While watching "The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency", I often thought of the British sitcom "Absolutely Fabulous". For those who've never seen "Ab Fab", one of the characters, Patsy, is a past-her-prime fashion model whose years of (and continuing) partying and general excess have caught up with her - and then some. Yet, she still marched on, believing herself to be "fabulous", even when evidence suggested otherwise. It was a brilliantly funny performance, as actress Joanna Lumley was able to create an arrogant mess of a character who was somehow - despite her evil moments - somehow incredibly engaging and even occasionally a little sympathetic.
Janice Dickinson (the proclaimed "world's first supermodel") is rather like a real-life Patsy, only in this case, she may just be truly evil. The "world's first supermodel" looks to now have had a world's worth of work done and is so full of herself she couldn't possibly ask for seconds. In a time where young women are made to feel insecure by what they see in the media, here is a woman who says: "I'm dying to find kids who are too thin. I've got 42 models in my agency and I'm trying to get them to loose weight. In fact, I wish they'd come down with anorexia." A pretty horrific quote, if I do say so myself.
"The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency" airs on Oxygen (you know, the women's network with the "Oh!") and revolves around the former "America's Next Top Model" judge deciding to start up her own modeling agency. Thrilled when 500 people show up (although, and this is not meant to be harsh, the scene makes it look like maybe 50), Dickinson wastes no time weeding out her favorites, who have no idea what they're in for. At the end, the remaining models will be signed to Dickinson's agency. One positive thing about the early episodes is that there's no waiting to find out whether someone making the cut or not - there's no "after the break!" Dickinson verbally just tosses people out right then and there. The show's other positives are that the models get ripped if they're late or slack off while on a project. Additionally, the show manages to keep the pace up better than most similar reality fare.
The series splits its focus between Dickinson trying to get her agency off the ground and the models (half men/half women) dealing with Dickinson's constant poking, prodding and demands to lose more weight. If they upset her, she responds with such devastating insults as "minus 25 points!" Episodes have the models going out to work to bring in cash for the agency, with gigs like having models appear on ads for....1-800-dentist. You know, those ads that make you feel bad about not going to the dentist every six years, er...months.
Dickinson herself is an over-the-top train wreck that remains watchable even if you hate her. Consistently making a spectacle out of herself (while having an interview with a client, she shoves her partner at the agency and during another interview, she topples over in a chair), acting obnoxious and looking for drama whereever she can possibly find it, Dickinson is always a bundle of nervous and irritated energy, consistently looking as if she's about to come apart at the seams.
Her co-workers don't exactly have it easy: three blonde triplets who are hired to be office workers seem thrilled to quit, only to be shown as upset in the next scene. She tears the show's producer a new one when a Virgin Megastore show doesn't go her way. Agency partner Peter seems thrilled to be on television...at first. Dickinson's children seem normal - one of the funniest moments of the series is when Dickinson takes her daughter on a shopping spree and holds up a dress she thinks would be nice. When the idea is rejected, the look on Dickinson's face is priceless.
"Mad TV" or "Saturday Night Live" really have no hope of parodying "The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency", as only Dickinson herself is truly capable of being this ridiculous. I don't like her and this certainly doesn't reach the heights of such reality fare as "Project Runway", but it is watchable.
1 In The Beginning / Get Down To Business 6/6/2006
2 Cut the Fat 6/13/2006
3 The First Job 6/20/2006
5 NYC 6/27/2006
6 It's Official 7/11/2006
7 Vegas Baby 7/18/2006
8 It's All About The Runway 7/25/2006
9 Signed, Sealed, Delivered 8/1/2006
10 Step It Up 8/8/2006
11 Get The Picture 8/8/2006
12 The Axe Falls, Parts 1 & 2 8/15/2006
VIDEO: "Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency" is presented by Razor and Tie in 1.33:1 full-frame, the show's original aspect ratio. Image quality is just fine, with consistently pleasing sharpness and detail, even in many of the dimly-lit sequences. Some minor shimmering and a couple of slight instances of artifacting were spotted, but hardly noticable. Colors remained bright and well-saturated, with no smearing or other issues.
SOUND: The show's stereo soundtrack remained crisp, delivering each one of Dickinson's shrill lines perfectly.
EXTRAS: About 11 minutes worth of extended Dickinson moments.
Final Thoughts: Dickinson is a disaster, but that's the hook of "The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency". The DVD presentation offers fine audio/video quality and one minor extra. Recommended for reality fans.