IF ANY OUTLIER SLEEPER CELLS OF AL QAEDA need further evidential motivation to make another terrorist strike against the decadent West, they need look no further than Bravo’s new so-called reality series Gallery Girls. In a desperate ploy to further capitalize on the machinations of the New York art world—as they did with their earlier Work of Art—Bravo and LA-based production company Magical Elves have unleashed an inexcusable mutant offspring. Appealing to their proven demographic of gay men and the mentally disabled, these television crap peddlers have cooked up a series wherein a coven of privileged, loosely connected millennial shrews suffer the First World humiliations of working extended, unpaid internships at gallery front desks, assisting personal art advisors and making a go at running their own boutique-galleries.
The nascent gallerists consist of anxious, entrepreneurial brunette Claudia, who worries that the $15K loan from her family will never be repaid because she charges too much for art that nobody wants, and her partner Chantal, who exhibits the worst traits of her narcissistic generation. With a voice like the scraping of a soggy balloon and an affectation to match, Chantal lowers clueless selfishness to a new, grotesque nadir. She’s the type who shows up to work late and leaves early and can’t figure out why everyone has a problem with it. Like, whatever.
Young punching bag Maggie can’t escape her endless codependent internship for misogynist Asian-art dealer Eli Klein, the sort of Jewish caricature that only a Nazi propagandist could fabricate. He repeatedly, callously insists that Maggie perform demeaning tasks like counting the hundreds of pebbles in a plant-based sculpture or scrubbing floors while he grinningly sucks up to wealthy prospective buyers.
Fag hag, part-time model and party photographer Angela brings some sass and sarcasm to the mix but is also annoyingly self-absorbed, and is more concerned with creating hype around her “fine art” than actually making it anything other than sophomoric and mediocre. On her prowl for a heterosexual male partner she is frustrated about the shrinking stock of available men and claims that anyway she can’t date a man who doesn’t have an iPhone and a Gmail account.
The most interesting thing about Liz is her schlubby, estranged father who also happens to be a well-known collector. She is well set up in an expensively decorated apartment pursuing a degree at SVA, where she complains about the preponderance of Asian students. An ex-junkie with a wounded heart and some serious daddy issues, she has a certain realness to her despite having grown up about as destitute as Mitt Romney.
Amy is the brazen, know-it-all heifer who sucks as much alcohol as she does air and turns into a raging hot mess when she hits the bottle, which is often enough that everyone complains about it. The best contribution she could make to society would be getting fatally run over by a truck, thus reducing the burden on the health-care system and being a job creator in the mortuary industry.
The least offensive character is Kerri, who actually works a real, paid day job as a personal concierge (yes, that’s a real, paid job) while interning for art advisor Sharon Hurowitz. She manages to embody the myth of the Long Island girl from the blue-collar background trying to improve her station in life in the big city. She is sincere and straightforward and does not reek of the oppressive entitlement of her cohorts, which may eventually lead to her undoing.
In a flailing, transparent attempt at street cred, the producers have “cleverly” named each episode after a Velvet Underground tune, perhaps to pave the way for a new VU line of perfume or handbags marketed at young women whose only form of expression is shopping.
In addition, they try to drum up a kind of rivalry between the uptown bottle blonds with their meathead banker boyfriends and the “funky” Brooklynites with their metrosexual mates who are all skinny jeans and nerd glasses. It is refreshing to know that the diverse population of New York City can’t be so easily reduced to embarrassing stereotypes.
There is some twisted guilty pleasure to be had in watching overeducated women cat scratch at each other and humiliate themselves as they chase after some unspecified “dream,” but mostly it is a shame-filled experience that leaves the viewer with a fecal taste in the mouth and a deep resentment for having carved even one second of precious time from this short life to squander on such a vile and pointless fiasco.
Gallery Girls, Bravo, Mondays, 10/9c