Posts Tagged ‘Project Runway’

America ___ Me

February 13, 2010

I was watching Models of the Runway last week (which, long sidebar: I find it incredibly boring, and yet for some reason I keep watching it: it’s not like I don’t have enough stuff watch– what’s that about? Basically I think they need to just devote five minutes of Project Runway to the model eliminations and any intrigues that might crop up because it’s sad but true– those girls cannot be interesting for a full twenty minutes.)

Anyway, one of the models, Alexis, took on the role of devious conniver this episode, talking shit about other contestants and telling the other models they should fear elimination, while she herself will never be dropped. It’s obnoxious in a way that reminds me of something said about academia– that the politics are so bitter because the stakes are so small. Seriously, what does winning Models of the Runway get you? It’s an even shitter America’s Next Top Model, winners of which are not even working regularly, much less “top” modelling. In a confessional, after behaving like a mean girl, Alexis is all: “Don’t hate me. I’m trying to play a game here!”

Ah. So you’re that contestant. The “Just Playing the Game” contestant. Closely related (indeed sometimes concurrent with), but not identical to “I’m not here to make friends” contestant. I am always surprised by the popularity of “I’m not here to make friends.” Surely they know that this tv appearence will top the google searches any future employers do. Do these manipulators think it reflects well on them for their real life that they’re demonstrably vicious backstabbers who have a proven inability to work in harmony with others? (This, btw, is the biggest reason I was annoyed that Michael Voltaggio won Top Chef. He was a total doucheface to other contestants whenever there was teamwork. Part of being Top Chef entails being a good restauranteur, which involves good management skills which are counterindicated by alienating your staff if they happen to be gasp! women or older.)

One of the other models, Kasey, interviews about Alexis’s attempts to shit-stir during pedicures (Alexis basically tries to get everyone to say they think Sarah, a friend of Kasey’s should be worried and will be sent home). Kasey is indignant: “Even if you think you know who’s going home, you just never say it!”

Time’s tv critic notes that The Real World first came to our tvs in February, 1992, meaning that today’s 18 year olds (for instance, the Jersey Shorians) “have never known a world in which hooking up drunk in a house paid for by a Viacom network was not an option.” That kind of thing makes me feel ancient.

As Kasey’s comments indicate, we also now have rules of ettiquette that everyone is supposed to know about how you behave toward fellow reality tv contestants, even though most of us will never find ourselves on tv. In fact, I feel like most people I know have an idea of which reality show they’d like to be on(for me it’s RuPaul’s Drag Race as the secret lady contestant) and which contestant they’d be (I have no illusions, American would love to hate me, though not because I was taking a nap in the corner Tyra, you ingrate).

Some of these rules are just tweaks of real world ettiquette– be a good loser and a gracious winner, but it’s complicated by the fact that when cameras are trained on you 24/7 there’s nowhere to retreat to to lick your wounds. Even in leisure time (like say, getting pedicures at the salon) you have to behave professionally and refrain from gossip if you want to avoid a shunning.

There are other areas, though, where I feel like reality tv contestants are puzzlingly naive. Why do so many contestants show up to Project Runway with poor construction skills? It it were me, as soon as I learned I’d been cast I would be learning how to use a professional sewing machine and make men’s wear and plus sized patterns. Why doesn’t anyone ever think to do this?

Or: why do people lie to their signicant others when they cheat on camera? On The Real World: Las Vegas Alton and Irulan began a full-on relationship even though Irulan had her boyfriend, Gabe, back home. She was seen making phone calls to him assuring him that everything was fine. Why bother lying? Did you think MTV wasn’t going to use that juicy footage? More recently on Top Chef Hosea and Leah made out despite having significant others and they inexplicably lied to the camera and said they had simply flirted. Why bother? Is everyone just a lot drunker than they seem to be?


Bye Bye, Betty

February 7, 2010

So! Ugly Betty is canceled after this season, I can’t say I’m sorry. The show started out so well, it was one of my favorite shows in its first season. I think it was honestly one of the most progressive shows on tv, with a sympathetic trans character, such a glorious gay teen, and obviously a very diverse cast. (“Did you look at me when you said Kwanzaa??”) But it was pretty clear in the second season that the writers hadn’t made much of a plan beyond the first season, because it got really, really bad and basically turned in “What boy does no longer so ugly Betty want to kiiiiiiiiss?”

That said! This week’s episode was surprisingly awesome, and that’s all at the feet of Varla Jean Merman. I’ve mentioned before that a boozetube favorite film is 2003’s Girls Will Be Girls, a dragtacular piece of awesomeness about how hard it is for a gal to make it in Hollywood. (“Us busy girls have it hard hard hard hard hard hard hard hard hard enough!”)

Varla has graced the small screen before in the Project Runway drag challenge which she won! (Yes, technically her designer won, but he was kind of a douchebag and a ‘phobe, so we’ll give her the win.) Her part, actually, was small (though large in my mind!). She’s a drag queen pal of Claire’s who watches Wilhelldiva Hater’s final drag performance, which is, actually, performed by real Wilhelmina, who is having a ball, er blast! Something non-testicular.

