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Tim Gunn is “too tasteful,” “especially harsh,” has “a noxious haughtiness” on his new show

Tim Gunn’s long-awaited new series officially debuted last night, and the consensus among critics seems to be that while we all love Tim Gunn, it’s not very good at all.

I certainly didn’t like Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style; in my review, I argued that the show has “moments of Tim Gunn’s brilliance pushing through the tedium of something all too familiar, but that’s really not enough” to make it more than “a rather pedestrian makeover series.”

Because of enduring love for Tim, some of those critics who didn’t like the show thought he worked well, but others had a lot of criticism, some of it aimed directly at the Project Runway mentor himself. A round-up of reviews:

The Washington Post’s Robin Givhan: “Some people are simply too tasteful to star in reality television. … Reality TV requires that its stars be big personalities who talk loudly, nonstop and without regard to whether they’re making any sense. Voices of reason are best as supporting characters. And Gunn comes across as an adamantly reasonable man.”

The Boston Globe’s Joanna Weiss: “Gunn seems especially harsh. … Gunn spends a lot of time looking hopeless, his head in his hands. … Gunn’s demeanor remains the same. He tries hard to be tough, then makes a point of being caring, so that everything comes across as insincere.”

Slate’s Troy Patterson: “Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style introduces audiences to several new dimensions of the television personality’s television personality–none of them especially attractive. Fans of Project Runway adore Gunn for the elegant balance of frankness, tact, and pep he brings to den-mothering that show’s aspiring fashion designers. … Thus, it was disappointing, when watching this new makeover fantasy, to discover a new superciliousness in his tone and a noxious haughtiness in his demeanor.”

The New York Times’ Alessandra Stanley: “Bravo’s latest offering, ‘Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style,’ is not haute couture or even high concept. Basically it’s a knock-off of TLC’s ‘What Not to Wear.’ … Mr. Gunn and Ms. Webb are nicer and more refined than Clinton and Stacy, their catty counterparts on ‘What Not to Wear,’ but not much more inventive.”

The Chicago Tribune’s Maureen Ryan: “Gunn, the former chair of the fashion department at Parsons The New School for Design, is one of the most naturally winning television personalities to come down the pike in some time. There may be people who don’t respond immediately — or ever — to Gunn’s friendly charm, his unpretentious sophistication and his perceptive, strongly worded honesty, but I haven’t met them. And I don’t care to. … If the slightly less relaxed ‘Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style’ doesn’t quite have ‘What Not to Wear’s’ tone of cheeky camaraderie, well, never mind. It has Gunn’s ‘make it work’ philosophy at its heart, and it has his spirit of compassionate, caring honesty.”

Lovable Tim Gunn misses target on ‘Style’ [MSNBC]
‘Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style’: A Button-Down Reality Show [Washington Post]
Fashion Don’t [Slate]
Harsh judgments rule Gunn’s ‘Style’ [Boston Globe]
A Kindly Pygmalion to Fashion Failures [The New York Times]
Gunn brings charm, expertise to ‘Style’ [Chicago Tribune]

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart

    Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.

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