The Cut and Other Reality Shows
…As in apparent by my archive list, I love reality shows. Last night, I realized I'm beginning to enjoy The Cut even though I didn't think I would. I mean, what do I know about fashion? If I were to name my personal designer, it would be "Oscar de la Frumpa" since I live in baggy, comfortable clothes and sneakers…but I digress.
This show is about more than fashion. Tommy Hilfiger The Cut's version of Donald Trump, leads a herd of wannabe's through a succession of weekly challenges. Each episode, one more aspirant is eliminated, being told glibly to "take the runway" out the front door. The challenges are more than fashion. For the first week, the contestants (divided into the typical two teams) were required to design billboards depicting the Hilfiger line of clothing including its energy and verve. The next week, they fitted out a car with cool extras (like his name in lights in the back seat) designed specially for Fabulous. This week, they recreated The Cotton Club and Studio 54, complete with fixtures, actors, and ambience. These challenges require more than cloth and scissors.
What troubles me about this show and other reality shows is the black and white "winner" or "loser" mentality. For example, last night's "loser" was a creative fellow who put his all (which included specific knowledge of Studio 54) into offering ideas for his team to recreate the club. He did an excellent job on making the fixtures real, but somehow the entire team at work failed to produce the tingle. So he was shown the door (or for this program, the runway). The losers on reality shows are always sent away in shame.
That is what bothers me. If you're not the final winner, then you are made to look like a total loser, plastering that giant red "L" on your forehead. But none of these folks are losers; they just didn't make it to be the last one standing who takes home the prize. Heaven knows they were interviewed with thousands of others and made it to the final cut of a dozen or so.
I know! I know! Real life is like that with its slash and burn cruelty; but I think on TV, the perception is sculpted to intensify the program, and I'm troubled with the taste left in the viewer's mouth. I cringe when I accept it as "entertainment."