Take My Wives, Please
by James Tuttle
I thought I’d venture back into treacherous HGTV territory this week to share my experience of the new series HGTV’d. You see, hunky handyman Carter Oosterhouse was the featured designer this time around and there was a high probability that he might take his shirt off because that’s an important part of any television handyman’s job description.
The show was moving along in typical HGTV style with the cheesy host, overexcited homeowners, and questionable design aesthetic. I was able to keep it together because there was still, you know, Carter at the end of the tunnel. Then, at the six-minute mark and very first commercial break, the perky host asked, “Can Carter live up to the homeowners’ expectations?” This was immediately followed by a preview clip of the lady of the house screaming, “Oh my GOD! I LOVE it!” as she walks into the newly designed room. Really? I give up now. Where is the suspense? Where is the drama? What’s the point of waiting around for another twenty-four minutes to see what they’ve already shown us? We could be developing vaccines for rare diseases or watching porn or doing the many other things one does when not watching stupid home design shows. I didn’t even stick around to see if Carter took his fucking shirt off.
So, the obvious second choice would be a show about polygamist Mormons, right? I’m not a regular viewer of TLC’s Sister Wives, but Killough raved about it so much last season that I thought I’d give it a shot. Kody Brown and his four wives appear to have relocated to Las Vegas for the third season, which entails each wife now living in a different house. Some of the wives enjoy the one-on-one attention they get when the husband is at their pad and others seem lonelier with the new arrangement but that might be a side effect of living in under-furnished, stiflingly beige surroundings. They’re already dowdy, overweight and Mormon, for Christ’s sake! Now they have to live in Las Vegas in beige tract homes with blond wood kitchen cabinets and paper plates. That last detail alone would make a bitch crazy. Well, it would make me crazy.
The first episode reveals a complicated world where the idea of who is pregnant first and most recently establishes some kind of pecking order amongst the wives and offspring that is a bit creepy. Then they have their own church service because there are no other Mormon congregations in Las Vegas, I guess, but a few of the sixteen kids don’t want to come because they think it’s messed up that they’re filming their pretend church ceremony. They’re very honest and very human and loving people, though, and it’s hard not to root for them to make it all work.
By the end of the episode, I wasn’t totally on board with one guy having a bunch of wives but there are a lot of people out there who aren’t exactly comfortable with two guys getting married so we might be in the same matrimonial boat. Maybe we should just let people do what they want, as long as it isn’t hurting anyone else, and call it a damn day.
Just so you don’t think I’m always sitting around watching TV whenever I’m not on a horse, I put on a jacket and ventured out to David LaChapelle’s Tuesday night opening at L.A.’s Prism gallery at the behest of my crazy cohort D.J. Martinez. We had a very strong drink at the lovely Eveleigh next door and then ventured over into a virtual sea of D.J.’s fabulous friends and other fashion-savvy types. I know the dollar bill negative photos were supposed to be the big bang but I totally fell in love with another series from 2006-7 displayed alongside. These “Recollections in America” photos featured some down-home types (and planted models) indulging in alcohol and firearms in wonderfully twisted ways.
But now on to The Jazz Age and Midcentury Modern, two very strong and somewhat conflicting points of reference at the women’s collections shown in Milan this last week. Gucci opened Milan Fashion Week with a dark, glamorous explosion of hard-edged Art Deco-inspired flapper dresses and masculine suit separates that is my favorite collection so far this year. The black/white/gold pieces will get the most mileage in editorials and red carpets but the green was a daring and much needed accent.
The Twenties vibe continued at Etro with drop-waist dresses and tantalizing cutouts but it was the amazing Deco-inspired adaptation of the traditional paisleys that really killed. Color palettes of pastels and tangerine balanced out the black and white combinations beautifully and the introduction of a 1920s Nile green made my heart sing a little. Silent star Clara Bow would have loved it, too.
Close to this inspiration was the line that Antonio Marras did based on Jean Genet’s play “The Maids” in which two depraved 1930s domestics dress up in their mistresses’ clothes before finally murdering them. Fun, right?
