Chanel Surfing: Quick Takes on TV

by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson

Cashmere Mafia (ABC)

Some quick thoughts:

*Caitlin’s African-American assistant is sporting a clean new shape up in episode three. What happened to the dreds?

*Alicia has been described as the “hot cocoa love interest,” oy! Still waiting to see if Alicia makes it through the season.

*Still no Jack Yang. What are they waiting for? Oh, whew – just checked the “fan” site – looks like he’ll make an appearance on Wednesday.

*Can I just say boo to Mia’s “let’s talk about this” editor’s letter? Your ex went for blood by scheduling the evil man-eating woman cover – why the hell didn’t you bring it in the note from the publisher?

*Lipstick Jungle advertisements! Competition is coming!

*Oh no, spoiler “fan” site also says that Caitlin finds herself attracted to a man she meets at the lesbian baby shower. Is this the end for Alicia?

How to Look Good Naked (Lifetime)

I. Don’t. Do. Lifetime.

I can’t stand that channel.

But somehow, someway, I managed to watch one episode of Carson Kressley’s How to Look Good Naked and became instantly hooked. The show is just excellent. While I wasn’t a huge fan of Queer Eye, Carson manages to sculpt and shape a show that encourages women to see their bodies for what they are – not what society says they should be.

Aggressively multicultural, the show manages to incorporate women of different shapes, sizes, races, and ethnicities – without it looking like a gimmick. From the opening credits to the women included in the reality check to the women featured on the show, it is obvious that Lifetime aimed to be as inclusive as possible while really tackling the internalized messages that leads women to hate their bodies. Now, this is not going to be the be all end all solution to the body image problems women face in modern society – but it is an excellent way to open a dialogue.

(And oh snap – have y’all seen the stills from the original show? Who is Gok Wan and why isn’t he on this side of the pond?)

Millionaire Matchmaker (Bravo)

This show has not yet premiered, but the producers have managed to (unintentionally, IMO) display how race and attractiveness plays in society.

The set-up: The Matchmaker is holding a pre-screening for women to present to her clients. She is making a note to select the most cultured, educated, and beautiful women of the bunch.

She zeroes in on a beautiful black woman who is rocking a thick, shoulder length, wavy, almost crimped style. After appraising her look book and credentials, the matchmaker points to a picture and asks “Can you get your hair back into this style before the party?” The show cuts to commercial shortly after.

At this point, I turned to my boyfriend. “I bet she comes back with straightened hair.”

“Nah,” he said, “I bet you it will be a big ass Angela Davis ‘fro.”

The commercial ended. The party was in full swing. The camera cuts to the black girl – sporting freshly relaxed hair (or a weave?) with blond highlights. The only other black woman who made the cut also had long, relaxed hair.

Interesting.

I wonder if that suggestion was based on client preference or on the Matchmaker’s idea of beauty?