Monday, September 3, 2012

Review: Commander in Heels

High-Powered Leslie Blodgett and Dylan Lauren are Commanders in Heels

If nothing else, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network is admirable for trying to make television entertaining while delivering a positive and inspirational message. It doesn't always do that well. But it always does it admirably.

Such is the case with Commander in Heels (OWN, 10pm).

The one-hour special focuses on successful business women: Bare Escentuals executive chairman Leslie Blodgett - the face of the company in many of its infomercials - and Dylan Lauren, daughter of designer Ralph Lauren and CEO of candy company and New York City megastore Dylan's Candy Bar.

Commander ultimately gets its message across: work hard, no matter who you are or what your background, and do something you love. The result? Success.

Still, Commander in Heels stumbles on its way to getting that message across.

The special is a perfectly harmless and fairly entertaining way to spend an hour, particularly just ahead of a new workweek, when we could all use a lift-me-up.

But Commander feels more like a reality show that has been squished into an hour than it does an informative documentary. Maybe that is as it's intended to be. But the result is that the extraordinary success that Leslie and Dylan are in the midst of realizing is brushed over.

How did these women become the CEOs of multimillion dollar companies? Where did they go to school? Who inspired them? What impact does their success have on their personal lives? Do they have words of wisdom to share with aspiring business executives?

Some of the answers to these questions trickle out, but most of the meat of their stories gives way to reality TV.

Commander focuses more on reality-type story lines. Leslie holds a contest for employees. Sight unseen, she chooses one employee solely on the basis of their life story to be the face of the company for a marketing campaign.

Meantime, Dylan and her crew scramble to open up a pop-up store in New York City in time for the holidays.

Those reality-show setups are perfectly fine and somewhat entertaining.

But the incredible lives that Leslie and Dylan are leading need more probing and more investigation to truly give these women the credit they deserve for their accomplishments. And, more than that, viewers deserve more than an hour of reality TV for these women to share their insights and wisdom.

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