I don’t watch television for years, telling everyone American TV is garbage. Then along comes a series that whacks me over the head and leaves me addicted, and before I know it, I’m having to indulge my dirty little secret. My only consolation is that I can share my addiction with you, friends who I will probably never meet in the flesh.
Because Reality TV has been going for at least six years, I thought they’d have exhausted the format by now. That is, until I switched on the TV one evening and saw a beautiful woman, a masochist’s dream. Her hair was pulled back from her face and she had cheekbones sharp enough to slice cheese. In a harshly German accented voice, she was telling some poor guy:
“Your dress was a mess. It looks like something fit for the garbage heap. You are out!”
Cut to a contestant, lower lip trembling and on the verge of tears, standing beside a model wearing a horrendous dress that looks like it was hastily fashioned from a burlap bag.
The masochist’s dream was Heidi Klum. The program was Project Runway. And I was hooked.
The pretext is that fifteen designers compete against each other (with one kicked off the show each week), and whoever wins gets lots of money to create their own line. So obviously, while everyone pretends they are best friends, they can’t wait to slag everyone else’s designs off behind their back.
Yesterday I watched the show with my five year old daughter, Scarlett. The contestants were briefed to make a couture gown in Paris, in two days! They all managed it, which I thought was quite an achievement, and I wonder if a team of seamstresses didn’t jump out and finish the job when the camera stopped rolling.
The contestants are mostly oddballs. They are:
Pregnant Woman – this forty-two year old architect, desperate to get away from her five kids, and wanting to make a career in fashion, signed up for the show. She’s now been away from the kids for the entire series. She looks pretty good, like a prettier Cruella de Ville. She’s also pregnant and is desperate for sympathy. “I’m not like the other contestants,” she says. “I can’t get drunk on champagne at the end of every day. This competition is really taking its toll on my body. I don’t just have myself to look after, I also have a little guy in there.” Never mind the little guy, what about your kids. Hello? You have five kids who might be a little bit more important than your need to take part in a fashion competition.
Goth Guy – who may well be the progeny of Liza Minelli and David Gest, is the bitchy, backstabbing star of the show. He has lots of ‘tude and struts around in tight leather pants, tiny t-shirts and rhinestone encrusted sunglasses. It’s impossible to take one’s eyes off him, because he looks like a turtle, with a stretched out neck which is, bizarrely, tattooed. At first glance the tattoo looks like a dotted line, handily placed there for the condemned man who is about to go to the guillotine. But then you realize it is ornate writing, ostensibly his son’s name. It is a truly grotesque sight, and you should tune in just to see it.
Wig Man –a fifty year old man who looks like he’s wearing a dead cat on his head. While it looks like an animal corpse or a bad wig, I fear it is his real hair, lackered stiff. He also wears rectangular glasses with thick black frames in order to look serious, and can’t design for toffee.
Highly Strung Gay Guy – Born to design costumes in Vegas for Wayne Newton, this man harbors ambitions to be a fashion designer. I guess they don’t check the contestants for mental illness before they go on, but any psychiatrist could tell you this man is clearly delusional.
Token Black Guy – He’s only got nice things to say about the other contestants. “She has great creative energy. I love his designs.” I hate him.
Tiny German Girl – Can only design one dress. Long, flowing and hippyish. She’s so boring they really need to kick her off.
Yesterday, all the contestants were flown first class to Paris to design and make their couture gowns. Wig Man, who was strutting around and bragging, “No one can do couture the way I can. Couture really gets me off,” designed a dress that had a deep V in the front.
“He didn’t know what he was doing,” said my five year old daughter Scarlett, who was watching the show with me, as he put the dress on the model. “That girl’s titties are going to fall out.” She was right, they did.
Goth Guy had done something that looked like a yellow parachute, all billowy fabric and stringy bits.
Scarlett’s verdict: “It looks like a pineapple.”
Tiny German Girl had, admittedly, designed the only wearable dress, a long, flowing hippyish dress in pale purple.
Scarlett: “That’s my favorite. I like it.”
Pregnant Woman had created a very dull black dress with a white choir boy ruffle.
Scarlett: “That’s so boring! She looks like a witch.”
Highly Strung Gay Guy had made a fairy tale dress with a gold mesh bodice and long flowing skirt.
Scarlett, “I wouldn’t wear it. But it would look great on my Princess Barbie.” Well said.
Token Black Guy produced a so-so blue dress with lots of swirls.
All the contestants had to fit their dresses on their models and take them to a boat party on the Seine. On the way there a fat man, maybe because they affronted his Parisian sense of style, pelted the designers with eggs from his balcony, and Token Black Guy’s dress got covered in slimy albumen.
Unperturbed, the gang proceeded onto the boat, where their creations were judged by a so called famous French designer I have never heard of, Barbarella van de Brie or something, who spoke with a very strong French accent.
High on the free champagne, Wig Man tried to ingratiate himself with Barbarella, who, because she was being paid to be on the show, could not throw her champagne in his face or have him escorted off the boat by security. With his face in her cleavage, he told the raven haired beauty that, “Your style is so uniquely French. I admire you so much. Your hair is so beautifully styled and your makeup is impeccably applied. No one does couture like I do, and I have a real penchant for detail. You are perfectly finished, no detail is out of place.”
He needn’t have bothered. Barbarella hated his dress, it was obvious by the way she wrinkled her nose when he asked her what she thought of it. In the end she could only say, “It is a very interesting dress.”
Next they all flew back to New York to have a second round of judging by Michael Kors and some ‘famous’ designer who had just created the new Delta flight attendant uniforms.
The result? Goth Guy, with his pineapple dress, was declared the winner. I don’t know how that happened. My guess is he was sleeping with Michael Kors or Heidi or someone.
In the end, Heidi Klum told Wig Man:
“The front of your dress looks like it should be at the back. It is just awful. Wig Man, you are out!”
And thus Wig Man was kicked off the show.
Since Scarlett chose that as the worst dress, I wonder if she is destined for a career in fashion?
Now I can barely wait for the new episode, which airs on Wednesday.
Who will be the next to be offed? Token Black Guy or even Pregnant Woman? Can they chuck a pregnant woman off the show? It would certainly be a controversial move.
And what about the future of Reality TV? Will TV execs be forced to move into more controversial ground, as Infinite Muppets suggests. I, for one, would love to take part in a show he suggests, called Castrate-A-Paedo. Are there any TV execs out there taking note? That, even more than Project Runway, would be a ratings hit. Guaranteed.
14 hours ago