Down and Out in Denver


Posted in tv by Blake on November 17, 2009

The Signature Tabatha Pose

It pains us somewhat to admit to this, but the DaOiD boys are just about to sit down to a bottle of Malbec and an episode of Tabatha’s Salon Takeover on Bravo.  And it’s not the wine on a weeknight about which we’re embarrassed – it never is.  When we first saw the ads for this show, we could not have been more skeptical.  It looked like the worst sort of reality TV drivel.  And make no mistake, it is, but it also features Tabatha, who is, in a word, divine.  And highly watchable.  And swears like a sailor.  And makes us laugh.  And has even come close to shedding a tear or two when she’s not being a colossal bitch.  OK, that’s more than just the one word but you get the idea.  It may be a guilty pleasure but a pleasure it certainly is!

The premise, for those who have not yet experienced the spectacle that is TST: Tabatha Coffey, an ornery bottle blonde hairstylist from Down Under, who dresses exclusively in black, arrives at a down-on-its-luck salon, summoned there by its owner, who has lost control of his/her staff and is usually deep in debt (having spent far too much money on product s/he can’t unload).  Tabatha has secretly (we’re skeptical about this part) filmed the salon for a day and reviews the footage with the owner, pointing out all the errors and egregious behavior of  the staff. The point of this is to make a fool of the owner and get her/him to admit (even more than calling Tabatha in the first place has already done), that s/he has fully lost control.  Tabatha then demands the keys and marches off to the salon to bawl out the staff, the owner trailing sheepishly and shamefacedly behind.

This is where the fun begins.  Tabatha announces: “I’m Tabatha and I’m taking over.”  And indeed she does.  Because this is the second season, the employees generally know who she is (the “secret” cameras might have given them some warning as well) and are very excited for her arrival.  They shouldn’t be.  Because at least half of them will be crying before the episode is over.   Tabatha reviews their hairdressing skills, has them clean up the salon, redecorates it from top to bottom, and sometimes makes the staff do some (highly uncomfortable for the viewer) guerilla marketing on the sidewalk or boardwalk or beach to get new clients.  Along the way – and this is easily the most fun part – she has some choice interactions with the most intransigent and resistant staff.  In Season One she called one manager an “arrogant, insecure, egotistical, moronic, asinine fuckhead.”  To his face.  We believe that she must have had “ability to curse on camera” explicitly written into her contract.  And we’re pleased that she did.

At the end of the episode when most of the employees are contrite and reborn, she gives final recommendations to the owner.  This often involves at least one firing or the putting of an employee on probation.  She returns about six weeks later, and what we particularly like is that sometimes the salon has fully returned to its bad old ways, leaving behind all of Tabatha’s pearls of wisdom.  In other words, there might actually be the tiniest bit of reality in this dose of reality TV.   Were it not for the fact that we don’t run a salon and that, as the immaculate homosexuals that we are, it would be pristine anyway, Tabatha would be welcome at Salon DaOiD any day!


6 Responses

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  1. […] to click.  Don’t even think about clicking.  (Unless you’re already familiar with Tabitha and  Undine Spragg–in which case, are you quite sure you’re a […]

  2. Seth said, on November 18, 2009 at 11:06 am

    I love this show! I watched two episodes last night whilst climbing the stairmaster. The second episode was set in Miami where some young gay had lost control of his staff. One of the stylists wore cutoff jean shorts and fishnet stockings to work. She complained about not drawing higher end clientele. Really?!

    • Blake said, on November 18, 2009 at 11:54 am

      That episode was choice. Did you notice that the 21 year-old owner himself thought that shorts were the way to go in terms of establishing authority for his staff? Priceless.

  3. historiann said, on November 18, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Have either of you ever seen “Terry” on Reno 911? That’s who is called to mind with the (disturbing) vision of cutoff jean shorts and fishnet stockings.

    • Blake said, on November 18, 2009 at 6:12 pm

      I have never even seen Reno 911, though I’ve heard great things! And the fishnets were horrible. Combine that with a seriously mean lip liner that seemed to hover somewhere on the periphery of her actual lips.

  4. […] stars without their own websites: Sandra Rinomato, Sarah Richardson, Mondo Guerra, Gretchen Jones, Tabatha Coffey (back soon on Bravo!) — we’ve also made some loyal reader friends along the way, […]

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