I know what you mean, I watched the first episode and had this overwhelming reaction, whooooo caaaaaaarrreeesss...
And I'm female, the target market for this show. I can only imagine how straight males would react, probably give them hives.
This is just another example that all TV is not for everyone. If fancy clothes and houses don't interest you, there's plenty else out there.
The Mirrorball Man wrote:
It's a well-made soap opera.
That's pretty much it. Escapist period fluff that's occasionally intentionally and unintentionally funny. And camp.
The confusion probably arises because of increased expectations due to it being on PBS and getting Emmy attention. Neither are generally associated with "fluff."