Friday, October 29, 2010

Why I'm Pissed at Project Runway

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT: Do not read this if you don't know the outcome of last night's show.
(Also maybe don't read this if you don't watch Project Runway, because you'll be confused, and probably bored.)

I'm mad, guys.

I'm mad that Mondo didn't win.

Or maybe I'm sad. Maybe this is anger covering up for sadness.

No, fuck that, I'm pissed.

I'm upset, obviously, because he was my favorite. I felt like he was more talented than Gretchen and that his final collection was better. I liked him more as a person. I may or may not want to keep him in my pocket like a little Jiminy Cricket and have him help me pick out eyeliner and learn to tap dance. For all of these reasons I wanted Mondo to win. But I'm not pissed just because he lost. I will grant that Gretchen's collection did not suck so much that there was no room for argument, and that she's probably not a horrible human being, and I realize that some people have opinions that differ from mine (in this case, clearly, Michael and Nina.) No, I'm pissed because I feel manipulated.

Hear me out.

I have watched a lot of reality television in my day. Before I drop my ridiculous knowledge on you, it must be said that there are many different kinds of reality shows, all of which have their own unspoken rules in determining the winner. Let's dispense quickly with the following:

SHOWS WON BASED ON MEASURABLE FACTORS, i.e. The Biggest Loser (pounds lost), The Amazing Race (er... a literal race), Beauty and the Geek (correct answers to inane questions), Wipe Out or I Survived a Japanese Game Show (ability to leap over obstacles without hilariously face-planting...or willingness to wear giant diaper while pedaling a child's bicycle through a sand pit), American Idol (based on votes, although you could argue that the voting process is corrupt), So You Think You Can Dance (ditto) and their ilk. These shows choose winners based on cold, hard math (or purport to, anyway). If you are an asshat on Idol or SYTYCD, people might not vote for you, so personality does count, but I'm MUCH more interested in shows where the producers have a heavy hand.

Also not counted are DATING SHOWS i.e. The Bachelor/ette, Rock of Love, Tila Tequila and all of the other, even shittier, iterations. These shows pick winners based on the taste and opinion of the person looking for love coupled with (I'm certain) input from producers. But for the purposes of this rant, I'm focusing on my experience watching week-by-week elimination-based shows that judge an unmeasurable talent and do not count on public voting.

Like, for instance, Project Runway.

Having watched ProjRun since the very first episode, I feel like I know the formula. We all do. That's why it's so hard to stay interested after eight seasons--it starts to feel like you've seen everything before.

Mondo's story arc this season was the stuff that great underdog movies are made of. He started off the weird outcast, he gained his footing, he started to prove himself, week after week, and then, as if we weren't already rooting for him enough, he revealed his very personal struggle with hiding his HIV-positive status from his family. WE HAD EVERY REASON TO WANT HIM TO WIN.

Then, we had Gretchen. Gretchen started off strong, winning the first two challenges, but even from episode 2, we started to get the message that she was kind of a bitch--a message, that, in my opinion, the editors made even louder than it needed to be. Every show needs a villain, and Gretchen, with her oblivious narcissism and superiority complex, fit the bill perfectly. As the weeks went by, she got more and more insufferable. We wanted her to fail. She almost did, landing twice in the bottom two, but made it to Fashion Week anyway.

To lose to Mondo.

I mean, that's how the story was supposed to end.

 Oh, Mondo, we'll always have Santa Cruz... and your Janelle Monae hair.

And before you accuse me of just being biased, let me ask you this: Have you seen the movie Hoosiers? OK, so first imagine that Hoosiers gets stretched out to 21 hours (say, about the length of 13 hour-and-a-half episodes plus a two-hour finale). The tiny, underdog Hoosiers still, against all odds, make the state championship, but in the final minutes of the game they lose to the tall, athletic team from South Bend. And the end credits roll.

You see what I'm saying? Storytelling matters. Reality television is still a story, crafted by producers and editors. This season, the story had a hero and a villain. We might have liked Mondo and disliked Gretchen without the guiding hand of editing, but that certainly helped us along. I'm sure that the producers could have cast Gretchen in a more favorable light, and I'm surprised that they didn't, considering that she won. A television franchise needs its audience to be satisfied with the show in order to keep coming back. I trusted Project Runway, and it let me down.

