From G's to Gents
I love a good Pygmalion story. It all started for me with Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady” as Eliza Doolittle. Seeing her transformation from street to chic was the beginning of my love affair with makeovers. Who could forget “Pretty Woman” or “Gigi”? Seeing the transformation and evolution of a woman’s style never ceases to interest me. Lately, there have been a whole crop of reality shows on television transforming rowdy youths into refined beings. And I can’t get enough!
One of my favorites is a British reality series called “Ladette to Lady”, where 12 “ladettes” (read: foul-mouthed, uncultured and unpleasant young women) are sent to Eggleston Hall, a finishing school in Teesdale, England. There they are taught the basics of becoming a lady: dress, elocution, relating to the opposite sex and even flower arranging. Of course, each week one of them is expelled from the school and at the end of the series there is a debutant ball to announce the winner. This little gem of a series plays on the Sundance channel and, sadly, was only three seasons long.
The latest reality show to come out in the Pygmalion genre is MTV’s “From G’s to Gents”, hosted by Fonzworth Bentley. Mr. Bentley is the first gentleman of hip-hop and author of “Advance Your Swagger: How to Use Manners, Confidence and Style to Get Ahead”. I was really excited about this show because I’m a HUGE stickler for etiquette and manners and I couldn’t believe these topics would take center stage on MTV- a network that has, let’s face it, probably created most of the lads and ladettes of today’s youth!
The show started out very promising. There were 12 G’s (read: homeys, street criminals) that were tired of the “thug life” and wanted to clean up their act and become gentleman. They came in with gaudy bling around their necks, do rags and my personal favorite, grillz.
How on earth was Fonzworth Bentley going to turn these hopeless young men into refined gentleman? Each week, the G’s are taught a lesson in the art of becoming a gentleman. They learn how to dress, hold silverware properly and even give a business presentation. My interest was starting to wane after the first two episodes as I felt that Mr. Bentley wasn’t being strict enough. These guys weren’t in it to make a transformation- they were in it for the cash prize. Not enough change was being made. And I felt that the basic things like speech (most of them need subtitles to decipher what they are saying) and grooming should have been addressed in the beginning. They were also allowed to keep their street names (which I find ridiculous)- such names as Creepa, E-6 and D-Boy.
However, just like with my Coco Mademoiselle eau de parfum, I stuck with the show and I’m so glad I did. This week’s episode was highly emotional with reality finally sinking in for these men. Some of them were deadbeat fathers and finally broke down with the realization that they hadn’t been there for their children or their baby mama’s. Transformations were finally being made with Creepa taking off his sunglasses, bling and grillz and for the first time being comfortable in his own skin.
Now Cary Grant, these gentlemen are not, but I do think that their metamorphosis has been remarkable. Let’s hope it inspires today’s ruffians to go from street to chic!
"From G's to Gents" airs on MTV Tuesday nights at 10pm