Gok Wan first graced British television screens in 2006. I remember watching How to Look Good Naked and even though it was annoying at times, overall the programme was entertaining and feel-good. I liked Gok Wan, I thought he was sweet and enthusiastic and made a good enough presenter that it kept me watching.
Then he made a few other shows which were okay. Some were good like Made in China, and others weren’t that great. But last night I probably watched the most annoying programme I have ever seen. I was actually disappointed with Gok Wan for agreeing to present, and be the face, of such a show.
Gok’s Style Secrets was awful. I like watching programmes I can rant about. It frustrates me to the point where I rant and rave like a lunatic and there is something quite cathartic about that. But Gok’s Style Secrets silenced me. I like Gok Wan, he seems like a nice guy and I think we could be friends but this show made me want to die a little inside.
The show sees Gok Wan impart his knowledge of clothes and dating to help a singleton feel good about themselves and bag a partner. It is worse than it sounds however. The fashion is given a back-seat, which is Gok’s strong point and his main claim to fame. It doesn’t seem to make much sense that this side is ignored then. The whole love/dating advice side of the show is cringe-worthy at best.
The whole ‘trying to date’ aspect is terrible, forced and appallingly acted. The first episode saw a lady consistently referred to as a ‘goth’ as if she didn’t have any other part of her personality and forced to go and talk to actors that obviously weren’t being paid enough to look genuinely interested in what was going on.
Gok Wan has always been a big pusher of being yourself and not trying to change to fit a skinny, pretty media ideal. He has promoted instead working with your shape and aiming for health more than anything. But this show seems to almost turn a cold shoulder against this six year long message that he’s been pushing in all his other shows.
This ‘goth’ girl (which was the least goth-like lady I have ever seen in my life) was told to wear colour and patterns and things that weren’t gothic at all. She was made to clean her room of the things she loved (which in fairness was kind of a good thing because her room looked like it belonged to a 15-year-old boy).
While all this was going on and she was made to look like everyone else (you can still dress for your body and remain ‘gothic’ if that’s what you like), Gok made sure to keep saying that as long as her tattoos were on show they were staying faithful to her. It didn’t convince anyone, it was a little like a car salesman saying that the car he has is the best one you can buy with the money, even though it’s older than some museum artefacts.
The show just seemed overly fake which would be fine if it embraced this fakery. However, it pretended to be a new, empowering and touching show. In my opinion this was it’s downfall. Pretending to be something, you are not while you try to pretend to be better than the industry you are a part of doesn’t work if there isn’t a little bit of truth in the message that you’re trying to spread.
Making someone walk around a bar and walking past the same person two or three times to catch their eye makes you look like a weirdo, it doesn’t secure a date. The chances of that actually resulting in romance is so slim, you may as well play the lottery – you’d be more likely to strike lucky there.
Gok Wan’s newest show is, quite simply, abysmal. The first episode Gok dressed a woman to look nice but like everyone else and so far away from her apparent ‘goth’ persona that I was half-expecting her to be given a baby pink babydoll dress. She was then told to walk around in the same outfit (only three new outfits in total, a disaster considering he’s supposed to be a fashion expert), was not allowed to actually control an online dating profile that Gok created for her (she wasn’t even in the frame) and was consistently reminded that it was the tattoos that made her special (never mind her career, family, hobbies, friends or brain), she was forced to clean her room because it could freak out potential mates (true but still, if he/she doesn’t love your likes to the point that they don’t want to be with you then they’re probably not the right person) and to top that all off the worst, and most basic, psychological assessments ever made on Earth make you want to jump out of a window.
I’m not sure what to think of Gok for spending his time being a part of a show like Gok’s Style Secrets. I still like him but I feel it’s the money rather than the genuine message of the show that has influenced his presence on the programme. It seems a shame and I think the show is fake enough to have knocked Mr Wan off his “real is fabulous” perch.