Unlike a show with recurring characters and continuous plot lines that can count on your interest to see what happens next (i.e. you might have hated the season finale of Grey's Anatomy, but you're coming back to see how the characters cope with the trauma of having some dude come in and kill half the staff--and also whether maybe they think about installing a metal detector, because Seattle Grace is dangerous, yo), a show like ProjRun needs the audience to trust its judgment from season to season. Mondo's not coming back next year, so in order to keep watching we need to trust that whoever is most deserving of next season's cast will win. And I don't. I don't trust ProjRun anymore. I had my doubts back when Jeffrey Sebelia won at the end of Season 3, but he was also a recovering drug addict AND had an adorable son whose name he had tattooed on his neck, so I let it slide. Then "Meana" Irina Shabayeva took it home in Season 6, but that season was the first after the network change, so I told myself it was just part of a rocky transition. But now, I'm done. Project Runway, we're over*.

*Except for my final recap. Shit.

Oh, and it's not me--it's you.


  1. Oh snap. I was done after Meana, so congrats on lasting longer. I just couldn't take it anymore. But I miss Tim.

  2. Mondo was robbed. ROBBED!!!! I'm done watching PR. Gretchen's collection was fine, and unfortunately that's all it was. There was nothing particularly amazing about it. I could see it being carried at macy's (except for the wierd underwear-type thingies). And thats a perfectly fine thing, but I've always thought of PR as being the show that rewarded uniqueness and specialness. Apparently not. And so, I'm not watching anymore. Goodbye Tim Gunn. I'll miss you!

  3. The words "Project Runway" will never EVER again appear on my blog. I refuse to have any part in promoting this shit show (literally) that's been ruined by Lifetime.

  4. Awww...I liked Irina!

    I was surprised when Mondo didn't win, but I had to say I was agreeing with Michael Kors and Nina with what they said about Gretchen's clothes. I liked her collection and want to wear it.

    That being said, I was really hoping they'd give the grand prize to the both of them.

  5. Anonymous3:11 PM

    this finale has me flashing back to the AI adam lambert/chris what's-his-name finale. i am dumbfounded and pissed but hopeful that the runner-up will have great success. mondo needs to hire adam's publicist.

    comparing gretchen's collection to mondo's is like comparing canned asparagus to fresh.

    while gretchen's collection was not offensive, it walked by in such a blur and, ultimately, all the prints ended up looking like the same fabric; the same thing that michael c. was eliminated for. and don't get me started on her granny panties. i lived in portland (g's home town) for over 20 years. her clothes will appeal to women with hairy legs, birkenstocks and boda bags who want something new to wear to the country fair as they twirl in the mud to the music of the grateful dead or phish.

    ultimately, the judged did exactly what they constantly told the designers not to do: played it safe.

  6. Agreed. With everything.

    Except I don't know if I have the willpower to REFUSE to watch another season. I'm pretty sure I'll always watch, but with anger and sadness and doubt. PSHT!!

  7. Don't let Michael and Nina off the hook. They were very inconsistent. The Boho thing is actually very old. As are they. They aged in front of our very eyes.

    I wonder how the agency feels that now has to represent Gretchen. I wonder how many agents were at the show pressing their card into Mondo's hands with the remark, "If it doesn't work out, you call me."

  8. i'm with rusty pig. i don't watch project runway, because i don't know why. never did. and not going to start now.

    but american idol really ruined it for me. when adam lambert lost to kris allen, i lost the little faith i had left in humanity. not that either of them are going gangbusters in the music world, but have you heard/seen kris allen since his win? do you remember what he looked like?

    nope. but you KNOW you remember adam's version of 'ring of fire'. his perfect eyeliner application. you know you remember him performing with kiss (even though i hate kiss). you wanted to buy or did buy his album.

    i won't watch idol anymore. the only 'reality'ish television in our household is now deadliest catch, ghost hunters, and destination truth. if you can call those 'reality' shows.

  9. Over 1700 comments on Project Runway's Facebook page and not one was in favor of Gretchen. That says it all.

  10. I am also distressed that Mondo lost. Gretchen's clothes were very, i don't know, done already. I am 41 yrs old and I'm pretty sure I've seen that style before. I owned an outfit that was black and white with harem like pants about 20 yrs ago. I would not wear her stuff. And even though I'm old, I would wear some of Mondo's ie: the leggings and skull shirt, that was super cool. I think I liked Andy's collection more that Gretchen's. That seemed more elegant and wearable to someone like me. Heidi really put up a fight though which was surprising. I also agree with above sentiments that Nina and Kors are inconsistent and don't know what they want to see.

