Last Night's TV: Gok's Fashion Fix, Channel 4
Grey's anatomy, Five
Friday 27 June 2008
Naturally, I get a lot of enquiries from members of the public eager, having seen the above photo, for my style advice. To save you the trouble of asking, this season's big look is: lots of hair! Corduroy suits! And glasses! Just like last season, in fact, and several seasons before that. Because style never goes out of fashion. Still, for those who can't carry off the corduroy look, there's always programmes such as Gok's Fashion Fix, in which Gok Wan offers fashion advice to the nation. He is assisted in this by Alexa Chung, who, I am assured by my friendly neighbourhood teenagers, is cool to a world-historic degree – so cool, in fact, that in dating the lead singer of the Arctic Monkeys, she is actually slumming it a bit. But it's undoubtedly Gok who is the main attraction here, partly because of his encouraging manner – where Trinny and Susannah would offer a sharp intake of breath, he's more likely to give a joyous shriek of "Girlfriend!" – but more because he is one of those few blessed or cursed beings who swim through television as naturally as an otter through a stream, never seeming as if he is consciously performing. In this, he is the natural heir to, say, Davina McCall and Robert Robinson (whose ability to stand utterly unfazed in front of a camera is the subject of some grousing in his memoirs). To be fair, I can't imagine Mr Robinson ever congratulating Geri Halliwell on purchasing a pair of gold shorts from River Island for a mere nine quid with the words "Girlfriend, that's a Gok high-five", and not only because his name isn't Gok.
The programme has several strands. In "Fashion Face Off", Gok gets high-end fashion types – buyers, stylists, shop owners – to put together absolutely top-dollar outfits, while he tries to match them with cheap high-street knock-offs. This week's show included a posh clothes-shop proprietor called Brix Smith-Start – formerly, I was startled to realise, guitarist with the Fall and Mrs Mark E Smith. Even more astonishing than the fact that she was on here handing out fashion advice (I mean, would you trust someone whose former squeezes included Mark E Smith and Nigel Kennedy?) was the fact that the programme didn't even bother to point out who she is.Maybe she is trying to forget, or do they assume that the target audience just won't care?
In "Gok Meets", Gok meets a stylish celebrity, or Geri Halliwell, depending on availability. Meanwhile, in "Travelling Catwalk", Gok goes around the country yanking members of the public off the street and showing them off in an impromptu fashion show, with the long-term aim of discovering Britain's best-dressed ordinary person. Here, I have to say, Gok displays a weakness for what could charitably be called individuality, as opposed to wearability. I mean, leopardskin-print leggings – it's certainly not me, and I very much doubt that it's you either. Elsewhere, Alexa tested different brands of stiletto heels by organising a sprint race. For what it's worth, Alessandro Dell'Acqua came last, although if you can afford Alessandro Dell'Acqua, you're probably not going to be running for the bus too often; but in any case, without a handicapping system for the runners, this was completely invalidated. Or am I missing the point? Finally, in contradiction to all this "high-street-is-best" stuff, Alexa went to Florence to worship at the shrine of the designer Roberto Cavalli, who apparently used to dress Geri Halliwell, although he seemed mercifully vague about that one. Mind you, he didn't even recognise his own frock when Alexa turned up in one ("Cavalli? Cavalli?"), so Geri shouldn't take it personally.
My own assessment of Gok, by the way? Love the specs, insofar as they are specs, but have to say they do rather shriek "I work in media". Also, grow more hair, girlfriend! And don't be afraid to work the corduroy.
One of the most alarming trends in US television drama in recent years has been the proliferation of voice-overs apparently designed to lend depth and meaning. Last night, you could have enjoyed JD, the wimpish main character on the medical comedy Scrubs, trying to wrap up some perfectly decent slapstick wrestling gags with a forced and faintly nauseating moral about masculinity and what it takes to be a real man, yadda yadda.
Over at Grey's Anatomy, the horribly earnest junior medic Meredith Grey was worrying about her mother's sudden recovery from Alzheimer's, and musing, "When something that we didn't know we had disappears, do we miss it?" Oh, that's deep. But I'm guessing most people aren't acutely aware that they've got a pancreas – don't you think they'd miss that if it vanished? I hope she's a better doctor than she is a philosopher.
Fortunately, Dr Suresh's garbled philosophising, which used to book-end every episode of Heroes, seems to have fallen off the edge, making the whole thing rather more bearable. Even so, this has turned into a dull series; I'm beginning to yearn for Sylar to start slicing the tops off people's heads again. Better yet, there's a crossover with Grey's Anatomy and he does it to Meredith Grey.
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