Sunday, January 28, 2007

From Home Dec. to Homewreck: Can This Marriage Be Reupholstered?

First, a confession.

Sometimes, when we're all alone, and it's late at night, and singing along to Juliette Gréco's bump-and-grind version of “Mon Homme” has lost the power to chase off the sugarplum demons in our sooty soul, we throw on our Sulka dressing gown, make our way into the kitchen at Withering Depths, and there, back-lit by the open frigo door, we throw our heads back and, well, we... eat... whipped... cream... straight from the aerosol can.

It's shameful and frightful, but there it is. Still, as Diana Vreeland's father was wont to say as an answer to every crisis in life, “Worse things happen at sea.”

When it's Wednesday and the old existentialist crisis stirs up like a war wound from the siege of Mafeking, we do something that makes us feel just as good, but without any of the calories. We turn our suffering eyes to the rose-hued pages of the New York Observer and look for the week's vertiginously frivolous and addictive column by Simon Doonan, prince consort to Top Design's toothsome head judge, Jonathan Adler.

Unfortunately, this week's column brought no solace at all. Quite the contrary, in fact. Indeed, we rather worry that Top Design has claimed its first victim, the fairy tale marriage of mannequeen Doonan and mannikin Adler. But we'll let Simon tell you himself as he recounts what happened when, at the Winter Antiques Show opening soirée, he asked the wealthy and the weaselly for their opinions on what the Spanish (per Almodóvar’s Volver) so elegantly dub “telebasura” and we call reality television:

After these negative comments, the evening’s hostess, Margaret Russell, editor in chief of Elle Décor, was a beacon of fiery enthusiasm. “I started with Queer Eye—I just love reality television,” said she, lovely in simple black Lanvin and Prada.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should point out that La Russell’s excitement could have something to do with the fact that she herself has thrown her chapeau into the reality arena. Starting on Jan. 31, Margaret—“Peggy” to her pals—will star in Top Design, Bravo’s interior-design version of Top Chef. And—further disclosure—the fact that I am ranting on about it in this paper could have something to do with the fact that my Jonny, Jonathan Adler, is the lead judge on the same show. Yes, my Jonny has a major TV gig!

Entre nous, I’m actually starting to get a bit worried about my Jonny. Top Design has not even begun to air yet and he has already turned into a deranged spotlight-crazed Gloria Swanson–esque figure. The turning point was a recent West Coast Bravo press junket, where he hung out with his idols, The Real Housewives of Orange County— “They’re my new posse, now that I’m part of the Bravo family,” he bragged—and hasn’t shut up about it since. As his media star rises, mine, of course, is plummeting. If this show is a hit, I will end up in the Erich von Stroheim role, picking up his dry cleaning, chauffeuring him around and keeping my trap shut regarding my own former reality-show glories avec Tyra Banks on America’s Next Top Model.

If it so happens, possums, that Top Design is turning the Adler-Doonan ménage from a mariage "white-sale" to a mariage blanc, Raggaydy Andy Cohen of Bravo will have even more to answer for, and we will be forced to say, along with Jon Stewart, "Stop! You're hurting Gaymerica."