It’s pretty well known that “reality TV” is far from “real”. Pretty goddamn far from real. I talked with a woman who participated in one of them who told me, “what they didn’t show was how much we really liked each other and how much we laughed. It was all about conflict and the few fights that we had. For the most part, I really enjoyed them and still keep in touch with a few of them.” During the writers’ strike it came to light that the poor bastards that piece together the narrative for show’s work 60-80+ hours and get paid for 40. I could fill the digital space with endless links to the bullshit that is “reality TV” but that’s not the point.
I watch one plotted show (as opposed to America’s Most Fucking AWESOME Car Crashes, which, for some reason, it comforting when I’m in a shitty mood). And that’s Project Runway.
No. I’m not gay or bi-sexual.
(Parenthetically, I think I’ve talked in the past about the logic that most American men are gay (or bi-sexual) since if you give them a choice between a magazine filled with pictures of sweaty, bloody men (Sports Illustrated) and the hottest women in the world (Vogue), most will choose to look at men. Weird, huh?)
I watch Project Runway not only for the hot chicks, but because something actually gets created during it. You get to see the designers doing something, other than sniping at and plotting against each other. Plus, c’mon, you can’t beat a room full of gay guys for instant drama.
With the move to Lifetime, the franchise took a major stumble. First off, the seeming doubling of commercials pointed out just how shitty a channel Lifetime is. Obviously, I’m a guy so I’m not the target audience but at no time during the entire season did my wife or two daughters ever say, “wow, I’ve gotta tape that. When is that on again?”. The reactions ranged from mild eye rolling to the age appropriate version of “jesus fucking christ, is that a joke?!” I mean, look at this ad
But, as I said, you can fast forward through that.
What you can’t fast forward through is the odd fact that all three finalists magically turned out to be straight women. On a channel dedicated to…straight women. In fact, it was one of the straightest seasons I can remember, even to the point of focusing, not on the straight black designer, but on the straight white designer and how all the straight women thought he was the hottest thing on earth.
When Project Runway aired on the much more gay-friendly Bravo, the commercials pushed the boundaries. You had commercials with actual gay couples in them acting, not as objects of novelty or derision, but as humans in a relationship – going on vacation, buying insurance – ya know, living in the world (or a commercial representation of it). To a certain extent, you can’t fault Lifetime for catering to their audience but you can fault them for changing the whole tone of the show.
I’m not sure what it means (nor do I have the time to think about it) but www.projectrunway.com links to the sales site for the show. Which is fine, but from a user-design standpoint, there doesn’t seem to be a direct link to the show itself. So maybe even the franchise hates Lifetime as much as I do.