyone can. Just, wow.
Do: At least act like you’re listening to what your gal Friday is saying. Olivia pulls, like, negative four outfits when she needed to bring Erin a bunch of options. Bryn suggests they grab more, but Olivia says, “I’m happy. I’m really happy.” She's denser than most straight men!
Lesson 6: Addressing your superior at the office.
Don’t: Question her tone. Erin is unsatisfied, naturally, with what Olivia has brought back to her. She makes this known to Olivia because she now basically has no time to find what she needs. “Erin, would you talk to Joe in the same way that you talk to me?” Olivia says, making it clear she has never had a real job ever in her life. Or, maybe, a real friend.
Don’t: Tell her she’s wrong. “I think we’re clearly disagreeing on what we want,” Olivia tells Erin, when she says Olivia should have gone to more stores than just two. This is insane, because work is not about what you want, it’s about what your boss wants, and Erin, here, is Olivia’s boss. Dense!
Do: At least pretend to feel bad about your fuckups. Olivia doesn’t give a damn about the segment or her fake assignment, but casts her gaze downward as though she wishes, maybe, that she hadn’t utterly failed at life again. But we have a sinking feeling she was mentally checking out to calculate how many calories her lunch of crudité was. That flawless figure don't come easy!
Lesson 7: Venting at work about a certain individual.
Don’t: Complain to the intern. Erin is about to explode after the Olivia incident. She has to talk to someone immediately and chooses Bryn, the intern. Sometimes interns are so cool you can let them in on the office drama to the most minute details, but we are not sure Bryn is that sort of girl. She could easily be swayed if Olivia bought her something nice at the Swarovski store.
Do: Complain to someone who hates the certain individual just as much as you. We feel so bad for Erin, because from the looks of things it’s midnight and she’s stuck at the office with no one, and probably very bad cell-phone reception. Certainly she could have grabbed a production assistant just as fed up with Olivia’s attitude as she is.