  11. well said. this is exactly why this season bothered me so much. and to stay up past my old-lady bedtime to watch that robbery. i'm done.

  12. Anonymous4:34 PM

    Heidi is a producer...I wonder why she caved? It was a 50/50 split! I do think Gretchen's collection was much better with the styling for the show, and Mondo reminded me of Seth Aaron's in terms of being more quirky and colorful. He will do very well, though, I'm sure. What a sweet little guy. I hope Gretchen was nicer than the editing presented her. Of course, Ivy could make anyone look nice. Yikes. I agee, though, PR is getting stale and it was better on BRAVO.

  13. Oh tim, where were you during this fiasco? Having a series of strong drinks, I hope.

    How is it that neither Nina or MK said a peep about the granny panties? Like "real" women are going to wear those? Tragic! And, with Nina's fondness for Boho, which is so last year, it's no wonder Marie Claire is not a top fashion magazine.

    The judging was simply inexplicable.

    And, excuse me but Jessica Simpson??? 'Nuff said. At least she was on Team Mondo.

    If Nina and MK are back as judges next year, I will not.

    I hope Lifetime (and their advertisers) realizes they just lost a good portion of their viewship.

    But maybe a new show for Tim?

    PR has jumped the crack-smoking shark.

  14. Anonymous4:51 PM

    I guess I'll be the unpopular one here...I liked Gretchen's show. It was wearable and feminine. Mondo's was overwrought, over-designed, and really DID lean towards a teenager's taste. I LOVE Mondo, but that doesn't make him the clear winner. In the end, his collection wasn't as marketable as Gretchen's. And if we're going to talk about style we've seen before: HELLO! a screen-printed skull? pretty sure I've seen that one before. like, everywhere.

  15. Thank you Una! You said exactly what I was feeling on everything (fashion soul sister!) - in your articulate, passionate way. I was not so thrilled about this season's group - and conflicted with Gray's Anatomy time, yet I faithfully read your recaps. Trust is everything. Completely right that they lost our trust. Can't believe the producers let Nina and MK get so puffed up in ridiculously inconsistent ways. Perhaps they thought nothing of J. Simp's opinion, then why even have a celebrity at the finale? Look at the whole story A**holes!
    Can't believe the comments on their Facebook page. Poor Heidi and Tim to be stuck (albeit, making money) in this hole.
    Move along folks, there's nothing left to see here.

  16. Una,
    I am also pissed and sad. I agree with everything you said. I almost stopped watching after Irina won, for all the same reasons - they made her look like a bad person the whole season, there was no lead up to the finale to make you like/want to root for her, and then BAM she wins. I gave it another chance last season, and was thrilled that Seth Aaron won - I thought that they had realized their mistake. So, I tried again this season, and I had the rug pulled out from under me again. I knew as soon as they started the judging that it was going to be Gretchen, and my heart sank. It was a dirty trick. And before people get all "it's only a TV show", (which I understand!) it was a part of our lives for 13? weeks, and I was really into it, and I think it is nothing but a cheap, low punch to do it like this again. I am done with PR, will not watch it again, because Lifetime doesn't deserve my time and energy. They clearly think we are idiots - it's not intelligent to play the fans all season and then stick it to us. Thanks for the laughs, Una! I'll miss your re-caps!

  17. Anonymous5:18 PM

    This was a real kick in the teeth.
    And not just because our favorite lost.
    I ask you:
    1. Andy's collection was criticized for being too "new" ie, not what they've seen Andy do all season. Except, they warned Andy to try a new angle on his collection, because they were bored with his "warrior woman" look.
    2. Gretchen's collection looked virtually identical to the mini-collection she showed the week previous. Sorry. It was still crunchy granola. It was still shopping at Whole Foods. And for that, she gets the win.
    There is no justice in this world, and I am breaking up with Project Runway.

  18. Does Michael Kors only have one set of clothes?

  19. Anonymous6:01 PM

    I too, love Mondo. I wanted to slap the Paul Lind right out of Michael Kors and just slap Nina for loving those odd Gretchen pants. They looked like a runway to a private landing strip if you get my meaning. I felt like this season pretty much sucked anyway up until the point that Michael C almost went postal at least you thought someone might get killed. Plus I think Lifetime tried to trick us with the ridickety-dackety-donkulous commercials for the "reunion" show. Tim Gunn saying I am "getting emotional" made me fear that Michael C had hurt himself in some way. Poor Tim Gunn is right! I guess he will continue to "make it work", but I will not tune into view it.

