Project Accessory – TV Review – Reality TV Gets Dumber

Posted by on November 10, 2011 at 2:22 pm

There’s really nothing we won’t put in front of a panel of judges, is there? In the latest reality TV dud, Lifetime does a copy-and-paste of long running fashion program Project Runway and brings us another show about fashion and drama. It’s called (drumroll, please)… Project Accessory!

I know what you’re wondering, and the answer is yes, the show is just as dumb as the name.

Read on for more.

In Project Accessory, contestants compete for cash and prizes by designing earrings, purses, belts and other accessories. The immediate question that comes to mind is, “Who cares?” After the first episode, the answer appears to be, “No one.”

Oh, they try to make you care. In the first 30 minutes, we’re reminded several times that accessories are relevant. They are the “biggest business in fashion worth billions of dollars a year,” they say. Well, sure. If you add up every item that a person might wear apart from clothing, you can create a big, impressive number. But that doesn’t mean you should make a show about it.

Project Accessory follows the Project Runway template right down to the speech that host and former model Molly Sims gives the contestants every week (“One of you will be out!”).

“Mail Order Magnate” Eva Jeanbart-Lorenzotti acts as mentor for the contestants, but she has no trace of the charm or insight of Tim Gunn. In the first episode, she didn’t seem to know what to say to the contestants other than canned mentorisms like, “Try to focus on your individuality.”

During the first episode, the contestants were challenged to make earrings and belts out of old junk like couches and chandeliers. If this sounds boring… it is. Unless you like watching Cutesy Craft Hour. They tried to mix things up – one contestant has a meltdown, another thinks her designs are the greatest. If you’ve ever seen a reality TV show, you’ve seen the same manufactured “drama.”

Judge Kenneth Cole just looks confused, as if he’s trying to figure out how he got roped into judging belts and earrings. And in the first episode, Ariel Foxman, editor of InStyle Magazine, says one of the sillier things you’ll hear on a low-budget, basic cable reality TV competition:

“When a woman puts on t-shirt and jeans, she wants to look sophisticated.”

She does? Seems to me that when most women grab for jeans and a t-shirt, they’re probably not going for sophistication, regardless of what accessories they might put on. At least that’s what the informal poll of my female friends turned up.

This is the problem with the show. They think they can just say things and that will make them true. They can remind us time and again that accessories are big business, but they still make for terribly dull reality TV. Because despite all the big names and big talk, this is a show where they put a belt on a model and then walk it down the runway. A belt.

What’s next? Top Garnish? Hey, Top Chef has food judging cornered, so how about we make a show where we just judge parsley and celery sticks?

It’s like a rejected SNL sketch grew legs, walked over to Lifetime and got its own show.

Over the last 9 seasons of Project Runway, accessories have cropped up every now and then, usually when Tim Gunn reminds the designers to use the “Accessory Wall.” If those 9 seasons have shown us anything, it’s that when it comes to accessories on TV, nobody really cares.

Project Accessory airs on Thursdays at 10pm/9c on Lifetime.

4/10 FleshEatingZipper

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