Friday, June 3, 2011

Pilot Reviews: Platinum Hit, Million Dollar Decorators

Platinum Hit (Mondays at 10:00 on Bravo)

I'm not particularly fond of singing competition shows, so I thought I might like this newest spin on the genre: songwriting. Platinum Hit follows the formula Bravo established so many years ago on Project Runway by pitting twelve songwriters against each other, writing music under ridiculous time constraints and then performing their finished products for the judges. The winner will receive a cash prize and a music publishing deal.

Let's start with what Bravo did right: Jewel. She is the perfect host for this type of frantic reality show, bringing a grounded quality and a sense of calm to the proceedings. While the contestants are writing, singing at the tops of their lungs, bickering and bitching, Jewel is poised and zen. It was such a relief to see such an earthy and unassuming host after a string of annoying and/or awkward judges on similar shows (see: everyone who has ever served on the panel of American Idol). The judging is also a highpoint of the show, as they do not hold anything back. It was refreshing to hear honest opinions; these judges weren't being mean just for the sake of being mean, they had reasons to back up their criticisms and everything sounded legit to me.

The problem with Platinum Hit is that it's just not all that interesting. It may be a new spin on the singing show, but it involves the most boring part of the process. Couple that with the fact that most of these contestants are not singers but are forced to sing their own songs anyway, and you've got two factors that just don't add up. Speaking of the contestants, no one is all that interesting. There's no Christian Siriano or Adam Lambert or Richard Blais, or any other memorable and immediately likeable reality contestant. They're all stereotypes (Angry Black Girl, Southern Blonde, Backup Singer Who Wants His Turn, etc), so it's no surprise that there's no one to latch onto by the time the premiere has ended.

When it's all said and done, Platinum Hit doesn't have much going for it. The singers aren't very talented (some of them are even pretty lousy songwriters), the process isn't very interesting, and the contestants are unappealing. It's a valiant effort on Bravo's part, but it just doesn't quite work.

Million Dollar Decorators (Tuesdays at 10:00 on Bravo)

Speaking of not working and unappealing personalities, Million Dollar Decorators may be the worst thing Bravo has put out in years. Now I love nearly everything Bravo does, even the shows that aren't the greatest but still manage to entertain (Top Design, Shear Genius, Pregnant in Heels, etc). But this is just crap.

Million Dollar Decorators follows a group of top-tier interior designers in Los Angeles as they flit from job to job, buying ridiculously overpriced furniture and accessories for tasteless celebrities and rich people. The premiere followed one of the most pompous, obnoxious, annoying, blood-boiling people I've ever seen on television named Martyn Lawrence Bullard as he designs an apartment for Sharon Osbourne in just three days. First of all, doesn't his name just make you want to puke? By the time the episode was finished, I was muting my TV everytime Martyn showed up; he's that over-the-top and annoying.

Then you have Jeffrey Alan Marks, who is redesigning a restaurant with the help of his protege (read: boytoy), boyfriend and former male model, Ross. At one point Jeffrey actually says, "Sometimes I think my job is harder than the President of the United States." And his boyfriend actually replies, "That goes without saying."

Mary McDonald is apparently the most fabulous fag hag in LA, according to her BFF Nathan Turner, who is probably the most down to earth and normal person on the entire show. Mary is redoing a few rooms for a former client, including a guest house in the backyard. She shows up to start the job and the client informs that she will not need the full extent of Mary's services because she and her husband are getting a divorce, so the house should now be redesigned in a way that will sell it. Mary is so upset... because she thinks of the house as "hers."

Finally we meet Kathryn Ireland, the comic relief of the show. She's a fabulous British woman with an even more fabulous French maid named Jacqueline. Her three goofball sons live with her, but don't listen to a single word she says. So most of her appearance in the premiere episode involves putting herself down for being a terrible mother, or serving wine to her maid while attempting to speak French. The episode ends with Kathryn throwing herself a birthday party to which the other designers are invited; it's pretty boring in terms of Bravo dinner parties, but she does get a nice moment to show off her enormous breasts.

All I could think the entire time I was watching this show was, "What freaking planet are these people from?" They can't possibly be real... and yet they are. It's fascinating and disgusting all at the same time that people can be so egotistical as these designers to think that they see their work as on the same level or higher as the President. And let me assure you that this comment was not made with a smirk or smile; it was stated as fact. And that's really all you need to know about this show. The people are ridiculous, and not even really in an entertaining way. They make the cast of Jersey Shore look normal.

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