  20. trailmixy6:10 PM

    Gretchen is clearly less talented and I am mad as well. I have a theory - this season of PR has been about product placement. It always has been driven by the sponsore, but it just feels heavier handed this season. To keep the sponsors happy, they NEED someone to sell their line on the PiperLime website. And I would bet that Mondo wouldn't take the money.
    I remember that the first season winner didn't take the money because he would have given away the rights to his designs. And I would bet that Mondo - likely faced with likely guaranteed high-fashion house job offers and future TV deals, wouldn't give up that creative control.

    All we have heard Gretchen say is that she is broke. And her stuff, although mundane and in my opinion, unattractive, is "ready to wear" marketable. I would bet the producers knew she would take the deal, sell her designs from under herself, and they would have a happy sponsor on their hands.

    At the end of the day, the whole point of this season has been to make the sponsors happy.

  21. Who else thinks Nina is a self-loathing Latina? *raises hand* Her "Miss Guatemala" and "I don't get Day of the Dead" gaffes really rubbed me the wrong way.

  22. I'm an OLD hippie academic professor type, and I would NOT wear Gretchen's clothes. I did, though, circa, ummm, 1972 or so. Despite the judges (and I use the term loosely) calling Mondo's clothes too young, I actually could wear some of those, the tunic dress (albeit with some pants under it), for instance. I hope he doesn't go back to Denver but stays in New York and RULES! Nina and MK were just angry that he didn't take their advice about the polka dot dress.

  23. Anonymous7:48 PM

    The part that stinks the most of manipulation is how heavily the producers featured Gretchens commentary and critiquing of the other designers and how she avoided being eliminated after committing serious fashion faux pas. Who can forget the maroon and brown group challenge! That NYC outfit? The collection she made for Heidi?! Being in the bottom several times in a row and avoiding elimination....It feels as if the whole season was a set up and my heart breaks for Mondo, and April, and Michael C. Oh, and Gretchen's styling of her final collection? I recall Nina and Michael and Heidi being very specific with their instructions as to how to style her show...

  24. This has been an effing crapola week.
    I was hand-picked, invitation and all, to serve on a committee whose purpose (I thought) was to be helpful but (after the first meeting I realized) it's objectives are hurtful.
    Then all the Maura Kelly nonsense upset me no end.
    Then GRETCHEN wins PR! I moaned and groaned and cursed and turned off the tv so fast I gave it whiplash. I call bullshit.
    I agree with everything you said about how the show has changed. They ruined it, a perfectly great show, an intelligent show, ruined. I will miss Tim terribly, I adore that man.

  25. sandyra8:01 PM

    I hate being played.

    I hate judges who change the rules and don't tell you.

    Kors and Nina went for commercialism over fashion this season and told no one. The designers were still playing by the old rule book. No one got the memo, apparently.

    I don't like how they toyed with Michael C, making him think he stood a chance of winning when there really was no hope of that happening.

    The terrible two (N&K)came off as cruel and spiteful. They were pissed at Mondo because he kept his vision and his voice and didn't change for them or anyone. Bravo, Mondo! It takes a lot of character to stick to your ideals and not cave under a $100,000's worth of pressure.

    But Gretchen did. I guess that makes her more of a 'winner' because she was willing to sell out to win the prize. Some people might say she was smart because she listened to the judges advice. I call BULLSHIT! It's not the judges' job to take away your voice/vision. The designers should stand on their own decisions and not have to dance to the judges' tune.

    While Kors and Nina did their best to suck the life and joy out of the designers it was hurtful to watch them do it. So I'm done with PR. It's not an idle statement. I quit nbc when they messed with the Tonight Show. I haven't watched one single show on nbc since Leno took the show back. Now I can scrub PR off my tv watching list, too.

    Like I said before, I hate being played. And not only that, I feel like a fool for falling for PR's tricks one again. No. More.

  26. I'm pissed too!! And I hated Gretchen since the first episode. Her final runway show was okay but kinda blah... I loved the plaid strapless dress and plaid pants that Mondo did.

  27. sandyra8:19 PM

    Oh, yeah. One more thing.
    Running w/thunder = Jogging w/gas.

