Project Runway

Episode Report Card
Jeff Long: A | Grade It Now!

Are you ready?! Ready for the fighting? Ready for Heidi Klum's Baltimore second-grader's accent? Ready for product placement rivaled only by Josie and the Pussycats? Well, if so, that means you are ready for Project Runway: Home of All Things Previous. We were ready, too. So ready, in fact, that while packing, we forgot to include our Dramamine. We had to go back and get it and ran into traffic and spilled some coffee on our lap and stopped to file a lawsuit (Jesus, who needs coffee that hot?) and were late and...missed the boat. But, I'm here to correct that egregious mistake. Let's get started.

We begin with a series of fast cuts of Fashion Week in New York. There's a flash of a banner for Olympus, the sponsors of Fashion Week. The dulcet tones of one Mrs. Heidi Klum Seal, fresh off of her stint on Spin City, tell us that we are looking at Fashion Week in New York City, and that success here requires more than talent: it requires "connections, clout, and cash...until now." We see Heidi's face for a moment (while she is saying "until now"), and then the title sequence tells us we are watching Project Runway. An oddity I notice about this beginning segment is that it is...true. First of all, most reality TV show contests are really about the contestants' need for fame, which will be facilitated by exposure on the show; the contest is usually a formality. While that can be entertaining, you are usually disappointed if you are looking for an actual competition based on something other than whose antagonizing skills are greatest. Secondly, what Heidi Klum said is totally true. Think about it: a great fashion designer's entire creative life can exist solely in his or her head. It takes opportunity to literalize that creativity. Not to cast aspersions on anyone's talent, but think about some of the currently hot new (or new-ish) designers. Do you think Zac Posen was successful at, I don't know, eleven years old, because he was the only person who could do what he did? Or, do you think, maybe, there was a little cash, clout, and connectivity involved? Maybe creativity runs in the family, but -- Stella McCartney? Maybe Daddy's 3 "C"s helped a little. I'm just saying that this contest not only seems authentic -- it's practically necessary.

Heidi takes us through the preliminary interviews for the show. In Los Angeles, the auditions were at the Downtown Standard Hotel. They show a girl announcing that if she were given the right fabrics, she could "kick ass." A judge tells one guy that he reminds her of Todd Oldham. In the out-of-the-fashion-business-now-designing-for-La-Z Boy-way? No, I think she means his look. He flashes a smile to which the producers add a cartoonish twinkle. He actually looks like k.d. lang.

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Project Runway




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