“Kell On Earth” Makes Fashion “Really Real”

I’m sorry, especially after talking it up so much, but after watching the first two episodes, I have some serious trepidation about wasting any more time on “Kell On Earth.” While I’ll admit that as a fashion person, it’s semi-interesting to see this side of the spectrum — I never considered just how much work publicists put into making sure everything is just right for editors and their clients — the whole production leaves an icky taste in my mouth. And I don’t mean that in a patronizing, “Anyone outside of fashion wouldn’t get it” way. It’s just that I genuinely don’t see how anyone would care, period.This much is true: I said this show would be one of the most accurate reflections of the real fashion industry, not some show glorifying would-be designers or models (who would never make it in the real fashion world) on some glitzy set and, for the most part, it is. But not only is it depressing, it’s also, as Amelia put it to me on IM, “booooring.”

You can only dramatize mundane activities so much before the audience has to call BS. To an extent, this is true of all reality TV, but it seems heightened here. Yes, there is huge money at stake and the fallout is the client will drop Kelly Cutrone’s PR agency (by the end of the second episode, one already has), but it’s difficult for anyone–industry insider or not–to give a crap about a girl who gets her hair done for two hours during fashion week, then starts crying about an invitation snafu a few minutes later. Who are these crazy people? It’s ugly. Really, if you can’t maintain a sense of humor about fashion, all is lost. And do they hire moronic employees because there’s no one else available, or is it just because Kelly Cutrone and People’s Revolution senior staffers really seem to get off on torturing them for their stupidity?

Perhaps the most astute observation about this show comes via Washington Post writer Hank Stuever, who summed it up thusly: “‘You say I’m a bitch like it’s a bad thing,’ beams employee Emily Bungert, espousing a People’s Revolution motto. No, I’d say you’re a bitch like it’s a sad thing.” Maybe “America’s Next Top Model” is the direction fashion reality shows need to stay in after all.