Au Courant (Television Thoughts: Season 17, Project Runway, Bravo)

50511835_243656843219534_2297266029219986432_nI have been watching Project Runway off and on since 2004 when it first started, and I was one of those people who thought that the show deteriorated when it moved to Lifetime. Still, I continue to be a fan of it, although there have been seasons that really frustrated me. But now, the show has moved back to Bravo, and it is new and ‘improved,’ and this show is quite different. Of course, Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn are no longer here (they have an upcoming show at Amazon) and the judges are all new, except for Nina Garcia who is the only one returning, so….

Well, I have to say that the show still interests me, though they are skewing the show more for the ‘new’ generation. The focus now is for the contestants and their ‘branding,’ and perhaps not on fashion for fashion’s sake. There’s more concern for appeal and sales, as opposed to creativity. Call me crazy, but I like fashion most when it’s sometimes impractical, and I know I am not alone in this. Karlie Kloss is now the host, which I guess is a less seasoned version of Heidi, and on the first couple of episodes she has nto made an impression on me just yet. I had higher hopes for Christian Siriano, but he seems to be more tempered here (he got rid of his asymmetrical haircut) and where is the sass that he was kind of known for? And the judges also have not impressed me just yet – Brandon Maxwell is barely there, and Elaine Welteroth seems more Instagram than haute couture.

But the contestants are the heart and soul of this show, for sure, and they are delivering. Kovad made me cry when he bonded with the trans model, as they spoke about their mutual oppression. The show is always best when it ventures into the human elements, and for now that is what will carry this show in its transition

Down Below (Television Thoughts: Below Deck Season Five, Bravo)

dimsI have just watched all episodes of Season Five of Below Deck, and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed this season. There was a time when I watched this show religiously, and I have a skipped a season or two, but it still feels right for me – I like the aspirational quality of watching charter after charter, and at the same time the drama of the deck crew always sucks me in. That said, I think there is a lot more ‘manufactured’ drama now than before – situations are set up much too obviously now, but at the same time there’s fun in the familiarity, and it is kind of fun to see these people fall in the ‘traps.’

Captain Lee is still affably difficult. I don’t know if he is my favorite person in the world, but I have accepted how he is by now. Kate Chastain, I feel the same way. She is petty and bitchy, but thoroughly enjoyable to watch. In here, sometimes I cringe when she is mean to Jen, but Jen totally deserves it most times. Nico brings a whole lot of drama this season – he is brooding because he is dealing with the sudden death of his brother, but he is human enough to break up temporarily with his girlfriend as he embarks on a fling with Brianna, one of the stews. The chef Matt doesn’t have much of a personality, and it even showed in the food he prepared. And they probably thought they would get drama with Bruno, the deckhand from Portugal, but his Instagram feed now is more entertaining than anything he did this season. But all in all, the show was much fun to watch, and I am not even that shameful about it being a guilty pleasure.

Americans Abroad (Television Thoughts, Tour Group, Bravo)

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The idea seems like a cliché that you wonder how it has not been done before. But imagine ‘The Real World’ and mix it up with a travel show and you have got ‘Tour Group,” Bravo’s newest docu-series (read: reality show)  It took me a while to start watching this, but I got pulled in tonight, and, well I liked it – a lot. I think this is because of the always-wanderlust in me. The show mixes eleven people and three tour guides as they travel to exotic locations in the world. The first episodes start in Marrakesh, Morocco, and of course we get the perfunctory comment “This just looks like the second movie of Sex And The City.” Of course, that comment comes from Heather and Amy, two high maintenance girls from Las Vegas. They are BFFs, and it looks like their relationship[ is going to get strained as they travel. There’s Jeff and Jetta, an interracial couple from Chicago – he has just recovered from a scooter accident and is fragile. She is a sassy black girl, and her attitude will be entertaining, for sure.  They are setting up a love triangle with Jarred and a twin set of Misty and Jenna (boring) and then there’s combative ex-model Michele. Luckily, they are skimping on the drama for now, and focusing more on the tour. The soukh in Marrakesh was a site to behold, and I openly wept with them as they visited Rwanda and saw gorillas. But this is Bravo, and I can feel the drama coming.

Beverly Bitches (Television Thoughts: The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills, Season Six, So Far…)

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I started late with the sixth season of Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills. Since I took out my cable, I have been hoarding my episodes and last weekend, I went ahead and binge-watched the rest of the sixth season. My thoughts, thus far.

