Rats! I wanted very much to like this show! After speaking with Corri McFadden and hearing how smart she is with her business, I was excited to screen the premiere of VH1′s House of Consignment. Unfortunately, the show has a few problems — many of which aren’t McFadden’s fault.
1. The pace of the show is too slow.
About a third of the episode is spent doing a “closet detox,” which is where Corri goes to a rich lady’s house and combs through her closet for designer items that she can sell on eDrop-Off. This week’s rich lady was Karyn, a restaurateur who was perfectly nice despite a very clear shopping problem.
Now, I loooove cleaning out and reorganizing closets — my friends’ and my own — and the closet detox was sort of like “Hoarders Lite“, with fewer mummified cat corpses and more sparkly Missoni cocktail dresses, but if I didn’t share that love of purging and sorting I would have been bored to tears. As it is, the segment took up a lot of time, and my lack of investment in Corri, her employee Nicole, and Karyn made it difficult to pay attention for long.
2. Corri is great! Her employees are a different story.
It’s easy to see why VH1 gave McFadden her own show — she’s driven, energetic, clearly passionate about what she’s doing, and compelling to watch on camera. Her employees, on the other hand, are stylish blank slates, who only come alive in the premiere episode when they are mocking their clients. Not a good look for a boutique consignment business. They all seemed so young, too — as though they were attracted to the job because of its proximity to shiny things, and not because they have a real background in fashion or an interest in growing the business.
3. The emotional impact of the show is over-sold.
I can totally see how cleaning out one’s closet would be a healing process, and I believe Corri when she says that her business makes a difference in the lives of people going through divorces or separations, or those who want to donate their cut of sales to charity. Unfortunately, I don’t know if I (let alone the world) am in a place where I can muster very much sympathy for women with more money than god shedding tears over the thought of selling Chanel jackets they’ve never even worn. It is all too nakedly “First World Problems” for my taste.
4. The market for fashion-based reality television is saturated.
The truth is, this show could have been the most compelling half hour of television I’ve watched in months, and I would still worry for its future, because we already have about 12 billion shows just like it. Bravo is responsible for a lot of this — between Project Runway and Project Runway: All Stars, Project Accessory, The Rachel Zoe Project, Mad Fashion, and It’s A Brad, Brad World, we already have more than enough shows about people with strong personalities and madcap careers in fashion and design. Interior Therapy With Jeff Lewis also gives people the satisfaction of watching rich people get organized, and then there’s Hoarders. Bravo even had their own consignment show: the apparently short-lived Fashion Hunters! I just can’t see how House of Consignment can package itself as so special that the audience for those shows will want to add another one to their list.
Hopefully the show will pick up in subsequent episodes and prove me wrong, but no matter its future I think eDrop-Off, and Corri herself, will probably remain as successful as ever. Whether that success will continue to be documented on tv, however, is anyone’s guess!
“House of Consigment” premieres tonight at 10 p.m. EST.