DVR Break-Up: Shear Torture
Shear Genius has had problems from the beginning. The use of the Project Runway cookie-cutter for competitive reality shows about other lifestyle genres is understandable, but not always successful; with Top Design, the glitch seemed obvious to me, namely that the weekly-challenge format didn't fit the skill set. Eliminating a designer in each episode is okay, but it would make more sense to give the designers a longer-form assignment — an entire two-bedroom apartment over the course of ten or twelve weeks, say — and assess them based on their cumulative progress. Launch My Line had an idea built into it about a larger ongoing project, although it didn't quite get the knack of incorporating it.
The time devoted to the assignments isn't what's hobbling Shear Genius, but something about it has never quite worked, and perhaps switching to a longer-format structure would help — putting the stylists in a salon-type atmosphere, assigning them clients they have to work with throughout the season, something.
But I won't stick around to find out, because the charm that used to allow SG to function despite a flawed foundation is now utterly absent. And I don't get it; I don't understand who made these decisions. How hard is it to find a host for a reality show about hairstyling who can pronounce the word "stylists" correctly? Jaclyn Smith couldn't do it; she always dropped the last "s." Camila Alves renders it roughly as "stallus."
In fact, Alves is difficult to understand generally. I like a flavorful accent as much as the next girl, but the function of a host is to explain things, and frequently Alves is incomprehensible. "Frizzy" comes out "fray-zay," "didn't impress us" sounds like "din impresses," and you can't get it from context, either, because she's so stilted. Fine, English isn't her first language, but if that's the issue, this isn't the job for her. It's not like she has any other relevant qualifications; she doesn't seem to have any qualifications, period."My only expression is 'Who farted?'" is not good enough at this level.
Then, having replaced Jaclyn Smith, who could at least read most of the cue cards and didn't act like the stylists had left skidmarks on her sheets, the producers decide to get rid of Rene Fris. Maybe Rene Fris decided to get rid of himself, and I don't blame him one bit, but did they make a list of the possible mentors and then pick the one with the oatmealiest personality? Fris is cute, he had a little catchphrase, and he made a great Tim Gunn Of Hair. Orlando Pita is a rabbity little guy who barely talks. Why not just eliminate the mentor role completely?
Better yet, why not eliminate Kim Vo completely? And if you can't eliminate him, could someone, anyone who has ever read a humorous book, attended a stand-up comedy show, or told a joke, please take Vo aside and tell him that we already have a Michael Kors, and he isn't as funny as he thinks he is either? And that, when Kors's jokes bomb, he's at least trying to provide some insight and not just making dicky comments for their own sake? Vo: not funny, ever; not perceptive, ever. A Monchichi with an attitude problem. Leave the punchlines to Jonathan Antin; he's not that funny either but he's at least got a rhythm to his delivery.
I could tolerate the wooden host who probably has naked pictures of someone at Magical Elves, the flavorless mentor, and the feather-haired chimp on the judging panel, if the outcomes ever made sense, but they don't. The hot mess with the blue flowers that looked like a steel-wool pad got rained on, and then it won? Good for Brian, I guess, for getting by with it, but the judges never articulate to my satisfaction why a given style is or isn't good, is or isn't avant-garde.
And why give so much weight to customer satisfaction, then turn around and bitch at the stylists for not overruling balky clients?"You should have talked her into a more radical change" — how? You should have talked the producers into not signing up hair models who refuse to change anything. I had no problem with Adee getting the boot, in a general sense — the guy made me nervous — but I'd like to know what the judges would have had him do with that girl. Yeah, he did a shit job with the flat-iron, but she had a lot of hair, she refused even to consider a different style, and…how to put this delicately, I wonder. Let's say that she doesn't have the kind of face that's going to sell a bad coif. The way she wanted it done drew attention to a potatoey nose and weak chin; her face isn't Adee's fault.
The show doesn't know whether it wants the stylists to incorporate the head games with stubborn clients into their overall performance, and it's inconsistent with how that's judged. If the marks include how happy the client is with the hairstyle, well, you can't really expect Adee to overrule the girl with a complicated updo and send her out sobbing and pissed. Is it about the hair, or is it about the job? Either is fine, both is fine, but: decide. Decide what the show is actually about.
Or don't. I'm out.
Tags: Camila Alves DVR Break-Up It's Log Jaclyn Smith Jonathan Antin Kim Vo Michael Kors Monchichi Monchichi oh so soft and EAT A BEE Orlando Pita Rene Fris Tim Gunn TV