When Did Bravo Go From Fantastic To Trash-tastic?

Oh Bravo, why did you do this to me? I lost my faith in TV after the second season of “Survivor,” but found hope again in the wonder that was “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy.” Upon viewing the first promotional commercial I remember thinking: Could it be? Is it true? Is there really going to be a channel that will produce high quality television with unique and innovative programming? I gripped the armchairs of the sofa in anticipation. Bravo was soooooo good, and it only got better. While still basking in the warm glow of “Queer Eye” I was knocked out by the awesomeness that was “Project Runway.” I was a little dubious about “The Real House Wives of Orange Country,” but soon realized that though this was a reality show, it was not a trashy one. Bravo did not so much exploit the Housewives as they exploited themselves. I am sure the peeps in the editing room had some fun with sound bites, but the humor was still sophisticated and smart. Bravo popped out reality show after reality show. Rather than losing interest in the formulaic reality-mold, I became alternately obsessed with cooking, modeling, decorating, designing, etcetera. Bravo was fantastic. Now with the premiere of “NYC Prep” tonight, I fear Bravo has stooped to the level of trashy.I should have seen the warning signs with “The Fashion Show.” The channel that used to pride itself on its originality and its unusually intelligent audience is pandering to the viewers of popular, but less classy shows. Actually, “The Fashion Show” is more Bravo sticking its tongue out at Lifetime for winning the rights to “Project Runway,” but my real point is “The Fashion Show” remains the most unoriginal show on television. Originality went out with the baby and the bath water on this trashy fashion knock off. Seriously Bravo, you make Forever 21 look like visionary’s. But I digress, the latest Bravo embarrassment comes in the form of “Gossip Girl” meets “The Real World. First of all, tsk tsk Bravo. Copying another networks hit series is just not cool. I know Gossip Girl isn’t a reality show, and you claim yours is, but it’s still practically the same show. No, I lied. “Gossip Girl” is a much better show than the fluff ball episode you have been airing as frequently as Lindsay Lohan airs her dirty underwear.

My real issue with Bravo: It has become mean. “The Fashion Show” mentors and judges regularly insult the designers and the producers of “NYC Prep” are blatantly making fun of the ultra wealthy teens. OK, the kids on “NYC Prep” deserve a little bit of teasing, but Bravo doesn’t do it in the clever way it used to. Instead of subtle hints and perfect close ups, we get obvious and bludgeoning over the head. Bravo teased the House Wives with side cuts to the nanny and Tim Gun was able to express displeasure with the slightest downturn of his lips. The charm of “Gossip Girl” is the over-the-top reactions of Blair Waldorf, but that works on a fictional program. Bravo, stop picking on kids smaller than you! It’s just plain nasty.

Bravo, get it together. You momentarily redeemed yourself with the Jerz girls, but you have fallen once again.