Dumpster Dive: Rachel Zoe Project Conjures Up Visions of Fur-Trimmed, Designer Babies

Welcome to “Dumpster Dive,” a new recurring feature in which our intrepid reality-TV junkie dons rubber gloves and a face mask to wade into the murky depths of the genre’s nastiest-looking fare.

As someone who’s never before watched The Rachel Zoe Project, I tuned in to the show’s Season 4 premiere expecting an hour of skinny model types serving up casual bitchery as they waded through a series of self-induced fashion crises. What I found instead was a strangely tedious look at the harried life of an ambivalently expectant mother (as played by a Next Best Thing-era Madonna).

I know it’s reality TV, and I know that means everything is edited into a heightened state of drama (or comedy), but almost every reference to our titular heroine’s pregnancy reduced her fetus to (at best) a fabulous future accessory or (at worst) an unfortunate complication to the Rachel Zoe brand. Take these choice sound bites from Rachel about her baby:

* “It’s totally a doll.”
* “I use the baby as this weapon now.”
* “I could suck up anything for fashion if I didn’t think it was genuinely squashing my child.”
* “I can still hide it.” (At six months!)

Rachel even comically suggested the infant’s first olfactory experience would be inhaling industrial-strength hairspray and complained that the wee one had eliminated half her wardrobe. By the time the episode had ended, it wasn’t hard to imagine this baby boy being pulled from the womb, scrubbed down and lightly misted with bronzer, swathed in a chinchilla and lambskin Givenchy onesie, and tucked under Kim Kardashian’s arm as a fashion-week accessory. “Take your lapdog to the pound, and keep your toddlers out of sight: Newborn babies are the new black!”

But the Season 4 premiere wasn’t only about The Rachel Zoe Pregnancy. Other highlights included:

* Rachel hiring inexperienced stylist Jeremiah over a more qualified female candidate on account of him being a “cute boy” with a “nice sunny disposition.” When Rachel’s VP Mandana first suggested Jeremiah (a friend’s roommate) for the position, she described his qualifications thusly: “He’s hot. He’s gay. He’s an interior decorator.” Of course, in the Zoe organization, Rachel explained, it’s more about about the type of person you are than what you can actually do.

* Rachel and hubby Rodger Berman being shot for Elle Magazine in a John-and-Yoko-inspired photo spread in the L’Ermitage Hotel suite that Rachel used to rent when she lived in New York. “I find it totally ironic,” Rachel said of the setting, while lying stiffly across a mattress and proving why she makes her living on the other side of the camera.

* Rachel insisting she and Rodger move to a 7,000-square foot, $20,000/month home because photos of the space sparked her “witch vibe.”

Did you watch the Rachel Zoe Project season premiere? What did you think? If you’re a regular watcher, what is it about the show that pulls you in? And what should I watch for next week’s Dumpster Dive? Sound off below, and for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. jef says:

    Rachel is definitely full of herself and has no real sense of humor but what can I say? I’m a Bravo junkie except for any series that seems to originate from Miami :P.

  2. Ms. Chanandler Bong says:

    I watch the Rachel Zoe Project and like the Kardashians she is strangely fascinating. She’s pretty hands on with the work she does and while some might not her approach to…everything, she just says stuff and whether or not it’s funny or fascinating or dumb it just spews out which can be entertaining.

  3. Joline says:

    I love Rachel Zoe and have watched it since the beginning. One of the best parts of the show was Brad and unfortunately he’s gone now (getting his own reality show…) but I still enjoy seeing inside the LA world of stylists and how big runway shows or photo shoots come together. Give it another chance Michael – I think the episodes with celeb clients and fashion weeks will give you a new perspective on the show and the industry. Also – Rachel is always joking, so she may seem self-centered to an outside person but it’s in jest most of the time.

    • jj says:

      no. i think she is rather self centered at times. but she seems self aware about it and rodger tends to ground her (as much as one can be in LaLa land, i suppose). But i don’t find her as much of a useless waste of air like I do Kim Kardashian. I’ve seen her show a few times and she is a self centered spoiled brat who doesn’t ever appear to DO anything. Kim supposedly has all these “business” ventures, but how often do you see her being hands on with them. Even with Dash, her sisters made appearances at the store, but Kim rarely did. I’m not saying she doesn’t do anything, but the difference between this show and the Kardashians is that we actually do see Rachel and her team “work”.

  4. Rachel says:

    I don’t go out of my way to see it, and I missed the premiere, but it’s a fun day-off-reruns show to watch. She’s just so…odd. She’s so frazzled and frantic all the time, and it’s kind of funny. Also, she does a really great job as a stylist, so it’s always interesting to see what comes up.

  5. Susan says:

    Dumpster Dive is the perfect name for this show. If you ever have pent up anger, this is the perfect show to watch and then vent. Rachel and Rodger are so out of tune with reality, it’s pathetic – case in point: this house she has to have. Or a season or two ago when she was going to be featured in a fashion spread shot at her home. She replaced her all white furniture, that she admitted no one ever sat on, with all new white furniture that looked the exact same… cause you know, it’s gonna be in a magazine.
    Yet, I have no idea why I watch other than to give myself some healthy venting! Enjoy the show Michael, it’s going to drive you crazy.

  6. Kaiulani says:

    I haven’t missed an episode, it is my secret shame like the Kardashians. It is just fun stuff and I am curious to see her change once the baby is born.

  7. kayk says:

    Oh Michael, Michael, Michael…you are in for a whole new treat! Welcome to the world of Rachel, Rodger, and all the glam and drama! Prepare to get hooked!

  8. Laurel says:

    I couldn’t take another season of The Rachel Zoe Project.
    Dumpster Diving indeed.
    Now that Brad is gone there is absolutely no reason to watch.IMHO

    Brad is getting his own show on Bravo.
    I am going to check that out when it airs.

  9. George says:

    Oh Michael, I was hoping when you started doing this feature you wouldn’t catch me, but you already did…yes I watch, and yes I shamefully enjoy RZP. However, I will say I found last night’s season premiere to be a little boring (no Brad, maybe?).

    One thing that I appreciate about this showis that for the most part it focuses on Rachel Zoe at her job (as neurotic as she may be), which is a step up from some other “work place” reality shows where we hardly see people, well, WORK! One thing that I find funny about this show as it’s progressed is Rachel’s husband, Roger. He seems to have become more aware that the camera is following him, and plays it up more…

  10. *lg* says:

    I used to LOVE this show, but now it’s starting to wear on me. Brad was the best, and I love watching the runway shows, and the dresses and the collections ( and I probably still fast forward to watch all of those things), but it gives me pause how she has no problem throwing her assistants (who worked their asses off for her) under the bus. It’s not a bad thing that people want to move on (and if she’s so concerned about employees “taking” clients, maybe she should have them sign a contract). I just feel like we’re not hearing the whole story and she’s playing the victim card for attention.

  11. Lindsay Gatlin says:

    What is with the fur?? I thought the so-called fashion industry had developed a conscience
    about the brutal slaughter of animals for furs! Even faux fur is questionable, and I seriously
    doubt that these people care that they are wear fur trimmed jackets made from cats and
    dogs that live in horrible conditions and are skinned alive!
    I watched the show once, and feel it’s just another Bravo nightmare!