Skip to main content

From Across the Pond: "Mary Queen of Shops"

Just a few quick words about tonight's premiere of reality series Mary Queen of Shops on BBC America.

The series, which features fashion expert Mary Portas as she attempts to pull back boutiques from the brink of insolvency, follows a rather similar formula to the network's own Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares and Hotel Inspector, in which Gordon Ramsay and Ruth Watson respectively attempt to save failing restaurants and hotels, and Bravo's Tabatha's Salon Takeover, in which the snippy hairstylist saves sinking salons.

Here, Mary Portas once again provides tough love to some rather misguided entrepreneurs who have opened up clothing boutiques without really having an understanding of fashion, visual merchandising, or how to turn a profit (or sometimes, all three) and who typically seem to lack business acumen in general. Like Ramsay and Watson before her, Portas is outspoken, brusque, and generally given to tell things like they are. She doesn't seem to befriend the targets of her helpful ways but rather ends up breaking them down emotionally and psychologically before she's able to constructively help them turn their businesses around.

And, let's be honest, these people do need her help. They're often in danger of losing their businesses and they've been misguidedly running their boutiques into the ground. Sometimes, the owners are pig-headed and refuse to take on board Portas' advice, while others have seemingly just lost their way over the years and need her to provide a swift kick up the backside to get them back on track.

There are rows, feuds, and petty vendettas at times and Portas does get hot under the collar more than once in the first two episodes provided for review. Regardless, there's a sense of simplistic comfort to Mary Queen of Shops. Despite Portas' short fuse at times, she is coming from a good place and genuinely wants to see her clients succeed and there's a optimistic buoyancy about the program, particularly in these rough economic times, with seeing profits actually improve. Just look at it as a bit of financial escapism.

Mary Queen of Shops launches tonight at 9 pm ET/PT on BBC America.

Comments

Fan of Mary Queen of Shops said…
I was lucky - my British friends had already told me that Mary Queen of Shops was brilliant TV. And when it premiered on BBC America last night I was not disappointed. I laughed, cringed and nodded in agreement with Mary as she tried to sort out Kelvin in his fashion shop Floyds that he thought was as good as London department stoe Harrods but in fact was in the Welsh city of Cardiff next to a bus-stop and not selling luxury fashion at all. He was selling clothes Alexis Carrington would have rejected for her Dynasty wardrobe in 1986 as being too tacky. It's worth noting that there are no "retail critics" in the media today - we have restaurant, music, art, theater and fashion critics but no-one to set a standard of good practise for shop-keepers selling fashion goods. Now we have Mary Queen of Shops - and Mary rocks! From what I read in the British media Mary - aka Mary Portas - is fast becoming an icon. I can't wait for the next show on BBC America!

Popular posts from this blog

What's Done is Done: The Eternal Struggle Between Good and Evil on the Season Finale of "Lost"

Every story begins with thread. It's up to the storyteller to determine just how much they need to parcel out, what pattern they're making, and when to cut it short and tie it off. With last night's penultimate season finale of Lost ("The Incident, Parts One and Two"), written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, we began to see the pattern that Lindelof and Cuse have been designing towards the last five seasons of this serpentine series. And it was only fitting that the two-hour finale, which pushes us on the road to the final season of Lost , should begin with thread, a loom, and a tapestry. Would Jack follow through on his plan to detonate the island and therefore reset their lives aboard Oceanic Flight 815 ? Why did Locke want to kill Jacob? What caused The Incident? What was in the box and just what lies in the shadow of the statue? We got the answers to these in a two-hour season finale that didn't quite pack the same emotional wallop of previous seas

Katie Lee Packs Her Knives: Breaking News from Bravo's "Top Chef"

The android has left the building. Or the test kitchen, anyway. Top Chef 's robotic host Katie Lee Joel, the veritable "Uptown Girl" herself (pictured at left), will NOT be sticking around for a second course of Bravo's hit culinary competition. According to a well-placed insider, Joel will "not be returning" to the show. No reason for her departure was cited. Unfortunately, the perfect replacement for Joel, Top Chef judge and professional chef Tom Colicchio, will not be taking over as the reality series' host (damn!). Instead, the show's producers are currently scouring to find a replacement for Joel. Top Chef 's second season was announced by Bravo last month, but no return date has been set for the series' ten-episode sophomore season. Stay tuned as this story develops. UPDATE (6/27): Bravo has now confirmed the above story .

Me Want Food: Jenna Gets Famously Fat on "30 Rock"

I don't know about you, but I've already ordered my "Me Want Food" t-shirt from the NBC store. Last night's episode of 30 Rock ("Jack Gets in the Game") was, in my opinion, one of the strongest of the series and has officially pushed the zany comedy into the realm of Arrested Development : deftly plotted and intricately layered, with so many jokes piled atop of jokes that it requires several viewings in order to catch them all. While at its heart, 30 Rock is a workplace comedy, it's left that narrow pigeonhole behind to become a witty example of how intelligent and taut humor can work (and flourish) on television... and exist in harmony with hilarious throwaways like the Thriller -inspired Werewolf Bar Mitzvah music video that would have done the AD crew proud. I want Will Arnett to appear on this series whenever possible. His gay exec Devin is hilarious, manipulative, and has an inexplicable weakness for Kenneth the Page, but he claims to have