Wear and tear12/26/2012
Joan Rivers rips into 2012’s celebrity style in ‘Fashion Police’
Joan Rivers weighs in with a year-end fashion roundup on “Fashion Police” (Friday, 9 p.m., E!). Along with Giuliana Rancic, Kelly Osbourne and George Kotsiopoulos, Rivers will call out the best and worst of celebrity frocks, naming the “Fash-Hole” who’s committed the most egregious crimes against couture.
The word “Fash-Hole” only begins to suggest Rivers’ raunchy approach to this subject. Now pushing 80, she can still elicit gasps with her foul-mouthed jokes. But her genius — and no, that’s not too strong a word for this pioneering female comedian — is that she can also elicit laughs while making you deeply uncomfortable. It would require a Ph.D. dissertation to explain exactly how she pulls this off, but I think it involves the fact that she’s as hard on herself as she is on her victims. Plus, Rivers is just plain witty — much more so than most of the mean-spirited women comics who’ve followed in her wake.
Goaded by Rivers, the panelists help make “Fashion Police” one of the most transgressive shows on TV. “We’re all going to hell,” Rancic told her colleagues on one broadcast, following a particularly nasty bit. “You know that.”
They probably are going to hell. And I, for one, can’t wait to hear what they think of the clothes down there.
Thursday, 9 p.m. (truTV)
I reluctantly gave this prank show a thumbs-up when it premiered last year, despite its lowbrow concept. I wanted to be the mature TV critic and look down my nose at it, but I was laughing too hard.
The idea is that four friends compete to embarrass each other in public situations. For example, one of them is installed as a receptionist at a business, and the others give him instructions (through an earpiece) on acting weird around the people who come through the door.
There’s a fair amount of cruelty involved, but the friends direct it at themselves, not at innocent bystanders. And they have so much fun humiliating each other — and being humiliated — that it’s hard not to have fun watching them.
Look at me, trying to sound like the mature TV critic with my justifications for “Impractical Jokers.” The bottom line is: The show is indefensible and irresistible.
Sunday, 7 p.m. (Food Network)
In this reality competition, cake designers and sugar artists team with professionals from other fields (i.e. animatronics experts, sand sculptors) to create dessert-oriented food art. I like the idea, but not the execution, as the producers themselves seem to be on a crazy sugar high. Lights flash incessantly, deafening music drowns out the contestants, sound effects bleep and boom, the host yells, a robotic voice issues commands and the hyperactive camera creates whiplash effects. Might I suggest that the show’s concept — people making pretty-looking sweets — deserved a simpler treatment?
For me the program has done what countless diets have failed to do — put me off sugar.
‘Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest’
Monday, 9 p.m. (ABC)
ABC gallantly keeps Dick Clark’s name in the title of its annual New Year’s Eve special, even though Clark died last April. On top of that, the network precedes the show with a two-hour special celebrating the DJ/host/producer. In a business not known for its humanity, I’m touched to see evidence of a heart on broadcast TV. Let’s raise a glass of champagne to ABC and to Dick.
As for the New Year’s Eve program: To watch or not to watch? Over time, I’ve noticed that this show can set the tone for the year to come. I’ve often tuned in at midnight only to find some awful third-tier act on stage, ruining my night. Then, for some reason (hey, I’m not a scientist), January through March tends to suck as well. Luckily this year’s broadcast goes first-tier with a performance by the irresistible Taylor Swift.
I’m already getting a good feeling about 2013. CV