  28. Greatest Apple deals you can ever find in Australia!

  29. Una,
    When you were going on vacation you suggested we read Owen or Tom and Lorenzo. I did, and enjoyed both.
    I just spent an hour or so over at Tom and Lorenzo, reading the comments in the T LOunge as the show jumped the shark last night, and I read their interview with Mondo.
    I feel a bit better. Go look.
    My favorite was someone who quoted Star Wars: "I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened."
    Also someone who said they were experiencing "an aneurism due to bullshittery".

  30. Anonymous10:10 PM

    Gretchen's clothes would sell to readers of Marie Claire. Nina has to feed her family. Nuff said.

  31. Mondo soooo should have won. The. End.

    I hate Wretchen.

  32. Marie Claire just keeps taking hit after hit...first that idiot girl on their website, and now Nina Garcia being....herself.

    The only thing that can possibly comfort me after watching that finale is the fact that Mondo will become ridiculously famous anyway, without any more help from Project Runway. I have no doubt that our little guy will get the last laugh.

  33. Everything about this result was bullshit. Gretchen's clothes were mostly boring and in couple cases terrible—hot pink lipstick with brown and olive green? I swear I threw up a little in my mouth when I saw that.

    I liked the suggestion above about Gretchen selling out to Piper Lime and that may be one reason but when Nine the pouty faced troll started spewing forth some garbage about Mondo's stuff being similar to Seth Aaron's we knew he was done. They choked under the pressure of having to choose a deserving winner with a similarly loud and in your face design aesthetic as the previous season. Awful.

    Oh, and wtf was with that red pantsuit? Did Heidi Klum rob a Mervin's during the xmas sale. Yowza.

  34. so agreed! i yelled obscenities at the TV for hours last night. If Betsy Johnson and David LaChapelle ran away with the circus and gave birth to a love child on Día de los Muertos, his name would be Mondo Guerra. And he's fucking brilliant. Michael Kors on the other hand, is a fucking idiot.

  35. I am right there with you.. I think mondo should have swept the playing field but because michael and nina liked Gretchen she won.. bummer. He will still be big

  36. Cathy1:46 PM

    Your comments are spot-on, and they explain the incredible rage that I've seen all over the Interwebz about Mondo's loss. Above all else, Project Runway is an entertainment product (and only secondarily a fashion competition). For them to be so illogical with their story arc is really puzzling. Surely they should be able to predict that people would be angry? Are they hoping to increase publicity for future seasons with all this wrathful voicing of opinions, perhaps? If so, they may have succeeded in their diabolical plan.

  37. stated4all2:10 PM

    Between the Marie Claire sponsorship and its recent outrageous posting and now this....I am off PR forever. I discovered you on your Huffington Post recaps (always good for a belly laught), but I join you in the PR boycott. I will miss Tim Gunn and will have to find a way to get a TG fix...but HOW could they pick Gretchen over Mondo. I had not yet had a chance to watch the final episode (DVR'd) but read your blog anyway expecting a Mondo win...but now I won't even give them that. I have seen the collections anyway on some of the fashion websites....sheesh! I am done with PR! Now....what shall we move on to next? And it should be something beside ANTM, too!

  38. THANK YOU! I don't see how anyone who watched could not have wanted Mondo to win! I feel like I know him! I literally cried when he did not win. I love that picture of him too...I'm considering framing it and keeping it by my bed.

    The only thing that made me feel a bit better was that Gretchen really needed to money. But I can not name one normal woman who would buy those panty pieces.

  39. I'm also done with PR... I felt like Michael and Nina pulled the same BS with Mondo that they did with April. They let April make the same dress all season and didn't call her on it until the end... and then all of a sudden in the finale Mondo it too "costum"...


  40. I grew weary of Gretchen and her speech affectation early on (it's a sign of insincerity, at best, often dishonesty, in my opinion). Then we witnessed her bullying and leading others to pick on someone weaker. I did not like the garments she won challenges with. And, am I wrong or did she steal the panty idea from April? And didn't the judges hate them back then? And finally, since when is RTW good enough to win Project Runway? So sad to see such a good idea, a show that showcases fine artistic talent, become just more of the dreck that passes for entertainment.

