On most days, we take the air around us for granted. It’s there, and we breathe it. Some days it’s cleaner than others. Without it, life as we know it wouldn’t exist, but with it, we are what we are. So, what makes up the air around us?
Sometimes reinventing the wheel isn't necessary to make a good show. Copying a good idea and tweaking it a bit can be good enough. "The Face" (9 tonight, Oxygen) proves this; it freely admits to being a cross between "America's Next Top Model" and "The Voice" -- it even has ANTM judge Nigel Barker to host. And how did the producers tweak it to make it a little special? They hired Naomi Campbell.
The shows features 12 models who compete individually and on teams coached by models Campbell, Karolina Kurkova and Coca Rocha. (The show smartly skips showing the now cliched audition process in-depth; we just meet the 12 women after they are assigned teams and move into the house.)
The ultimate prize is a contract with ULTA, but there are prizes along the way. For instance, in the first episode, the girls have to go head-to-head in a styling contest, a kind of "who wore it best" thing. The winner gets a $5000 shopping spree to Top Shop. The team challenge on the episode is to come up with the last image for a story boarded concept for W magazine. The prize is that the image actually appears in W magazine.
"The Face" definitely feels more professional, more likely to produce an actual working model than ANTM. Besides having three active and successful models as mentors, the show features judges for some of the competitions that are among the best in the world of fashion, like photographer Patrick Demarchelier or legendary agent Bethann Hardison. And the feedback is precise and intelligent.
Yet, the best part might be getting to know Campbell, Kurkova and Rocha. Rocha, the youngest, sees herself as a rebel; she guides her girls to take challenges and try unusual poses, which doesn't really work out, at least in the first episode. Kurkova is more sweet and practical. And Campbell, well, we all know she's cray cray. Translation: The woman who might throw a phone at any minute doesn't appear in full during the first episode, but she gets so emotionally involved and competitive from the beginning that we know she'll appear. And we can't wait.
The contestants, too, are promising, with a good mix of stories and personalities that should make for good viewing. "The Face" deserves your facetime.
"Sex and the City" has added many things to the pop culture lexicon. Primary among those things is the notion that women travel in packs of four. And so we have "Girlfriend Confidential: LA" (11 p.m. tonight, Oxygen), a reality show about four women living and loving in the City of Angels.
Our Carrie is Eva Marcille, who reality show fans would recognize as an early winner of "America's Next Top Model." Her friends include actress Denyce Lawton (Samantha-ish in her sexual straight talk, but, she says, she only has sex within relationships), who appeared on "Tyler Perry's House of Payne," designer Nikki Chu (a no-nonsense professional like Miranda), and talent/brand manager Kelly Marie Dunn (prudish like Charlotte, though not anywhere as classy).
Since none of these women are well-known the thrust of the plot is showing how getting a taste of the high life makes one strive for more.
Somewhere a pop culture scholar is evaluating reality shows and the modern nature of loyalty. Or he should be.
That notion came to mind as I watched "Brooklyn 11223" (11 tonight, Oxygen), a docu-series about a group of Bay Ridge (and adjacent communities) 20 somethings with a kind of "West Side Story" twist.
The loyalty issue comes with that twist; our series begins by introducing us to Joey Lynn and Christie, once thisclose. Now the pair are at odds because Christie believes Joey Lynn slept with her boyfriend about three years ago which isn't a very loyal thing to do. Of course, Christie doesn't know this for certain, it's what she's heard. She's never discussed it with her former friend; in fact, Christie thinks the hard evidence is that while Joey Lynn has denied it, she hasn't denied it enough. Yep, it's stupid.
The best thing Aaron Spelling ever did might be not leaving his daughter Tori a bunch of money. With that act, he unleashed a lot of creativity and business savvy. The woman is now an author, reality TV star, clothing designer. And she's found multiple ways to use her name.
Her latest way is "Tori & Dean: sTORIbook Weddings" (Oxygen, 10 tonight), which showcases the new effort for the multi-tasking mother -- planning weddings.
Yes, Dean's there too, but it's pretty clear this is Tori's thing; he's being supportive and at this point, they are a brand. That's OK, the show is delightful.
Whether you watch "All About Aubrey" (Oxygen, 10 tonight) probably depends on whether you have any idea who she is. And I could understand why you don't.
Yet although it's a little racy for the teenage girls who probably know who she is and would want to watch, there are some teachable moments on the show that makes it a little more than just promotional.
Some brief background: Aubrey O'Day was part of Danity Kane, a group rapper/super producer Sean "Diddy" Combs put together on his MTV reality show "Making the Band." The group went on to score two hit albums before fracturing. O'Day was actually fired as the cameras rolled.
Russell Simmons is a character.
He's the man who co-founded Def Jam Records, and gave us the likes of Run-DMC, LL Cool J, and the Beastie Boys, among others. Then he diversified, launching a clothing line, moving into TV, even presenting a debit card.
He's a yogi who will curse you out in a second. He's a father of two girls who pursues much younger models with abandon. He's a major philanthropist, who's all about making money.
Characters can be great fodder for reality TV. But sadly "Running Russell Simmons" (Oxygen, 10 tonight) wasn't great.
In this era of branding, the profile of the stylist has risen considerably. Those are the folks who pick the clothes for fashion shoots, videos, appearances; they help establish the image that creates a lasting impression. Or at least the impression of the moment.
"The House of Glam" (Oxygen, 11 tonight; moving to Tuesdays at 10 next week, and then Wednesdays at 9, starting Nov. 3 -- I know, that's crazy) chronicles the adventures of the stylists of the B Lynn Group, an image agency that works with big name celebrities. In the first episode, everyone from P. Diddy to Rihanna to Kate Moss to Will Smith is name-dropped.
Naturally, because this is a reality show (Oh, I mean docu-series), there's drama amid all the fashion, but apropos of the atmosphere is seems to be mostly diva snits over artistic vision and compromise, and basic cattiness. It's a fashion show -- you know there has to be a lot of attitude living in this house.
Journalism has taken me many interesting places and so it was 15 years ago in Los Angeles that I ended up at my first hair battle.
Back then, it was a fringe movement, a kind of traveling road show featuring hair of any hue coming down the runway set to music.
It was wild and fun but the creations were still recognizably hair styles.
Not anymore. The fantasy hair design world, as it's now called, is all about creation. These are artistes. The point is to tell a story on the head, through hair.
That's the premise that fuels the cheeky "Hair Battle Spectacular" (Oxygen, 10 tonight), a competition show that brings 10 stylists together and pits them in a series of battles to win $100,000.
I guess we should blame "The Sopranos" for all the love New Jersey is getting these days. MTV's "Jersey Shore," Style Network's "Jerseylicious" and Bravo's "Real Housewives of New Jersey" all feature the Garden State.
Or at least the part that features boisterous Italians, tans, big hair and plenty of cleavage.
The latest entry is "Jersey Couture" (Oxygen, 10 tonight), which also features an Italian family, big hair and plenty of cleavage. But I'd say this show has more heart than the others. These people are not embarrassing.