To be perfectly honest, The Beautiful Life: TBL (which, by the way, is a completely stupid title - first of all, it's redundant. Second, it's like One Tree Hill naming itself One Tree Hill: OTH. Those of us who wish to talk about it and shorten the name can figure out how to do it ourselves, we don't need them to tell us how, especially since that actually makes the correct abbreviation TBL: TBL which is so irritating my head just exploded a little. But I digress...) isn't nearly as bad as I expected it to be.
I figured that it'd be sort of train-wreckish but instead it's main flaw is simply that it's boring.
Mischa Barton plays a hugely famous and successful supermodel who mysteriously took 6 months off and just disappeared. She's scheduled to return in the finale dress at the Zac Possen show during Fashion Week but she's impossibly late, full of attitude, popping mysterious pills, and too big to fit into the dress. So Sara Paxton steps in and instantly becomes the hottest commodity around, though why isn't made at all clear. Maybe in the modeling world there aren't reasons for this kind of thing. I think Sara Paxton is quite pretty but between the hair and the makeup they heaped on her for the Possen show scenes, she looked like a zombie. A REALLY SKINNY zombie.
Anyway, Sara is one of a group of models who work for Elle Macpherson's modeling agency and live together in some kind of boarding house. There is also a sassy Asian girl with cute bangs, Corbin Bleu, a blond guy who I think is supposed to be the male supermodel, and a longish haired guy from Brooklyn who sells drugs in his spare time.
Meanwhile, Ashton Kutcher has written himself into the script in that there is a kid from Iowa named Chris who is discovered by a skeevy agent at a restaurant while on vacation with his family. In case you're not aware, Ashton Kutcher's given first name is Christopher, he is from Iowa and was discovered doing something benign by a modeling agent. This kid is not really all that attractive but he's got a decent body. He meets Sara and suddenly the two hit it off because neither is like the rest of the vapid, insipid models in that Chris is kind of dimwitted and Marley is the particularly big-hearted daughter of someone who is getting out of prison for something unexplained.
During the course of the first show we learn that Corbin was a very successful child model who, due to his lack of height, is having a hard time making it as an adult model which only bothers him because he wants to use that to get his foot in the door as a rapper and when it looks like that's going to be even harder than he thought, he decides to whore himself out to the delightful Jaime Murray. The drug dealing model with the annoying hair and accent sells coke to an undercover cop at a party and is arrested in front of the paparazzi just before he is about to score with Bangs. Mischa pops pills, is called fat, steals a dress, offers sexual favors for a job then verbally bitch slaps the guy who was going to take them in the middle of a big party, is discovered (by Marley) to have totally had a baby while she was MIA (thus the extra weight), and throws a vase full of roses at a giant picture of herself she has hanging on her own wall. Sara offers sexual favors to the same guy for the same job that she then video tapes the guy accepting and then tells the guy she's 16 and threatens to show the tape to her father who will kill him thereby blackmailing him into giving Mischa the job.
She also takes Chris under her wing and acts all Yoda of Modeling. Chris meanwhile fails to have the slightest bit of common sense and doesn't realize that the skeevy agent is trying to get in his pants until the guy calls him baby a few times and grabs his ass. At which point he makes a scene in front of a room full of people and then decks him. That somehow gets him a job...I'm guessing because no one on earth likes the skeevy agent.
Elle Macpherson's face fails to look anything like Elle Macpherson.
Like I said, it's not that the show is bad, it's just that it's boring. I'm going to give this one more episode to be interesting because I get that pilots are tough and my rule is that if a show can hold my attention all the way through the pilot, it usually earns itself one more episode to win me over. But this baby is on very thin ice.