had the misfortune last night of being tired and irritable and trapped on the couch with no mind nor motivation to do anything but watch TV. i chose a time slot with a super black hole of quality programming and resigned myself to watching off the rails. well did that pep me up. or rile me up should i say. so much venom to direct at it, i don’t know where to start. could it be the speed-dating editing which compressed all topics into a kaleidoscope of garish images, rendered absolutely meaningless? is it the derivative, gok-wan style presenting (why, oh why, would anyone look to gok-wan as inspiration? isn’t he now relegated to z-list makeover magazines? the game is up gok) is it the trite and sycophantic hosts preening over the unfortunate souls who look to this programme to transform their life via make up and tailoring? this oprah-style assault on the superficial as a cure to all modern ails is difficult enough to stomach with the nauseating, ‘go getting’ attitude of the yanks, but when it is appropriated for a cheap, rushed, irish rip-off, the results are positively bile-inducing. the episode last night is a case in point – a downtrodden mother from tipperary was looking for a bit of vim and pep and by god off the rails were going to give it to her. in the pedantic, formulaic introduction where they waltz through her wardrobe, forcing her to deride everything she owns as grotesque and hideous etcetc, she happened to mention that she would like to burn everything. it was just a throwaway statement, a naturalised phrase in the irish vernacular – but the producers latched on to this as having some sort of epic mise-en-scene potential. cue literal burning of clothes. the stage is set – a random washing line is assembled in some council estate (the only place to light a fire without too much cause for questioning); some rags are strung out, the presenter whips out some sort of fire hose and sets the clothes alight. a fairly unimpressive set of flames lick the clothes for a few seconds before a fire ambulance puts out the fire. A FIRE AMBULANCE. in the middle of the greatest recession of all time, when front-liners are going on strike for fear of cuts, when taxes are gobbling the nations coffers, off the rails manages to elicit the fire service to keep control of a mock, ceremonial, wardrobe burning session. the shame. the shame. this coupled with outrageously obvious styling tips (ladies, take note – high heels make your legs look longer*) and outrageously bad styling tips (too tight, too short dress on curvaceous lady = no no right? see also matching dress, tights and shoes in bold block colours on a short lady. what???) outrageously pointless chummy chats with hairdressers, make-up artists, and the miscellaneous crew that make up the irish style world….very unflattering styling, quick and uninformative interviews with rich irish women about their shopping habits…and what are you left with? half an hour of fashion drivel that does absolutely nothing for our fashion credentials. the previous series was infinitely better natch, but even that limped along in a haze of ‘irish celebrities’ propping up a sinking ship by offering intimate tips on how to find the perfect hat for the races and re-creating that ‘marbella glow’ at home. why isn’t there a clever, directional, tightly edited fashion programme?

*actual quote from programme: “Heels are essential in making people look longer and ultimately slimmer”.  i say that to myself in the mirror three times every morning.

would you take style tips off this man?

would you take style tips off this man?

not a very flattering look

is this fashion forward?

more styling, less smiling (inanely)

more styling, less smiling (inanely)

rich irish women smiling inanely

rich irish women smiling inanely

unparalleled production values

unparalleled production values

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