TV Crush

Style and Current/ Television Yin Yang

5/11/2007 10:07 AM

They’re both left coast in attitude but one is southern, the other northern.

Style Network is aspirational and glitters with celebrities, makeovers, and fashion tips, and captures the excesses and fun of Southern California.

Current is informative, global, socially conscious and cutting edge and based in self-satisfied San Francisco.

Style’s Dr. 90201 also broadcast on sister network E!) is a surprisingly watchable reality series revealing much (perhaps unintentionally) about LA plastic surgeons, their families and clients.

Unlike MTV’s clumsy Run’s House or Bravo’s unquestioning Real Housewives of Orange County,Dr. 90201 stops just short of glorifying the rich and famous lifestyle.

In previous episodes Dr. Robert Rey, (married, two young children) – with blond highlights and wispy Troy Donahue Surfside Six curls flopping strategically on his forehead – wastes precious, weekend off-hours cleaning his messy house.The comfortable, three thousand square-foot home is filled to the rafters with clutter.

He only wants an extra bedroom.The wife’s solution: buy a bigger house to accommodate all of their stuff so he can “relax” on the weekends - a much bigger house, a five million dollar manse they can’t afford, one that will require sacrificing the Maui vacations, the Versace suits and relaxing weekends going forward because he’ll be working twice as hard to pay the mortgage.

The simple solution - a couple of quick trips to Goodwill in the pick-up truck – apparently doesn’t cross their minds.

One month’s payment is as much as Rey earned in single year as a medical resident.Even he’s a little shell-shocked.

But slowly, inexorably, Dr. Rey is sucked like quicksand into the five million dollar Beverly Hills lifestyle.

Tina, a model with bottle blond hair (as are most of the women in these southern California reality series), hugely disproportionate breasts and long French nails, aspires to be an actress.Tina obsesses over her recessed chin and thinks reshaping is the key to success. “I’m hoping to have a couple of movies under my belt by next year… they’re telling me I’m almost ready to go on auditions….now is my time, now that I’ve got the chin. I’m still 100% going for the Academy Award.”

Heather is a lingerie model who wants to build her confidence on the runway by installing new breasts.She’s sure she’ll be “on top of the world” after her implants and, against the advice of her agent, she selects a double “D.”It’s the day of the surgery and the prep begins.The i.v. drip starts. “This medication is the best!” she chirps.Then: “Holy sh*t!Oh my god…if they sold this on the street I’d be an addict.Oh my god!Have you ever done whippids?” she asks the doctor, “oh my god!!!…”

Fortunately,(for Heather) she conks out before she can incriminate herself any further.Who says this isn’t entertaining?

Meanwhile within the same quarter-hour, Current is busy tracking the Google zeitgeist.These are interstitials that display Google activity, from the most popular headlines to the most searched phrases.At that moment,“AP history” is one of the top searches of the day.(It’s final exam time.)

(For this reason alone Current is terribly addictive, and some twenty somethings tell me they simply keep the television on all day and tuned to Current.)

Next up is a short pod (or segment) titled Capturing Chaos that explores another side of the city - the LA underbelly and the careers of the Raishbrook brothers, identical twin stringers who work nights and supply national news stations with car chase, gang violence and crime scene footage. As children they trailed fire trucks for miles on their BMX bikes; now the brothers race through the dangerous, dark streets of LA, one hand on the wheel while holding a camera in their lap with the other.There are action shots of helicopters hovering overhead and phalanxes of cops, their guns drawn.

Their equipment?“Top of the line scanners, high end cameras that shoot well in low light, and fast cars,” says one twin.

“This place never stops,” he continues, “there are hundreds and hundreds of calls per day….we get into situations with people dying in front of you….a lot of people you see don’t make it.It makes me realize that tomorrow’s not a given.”

 

September