On the Midcentury side was the 1950s inspiration for Sunday’s Dolce and Gabbana show that included lots of big, crazy prints of vegetables and things. It was definitely fun and upbeat but it was also a little silly and I hope people don’t suddenly think it’s a good idea to run around in a dress covered with pictures of huge red peppers.
Also bringing a 50s feel was Prada’s line of prints and pleats and boxy jackets that took a while to warm up to, except for a flight of pleated color-block dresses with which I instantly fell in love. When I realized that the collection was inspired by “The Automobile Age,” the naugahyde skirts and flame motifs that were even translated into some crazy shoes began to make sense but I’m still not down with some of the frumpy silhouettes. Incidentally, Monday’s Giorgio Armani show also had a 50s idea with cropped pants and some of the total ensembles but it was clearly not the main inspiration.
If these bitches in Milan are right, it looks like the Recession is over. You can’t be running around in the glamazon clothes they showed over the last week when the world economy is teetering on the brink of disaster, after all. Whew! That’s a load off my mind.
I must now thank Kevin, the awesome and quite attractive bartender at the new St. Felix Hollywood, for loaning me a plastic pen from Staples to complete this article when my normally trusty Mont Blanc ran out of ink.
St. Felix now occupies the gorgeous, cavernous space that was lately home to Citizen Smith and they have a great Happy Hour every day of the week from 5 to 8 p.m. I recommend the margaritas, but only if Kevin makes them, and the Tacos Cubanos are delicious.
HGTV’s programming has gotten to be trivial, redundant and now, irrelevent. Because of all the “staging” shows everyone thinks they’re a designer. UGH!! I’m trying to sell my mom’s house in Colorado (it’s a 5 year old Ranch in a very upscale development) and the e-comments filed by the agents after the showings reflect the midwest’s consumption of irrelevent popular media and assumption that every home on the market must be staged with furniture from Pottery Barn or Crate & Barrel. Really? What every happened to vision? So the house has a blue wall in the bedroom! That makes it unsaleable? Really!
And, who’s paying for Kody Brown’s four wives, gaggle of kids and multiple homes in Vegas. I’m thinking the taxpayers, even tho he’s getting money for the show. He can do what he wants with as many wives and kids as he chooses… as long as he’s footing the bill. Just sayin’!
That’s so funny that people always worry about the color of the walls when thinking of buying a house. It seems like the easiest thing to change to me! I’d hope that the proliferation of so many design shows would show people how many choices are out there but if they’re stuck on Pottery Barn, they’re limiting themselves pretty drastically.
I never figured out what Mr. Brown does for a living but, even though Las Vegas real estate is pretty cheap, it must be expensive to keep up four houses. They sure didn’t splurge on furniture!
I have to admit a fondness for West Elm, though. Not well made, but the designs aren’t offensive.
I believe Kody Brown is in advertising. Account Exec? I seem to remember that detail from the first season. It would be a fortunate field for him because his company is unlikely to object to all that publicity. Plus they’re all making fees from the show.
I thought Kody was some exec for a supermarket chain but that’s probably because I watched “Big Love” once and got them confused. Advertising seems like it might be a tough field for Mr. Brown because he doesn’t seem very polished or manicured or of a normal weight for his height. But that’s just me.
I’d be fascinated to see how the TV viewing public would react to a show about a woman with four concurrent husbands.
I actually auditioned to write a script about a Nepalese polyandrous family a few years ago in London. There’s a tribe in Nepal that practices it, based on the legend of Draupadi and her five Pandava husbands from the Mahabharata. Thankfully, I didn’t get the job.
Hi, Eric! I just saw your comment there. I think there might be a place for a show about a woman with four husbands long as they were all hot!
Or maybe in Nepal?
Those two ideas don’t have to be mutually exclusive. I’m sure there are 4 hot guys in Nepal willing to appear in such a show.
Killough, dust off your typewriter!
The producer was such a douche. For a woman, especially.