  41. Anonymous1:28 PM

    Boy oh boy, was I pissed. And yes, I had a sneaking suspicion that something fishy would happen in the finale. But as others have commented, it is hard for me to understand how Heidi could let this happen on a show that SHE produces! She doesn't get final say? Tim Gunn doesn't get to weigh in?
    You praise someone all season for being unique, and then punish him in the end for being too unique? I thought this show was about finding design talent, and not for finding the next off the rack "talent". For shame, Project Runway. It's on a third tier network, it is sponsored by a third tier fashion magazine (ELLE at least had some caché), and now they reward third tier talent.

  42. Anonymous9:24 PM

    I have a feeling the editors/production staff thought Mondo would kick Gretchen's ass at fashion week, just like we has hoped. They started editing/airing the show before she was declared the winner, and production had already painted her as Wretchen by the time she won. They couldn't back pedal *that* much, and it is rather hard to completely hide her greater-than-thou personality anyways. Yeah, I think they were just as shocked by the outcome of fashion week as we are.

    I refuse to blame the editing team. The blame lies 100% on dated Michael and Nina, a woman is is part of a magazine that outright endorsed hatred of over weight individuals. NO ONE wanted Gretchen to win but them, and had they chosen a real fashion industry head, as opposed to the fluff judging of Jessica Simpson, MAYBE the two dumb bells would have folded under the pressure. But alas... it was Heidi against the world. On THAT note..I said this during the live blog, but it is HER show! She should have final say over those two ding bats.

    Alright...I'm done. *sigh* what a horrid end to a promising season.

  43. Heather W.4:15 PM

    The only reason I kept watching after Irina won in Season 6 is so I could read your recaps. They were hilarious and I always looked forward to them. Now that you and Project Runway are officially over I can finally remove the show from my DVR. One great thing that came out of all of this is that I (and many other fans) have become a regular reader of your blog. Thanks for all the laughs over the past seasons! I am going to miss Tim :(

  44. Unh, Micheal and Nina seemed so out of touch, so tunnel-visioned, so closed into their little boxes!

  45. That is exactly what I said! Why did they make us dislike Gretchen so much and love Mondo so dearly just to have him snatched away from us for bullshit reasons? WHY I ASK YOU!?! The judging has been so erratic since the move to Lifetime and this season I just did not get it. At all. And I miss that. I miss being on the same page, or at least the next page, with the judges. This season I felt like I was reading a different book.
    In retaliation I went as a sugar skull circus performer for Halloween. My motto was "MONDO FOR EVER!"

  46. The nasty contestant interactions aside (which could be great fun), I really watched Project Runway because it was fun to see how the creation of fashion works, how that kind of talent grows, etc. I feel totally ripped off as Mondo was clearly and wildly talented above and beyond all the others, including Gretchen. Her clothes weren't that interesting, it wasn't that they were bad, just not interesting. I could buy those clothes at Macy's, or even Kohl's. Mondo's clothes on the other hand seemed like real fashion with all the excitement that can hold. This is the first year we heard so much of the discussion on how the judges made their final choice, and it was disappointingly vacuous...not at all the esoteric intellectual approach I thought they would use. And, it didn't focus on talent or focused on boho??
    I'm through with it!

  47. CeeJay - NY2:01 PM

    I've never posted to a blog before -- that's how strongly I feel about this PR outcome. Unlike you, Una, this is the only reality show I've ever watched (unless Celebrity Poker counts). And even though I'm pretty onto the editing and "good tv" vibe, in past seasons I generally felt that the winners deserved to win. Not so, Season 8! PR diddled me and I'm not coming back! As a loyal member of the audience, I have been used and disrespected. I'd be a fool to sign up for that again! (And, oh yeah, I did not like the 1-1/2 hour episode, anyway -- too drawn out -- lots of filler using April's putty-colored nails at the sewing machine.) Also, to Lifetime: The sleazy addition of the Job Mother (or whatever!) was crass and disgusting!

  48. Deanie3:20 PM

    My first reaction, after the shock wore off, was: Doesn't Heidi produce the show? Couldn't she have told Kors and Garcia to go auf themselves?

    Then I felt that I—and everyone else rooting for Mondo—had been given the old bait-and-switch: Praise Mondo pretty consistently all season for his bold and electrifying use of color and patterns, then pull the rug out from under him (and us) by deeming his collection too out there and circuslike for a runway show. Hello, it's Fashion Week at Lincoln-freakin'-Center. It's the time and the place for high drama and pizzazz!

