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Since Joan Rivers passed away, _Fashion Police _has been grasping at the trains of celebrities’ gowns walking right past their place on the red carpet, hoping for an angel sent down by the recently deceased host to save the show. First, Kathy Griffin materialized like a divine dirty talking messenger, but after only seven episodes, found a higher purpose in feminism. Now, Melissa Rivers, who has served as the executive producer on the E! Network former hit, will step out from behind the camera and serve as panel moderator slash celestial savior when the show returns Aug. 31.
“As an executive producer since the beginning, Melissa helped shape Fashion Police into an iconic TV series that couples fashion with comedy,” said Jeff Olde, E! EVP programming and development, in a statement. “We are pleased to now also feature Melissa in front of the Fashion Police cameras, as she joins returning panelists Giuliana and Brad. And with the added flavor of rotating panelists, the show will deliver fresh, different and unpredictable fashion reviews with each new episode.”
But this final attempt at resurrection begs the question: Have we (a royal one) moved on? Without Joan, Fashion Police attempted to create the same belittling but not mean-spirited sense to set for seven episodes. The endeavor was a disaster. First, there was co-host Giuliana Rancic’s unfortunate, if a little racist, joke commenting on Zendaya’s dreadlocks. This situation then snowballed, with Kelly Osbourne demanding an apology and subsequently quitting. Griffin then left just a few weeks later as well.
Controversy aside, both Osbourne and Griffin seemed to have departed based on bigger issues, mostly regarding a shifting societal environment and rejected critiquing women negatively, no matter the circumstance. “I thought that I could bring my brand of humor to Fashion Police so that beautiful people in beautiful dresses could be teased when appropriate. My brand of humor, while unrepentant and unafraid, is all about context. There is plenty to make fun of in pop culture without bringing people’s bodies into it,” Griffin said in her farewell statement. She added that she didn’t want to participate in an activity that contributed to a “culture of unattainable perfectionism and intolerance towards difference.”
Griffin’s opinions echo the revolution on the red carpet this past awards season. Women demanded to be questioned about equal pay, work, personal interests, and more, lead by the hashtag #askhermore, as opposed to just the standard, “What are you wearing?” and even refused the “mani cam” as an act of rebellion. Best and Worst Dressed Lists across the Internet dropped the latter and instead celebrated all beauty, rather than singling out fashion faux pas.
And the changing tides have remained turned. Tolerance for negativity is at an all time low. When Pink was met with social media trolls, she didn’t stand for the unwelcome and unflattering commentary, and fired back instead. Selena Gomez did the same when followers commented on her Instagram about apparent weight gain. There’s a cultural sensitivity that doesn’t stand for gratuitous admonishment. So much so, Jerry Seinfeld has stopped touring colleges and performing standup because students are “so PC.” The comedian said it pessimistically, but it’s not a bad thing.
Comedians used to get a pass for saying distasteful things, but that’s not the case anymore. Joan was fashion’s premiere (and only) comedienne, and with her gone, a replacement not only seems unlikely but unwelcome. Jaime King, in a column for _Elle _magazine, wrote she would love “to abandon things like _Fashion Polic_e, entertainment that’s about women tearing each other down and getting joy out of that.” She added, “More than anything, I would love to see women performing little acts of kindness for each other, standing by each other, and supporting each other.”