Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Nation of Whiners

When Bravo rewards Project Runway contestants like Kenley with more screen time and artificial praise for projects they have no right to win, merely to keep them in the game and potentially keep eyes tuned to the screen, it's cheapening the entire enterprise.

A competition? Hardly.

TV under the guise of competition? Now we're getting somewhere.

And rewarding the people who complain the loudest, cajole their colleagues and generally behave the worst -- all while trotting out the saved-til-the-end, made-for-tv sob story -- not to mention attitude for miles? Ugh, ugh, ugh!

When Project Runway's first season came to an end, and Jay McCarroll walked away with the well-earned first prize, I kind of mourned the show's newness.

At that time, with Wendy Pepper cast as a villain employing a strategy, most of the other designers, from what I could see, seemed to view the show more purely, as a means to establish themselves, build their businesses and get the word out about their design point of view.

Once the show aired, and a savvy auditioner could see that a persona could get you farther than raw talent, from that point onward, the die was cast.

Project Runway was no longer a competition based on design talent (if it ever was); rather, it was a competition to see who made for the best TV.

This isn't a new and startling development. But it's something that has hit home recently, since I've been tiring of all these reality shows.

And so that's it, with the Project Runway season finale, I'm swearing off of them, at least until I can stand it no longer.

(Thank God 30 Rock is waiting in the wings.)


Kitty said...

I agree, and their choices do zero justice to the fashion design community.

I wonder whether designers are irritated at all for their constant depiction of being over-the-top, flamboyant, unstable, childish, superficial and flippant. I'm sure a good lot of them are down-to-earth, relaxed, generous good people, but you wouldn't know, watching the show.

Hopefully the producers will learn from this? I wonder what the overall consensus is. I'm sure people have noticed the decrease in quality. If I were Tim Gunn, I'd complain.

Anonymous said...

If you want an interesting and in-depth look at the difference between "reality" tv and actual reality, you should check Jay McCarroll's new feature film documentary called "Eleven Minutes." it's playing in film festivals all over the country and will be released to the larger public this Winter.
There's a trailer on the site, too.

Spandrel Studios said...

Hey, anonymous - thanks for reminding me about Jay's movie. I wanted to see it when it was playing during the Philadelphia Film Festival a while back.

Will definitely check it out!

Spandrel Studios said...

And Kitty, for all the characterization the producers patchwork together out of the footage they shoot, you'd think the show would be better! It's all about the raw footage, I guess...

If I were some of the designers, I'd be a bit peeved. I'd heard that Terri was a lot less diva-ish than she'd been portrayed on the show. Or maybe she just learned something about how she comes across.

Wouldn't that just be a hoot to be a fly on the wall if Tim Gunn just decided he'd had enough of those shenanigans, stormed into the Bravo producers' next confab and gave them the business?