Shows My Girlfriend Makes Me Watch is a series of Internet articles in which Internet author Joe Oliveto writes Internet comedy about Television shows which, because they feature neither robots nor dinosaurs (nor robot-dinosaurs, for that matter), he normally wouldn’t watch. However, because he has a girlfriend, he does occasionally have to watch programs that really can’t be described as “ball-shaking” or “cock-hardening” or “robot-dinosaur featuring.” As such, he's chosen to take the confusion he has when watching these shows and turn it into Internet humor. Enjoy, Internet people.
This week’s show: What Not to Wear.
As far as this column is concerned, this show is something of an aberration. Usually, I review programs which aren’t exactly targeted at my demographic. Sex and the City is aimed at young women, Dance Moms attracts a female audience, and Gossip Girl is stupid. However, What Not to Wear actually has something to offer me, since I have about as much fashion sense as Mark Zuckerberg, without his billions of dollars to make up for it.
So, while the show primarily focuses on giving women a new wardrobe, I suppose that there is something I could learn from What Not to Wear. This shall mark both the first and last time that anyone has ever actually learned something from The Learning Channel.
Basically, the premise of the show is as follows: friends and family of poorly-dressed people nominate them, without their knowledge, so that they may appear on the program. If the people in charge think they’d make for a good episode, they follow them with hidden cameras for a few weeks, before surprising them, usually in a very public place, wherein they inform them that they dress like a shithead. They then proceed to whisk them away to New York and throw out literally ALL of their clothes so they can replace them with new items.
Yes, you read that correctly. This is a show in which creepy stalkers who kidnap unsuspecting people and destroy all their clothes are the good guys.
Let’s meet them.
Clinton Kelly: The male member of the duo that guides participants through the process of developing a new style, Clinton is tasked with the challenge of coming off as a kind and thoughtful guy while also telling people that they dress worse than a blind farmer. Shockingly, he seems to pull it off.
Stacy London: The Catwoman to Clinton’s Batman, Stacy actually bears very little resemblance to Catwoman and has therefore proven that I am way too excited about The Dark Knight Rises to even make decent analogies. Either way, like Clinton, her job is to be a decent human being while implicitly mocking the fashion sense of those who appear on the show. Together, Clinton and Stacy are like the mean high school seniors who tell you how awful your clothes are, then justify it by saying they are just trying to help you out.
Somehow, it actually works.
Ted Gibson: For the makeover half of the show, Ted Gibson’s role is to listen to people explain how attached they are to their current hairstyle, then ignore what they want and do whatever the fuck he wants. Luckily, he’s talented, otherwise his job would be kind of shitty.
Carmindy: Makeup artist/person who thinks she can go by one name. We’re not buying it.
One of the core themes of What Not to Wear is self-discovery. Clinton and Stacy, beneath their “holier-than-thou” approach to actual fashion, seem to truly want the people appearing on this show to develop a healthy sense of self-confidence, coupled with a strong sense of personal identity. They don’t want to make people dress well. They want people to realize that they can dress well.
Another, more subtle theme of the show is “Ew, but seriously, you’re a grown-up. Why are you dressed like Carrie White mixed with Carrot Top?”
In conclusion, never ever start a sentence with the words “In conclusion.” Seriously, that’s one of the first things a teacher should tell you about writing. But whatever, I ain’t going back to change shit, so you can just sit there and deal with my lame segue.
Anyway, moving on. What Not to Wear ultimately reminds viewers that in a society where our basic needs are taken care of, we need to address new social problems. Hunger and poverty are all issues, but once they’re taken care of, seriously, stop wearing sweatpants. What are we, barbarians?
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