I'm 90% through the debut episode of Bravo's "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style" and all I can say is. . . is. . .
As a fan of Project Runway and all things Vincent Libretti, I already knew a little about Mr. Gunn. I had a sense for his particular and occasionally peculiar take on fashion. I had seen him in "action", to the extent that the Project Runway editors allowed me to.
But I never got a full and unfiltered view of what I feel is his most compelling quality, the single quality that makes this show more "watchable" than similar shows (e.g. "What Not to Wear") and frankly even vaguely related shows (e.g. "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy"). I never sensed the quality that makes me want to meet him.
Even filtered through the lens of television and hours of rigorous editing, there is no debating that this is a kind man.
Kindness is a trait that is hard as all hell to cultivate and even harder to emulate. Yes, this is a TV show. And yes, this is obviously a well-coached and clearly experienced individual.
But the kindness comes through. His essential compassion for his "subjects" is on display, and it illuminates the entire experience.
Being kind does not mean being soft, or disingenuous, or compromising. Honesty without judgment, without rancour or dissimilation, is hard if not impossible to simulate.
That said, it is a TV show. Perhaps it is the editors I have to thank. But I don't think so.
And so I say, well done, Mr. Gunn. You've captured my imagination, and in the best of all possible ways.