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Can Lifetime make it work?

Posted by CJ Cregg on September 2, 2010

Gretchen tries to steal the show

So I haven’t been watching this season of Project Runway.  I can attribute this more to being in China when it premiered than a deliberate strike against Lifetime.  Although, as I’ve said before, the last two seasons on Lifetime have been less than good TV.

But, because it’s the first week of classes and because I don’t really have anything better to do, I’m going to watch tonight.

Tonight, episode six of season eight, our designers are coming off of a brutal team challenge that featured an upbraiding from Tim after the judges rendered their decision.  He said that one designer (Gretchen) bullied and manipulated the team and that another designer (AJ) who got kicked off took the bullet for her.  Tensions are at an all-time high, especially because the team that lost totally self destructed and threw each other under the bus.

Our cast of designers is not particularly compelling this season.  I already hate Gretchen for her heavy-handed arrogance and mousy looks.  But other than that, no one really sticks out to me.  Other than Michael, who apparently is the designer that everyone thinks should have gone home ages ago.  And there is one kid that looks like he came straight out of Mad Men.  The designers also seem decidedly less talented than they have been in the past.

Another thing that really bothers me about Project Runway in its current iteration is the insane product placement.  I understand that it’s an expensive show to produce, but it’s way too much now.  We watch the show because we like to see fashion designers, not because we care about the LOreal Paris makeup room or the Garnier hair salon or their stupid HP notebooks.  It is just way too much.  I can handle Mood and even perhaps the BlueFly accessory wall of yore, but come on.  It’s nauseating.

On tonight’s challenge, our designers have to turn ugly bridesmaids dresses into outfits that they can actually wear

Would you like some cheese with that whine, Christopher?

again.  Some bridesmaids are giving their designers a lot of leash, whereas others are telling their designers what to do.  Which is never good.  While in the work room, the designers continue to trash Michael, saying he can’t sew.  And whiny Christopher comes to Gretchen’s defense saying she isn’t malicious.  I totally think she is.  And Christopher’s soooooo whiny.

Instead of a runway show, the designers will do a showcase where they will present their dresses, and the guests will vote on their favorite designs.  The judges will then factor in the guest scores when evaluating.  What a pointless twist.  I really don’t understand why they would do this.  Clearly, they just don’t have enough talent and personality to actually fill the time allotted.  Also, there is some serious ugly going on here, which underscores my argument that these designers aren’t that talented.  Not that I can so much as sew on a button.  But hey.  Everyone’s a critic.  Especially me.

But oh wait.  Cuz it’s 8:45 and we’ve got another 45 minutes to fill, so it’s time for the real runway show.  Cue interminable shots of them styling their models in the logo-full respective salons.

Holy cow.  Whoever is styling Heidi Klum this season needs to be fired.  Her shirt looks like a carpet, and those tights are just wrong.

Mondo (yes, Mondo) got the most fan votes from the showcase.  I don’t hate what he came up with, but it screams Jersey City.  Valerie’s outfit is one big 80s mess.  Magenta and black?  You’ve got to be kidding me.  The hot pants that Andy designed are also a huge mistake.  These designers simply have no taste.  And I know because I am the arbiter of taste.  But seriously.  I can’t get over how awful these designs are.  The designers just suck.  Even the designers on the top aren’t great.

For the record, Michael is the winner of the challenge, which will undoubtedly not shut up the bitter designers who think he can’t sew.  For the record as well, I also think he can’t sew.  But bitterness is even less attractive on television than it is on my couch.  Peach (yes, Peach) the token 50-year-old woman is out for her awful design.

So what’s the problem with this season?  The episodes are too long, the designers lack talent, and there aren’t interesting personalities.  Perhaps these aren’t things we can blame Lifetime for, but Project Runway is still striking out for me.  It certainly is their fault that the show plods along at a snail’s pace.  There are way too many shots of the designers just sitting around talking.  Admittedly, this season is more interesting than last season, but I don’t feel like I need to see any more.

The one awesome thing about this episode?  Michael’s t-shirt emblazoned with Tim Gunn’s saying “Thank you, Mood.”  The other good thing?  The way Heidi calls designer Casanova’s name when she tells him he’s in.  But yes, take a minute and reflect upon the fact that there’s a a designer named Casanova.


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