Should Fashion Police Even Exist Anymore?

Last night, Fashion Police made its return to television for a comprehensive discussion of VMA wardrobe choices. The show kicked off with Melissa Rivers crawling around on the carpet, saying "it's been a bit of a crazy year and I'm still cleaning up messes." Frankly, it was mostly downhill from there. Not because the commenters — which, in addition to the younger Ms. Rivers, included Giuliana Rancic, Brad Goreski, NeNe Leakes, and Margaret Cho — didn't do their due diligence. Parts of last night's episode were on point, even funny. ("I can't wear feather dresses," Cho quipped about Rita Ora's ensemble. "My vagina would sneeze.") But from the moment the revamped series kicked off, it was clear that the special sauce was missing, and that no amount of Melissa Rivers invoking her mother would be able to bring it back. The truth is that Fashion Police just doesn't really work without Joan, who passed away at age 81 one year ago September 4; nor do the remaining cast members seem up to the task of giving it new life. These days, Goreski is too skilled in his field as an actual celebrity stylist to sandbag with this crew; he's more like Tim Gunn than Perez Hilton. The gossip-y feel of the show seems below him. Giuliana Rancic spent the kickoff episode playing it safe. We don't blame her, after the huge mess she created with her Zendaya comments last spring, but her cheerleader-y positivism doesn't make for good pop culture criticism, let alone good television. And Melissa Rivers — though a skilled host in her own right — just isn't as good at skewering as her mom used to be. Newsflash to the network: They aren't the same person. But E! is relying on the idea that Melissa will be able to inherit the mantle Joan left behind and carry Fashion Police forward, anyway. If the latest episode is any indication, that's just not going to happen. After nearly five years, it might be time to pack it in. Not even the addition of a segment titled "What Would Joan Say?" can save it now.

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