Seeking a professional opinion on the Bravo reality series Gallery Girls, we asked the London-based art dealer, curator and writer Kenny Schachter to weigh in. Last time around we set him up for a GChat with a real, live Gallery Girl, and thought that would placate him; now it seems the toxicity of the program has spread out from our recap-writer and managed to disrupt the lives of the entire Schachter household. Mercifully, the show is over and we hope you will stay tuned for further musings on non-Gallery Girls-related subjects from Mr. Schachter, whose writing has appeared in books on architect Zaha Hadid, and artists Vito Acconci and Paul Thek, and who is a contributor to the British edition of GQ and Swiss money manager Marc Faber’s Gloom Boom & Doom Report. Read his complete Gallery Girl writings here.
My closest friends think I’m an asshole for investing so much time in these recaps, and I am beginning to believe it myself. Seven was my favorite number, until I suffered through the final two episodes, episodes seven and eight, of Gallery Girls (GG). My brief romance with the girls has come crashing back to earth. The affair has turned back into a marriage, a long and tortured one at that. Please, for the benefit of all—cast crew and audience—no second season, and if so, let it be someone else who reviews it.
I was rather surprised that Gabriel, my 13 year old, a) read something I’d written in the way of one of my GG recaps, and b) was lamenting that there would only be eight installments. Turns out he only looked due to the fact I got to Judge Amy by GChatting with her. That’s all he was interested in, rather than also perusing the paltry few paragraphs I had supplemented the interview with. His older brother Adrian followed suit—nice.
A serviceably accurate way to describe prolonged exposure to this program would be toxic shock syndrome. Even my kids were beginning to mock me. And, no offense to my commissioning editor, but this will be the first writing assignment I have ever wiped off my resume. When the latest (and last!) FedEx arrived yesterday, not even Gabriel could get disc seven to play on my laptop (and after all, what are kids for?); it might have been corrupted during recording in New York or en route to the U.K., and I must admit I was relieved and grateful at the thought—the real corruption starts when you get the thing to play. But the time we couldn’t get it to function, that brief respite, was enough for me to consider attending a place of worship on whoever’s next High Holy Day to pay my thanks and gratitude.
Thinking of reviewing something I couldn’t watch was like the schoolbook report I wrote after reading the first and last paragraphs of each chapter without wasting my time on the middle bit. It’s not like you had to be anything more than passably cognizant (I am being PC) to put two and two together and figure out the series without lopping yet another precious hour off my life. But as I was pondering all this, oh shit, resourceful Gabriel got the damn thing to play on his Apple TV. Christ, I already had my exit plan. Now I am giving up on God again.
On/Off, Off/On, my hopes rose and fell. Gabriel’s lack of programming prowess failed to harvest the apple in our Apple TV. “Hello! ” he screamed at the little blue box, “Volume Up!” I yelled back, “Stop making love to your TV and find me episode seven,” not that I cared, just a mild case of OCD. Also—I won’t lie—though I knew it was safe to assume I would miss absolutely fuck-all if I failed to watch one part of the series, I guess I just really didn’t want to. Admitting is, after all, the first sign of acceptance.
Then things got…interesting. (I’m trying to make the best of this.) Adrian, the 16 year-old, didn’t want to watch episode eight until after he’d seen episode seven, then realized he actually had watched episode seven. At which point I thought, “What have you created, New York Observer? A dysfunctional family of GG addicts.” We were in deep, and we were in it together. When you begin to feel like you’re cheating if you skip one, it’s time to call for professional help. Is there a program at the Priory for such a condition? Gabriel was cursing and fighting with his Apple and with Adrian, while Sage warred with Kai, a veritable Family Feud all around a cheerless pile of smoking crap masquerading as a TV show supposedly about art (but somehow not).
Okay, all the above is just fluff so I wouldn’t have to focus too much on the programs themselves, as the last two were just as empty, dull and vacuous as the rest, only worse. Some families play sports together, go to the park, visit museums and theater. We Schachters pile in a heap on the bed cheering and jeering, moaning and groaning together, pulling for our favorite GG. Judge me not, please.
If I must, I will touch upon a few specifics of the GG content, like yet another of the show’s characters boasting about not wearing any underwear; after so much frontal exposure, I was thinking of going commando myself while writing this. And yes—or should I say no, no, no—more Jane Holzer. This is publicity even Andy wouldn’t approve of, and that says a lot! After more Baby Jane, gone profane, we were subjected to a barrage of gratuitous tit shots and Asian fetish comments—this after I thought that no more of these could possibly be conjured.
Then we all had a pop psychology epiphany in unison, like something out of a 1970s self-help book: Liz was such a dumb, excruciating mean-o (Sage-speak) because her father cares more about buying art and sitting on Sotheby’s panels than loving his admittedly unlovable brute of a daughter. Oh Liz, you GG gorilla, come let us give you a collective hug. (Put your panties on first.) Kai nailed it on the head when he asked, “Which GG do you think is most likely to release a porno?”
The GG art, clothing, jewelry gallery, which of course folded due to excessive sucking, was called End of Century. Which seemed apt, given that I always found myself waiting for End of This Show. Kai (15) blurted out: “I want to intern for Eli, I want to be a GG.” Where have I failed? Don’t answer. There wasn’t a better time for a total power outage and zapping of all consumer devices house-wide. No such luck, just a final pink bra shot. Now that this is all over, how will I get my fix without resorting to traceable, subscription-based porn sites?
Her bullying dad threw my adorable drunken Amy out of her apartment; but out of all of the GGs, Amy was the only one to land a full time paying job. Yeah! I know how to pick ’em! Was I prescient or what, choosing to GChat with her? While framing another masterpiece of a photo composition, Angela, the Asian girl at the center of the fetish, stated to a male model smoking a cigarette in front of a butcher shop: “You look like you are giving a lecture to a dead bird.” Tell me about it. That’s how I’ve felt throughout this whole series. But I didn’t have the fortune of dying before it all transpired. In retrospect, I think I’d have done a more imaginative overview if I hadn’t suffered through a single episode. So there you have it, Season One done and dusted, and I survived, barely. Never before have I wished for something less than I wish for Season Two.