I’m a big fan of New York Magazine and yes, I admit it makes me feel just a little more a part of the “in crowd” to read it. Jerry Saltz, the lead judge for the Bravo TV show WORK OF ART, writes an interesting piece about what he learned from being a part of the show. The article is both insightful and educational. It’s rare that the viewer gets an inside look of a reality TV production. But it’s even more rare for a critic to talk about how he can do his job better. And because of that, he is now a friend in my head. We sit over dinner of pasta fazool while we discuss well…he discusses, I just listen, the many facets of the art world.
As a writer, I know the importance of criticism. I am also well aware of the biting sting criticism can leave. One small word can send me to the edge, pondering for about the 80 millionth time why I didn’t just join the Peace Corp when I had the chance. Why do I continue to isolate myself in my apartment drinking Dunkin Doughnuts coffee to create the most near to perfect storytelling I can?
But this isn’t about me. It’s about criticism. We all need to hear it at some point. It’s important to take feedback in a constructive manner and learn from it. And that even a critic such as Jerry (yes, as a friend in my head I can call him by his first name) can critique himself and learn to do better.
Bravo TV is known for its famous franchises of reality shows, but who knew Andy Cohen, Vice-President of Original Programming and Development would be such a breakout star? His Watch What Happens Live shows are just plain hysterical and as the lone voice of reason among the housewives reunions shows, he’s really made himself a steady fixture in the Bravo TV lineup. It’s impossible to forget his standard cheeky wink when one of the wives says something so incredibly wrong that we either groan or just laugh – loudly.
His terrific sense of humor has come in handy this season. When Theresa Giudice (Housewives of New Jersey) tosses him like a rag doll in the middle of a fight, the audience is a little amused ….and shocked. But Andy’s quick and witty acknowledgment of the situation, made everything right with his panel and with the viewing audience.
Andy is a friend in my head. Someone I’d like to sit and have a cocktail with and discuss pop culture in a way that doesn’t seem too shallow. I know – that hardly seems feasible. But with Andy it’s totally possible. That’s what makes him an integral part in Bravo TV’s storytelling. With someone like Andy – a funny, smart, yet somewhat eccentric moderator – the craziness of the network’s reality shows stars are called to the carpet by his many skeptical looks – also hysterical. He’s just brings a sense of relevancy to the table, making the story – as insane as they story may be – easier to swallow – especially with a Maker’s Mark and Ginger Ale.
THE RACHEL ZOE PROJECT premiered last night on Bravo. I like what they have done in previous seasons and with the departure of the very likeable and very irritable Taylor Jacobson, it was highly anticipated to learn “the truth about Taylor.”
It’s just really unfortunate that Rachel, her husband, and employees, including Brad (who spent the previous seasons trying to keep up with Taylor) are busy creating spin to discredit and malign Taylor and her four-year history working with Rachel – tearing up her picture and throwing it in the fireplace? Really? That was necessary? The show features some actual styling of a Vanity Fair photo shoot (it doesn’t hurt that Demi Moore makes a cameo), but the majority of the show is spent in a tirade of all the bad mojo that Taylor brought to the table – and revealing in a completely contrived way that Taylor stole from the company resulting in her firing – not her quitting. (Taylor Jacobson states she quit the company and her career hasn’t suffered much since she’s now working for herself and doing pretty well.)
Plain and simple, there’s too much backpedaling with the Taylor story. Anybody who watched the previous seasons knows that Rachel is a big pile of silly and has no skills in running a business. All of the attention devoted to discrediting Taylor actually casts suspicion on all of Rachel Zoe and company. And if this is what the show has in store all season, then sorry Bravo – I won’t be watching what happens.