Friday, October 22, 2010

Project Runway -- SPOILERS! With bonus conspiracy theory.

I haven't blogged about PR in a few weeks, because really, Mondo is awesome, Andy is pretty cool, Michael C is very nice, Gretchen is controlling, and there's little else to say.

I do want to mention the episode in which the designers had to design for Heidi's line (Episode 11). And really, there were two problems with that challenge: 1) Heidi's line; 2) Heidi.

The line is awful -- I can find those limp dishrags in any contempo store, but it doesn't mean I like them. Mind you, knits can be fun -- but these shapeless grey things, bastard children of cotton cardigans and sweats, are not. I mean, asking the designers to create something that would fit into the line and the color scheme is like inviting Duff Goldman to have an E-Z oven bakeoff for a five-year-old's birthday party. Or hiring an Frank Lloyd Wright to build an outhouse. In other words, criminal waste.

Speaking of: I suspected that Heidi is maybe not exactly in touch with us commoners; I was shocked at the depth of her contempt for her customers and the vitriol she was dripping while talking to the designers. She is convinced that people who buy her clothes are those legendary middle-Americans found in Walmarts, who live their lives in sweats and cringe at the thought of squeezing their flab into anything remotely tailored. Those people would never ever get dressed before leaving the house, so let's just give them some drab loungewear to cover their unappealing flesh. And the designers! She spoke to them as if they were children: "Do you think a woman could go shopping in that? Hmmmmmm?" (That being a perfectly decent cropped cardigan made by Mondo (Mondo!), whose only crime was lack of shapelessness -- and something I would wear, which I cannot say about Heidi's line). And actually, I wouldn't even talk to children like that -- that mix of condescension and pretend sweetness shouldn't be used on anyone. No wonder Mondo snapped -- and for one, I wholeheartedly supported a designer tantrum.

Last night's episode was a pretty even mix of awesome and terrible. Awesome: Mondo being Mondo, his mom telling the world that Mondo was allowed to play the piano only if he also played baseball, Mondo showing off his piano skills (but not short-stop skills), pretty much everything else. Andy's catfish farm rocked, what with Tim Gunn in rubber boots getting grossed-out and hand-flappy over a catfish. That part was funny and sweet and made me believe that Tim Gunn was my long-lost uncle.

Everything to do with Michael C however was really sad, and his final meltdown was pretty horrific. His family situation is tragic, no doubt, but I also am having a sneaking suspicion that he was a bit set up. Let's face it, he is not the best designer -- he mostly drapes, and makes an ok drapey dress (not my thing, but people who like that sort of dress seem to like his), but no range otherwise. (Malign Gretchen as you will, but she can tailor, and even though I'm not a fan of her esthetic, she makes her clothes well). So throughout the season, I felt that the praise that was heaped on him by the judges was over the top -- just like the dishing he got from fellow designers. But Michael C has advanced past his ability, and I wonder if that was intentional. I mean, he was inspired by the Statue of Liberty and made a drapey dress. Showstopper it wasn't, and it wasn't original either. I keep thinking that the judges built him up intentionally, to dash his hopes at the last moment -- Michael C seemed so childlike at times, so without artifice and cunning, that he would make a perfect mark for something like that. And I wonder if he was set up for the sake of drama.

I feel awful just thinking that, honestly. I hope that the judges are not that cruel; I hope Michale C's uneasy history was not brought in for the sake of drama. But what do you guys think? Is reality TV twisted enough to elevate a really sweet person just to bring them down?


CompassRose said...

I thought that bringing down a sympathetic person in the most humiliating way possible was the entire point of reality TV. It's the 21st century version of throwing innocents to the lions, in my opinion.

Fish Monkey said...

You're not wrong about that. I just wonder how premeditated the whole thing was. (Also, TV needs more lions.)