I’ve been ruminating over whether or not to say anything further than what little I’ve already said about Project Runway, which was offered only by way of comparison to The Devil Wears Prada. I wrote:
On a separate note, The Devil Wears Prada is also a celebration, as Project Runway is, of really fabulous clothes and of the people (like moi) who care passionately about them. Project Runway is more honest than Prada , however, because it doesn’t pretend to reward virtue over fabulousness, and because it doesn’t suggest that you have to actually buy Prada–i.e., the really expensive, brand-name shit–to look good. You don’t even have to be good-looking.
P-Runway really does seem to be the greatest reality show in the history of reality television– perhaps the greatest TV show ever — but everybody and their mother is already blogging about it, and you know how I hate to be doing what everybody else is doing (unless what they’re doing is Jell-O wrestling, followed by orgiastic sex, with the Swedish Bikini Team, in which case I’m okay with being part of the herd).
More than that, what I find interesting about the show isn’t its cultural significance — though I am amazed at how many people, at this point, seem to watch it — but rather what everybody else likes about the well-done reality shows. I like talking about, and looking at, the clothes, and I like arguing about the judges’ decisions. I like gossiping about the relationships between the players, and I like arguing about how charming Tim Gunn is with my WHBFF (Wicked Hot Best Friend Forever). She doesn’t like Tim, she says, because "his kind of gay man never likes me very much." And I call her a narcissist, and ask her how she can disagree with Entertainment Weekly, which recently referred to Tim as "the most lovable mentor this side of Mr. Miyagi," and she gets angry and tells me that I just broke my sacred promise never to use scripture as a weapon in a fight between us. So I apologize and we snuggle on the couch together to make up and then she goes home to make love to her boyfriend and I sit on the couch and eat Hagen Dazs Caramel Cone ice cream and weep salty, caramel-y tears of unrequited love.
Which is to say that I enjoy the show in an almost entirely un-ironic, non-meta way, which is a new, strange, unsettling experience. I mean, that Jeffrey was just awful to Angela’s mother the other night, wasn’t he? And it’s pretty clear that Uli’s dress was the most beautiful but that they awarded the win to Vincent because it was an exceptional effort for him, and he’s a weird guy why they want to highlight as much as possible, and Uli’s pretty great every week (but kinda boring as a TV personality) so she doesn’t need it.
There was no immunity, and no special prize, attached to the anyway so it didn’t really involve screwing over Uli. Similarly, I’m confident that Michael won the contest the week before because the producers knew it would piss off Jeffrey, who clearly had the best looking dress, and pssing off Jeffrey made for more drama than letting Jeffrey win. Not to mention that they’re obviously trying to develop Jeffrey of the Junge as the asshole, and depriving him of a win he deserves seems like a good way to encourage his assholian tendencies (and it clearly worked– did I mention how awful he was to Angela’s mother?).
So you can see my dilemma. My purpose in the world is to offer perspective on pop culture that the masses aren’t refined enough to arrive at themselves, and yet with Project Runway I find that I’m one of the masses. So I’m a failure, yet I’m ecstatically happy anyway.