Rosewood: 1.9 Fashionistas and Fasciitiss Review

Rosewood loves dressing its main characters up in pretty clothes, and it’s obsessed with making sure we notice. This week’s excuse is a fashion show, and as usual, Rosie...

Rosewood loves dressing its main characters up in pretty clothes, and it’s obsessed with making sure we notice. This week’s excuse is a fashion show, and as usual, Rosie repeatedly insists this is not a date. But Villa’s sparkly mini-dress is more important than character development. Rosie nods to continuity by reminding Villa to admit they’re friends and make up with her mother, then raves about how great her dress looks. Three other characters compliment her on her outfit before she changes out of it. Either the show is trying to sell me a dress, or it’s trying to convince me that Villa looks hotter in high femme drag than in a tight tank top and a gun. Neither is going to happen.

The fashion show kicks off the mystery of the week, which comes from the standard handbook of crime procedural plots. One of the designers went to high school with Rosie, and she’s come down with a mysterious skin infection. When he checks out her symptoms, he deduces that someone is trying to kill her. The culprit is no big surprise, and the episode doesn’t spend much time following the clues. Every week, Rosewood is less interested in being a crime show, and this episode is the most perfunctory yet. There are some nice touches – a corpse dramatically floating in the pool, flesh-eating bacteria, a triumphant sharpshooting moment for Hornstock – but the mystery is mostly an afterthought.

Rosewood‘s greater focus on human drama gives it room for its best exploration of LGBT issues so far. Two suspects in the mystery of the week are gay fashion designers, and the show represents them as smartly as possible, acknowledging the disproportionate influence of gay men on the fashion industry without resorting to stereotypes or prurience. One of Rosewood‘s finest qualities is the way it introduces characters of color and makes their ethnicity relevant but not remarkable. This week, it does the same with two minor LGBT characters, and it draws attention to how little finesse most network television still has when it brings in similar guest roles.

This week’s episode also makes time for the two lesbians in its main cast, giving Pippy and Tara a meaty subplot that unfortunately suffers from clunky, histrionic writing. Tara says she’s reluctant to sell her condo and move in with Pippy officially, and Pippy flips out like everyone’s worst nightmare of a clingy girlfriend. Then, she discovers that Donna has started dating again and flips out even more. After a series of overly earnest conversations with Rosie and Donna, Pippy realizes that other people have feelings too, commitment is scary, and moms need lovin’ too. Before Pippy can sufficiently apologize to anyone, her tantrum is erased from the ledger, and Tara is calling the parents who’ve rejected her, because somehow that’s a great idea. None of this plays out in a way that resembles real human behavior.

Elsewhere in unrealistic romantic relationships, Rosewood introduces Taye Diggs as a new recurring guest star. Personality-wise, he’s a virtual clone of Rosie, and he serves little purpose beyond looking luminously hunky and flirting with Villa. He’s good enough at both of these things to get Villa to take off her wedding ring and go on a beach date by the end, but this would have been much more interesting if he were wholly unlike Rosie. Rosewood does not seem to believe that shy, introspective nerds exist in the world, but it would have been cool to see Villa date someone like that, whose personality contrast with Rosie made him (and everyone else) question Rosie and Villa’s chemistry.

There’s a similar missed opportunity with the fashion designer who pulls Rosie into her attempted murder case. He doesn’t recognize her, and she admits that when they were in high school, she was heavier and had an overbite. She’s conventional TV pretty now, of course, and that made me muse on how much more interesting their connection might have been if she’d still been a bigger woman. With Rosewood‘s stellar treatment of other kinds of diversity, it would be great to see the same approach toward body types.

Overall, this is a standard installment of Rosewood, with the usual flaws getting more and more entrenched as the weeks go by. I wish this show would shake itself out of those comfy ruts and explore its potential, but it seems content to coast along.

Image courtesy of FOX

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Television

Sarah Rasher is, among other things, a freelance writer based in Chicago. You can read her writing at the Friendly Atheist and Graphic Policy as well as on her own blog, Sarah Explains the Finer Sports.

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