Saturday, September 26, 2009

Project Runway - Guest Blogger Special!!

Hi everyone, I'm NoiXdeCoco's boyfriend and I'm filling in for her with this week's recap of Modeling with the Stars or whatever this show is called. This is the result of a horrible miscalculation on my part: a couple days ago she was grousing about how much effort she puts into this blog, and in a misguided attempt to win some uncontested relationship points I offered to write one recap for her to give her a break. To say I was shocked that she called my bluff and accepted my offer is a major understatement.


It was an impressive play on her part in two ways actually: not only does she get the week off but she's forced me to admit that my compass on her decision making had a gaping hole--always a disconcerting thought. And as a secondary consequence of her deft maneuver, I'm now too afraid to back out at this point because I might be surprised at what it costs me.

Touche, NoiXdeCoco.

But enough with the metagame of our relationship, and onto the recap. I'm ashamed to admit that I actually watch Project Runway occasionally and usually enjoy it, but that's thanks exclusively to schadenfreude. Just like all the other reality shows, this one combines the three essential ingredients (1) some fruity activity like dating, dancing, fashion, modeling, parenting, or interior design; (2) contestants who have an utter lack of qualification paired with an utter lack of shame and self-awareness; and (3) periodic elimination of said contestants, casting them back into the abyss of talentless anonymity. It's never necessary to be able to tell an impressive performance apart from a crappy one in any of these scenarios, because the judging is totally subjective and makes no sense, ever. Usually there are celebrities calling the shots, and let's face it: nothing in their lives requires common sense, so why would they exercise any in judging a fashion shoot? For example, last week the contestants were ordered to construct garments out of newspaper, and the judges proclaimed that a raincoat was the winner! That seems to me to be the equivalent of a life jacket made out of cement. How does that come in first place? Perhaps my idea would have won if one of the contestants had also thought of it:

Conclusion: either I know nothing about fashion, or nobody knows anything about fashion but some pretend to. I'm leaning toward the latter, but in either case, please take my commentary on the design aspect of this show with a grain of salt.

On to this week's challenge, which is, ... wait for it...., ... that the designers have to make another outfit. What a twist. The specific instructions are to chose a hypothetical movie character for a particular genre and design something for that character to wear. I have an easier way of posing this challenge: "design whatever you want." Isn't that the same? Couldn't you design literally anything and then create a character to wear it? For the period piece, dude could be from any time and place in the past. Sci-fi, the character could be some alien that wears outer-space stuff (this was actually the idea the two sci-fi choosers ended up adopting). Or for a Western, stick to what you're good at and design some standard red carpet dress and say you made it for the lead character in a movie about modeling, set in the west. I mean, these judges wouldn't spot an anachronism if is walked up and kicked them in the balls. Even if they were watching "1492" and the Santa Maria had a club deck with strobe lights, disco ball, and Flo Rida blasting, Heidi wouldn't bat an eye.

Anyhow, the designers all end up with their genres and get a half hour to plan their look. Then, as always, Tim Gunn (who rules by the way, more on him later) takes the designers to a store where they buy fabric. This part is always strange to me: Tim always reminds these nitwits that they only have 30 minutes. 30 minutes?! That seems drastically excessive to me; I'm pretty sure I could be in and out of there in 3 minutes flat. If there is some subtlety in this process that escapes me, like important decisions about the material or color used, why isn't there any explanation of how the designers achieved in that regard? Just a bizarre decision by the producers to set an arbitrarily long time limit and then give zero explanation why it would ever matter. At least this week they show the contestants having difficulty staying under budget.
So back at the workroom, now they have all their stuff and are ready to start arranging it so that it covers a person's torso, crotch, and occasionally regions of the arm or leg. They are supposed to do this artfully, but again their choices are of no consequence since judging is arbitrary. Heidi & Co will declare these outfits exhibit style or don't with zero explanation, so why would anybody be encouraged to share their rationale for a fashion choice they make? Hey producers: how about you get the contestants to tell me something like "During the fabric scramble, I made a bee-line for the kelly green corduroys, because for one should strive for a combination of boldness, comfortability, and texture. I bought a lot of it for $100 too, which is good because these pants have to be billowy so that the magician can conceal various small animals or objects that will smoke and make him look magical." We never get an illuminating glimpse into the supposed genius on exhibition during this show--is that because the subject matter is really just smoke & mirrors devised to sell a crap load of magazines and handbags and other garbage?
Instead of discussion about actual fashion or construction/dying of materials and so on, the producers have the designers take turns sharing their "stories" with us for the character they have in mind. Ra-mon is clearly in deep trouble, his movie is about some lizard-chick that comes from a reptile planet and tries to mingle with earthlings, sexy-like. I'm envisioning something like Mystique from "X-men" when she's not shape-shifted, but Ra-mon begins assembling a green swamp-creature outfit: it is a disaster. Nicholas describes his sci-fi offering, which is some evil ice-queen who's hellbent on universal domination. Isn't that a direct rip-off of the evil White Witch from "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe?" Yep, it is an exact ripoff, nice work Nicholas. Other ideas are equally ill-conceived or ripped off.

