Friday, February 17, 2012

This Revolution is NOT all about me

I am devoting some time today to the new ABC show, The Revolution. Tagline: The Revolution, It's all about you.

left to right: Dr. Jennifer Ashton, Tim Gunn, Ty PenningtonDr. Tiffanie Davis Henry, Harley Pasternak

I loved the concept of this show, and I wanted to love this show, after all, it stars Tim Gunn!

Unfortunately, this Revolution isn't all about me, and isn't for me.

I watched every day for 4 1/2 weeks, and watched my last episode on Wednesday, February 15. Over time, I found myself fast forwarding through more and more content, and here's why:

The Revolution is infotainment, I get that. However...

Despite the fact that ABC chooses to bill Ty Pennington as the star of this show (I'm guessing because they believe he is the best known, coming from ABC's own Extreme Makeover Home Edition - nepotism, much?), I am going to start with the BEST part of The Revolution, Tim Gunn. Who in my opinion is also the best known of the 5 hosts. After all, Project Runway has a huge following, ABC.

I love his segments, enthusiasm, and tips (despite the corny name they have given his "Timterventions" - cringe). Tim is the feel-good part of this show, and as I said, the best part of the show, in my opinion. Of course, I may be a little biased with my Tim-love, but this is how I see it. That being said, I have my bones to pick with Tim, too.

For example, Tim occasionally references certain wardrobe items he considers essential to every woman, and even devoted an entire segment to this recently. But Tim's closet essentials just don't match my lifestyle, and I can't be the only woman in America for whom this is true.

One of Tim's closet essentials: the little black dress. Per Tim: "every woman must have one," "a staple in every woman's wardrobe."

At least, in the recent segment devoted to the little black dress, when he showed his pick - which was a sleeveless black mid-thigh length dress - he clarified that his pick was universally flattering to MOST women. This dress was too short for me, and I would never, ever wear a sleeveless dress. I'll say it: I do NOT have the legs or arms for a sleeveless, above-the-knee dress.That said, in general, I liked the way Tim styled this particular dress, though I didn't care for the red velvet jacket with it (I don't like blazers/jackets period, and these are yet another of Tim's top closet staples). But to speak to Tim's larger point, that every woman simply must have a little black dress, I say not true. Not every woman is a 20- or 30-something, club-hopping, cocktail-party goer. And I have the ability, with items currently in my own closet, to dress up a pair of black pants for almost any occasion that a little black dress would cover!

I used to have a job that required far less than casual dress everyday, and I usually wore dresses with heels. When I left the corporate world 5 years ago I sold or donated every dress and skirt, and almost every pair of dress pants, I owned, and have never looked back. Jeans and khakis are so much more comfortable, not to mention more practical, for my current occupation. I don't have occasion to attend any functions where I can't wear pants, and don't ever plan to go back to dresses. I still have a lot of my heels (I love heels!) but haven't worn them in 5 years, either. I feel like I must wear heels if I wear dresses or skirts, but they are so bad for my neck, my back, and my plantar fasciitis.

And speaking of my neck: I quit carrying a handbag 5 years ago, too. And no, Tim, I don't wear a fanny pack! I keep my cell phone and a credit card, and a little cash, in one pocket, and my car key in the other. And I carry my iPad. And that's it. The makeup I start the day with is what I end the day with. I don't carry tissues, makeup, rings of keys, and whatever else women claim to need a purse for. (That craziness that Dr. Jen displayed in her 10-lb handbag was ridiculous!)

So - Tim's top 3 closet essentials (from his list of 10) are: 1) Little Black Dress 2) Classic Blazer 3) Classic Button-down White Shirt. I am not ashamed to say, I have none of this in my closet. Forgive me, Tim! Hell, for that matter, I don't think I have any of the rest of his top 10. Let's see: 4) Trench coat - well, yes - I have one. 5) Classic Dress Pants - oooh - I have 2 of the essentials! 6) Skirt - nope. 7) Day dress - nope. 8) Cashmere sweater - nope. Furthermore, I'm allergic to wool, and isn't cashmere wool? 9) Jeans - check, and check! 10) alternative to sweats - nope, again - but I have sweats! I know that doesn't count. I need a Timtervention.

And to mention just one more of Tim's segments - the "muffin top makeover". I enjoyed this segment, and thought his restyling of the brave women from the audience was wonderful, except for one thing. None of those women would have looked nearly so wonderful if they had simply sat down while modeling their new styles - their muffin tops would have been on full display. Show us these wardrobe makeovers in both a standing and seated position (lots of us spent the majority of the workday - not to mention dates, where we are seated at restaurants, movies, etc - seated) and you'll win me over!

My favorite part of The Revolution? Tim's honest self-revelations - about his last relationship, his inability to use a treadmill (overcome!) - or whatever...he is unflinchingly open and honest. And endearing.

So, I love Tim, but respectfully disagree with him on some topics. Which is as it should be - I just wish he didn't so often speak in sweeping generalities (though as I mentioned, he does sometimes modify his generalizations). But I never fast-forward through Tim!

