Lately Bravo seems to have decided that the crappy, amateurish stuff we used to expect from public access programming has been overlooked too long. Who doesn't love talking heads nattering about nothing? Gosh, where have all the badly lit sets gone? The public wants an 80 year old woman dancing to Paul Anka songs in a bikini, dammit! Okay, Bravo hasn't snapped up that last one, but it's only a matter of time.
Initially, this was a strangely charming trend. "Fashion Queens" was awkward and often rambling, but had a shaggy dog appeal. It was as if we had been invited to slug back champagne and gossip with the bitchiest drag queen-hair stylists we knew while we got our weaves done. The premise was simple (bitching about stuff) and was executed simply.
"Property Envy" (Tues. 10:00 p.m.), on the other hand, is not so simple. We are informed that the three "property experts" on the show ("Interior Therapy" star Jeff Lewis, interior designer Mary McDonald and real estate "guru" Brandie Malay) are going to "break down the world of luxury real estate " for us. Apparently, this means making catty comments about pricey homes, trying to guess which famous people own them, then competing to see who make the most accurate guess as to the listing prices of said homes.
Yes, this is a show. It's on television and everything, people.
While Lewis is a certified Bravolebrity (which means he's winningly catty, has defined abs and gets stuck in the Bravo promos we can't get away from lately), McDonald and Malay are well-known in their fields but not in the wild West of reality TV. They're fine, I guess, but they aren't as much fun as Lewis, and here he isn't that much fun. He seems to be on his best behavior, and as we know from "Flipping Out" and "Interior Therapy," he's best when he's having a water fight or screaming expletives at a sad-faced electrician.
Still, he's an improvement over McDonald and Malay, who are the snotty women you'd meet at a cocktail party, then marvel over their exquisite sense of style before avoiding them for the rest of the evening. Given the stupendously dumb concept for the show, these three (as well as achingly dull host Stephan Collins) need to have cracking good chemistry. They don't.
If you love real estate porn, "Property Envy" is slightly better than surfing Zillow or reading Architectural Digest, but the advantage of the first two is that you don't have to listen to aimless yapping about whether or not one of the panelists would create a smaller seating area in the living room.
There is, of course, time for "Property Envy" to change, but change into what is the question. Looking at the homes of the rich and famous (most of the owners are not named, so no celebrity gossip here) is fine. Trying to add a game element (name that listing price!) is just weird. Trying to invite three people who don't seem all that happy to be together to trade toothless barbs and talk about settees is just pointless. While this show could stand a whole-home makeover, that would imply what's broken can be fixed. I say raze it and build something else, Bravo. And this time, leave the panels for the walls.
Did you watch "Property Envy"?