– Yolanda and her Lyme disease. What do I think ? I think she is sick, but it looks like not as sick as she says. But what do I know? I will only go by what everyone else has said, that there re mixed signals, and she seems to be really enjoying the attention. But my last thought, based on her reaction at Erika’s barbecue is: why is she so mad? She is the one who is telling people that her kids are sick, she put it out there, and if there is chatter, then she only has to blame for that. And again why the rage? I gotta admit, though, that I kind of laughed when at lunch with Kyle and LVP, she brought her kids’ medical records. It was just so over-the-top.

  • I was loving Erika, I really was, until the time when she lied to the girls that she was the one who told Yolanda about people talking about her kids. I mean, I get it = she was still reeling from her “high” from her performance at Rich’s. but…. And incidentally, I loved how they made it look like Rich’s is a major venue, when it is sort of a rinky dink gay club in San Diego. i mean, it’s nice and all, but…kinda common, in gay relevance. I am loving, though, she has all these twinky gays who follow her all around.
  • Rinna and Eileen  – Both are trying to earn their keep at stirring the pot. I thought Eileen was a little better than that, and I do think both of them are close to anorexic-looking.
  • Kathryn – I kind of like her, and she looks like a TJ Maxx version of Kim Basinger. And I like the fact that she hates The Morally Corrupt Faye Resnick. But boo to Faye for not fighting back – she has learned to not play to the camera, and on an entertainment level, that’s saddening.
  • LVP – she basically has no storyline thsi year, except for a pony purchase here and there. And Kyle, too, as much as she wants to drag her sister into her storyline as he cries crocodile tears.
  • And it’s so refreshing that Brandi is gone, although I think she is popping up at some point after…

Space Oddity (Television Thoughts: Odd Mom Out, Mondays on Bravo)

I always say that Bravo is my favorite 322_5ae35cd5eb76383d0f0703157a16e2efnetwork – my go-to channel when I don’t know what to watch, and I lap up everything it spits out – Housewives, Top Chef, etc. Lately they have ventured into scripted series, and while I was not in love with “The Girlfriend’s Guide To Divorce,” I haven’t deleted unwatched episodes from DVR just yet. I don’t know if I will do the same thing with “Odd Mom Out.” I just thoroughly dislike Jill Kargman – her schtick, her comedy, her writing. I even dislike her look. And she is front and centre here, so there really is no escaping her. I mean, I get the premise – a kind of fish-out-of-water thing with her and the upper crust Upper East Side moms, but she just crafted a character so unlikeable that it seems no different from the demographic she is skewering. For example, she disdains these women, yet does the same things they are guilty of. She spends an entire episode obsessing as to what exclusive kindergarten school her twins have been accepted to, but isn’t this the same kind of behavior these Momzillas would commit?  I can’t help but get annoyed by her character, and I don’t know if I can get over it. Perhaps I will watch an episode more, but as of right now, the show is on my delete list.

Running In Charleston (Television Thoughts: Southern Charm Season Two, Mondays on Bravo)

I liked the first season of Southern Charm, I have to admit. Seeing these entitled Southerners act stupid was entertaining. I mean, they’re rich but dumb so it levels the field, right? And here they are now, back. I just watched the first four episodes (they’ve been sitting on my DVR)  and I have to say that the show is more entertaining than ever. I mean, Thomas Ravenal is running for Senate (against Lindsay Graham!) I mean, who would even a think Ravenel, who been in jail, and impregnated a twenty one year old young woman, has a chance on winning on this very conservative red state? (Although, I myself would voe for him against the execrable Graham) Also, why senator? Couldn’t he aim a little lower (Councilor, perhaps?) But here we are, and we see him campaigning, and of course there’s drama: Kathryn feels left out in campaign decisions, and their friend Whitney is producing funny-yet-inappropriate television commercials. I get the sense that Ravenel is not taking this too seriously, like he is doing it for the benefit of the reality show. But whatever, the storyline is immensely watchable. It was laughable that he has fundraisers and you can see just dozens of people attending – probably just fans of the reality show. And Kathryn’s sense of entitlement is hilariously infuriating, without any sense of irony at all. Elsewhere, Craig has been partying too much and there’s a new young woman Landon, who moves to a houseboat after a divorce. Theya dd some little accents but really, the thing to see here is Ravenel, and it makes for compelling (reality) television. Bravo got me hooked yet again.