I like Harley's segments, but he needs to quit letting Ty trivialize his exercise demos. I can't really take Harley seriously when Ty is dropping chairs on his own face, and making sexual innuendo about chest exercises. More about this later. But suffice to say, I have started fast-forwarding through much of Harley's stuff just because Ty is so annoying.

On to Dr. Jen. As a physician myself, I personally don't get anything from Dr. Jen's segments, though in general she does an excellent job making medical information accessible to the lay person. As a viewer, I have to say that find Dr. Jen's white coat off-putting and pretentious. They don't make Ty wear a tool belt, or Harley wear workout gear, or Tim drape a tape measure around his neck. We know Jen's a doctor; dispense with the prop. Hopefully, Dr. Jen's coat isn't used to distinguish her from Dr. Tiffanie, who isn't a "real doctor". And don't get me started on how silly it is to address a professional by their first name, with "Doctor" in front of it. It feels like Romper Room, like a first grader addressing their teacher as "Miss Anne". An honorific goes with the last name, not the first name. Listening to Tim and Harley call these women "Dr. Jen" and "Dr. Tiffanie" is infantalizing. It seems OK for Ty, though. LOL, not really. Stop it. Fast-forward factor for the Dr. Jen segments? 100%.

Dr. Tifannie is OK, and I like her segments in general, but I just find her a little too touchy-feely. For instance, I was really put off by her tears during the plane crash survivor's final reveal. She was moved, I get it. But the line was blurred for me; is she the objective therapist, or the new best friend? I expect health care professionals to be a little more dispassionate, and I felt no therapist would be openly weeping upon hearing that "journey". Even Dr. Jen was getting a little teary, which obviously bothered me, too. Especially since both women had known this woman for months, and heard the story over and over - so the tears just didn't seem authentic from any standpoint. Fast-forward factor - about 50%, depending on the topic.

So, just as Tim is the best part of The Revolution, there is a worst part, and that brings me to Ty.

Ty is inappropriate, an immature doofus, the class clown, with his constant attention-seeking behavior. He's Like everybody's skeevy uncle nightmare, wearing last decade's soul patch. Always quick with the quips, which are usually sexist or full of sexual innuendo/double entendres.

As I said earlier, ABC fronts Ty as the star of The Revolution: he is front and center in the promo pics and on their website, and he leads off the show: After just 1 week of watching, I started playing a little game with myself and my DVR when watching the show, trying to see if I could fast forward completely through Ty's opening screech "Welcome to The Revvvvolution!!" (picture him screeching that in his best "Goooood Morrrrrrrrrrrning, Hapless Fammmily!!!" voice.)

Almost 5 weeks into watching, and I'm still not sure why he is on this show. He just doesn't mesh with the rest of the format.

Ty has occasional little design segments, and home improvement segments. I literally cringed when he revealed the makeover of the sisters' living room in week one with that hideous tree, with photos slapped on it.

And then there was the segment on your home's front door - he discussed re-painting your door, and hanging a decoration, like a door knocker or wreath, on it, and then leered at the poor woman whose door he was making over: "Who doesn't love Big knockers?" She giggled, nervously.

But his worst offense is the mockery he makes of Harley's nutrition and exercise segments. During one episode, Harley was explaining how to use a wooden chair from your home as resistance for certain exercises, while Ty demonstrated. During the last exercise, a crunch with bent knees, Ty placed wooden chair on his legs after specifically being told not to by Harley. Gravity kicked in, and the chair promptly fell on Ty's face, as the camera quickly cut away. I wish I had a screencap! And this is not a lone example - Ty routinely uses poor form when demonstrating Harley's exercises, and is never, ever corrected. So if you don't know much about exercising, you may not get that Ty is screwing up, and you may be learning incorrect and/or unsafe ways to exercise.

During nutrition and health eating segments? They'll have an entire plate of cookies out as a prop, and Ty will just shovel cookies into his face while Harley and Dr. Jen discuss how high in fat and calories the cookies are.

And here is a tidbit from Monday, February 13's episode, where Dr. Jen was discussing how to get the most, hormonally, from a hug:

Dr. Jen: a hug should last 20 seconds
Tim: 20 seconds? That's a lifetime! A hug is about getting in and getting out.
Ty: that's a whole different kinda love. [Smirk]

Fast-forward factor for Ty? 100%. I think I could actually benefit from his home improvement segments, but I can't put up with him long enough to watch them.
So - I bid farewell to The Revolution. And cross my fingers that Tim will return for the next season of Project Runway (and you, too, Heidi!) We sure miss him on Project Runway AllStars!


dreaminofbeads / SAS Jewelry Designs said...

OMG! I can't believe that I feel almost exactly the same way you do about this show! I have watched about 5 or 6 episodes and almost since the first one I was fast fowarding just to see Tim! Someone out there in TV land needs to do a Tim Gunn show and make sure that he is back on Project Runway!

Sweet Freedom said...


Sweet Freedom said...

The Revolution is, not surprisingly, getting bad ratings.