Moving on. Of course, midway through the show Tim Gunn saunters around the room and offers his opinion of everyone's work. This is my favorite part besides the elimination ceremony. Tim is a total badass, just one word out of him and the designers will trash an entire outfit and start from scratch, even though it's just one person's opinion and the garments he gets behind at this stage often end up getting crapped all over by Heidi and the other judges-who-actually-matter. I'm not sure what he ever did to warrant this level of respect but my hunch is that whatever it was, he was required to be extremely well groomed, dressed in a suit, and flamingly gay. His gayness is awesome: it just clobbers everyone within range into submission.

"None of you are fit to have me crap in your hat!"

He's even got his own lexicon of ways to stuff these suckers back under their rocks. He says to Ramon "it could become a hot mess." That's a standard TG catchphrase that he's good for once a week, and it roughly translates to "your outfit is a total disgrace, you're better off packing your bags than finishing sewing."

"Are you kidding me?"


"Jesus Christ."

Before he leaves he reminds everyone that one of them is about to get axed, and the workroom suddenly looks like someone just dropped a giant deuce into a bowl of punch. Respek, Tim Gunn.

A little later it's time to clad the models in their stuff, and surprise!--Ra-mon's garbage lizard outfit is not working. His model looks like a 5th Fanta girl whose flavor is Margarita or Lime Sherbet. He decides to scrap the under-layer and go with entirely lizard skin, which he will attempt to artfully arrange to scrape by this week.

Wanta Fanta, doncha wanta?

And... Good GOD this recapping is a pain in the ass. I can now see why NoiXdeCoco seems so burdened by it. I hope everyone who reads will leave a comment, NoiX eats that stuff up like it's chocolate or fondue or both.

Here is the short version of what else happened. The models got dressed, then some makeup artist painted their faces. They walked down a runway and back, but nobody fell and suffered a spinal injury. Then half the designers were congratulated for not sucking nor achieving and sent to wait in back. Top 3: ice queen, Epperson's western outfit of a chick who's husband is at war (why does this matter? answer: it doesn't.), and some other guy's billowy dress from a long-ago decade. Bottom 3: reptile alien sexpot, yellow period garb that is displayed on easily the nastiest-looking model I've ever seen, I mean just downright hideously ugly will-never-make-a-buck-modeling ugly, and some other sorry outfit I forget.

Winner: Nicolas, with the ripped-off Ice Queen.

Loser: Ra-mon, with Lizard-flavor Fanta Girl.

Bummed to see Ramon go, I was eager to learn more tips from him about how to trim a beard to reduce chances of elimination from a reality TV show. But on the other hand, I'm glad Nicholas won, he's definitely a guy's guy that I could argue sports with over beers. That is, if by "guy's guy" you really mean "douchestick"; by "I" you mean "somebody other than me"; by "sport" you are referring to the process of cobbling together outfits I wouldn't so much as wipe my ass with; and by "beers" you mean tall mugs of poison.

OK, NoiXdeCoco is back next week. Here are some of the other outfits:


Honey Gangsta said...

Yes, YES!! This is the difficulty of recapping! You go along getting really into it and writing down your thoughts and feelings eloquently, feeling like you've practically written a novel and could sleep for a week, then you notice you've only gotten through the first one-third of the episode. Then the tears come, then the screaming, then the tranquilizers.

Again, TWO HOURS of The Bachelorette and Celebrity-Apprentice-for-the-sweet-love-of-all-things-holy!

Anyhoo, SOOOO much fun to get a recap from the perspective of someone who is completely cerebral. NoixDeCoco and I are artistes, of course, and tend to take the the existence of these shows as a given - part of what makes the world go round. We don't ask why, we just discuss and mock. I LOVE the asking of why. Your deconstruction of the concept of Project Runway - something I haven't thought about in a long time, if at all - threw my entire paradigm for a loop. Why DON'T the producers have the designers explain their fabric choices? And WHY are some things stylish and others not? And WHERE does Tim Gunn get his neverending credibility and kickassness? The vast majority of the world does not work in fashion, or care to, and would like to know these things.

Something that totally bugged me about this challenge was the lack of clarification. Were they supposed to design a literal movie costume, or were they supposed to take the SPIRIT of a movie costume and make a high fashion design? Christopher's "Victorian bride" outfit totally FAILS as a legitimate movie costume - it had no sleeves, yet it was in the top three. Lack of explanation? Lack of understanding of time periods on the judges' part? The anachronism commentary was right on.

Awesome job, Pablocito - at least until you burned out and summed up. I very much enjoyed your perspective!

Honey Gangsta said...

Actually, I'm now tempted to have MY boyfriend guest-blog. But he is not a friend to punctuation or spelling, and I would probably have to do so much editing that I might as well do the recap on my own. Love you, sweetie!

Jeanette said...

gosh i miss you guys. great job boyfriend. i'm impressed.

NoiXdeCoco said...

I agree with HG - there was no clear direction on just how costume-y this outfit could be. In past challenges that were similar to these, they were ridiculed if they were too costume like. That word was the kiss of death on the judging podium.

Terrific job Pablocito!!! You may have a future in recapping.