If you’re a pop culture obsessive like I am, you’ve probably heard The Theory of the First Season. If not, it goes something like this: in any reality show, the first season is the only one that’s pure. There are a variety of reasons that that’s usually the case, but mostly it’s because the people that populate the show’s universe haven’t seen themselves played back in HD yet. Instead of performing the roles that have developed for them over time, they’re just flailing about, being mostly themselves. Which is exactly what we got on the series debut of Kell on Earth last night.

If you really love fashion – and not just pretty things, but fashion – you need it be watching Kelly Cutrone‘s show. For the first episode, Bravo dropped us behind enemy lines at New York Fashion Week to watch while the people of People’s Revolution fought a famous hooker, the office computer system, each other, and the always-ticking clock in an attempt to pull off not one, but two fashion shows.

As with any narrative, it’s important to meet the agents of action. For Kell on Earth, that’s mostly the motley crew of office staff and assistants that make up the boutique PR agency. It’s a combination of super-earnest barely post-college girls (or interns that are still in college) and a handful of gay men that Kelly hired because she got sick of the super-earnest chicks.

Her business partner Robyn (who actually lives in some dark corner of the office) will obviously figure prominently, but my favorite was her goth/glam/gay personal assistant Andrew, who Kelly chose because he was dressed in all black, including bondage jewelry, and was possibly wearing a skirt when she met him. Kelly is currently trying to find him a boyfriend, with minimal success so far.

The only problem I had with the office staff was that there were two blonde Stephanies, and that’s one too many blonde Stephanies for me. Look: decide which one is less important and make her go by her middle name. I have no time for confusingly named office minions in a reality show, particularly when they have the same hair color (that’s generally the only way I can tell anyone apart in the first few episodes), and now I’m stuck trying to remember which is which based on the fact that one of them looks like she’s from California and the other looks more East Coast.

Thankfully, my Stephanie double-vision was more than than assuaged by the wonderful salve of Kelly explaining what couture is (and, more importantly, what couture is not) for all the people out there that so grossly and frequently misuse the word. You tell ’em, Miss Cutrone. Combine that with her love of black clothing, her general refusal to adhere to traditional beauty standards and insistence on doing things her own way, and I think she might be my idol. When she called trophy wives and herself hookers, I almost cried tears of pure joy (programming note: I don’t necessarily believe that trophy wives are the same as hookers. I just find it refreshing when a powerful woman doesn’t look down her nose at sex workers).

We didn’t just meet her employees, however. She’s raising her adorable daughter Eva as a single mother, which is aided by the fact that she lives on the floor above the office. One of my favorite moments of the episode was when Kelly was talking to her about coming to a fashion show – she told her that she would be able to sit up front and then asked her if she was going to dress up, to which she replied, “I don’t want to dress up if I’m going to be in the third row.” From a seven-year-old. Her daughter is fiercer than 99% of human beings.

Kelly and her charges were charged with creating shows for Chado Ralph Rucci and a Spanish designer whose name escapes me. The storylines of these events were a bit jumbled, as I’m sure they were in real life too. Surprisingly, unlike a lot of reality shows, this one actually seemed real – all of the employees looked like they were stressed almost to their limit and drowning in papers of indeterminate importance. During fashion week, that’s EXACTLY what their office should look like.

For a group of viewers that probably also watch The Hills or The City, I’m sure that this episode was in stark contrast to a lot of preconceptions about the fashion industry that just aren’t true – it’s not all glamorous. The women aren’t model beautiful and they don’t all leave the house perfectly coiffed every day. And they actually do a lot of work. Shock of shocks, I know.

That work included chasing expensive hooker/friend-of-Kelly Ashley Dupré away from Fashion Week, putting together seating charts (which are basically giant, 2,000 person egomaniacal puzzles), and making sure that no one took pictures of naked, underaged models while they were changing clothes backstage. People got yelled at, photographers were humbled to near tears, and one of the blonde Stephanies almost had a nervous breakdown over printer problems. I used to work in an office that was highly dependent on a very finicky printer, and watching her come unglued brought out quite a bit of residual anxiety on my part.

The episode’s narrative seemed a little rushed, but in contrast to almost every reality show on television, it actually seemed like stuff happened – and by stuff, I don’t mean that a few vacant blondes went out to lunch and picked at salad while staring each other down silently. If they can slow things down enough that non-fashion people can understand what it is that these people do, then Kelly Cutrone going to have a huge hit on her hands. I’ll enjoy it either way.

Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • Ally

    I watched it last night. LOVED IT! Kelly and Andrew are amazing. Andrew in that floor length sequin dress…wow. Definitely one of the most entertaining reality shows I’ve ever watched.

  • Jamie Stewart

    LOVED the whole show. I have been a fan of Kelly for a long time. Great show.

  • breccatheele

    I loved the show! Honestly, i felt right at home, like I could walk in that office and kick some serious planning, seat charting, runway show ASS!! I loved Kelly & her apartment lifestyle, the little home grown office with bits of creative things thrown up just anywhere. What a real place, glad to see a successful business environment on TV!

  • You know what I love most about Kelly Cutrone? While she can seem completely terrifying and has a no-BS attitude she is also super caring about the people that matter to her. It is hard to manage both and she seems to do so amazingly.

  • Chris

    I like the fact that Kelly is not blond, spray-tanned and botoxed yet. Yes, she seems to work hard and you can see it in her face. Not really new – but a nice surprise from the Hills etc.

  • otter

    I liked the show and will continue to watch. One thing does bother me . . . she takes such pride in being an absolute b*tch to the staff. Don’t like that.

    If she were in a less “desirable” industry and in a different economy, such behavior would not get you top notch talent.

  • Brigette

    Kell on Earth is such a refreshing reality show! Kelly Cutrone kicks ass & Andrew is hilarious. While I admit that I’m a fan of The City, I really hate that while I watch it I’m interrupted by my own thoughts on how many scenes are staged/scripted and if anything is remotely “real”. I hope they don’t stray away from that in future episodes of KOE. Love it!

  • Handbag Lover

    I really liked this show. This woman was real and intense and i can tell she was being herself. Can’t wait to see more.

  • Jane

    I love this show!!! My boyfriend loved the show to. Its juicy, lovable and incredible. I love Kelly as the PR owner and manager, and I love her as Mommy.

  • Sher77

    Yes, very entertaining.

  • PhotoGirl

    I am not a TV girl, but this is one show that I will definitely continue watching. I think Kelly Cutrone is brilliant and I love her no-nonsense attitude. The mix of her public persona with the scenes involving her daughter was just great. (And I would love to see more of that all white bedroom.)

    Powerhouse/Italian Mama/ Cruella De Vil — trifecta! I didn’t want the hour to end.

  • fashionbyhe

    that woman is horrible…no one should treat their employees like that…there is a way to be all business and not be a ranging bitch

    If the world wants a show about fashion they should give He a show…

    -He
    Def a show not to watch…
    http://fashionbyhe.blogspot.com/2010/01/tv-show-not-to-watch.html

  • shop2drop1

    I loved the show and can’t wait for next week. Even my 36 year old hubby enjoyed it. Shhh, don’t tell. :)

  • lolaluvsu

    i have been a fan of kelly c’s since the hills and the city. i was super excited when i heard she was gonna have her own show. yes, she is blunt and doesn’t care about pleasantries, this is the fashion industry which is full of fakes. kelly is a treat of truth.

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