She’s left something out. I also watch Gallery Girls (still Bravo).
I couldn’t have cast it better myself. Not everyone can relate to a subset of rookie go-getters who have moved to New York to stake their claims in the contemporary art world. But anyone who has recently spent entry-level time in a competitive, elitist, commercial, glamorous-to-outsiders industry will be familiar with the people in this neighborhood: the trust fund kid; the little brats who might as well have been set up with trust funds, what with the high-end parental handouts they collect; the middle-class-bred voice of reason who works the hardest and whines the least; the too-cool-for-mainstream-mores hipsters whose funky attitudes start to make mainstream mores look marvelous. All that’s missing from this lineup is the tragically innocent pushover (the one who doesn’t “need alcohol to have a good time”) who steadily gets eaten alive.
One lesson a walk through this landscape can drive home: elitism comes in many different shapes, structures, and socioeconomic situations.
I react to TV shows the way I react to people. I respect the real deals and stay clear of the phonies with the predictably limited and smooth-talking scripts. By now, most of us know that reality-show storylines entail a fair amount of behind-the-scenes producer-generated manipulation. But reality-realm producers can’t be held accountable for everything seen on screen. For example, if you’re wondering why six of the seven Gallery Girls cast members are white, don’t pass too much judgment on Bravo – take a long look at the industry it documents.
The last scripted show I occasionally followed was Dawson’s Creek. “Nor should you,” one character would say to another. Yes, script-keepers, that’s a very accurate representation of how Generation Y teenagers in the United States troubleshoot with each other.
“I hate Brooklyn,” a just-out-of-college, non-native Manhattan resident blurts out on Gallery Girls, staring down the camera with an exhausted grimace. There’s not a producer on the Bravo payroll who’d be willing or able to regulate rawness like that.