The first casualty of the fall TV season has fallen. The Beautiful Life on the CW has been canceled. Here's my reasoning as to why.
Considering the success of America's Next Top Model, a fictional drama about what it's like for those who pursue a career in the modeling industry makes perfect sense.
Except, watching this TV series, it doesn't make any sense. It makes no sense at all. The show begins with two characters entering this modeling world. One is returning after a six-month absence. The other is stepping into it for the first time. By the end, both choose to stay or continue and there's no explanation why.
I realize the show just premiered, but we're introduced to this character named Chris Andrews who is so hollow as to be an empty shell. The only thing we're told is that he's beautiful and he's from Iowa.
He's offered a modeling job and he blindly agrees to go with some strange man who propositions him, practically on the street. He's fortuitous to have arrived during fashion week in New York, but we're not even told why he and his family are there.
What does this kid like? What are his interests? Why does he want to model? What is it in him that makes him want to do it? Is he interested in fashion? Is it just for a paycheck or to land chicks? I would have appreciated even just a favorite color.
Most network shows have 22 episodes, assuming they're not cancelled, to give us a complete picture of this character, but the writers here don't even give us a hint, not even a nibble. We get nothing. Therefore, we get no reason to care to see the arc of 22 episodes.
We have no reason to care about this character or several others introduced as pretentious and self-indulgent clothing-hangers. Are we supposed to tune in week-to-week to watch these people merely because they're beautiful, or is their lack of substance the point?
Mischa Barton, star of the FOX series The O.C., is Sonja, a model who was at the top of her game who suddenly disappeared. She comes back for a Zac Posen fashion show that's every bit as ostentatious, but Sonja finds herself no longer the "It" girl. She's frustrated, as she has to later vie for a spot in a Versace campaign.
Yet, she's harboring a secret, one that took her out the modeling game for half a year. Some models speculate it was due to drug rehab. I think it was perhaps a pregnancy. By the end, I didn't care. Her storyline is one of several strands that aren't fully developed.
It suggests in general that power and status in modeling is fleeting and subject to change in a blink of an eye. This show also would have us believe that all stereotypes about models are true, as well as stereotypes about those involved in modeling and fashion, specifically nasty gay stereotypes, which I did not appreciate.
Seeing 20-year-old Corbin Bleu, the actor/singer made famous in High School Musical, as Isaac, an aspiring musician so desperate to break into the business that he'll do anything and anyone, including a 46-year-old Elle MacPherson, is probably the only interesting angle this series has. Unfortunately, it isn't enough.
Two Stars out of Five
Running Time: 1 hr.
Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CW