    What kills me is that Kors and Garcia spent most of the season chastising designers such as Peach and Casanova for not skewing young enough in their designs. Or Kors and Garcia would say that a design looks too ready-to-wear. All of a sudden, they seemed really concerned that middle-aged women couldn't wear Mondo's clothes. They didn't seem to care about that issue last year when they chose Seth Allen's collection over Emilio's, which definitely had some ensembles that women of any age could wear.

    As for Gretchen's collection, one word came to mind: schmatta. It's one of those Yiddish words that means so much, as in:

    First woman: What a nice poncho!
    Second woman: This schmatta? I found it at Goodwill for two dollars!

    I had no idea until the finale that a runway show composed of schmatta was the height of cutting-edge fashion.

    Finally, wasn't Gretchen's much-praised jewelry the same darn thing, over and over and over?

  49. sandyra8:52 PM

    Hi Una,
    The judges weren't thinking outside the box. They were thinking inside their asses.

  50. CeeJay - NY10:05 AM

    (My second post, ever. What's going on, here?)

    I'm going to HP every few hours to find your Season Finale (Part II)Recap. Now I see that Part I has been removed. Is something going on I should know about?

    By the way, one wondrous thing has come from PR Season 8, for me: I found Una! What a terrific voice you have, Woman! Such a keen appreciation for life/humanity.

    Also, I will miss Tim. Did everybody see the video of him at a King of Prussia mall? Very revealing. A real truth-teller!

  51. I couldn't disagree more. Of course it was obvious all along that PR was never a pure competition, that it was manipulated in various ways to make (questionably) 'good television' ... and we've all had our suspicions at times, no doubt, that the judging was far from pure (eg., was Chris March's final collection too costume, or were the producers/judges afraid that his looks would overshadow Siriano's similar looks in the final showdown, which Siriano was clearly fingered to win?) ... but I think that most people felt that the competition overall was reasonably authentic, and I think that this is what drew people to the show.

    Most reality show competitions are more or less an excuse for pycho-drama and junior high school social dynamics. This one was different, because the competition itself was fascinating. Folks in the audience felt heightened and inspired by watching talented designers struggle with (more or less) interesting challenges, and we got to compare our impressions of the results with what the judges had to say. Sometimes we even felt that the judges educated and enlightened us.

    This season, all that went away. Gretchen combined the worst qualities of Wendy Pepper, Jeffery Sebelia, Santino, Kenlee and Irina into one person, a kind of workroom terror, almost more dangerous as a friend than as an opponent, who not only seemed to get other designers kicked off PR with dubious advice, but who also distracted everyone, including herself, from the task of good design. Everyone except for Mondo. Mondo singlehandedly rescued the season, dealing with people reasonably, most of the time, focusing his energies on good design, and giving us a reason to watch the show. How much of Gretchen's Reign of Terror was manipulated by the producers? Probably a lot? How much of Mondo's feel-good story was manipulated by the producers? Maybe not much, judging by how hamhanded their attempts to milk Mondo's HIV revelation were. Gretchen's takeover of Project Runway this season really seemed to represent the triumph of script over substance, apart from Mondo.

    Why should Mondo have won? Because he focused on design and his work got better and better, while Gretchen focused on being the Lord of the Flies and forgot to have design ideas. Why didn't he win? Because once a television show is flying high over the shark, it can't go back. No doubt Gretchen has a lot of nasty little secrets about the ways producers manipulate the show that she would have felt compelled by her sense of 'integrity' to reveal had she not won the final prize.

    So there was something weirdly fitting about the finale being a train wreck. But folks aren't outraged because the anticipated story-arc wasn't fullfilled. They are angry because the outcome was transparently bogus.

  52. Anonymous5:20 PM

    Thank you SF Giants. A great pick-me-up after PR, with a proper outcome.
    As I listened to the judging and it dawned what was going to happen, I started to shake my head. Gretchen, with her passive aggressive behaviors is easy to hate, but my issue is that she is imagination-challenged--an artisan, not an artist. I like to think I can separate the personality from the work, but sometime I don't have to and Gretchen's work was mediocre. Her personality didn't matter.
    Also I worry that TG has been gagged somehow.

  53. I was soooo pissed that Gretchen won. Aside from the fact that she was a total passive/agressive bitch (and I agree that was probably due to a lot of editing), her collection stunk. AND, was all the same color which was the excuse all the judges gave the week before for voting Michael C. off! And WHAT was up with those underpants that were all through her collection???? Ick. Mondo should have won!


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