Review: Skin Wars
Originally posted: August 16th, 2014

By Cyndi Seidelman

To say that GSN has been having hard luck with reality based programming would be the biggest understatements in the networks history.  Everytime they tried to do a reality show, it failed hard.  Shows such as DJ Games, Vegas Weddings: Unveiled, The American Dream Derby, Carnie Wilson: Untolerable and most recently Family Trade have proved to be nothing short of disasters for the network.  So when news surfaced about the network dedicated to game shows trying again at a reality show, we all rolled our eyes and predicted that this will be yet another bomb.  A latex-paint filled bomb with sparkles and glitter and bravado, but a bomb neverltheless.  But on August 6th, Skin Wars dropped the bomb on all doubters and got nearly 700k in its debut with a demo of over 250k.  So, it looks like its got staying power.  But how good is the show itself?  Well, let's find out.

The host is Rebecca Romijn, as many people know as the former wife of Uncle Jesse himself John Stamos.  Hosting a reality show is a thankless job, since the host really isn't much of a presence, especially when the people doing all the talking are the judges and the contestants themselves.  After watching her on the first two episodes, she's ok.  Not a Jeff Probst or a Ryan Seacrest level of greatness, but far from a Justin Willman or that guy who did The One with the extremely long name.

The panel themselves deserves mention when it comes to the show.  The panel consists of artist and expert Robin Slonina, Craig Tracy whom is a big time artist out of New York and then you have your sore thumb in RuPaul.  The panel works together well, but then you have RuPaul in the "Simon Cowell" seat that makes me cringe when he tries to go catty and it just turns constructive criticism into being an absolute bitch that sounds like a jealous twat who's sell by date ran out in 1999.  This isn't also helped for me when his recent comments came out about transgendered individuals, since I do support the community and have been in a long-time relationship with my GF Abby of 20 months.  So, the more I see this douchebag, the more I want to rip off his leg and beat him senseless with it ala Quan Chi from Mortal Kombat.

The format is standard Project Runway style faire where 10 artists compete in a series of challenges to become the countries best body painter and wins $100,000.  You've all seen this song and dance before, first challenge leads up to an advantage for the winner in the second challenge, second challenge has the loser eliminated, and the loser is eliminated with a saying from the host.  Nobody's going to be too enthralled by the format itself, but will be enthralled by the results.

And to be honest, the results of the paintings are the best part of the show.  To say that you'll get one that limps their way to the finish line is not watching Skin Wars.  All 10 of the contestants know what they are doing and the results show it.  Even the eliminated works are great in their own right, so the two real judges and the scumbag have to really critique each work to make sure they truly follow the rules.  This really will bite the contestants, especially since they're looking for full-body works and can't leave much normal skin showing.  It bit the first eliminated contestant hard since he left a lot of midriff on his model untouched and everything else was box-standard but still good, and he was shown the door...or as the show tells him to "please wash off your canvas".  I guess that's a spin on the term "hit the showers", but I will take it.

Aside from that, there is nothing else to talk about when it comes to this show.  It's another standard reality show competition.  Fans of the Project Runway style of show will enjoy this, and seeing how it's staying over 500k in viewership, it seems like they wanted something like this.  I just hope that if the show does go into a Season 2, you get someone else besides RuPaul in that third judges chair.  Aside from bitching at the contestants, he is beyond useless and should stick to what he's good at...being irrelevant.

Grade: C-

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