Screen Savors: Uniformly terrific

Entertainment and food for thought come together when 'Trinny and Susannah Undress the Nation' examines the British proletariat.

trinny and susannah 248.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
trinny and susannah 248.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Now that Trinny and Susannah have shown dozens of British women how to dress on What Not to Wear, they're taking on the whole bloody country in the delightful Trinny and Susannah Undress the Nation. What they're finding is that the clothes Brits wear are uniformly awful, whether it's badly fitted brassieres - as in an episode where the two fashion consultants had the townswomen delightfully doff their tops to show off their new improved bras - or the dreadful uniforms worn by British workers - as in the most recent episode we caught. Cheeky narration makes the show a pleasure as well. "Uniformed crime is on the increase. It's claimed two more victims," Trinny and Susannah offer, balking at the outfits they had to wear to work in a local hospital's dining room. To work, our women went, "on a mission to revamp British uniforms forever," setting their sights on the unsightly duds worn by workers at the Somerfield department store chain, at a Kankan car company in a small UK town and servers at a Wales hospital to see if, as Trinny declares, "Uniforms can make a difference" in how workers feel about themselves. Even the bosses at Somerfield agreed they could, giving the girls the nod to come up with something better. One bloke admitted that he'd never date Susannah in the typical baggy Somerfield uniform she had on while working the cash register. We love this program. Not only because the two stars don't hold back when delivering their brand of criticism. For example, Susannah tells a policewoman wearing black that, "I'd wonder if you're the cat burglar or not," or when Trinny says simply, "Uniforms today are just crap." But also because they're not afraid to jump in alongside the people they're trying to help. As in the case with the woman at Somerfield's dairy counter, where Trinny was stocking products, "like lining up my cashmere sweaters, which I do quite anally." Or when the two were working in the hospital dining room, Susannah wasn't afraid to say she was certain, "the corned beef just winked at me." Then touching it, she says the experience, "was like touching peeled testicles." So, rather than sending the workers to posh stores to choose new clothes, as they have in their previous series, they devised a new look on their own. Starting off small, they designed new items for the Kankan car rental company, whose cars are decked out in red, hot pink and black. After coming up with ravishing outfits for the ladies of the car rental agency, they went to work on those poor hospital "catering assistants" - as the servers insist on calling themselves. The hosts' interactions with the women in the kitchen were downright hysterical. Susannah declared, "I hate this uniform! I hate this job!" And we laughed when Trinny forcefully rubbed the lipstick off the face of one of the hospital women, insisting it was simply horrid. With the aid of a London friend, Trinny and Susannah came up with new duds for the food servers, including some pink shirts that at first put off some of their clients. "They've seen Grease too many times," complained one. But slowly the women came around to the idea, with Susannah expressing the hope that, "they just feel better about themselves." The highlight, however, was a fashion show for the staff at one of the Somerfield stores, where a catwalk was set up for the newly dressed to strut their stuff. Formerly boxy outfits gave way to sleeker attire that clearly had the workers feeling much better. Especially after having been encouraged by our two heroines to "Shake your tush" and to "get those tits forward." The effort proved worthwhile, with one of the women happily admitting that in her new uniform, "I felt like a million pounds." The hugely successful transformation proved Susannah's claim that, "a little change there and a little change here can improve morale." Indeed, turning fashion into fun has never looked as easy or as entertaining as on Trinny and Susannah Undress the Nation. Take a bow, ladies! Trinny and Susannah Undress the Nation airs on HOT Channel 3 on Sundays at 3:05 p.m. and again at 7:55 p.m.