Sarcasm is always in style, so what’s happening to the great Joan Rivers’ legacy amid the E! Fashion Police drama?
Fashion Police has become a fashion victim during what’s become a rocky comeback for E!’s hit Friday night quick-witted gab fest. After losing its beloved star host, Joan Rivers, in September, the show attempted to rally (with Joan’s only daughter, Melissa, at the helm) but has now hit the slammer for good—or at least until September, due to backstage cat-fighting, power plays and ultimately the resignations of two of the four “cops,”
I find this absolutely heartbreaking, that the great Joan Rivers is having her legacy trampled in this way. Right after she died, her daughter put her game face on and promised us she would continue Fashion Police, like her mother would have wanted. It was a gut-wrenching TV segment to watch. She must be beside herself that it doesn’t seem to be working out.
Without Joan, the motley crew of panelists have fallen apart. First, it was announced that the handsome, popular George Katsiopoulos wouldn’t be coming back at all under the new host, leaving only E!’s Queen Bee Giuliana Rancic and the quirky Kelly Osbourne, who thought of Joan as a second mother.
The show returned in January with Rivers’ replacement, comedienne Kathy Griffin, and fashion stylist Brad Goreski, both of whom had a hard time focusing on the celebs and fashion, instead relying on cracking up about themselves. The problem is that the “Joan Rangers” who tune in for Fashion Police didn’t seem to care about Kathy and Brad. They want fashion and laughs. Ratings tanked as they struggled to gain the energetic pizzazz and popularity it once had. Less than two months later, a seemingly racist slip by Rancic set off a firestorm that quickly led to its demise. Speaking with Osbourne on the February 23 Grammys episode, Rancic said singer Zendaya’s dreadlocks “smelled like patchouli and maybe weed.” Both Griffin and Osbourne took offense, and called her out in a nasty fight that immediately went viral. Rancic taped an earnest public apology, but even that couldn’t save the show from the fallout, and Osbourne and Griffin both abruptly quit the show. After a hailstorm of negative PR, the show was yanked off the air.
The agony: How is this happening to what was once the best (I think) fashion show on television? Who wouldn’t have wanted to tune in? Queen of sarcastic, witty jabs, Rivers delivered punch lines and celebrity jokes with the New York sass her fans have watched decade after decade. Of course, the oft-terrible outfits stars chose to don at appearances was easy fodder for Rivers. Her days of guest-hosting award show red carpets (she was the first to lob “Who are you wearing?” at the stars) translated easily into the hit fashion bash, which debuted in 2010 and often featured high-profile guests.
And, yes, Rivers was so much more than Fashion Police. She was an iconic, multi-talented star who pushed boundaries when comedy was largely a boys club. She was performing standup dates until the night before she died, delivering her “I can’t believe she just said that” zing we know and love her for. But Fashion Police was her main gig when she died, and we were promised that it would go on. Let’s see if the egos at E! can pull it together to honor the great comedienne by continuing her fashion/celeb/comedy brand of TV that people ate up like candy.
The lights may have dimmed for now on Fashion Police, but Rivers will never go out of style.
We miss you, Joan.