Thursday, September 14, 2006

Guilty Pleasure

I confess. I watch Project Runway . Not only do I watch it, I watch it avidly. Not only do I watch it avidly, I have gotten a friend interested in it as well. Not only are we both interested, but we call eachother during the show to kibitz what is unfolding as the week's drama.

For those of you who have not become so afflicted, the show is on BRAVO network, Wednesday at 10PM. This is its 3rd season. It is a competition among a dozen designers who have successfully competed against others to have berths on the show. The designers are male, female, gay, straight, and from a variety of ethnicities. Each week they are set a challenge, and have to design something in accord with that challenge. They are judged and one person is sent home. The final shows have 3 designers left who then take a month to build their own clothing line, show it during New York Fashion Week and then go through one more judgment for fabulous prizes and cash. For the extent of the series, the designers share living arrangements and a common workroom.

Well, in its defense (or in mine) what I like best about it is watching creative minds respond to creative challenges. I loved the episode in Season Two when the designers were asked to make dresses out of plant leaves and flowers. Occasionally a celebrity will be brought in and the challenge will be to design something for them to wear. Or they will have to make fancy clothing out of recycled paper, or out of whatever they can find to use in their hotel rooms. They've designed for Barbie dolls and for high society pooches. You get the idea.

Tim Gun is the affable mentor who works with these folks, and rather the Greek Chorus figure in the ongoing Sturm und Drang that results from so many high energy creative people competing so fiercely.

Every season I have had my favorite designer -- I was delighted when Jay won the first season, because he was so eye-poppingly brilliant and unapologetically avant garde (yet a farm boy at heart). I was sad when Santino, that LA bad boy with a golden heart, lost in Season Two, but resigned myself to the fact that he had undone himself by sassing back to the judges, who are the Prima-est of Prima Donnas.

Now we are nearing the end of Season Three, and next week's show will narrow it down to the Final Three. We are left with:

Uli -- a lovely designer gal from Miami who keeps designing different versions of long flowy multi-patterned dresses with spaghetti straps or bare shoulders. She is, however, very polite and sweet. And her dresses are really lovely.

Laura - a 40 year old architect, mother of 5 1/2, who wants to change careers. She keeps designing versions of a deep vee necked black dress. Her groove is a kind of stark elegance, but it is starting to feel like Laura -one-note. She always has an unkind word to say about someone.

Jeffrey - This season's bad boy - complete with tattoo around his neck (of his son's name)who designs with a rock and roll edge. Think Madonna. Although he won the week when he did a couture gown, he still has yet to put his stamp firmly on elegant design. He may be the most brilliant of all the designers, but I'm not sure I'd like to have coffee with him.

Michael - My personal favorite. Simple lines, clean construction. Interesting asymmetries. Original concepts. His things look wearable, comfortable, up-market without looking pretentious. He is honest about his strengths and weaknesses, and tries to be helpful to the other designers. I am hoping he makes it to the finish line as the winner.

Am I alone out here? Are there others of you who have secret guilty television pleasures?


Anonymous Hasty Brook said...

I am crazy about Project Runway! I watched part of season 2 with my 13 year old daughter and found it fun and something we could giggle about together. When season 3 started we convinced my husband to watch, just to see what we had enjoyed last year. After just the first episode, he was hooked! He reads PR blogs and tells me all the news. We plan our Wednesdays around the show. It's kooky, but, we love it. You're right- there is something about the creative process that is so fun to observe. I'm with you on your designer descriptions. LOVE the show. :)

7:30 AM  
Blogger beth said...

I'm with you here...I really like Project Runway, but I rarely watch it on Wednesdays. I try to catch the repeats and watch them with my older girls...

My weakness, I'm ashamed to admit, is Wife Swap. I find it utterly fascinating...

9:10 AM  
Blogger The Harbour of Ourselves said...

Will & Grace, closet fan! Never admitted that to anyone

12:10 PM  
Blogger Mata H said...

I am chuckling here -- c'mon you silent ones...who else is willing to bare their viewing pleasure?

5:03 PM  
Blogger samtzmom said...

Oh, heck... just finished watching Big Brother. (hiding back around the couch now...)

9:20 PM  

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