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!