Sunday, November 9, 2014

Something Fishy About "The Fund"?

I know reality tv is as real as, well, imitation crab. Not to be crabby about it, but how gullible do they think we are? "The Fashion Fund" has begun its second season on Ovation, and we already know the winner. That was announced at the CFDA's annual award presentation the day before the series' premiere episode.

In it's purest form, how much fun is it to watch a contest when you already know the winner? This is why my son strips black masking tape across the bottom of the television so he won't see results of football games he has yet to watch. Makes sense to me, and masking tape doesn't really hurt the screen.

Of course, all reality tv has elements of the surreal. Contestants on "Survivor" talk to the camera "in confidence" that they know will be revealed to all once the show airs. Some of them are unhinged enough to let everything fly anyways. That makes for good television and is why nice, normal people make up a very small number of players.

Contestants on "The Amazing Race" share the challenges with an unseen camera person, in the car with them as well as slogging across the Alps. I once unexpectedly glimpsed a cameraman in an episode and was quite taken aback— for a second.

"The Fashion Fund" dispenses with reality in a grander fashion. We are asked to believe that the ten finalists haven't a clue why there are camera crews in their offices the day the CFDA is due to give them good or bad news. What a surprise— they were all accepted! To tell the truth, I would have liked to see someone get bad news. That makes for good television.

And how do these ten contestants get picked out of the hundreds that must apply? It only ever looks like ten are in contention. Methinks they were chosen; then the producers back-tracked, following them to their homes, studios or offices. At least on Project Runway Tim Gunn visits the last few finalists before the penultimate runway show and not sooner.

One of the judges on "The Fashion Fund" is Diane von Furstenburg, a powerhouse of a designer and a personal favorite. Diane has her own reality series running concurrently on E. Alas, I smell some shenanigans on this one too, beyond questioning why do it all. The first episode had a group of young women (competing to become a DVF "brand ambassador"), let loose in her boutique, trying on accessories, twisting turbans into scarves and generally making a mess of things. They were, however, so self-consciously doing this, I could almost hear the off-set prompt to "mess it up more, girls!"

Only one real brand ambassador here...

I know who won The CFDA Fashion Fund Award, but I won't spoil the surprise for you. 

Judges with three of the CFDA finalists

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