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Saturday, 7 March 2009

Stylista, Five


Did we like it?
Another pungent vomit trail retched up from the moribund guts of the reality TV show’ genre’, with the noxious stench of rehearsals, scripted responses and pantomime villains.

What was good about it?
The unwitting irony of the sole occasion in which someone spoke proper English – a Chinese shopkeeper – and not a grotesque vernacular drenched in spite and commerce it was ‘necessary’ for there to be subtitles.

What was bad about it?
• Reality TV shows are terminally sick; everyone knows how they work now – the producers, the viewers and the contestants. This means that every new show is simply everyone dumbly playing out their roles in a charade – the producers engineer conflict with all the subtle spontaneity of a bored steamroller; the candidates squabble and bleat for attention while baring their teeth to devour their televisual siblings with all the ravenous bestial instinct of tiger sharks in the womb; and the viewers are expected to liberate any vestige of cerebral impulse to be piqued to fury by the scripted antics of the contestants and producers.
• The prize on offer of a year’s internship on Elle magazine does offer a novel facet as the candidates will be sliced from the gluttonous rump of humanity. And perhaps the hope was that the programme will appeal to people who actually read Elle magazine, who are among those who still are sucked in by such a facile premise as reality TV.
• The conceit of the long walk, here by one of the human machetes who masquerade as journalists in the shape of Brett. Her job is to approach from an unnecessarily far distance while the camera flits and pans to the petrified faces of the candidates (although these shots could easily be imported from elsewhere, and who would know the difference?).
• For their first task this week, the candidates had to dress a mannequin. Brett opened up the Elle wardrobe for them to pillage for clothes and jewellery. It cut to two of the female candidates grinning at one another, as women are supposed to do when confronted by clothes – but again, this could have been an insert.
• “The closet is just crazy!” exclaimed Devin. This single statement opened up two more septic wounds of Stylista.
• The first is that many of the candidates have stupid names, the kind of grandiose appellations delusional parents give to their offspring as if to usher them into a life of unique genius through a superficial label. Devin was one of the better names; there was DyShaun, but the worst was Cologne.
• But it doesn’t matter what their name was they were all complicit in that reality TV staple of people who aren’t very good at something being shown up how weak they are and then scorned by the experts who are supposedly good at something.
• Here, however, the chasm was wider than usual. Ostensibly, these candidates are applying for a job as journalists. And while fashion journalists are the maggots squirming about the innards of the rotten carcass as far as the media hierarchy is concerned, you would imagine that they at least appreciated the glory of language.
• Not so. They are all beholden to the plagues of idiocy. Locust swarms of ‘Ohmygods”, blistering boils of “inspirational” to describe someone who wasn’t dressed in designer clothes yet seemed to be happy; insults that putrefy the mind with their banality, “You’re Rosemary’s Baby!”.
• Bloody rivers of redundant adjectives: “definitely inspirational”, and “Jason had the task to do the pictures, he literally took that literally…”; the diseased livestock of dubious spirituality, “Karma is a serious thing…”; the lice of facsimiled emotion, “Jason, you’re the most amazing person I’ve ever met”; and the fiery hail of inarticulate, juvenile animalistic expression, “I want to drop-kick Kate in the face…”
• This exposes the assumption that these people have been chosen for journalistic talent, but more for their capacity to bicker with their peers (but when is that not the case?). Although, given the absence of talent and imagination in the ‘creative’ team of Elle, perhaps they’re ideal for the position.
• Editor Anne Slowey attaches scorn to her face in the same mechanical way as henchmen of the inquisition bricked up suspected witches. While her words leave her mouth with all the grace and flexibility of overtaking cars on the autobahn. And she dismissed Jason with the valediction of, “You’re not the right fit!” as though he were a jigsaw piece.
• Her assistant Brett told the candidates to “start strategising”, the sort of word that should have been chained to Atlantis before it sunk. While you couldn’t boil a teaspoon of imagination from the essences of ‘creative director’ Joe Zee. But worst senior fashion editor Joann Pailey, whose voice resounds and grates like a damned soul knocking on the exit doors of Hell for all eternity.
• As expected, some of the candidates ushered their peers into rooms for a private chat, ie bitch, which just happened to be caught on camera. This reached an appalling zenith when the fragile Jason seemed to have a panic attack. As he lay writhing on the floor the camera captured every last abasing convulsion. Was it genuine? Perhaps, but we only believe this because the rest of the candidates are abysmal actors. Although again they all seemed to have pre-cast roles in Jason’s trauma. Ashlie, a ‘good person’ assumed her role as offering solace to Jason the pity magnet, while the ‘evil’ Megan affected a stage-school aloofness.

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