Alexa Chung gets the Times “Style” section treatment this weekend, and the paper reports that the British “It” girl (a label she denounces, of course) has landed her own PBS show, since her MTV show, It’s On With Alexa Chung, was canceled. Hmmm. Yes:
“On Thrift America, scheduled to be broadcast on PBS next summer … Chung will comb the country’s consignment shops, garage sales and flea markets for old clothing and other potential treasures to use in creative endeavors. A few of the places [she will] visit include Detroit, Nashville, and Brooklyn (and, on a less populist note, fashion capitals like Paris and London). Think of it as Antiques Roadshow meets the foodie romp Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.”
So, PBS wants to get hipper? Chung wants to be on American TV, without starring in an out-and-out “reality show?” And PBS has decided it’s vital that Americans who only tune in to our single national (and still most watched) channel be taunted with images of this woman shopping in Paris? Well, maybe all of the above. Consignment clothes, which Chung may or may not actually wear, are at least less expensive than most alternatives, and thus have a broader, more PBS-friendly appeal.
But, to the Times, Chung’s “offhanded chic” is more important than that: She’s a welcome alternative to “the antics of the Kardashian sisters and Kate Gosselin.” Why, again? She just is. The paper says Chung’s “the antithesis of the warrior goddess look of Beyoncé and Lady Gaga,” and we sense some judgment, since the Times only means she’s a demure hipster girl, now capitalizing on that reputation with a show that champions the quintessential hipster girl accessory: thrift store duds. In any case, most Americans will indeed know Chung’s name soon, and be that much less Lady Gaga–like for it.