I love drag, it’s a surprise to no one (and if you’re not watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, well, shame on you, it’s awesome. “This is RuPual’s Drag Race not RuPaul’s school for girls!”), and I extra love drag that’s inclusive of women, who, after all, are also performing gender. Maybe sometimes we want to pile on the false lashes, push our tits up, and lip synch to Man Eater. Maybe some of us want people at the club to look at us and say: “That’s one foxy dude!” The other thing that’s awesome is that Wilhelmina ends up having a change of heart, but not one that makes her less bitchy, just one that helps her use her bitchiness for good and couture. And that’s the kind of resolution I can really get behind.

Flugelhorns and Palestine

September 25, 2009

Safe Words were the word of the week on tv this week. (I know this will shock you, readers, but I watch a lot of tv and therefore tend to be attuned to trends that come up. For another example, on last week’s Project Runway and this week’s Top Chef there were subplots of the contestant who seems cool until you learn she’s a motormouth.)

Michael Scott on The Office asks Oscar if he should plan to have a safety word for his colonoscopy, and Robin and Barney on How I Met Your Mother reveal that their safety word is flugelhorn.

Of course, the greatest conversation about safety words ever on tv was Bree’s on Desperate Housewives, season 1. After Rex is caught with a dominatrix, Bree, GGG wife that she is, decides to give it a try. Rex explains safety words to her and explains that he’s been using “Philadelphia.” (How wise is it to remind your wife, at a time like this, that you’ve been stepping out and have established this sort of thing? Not very, I’d say.) Bree is all, “My aunt lives in Philadelphia, I don’t want to think of this when I talk to her, how about Boise?” Rex counters that Boise sounds too silly, and they need a word that sounds serious. Bree’s face becomes deadly serious as she intones: “Palestine.”

Sometimes it’s hard to tell what ideas are on tv because they’re shocking, and which are common cultural currency. Do I think that more and more are openly doing dominance and submission things in reality-land? Sure, I mean, Cosmo basically calls you a prude if you’re not at least into trying someone up or being tied down; on the other hand, I think most people are probably still having the sort of sex that can be stopped with a serious, “No. This isn’t fun.”

But I’m no sociologist, just a tvologist, so don’t take my word for. Conduct surverys at your Office. Overshare with strangers and press them for the details of their bedroom life, I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.

I’m gonna get what I want!

June 9, 2009

That’s what I’m going to do with my life.

I’ve been wallowing in the pity of the dearth of summer television, and mourning how empty my DVR has been (unless you count the old Tyras I’ve seen before and will watch again because Tyra NEVER AGES seriously, just believe her, she’l choke a bitch).

But tonight Kathy Griffin’s My Life on the D-List was back!  I’m not going to lie because I simply am unable on account of my perfect moral upbringing:  it was some funny business.  She spent most of the hour with Bette Midler, who was fantastic because she would say things like (following Kathy bragging about her two Emmys) “I’ve been nominated for two Oscars, I’m way more classy, oh, yes, I was ROOOOOOOOOBBED.”  But then she got all hoity-toity and lame to the brillionth degree when Kathy was all “So some of my immature guy friends want to know [this had to be a shield, she’s definitely not above immaturity, and that’s an asset] is ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ about farting?”  Bette was silent for a deadly moment and then just said “Next question.”  Oh come on, you used to perform in gay men’s bathouses Midler, you’re not above crassness!  Kathy ended the show by taking Bette Midler to a super trashy Vegas casino (and away from her fancy digs she’s got at the Ceaser while she lives there and performs her show and has dinner catered every night by her personal French chef) and fed her fried Twinkies and Oreos.  Then some drunks outside made Bette Midler sing “Happy Birthday” to them and a clearly unstable vagrant woman blocked the camera lens the whole time.  So good.

This oasis in the summer tv desert led me to some digging and here are the highlights of this summer’s offerings in my opinion (Gnatalby edit this post to include any of your own so it can be the official Booze Tube Summer TV Guide…our first list…we’re going places!):

June 10:  Something called Top Chef Masters which I assume involves past Top Chefs competing

June 14:  True Blood (Soooooooooooooooookie I’m a pile of aaaaaaaaaaashes but I looooooooooooooooooooove you.)

June 22:  Official Best TV Bet of the Summer:  Secret Life of the American Teenager.  Seriously dudes, this shit is not to be missed.  So bad that it’s so good and with so much baffling Christian moralizing juxtaposed with even more baffling teen sex!  Worship it like Jesus wants you to!

July 7:  Something ABC Family brings us called 10 Things I Hate About You which I can only assume is a series based on the actually decent (and probably underrated in many circles) teen flick.  This is not necessarily a safe tv bet since I know nothing about it, but trust the Booze Tubers to expose all its flaws and glories.

August 20:  Project Runway, but not totally resembling the reliably entertaining show we’ve grown accustomed to.  It’s gonna be on Lifetime now, so Heidi’s gonna have to either dodge all the rapists who will be competing this year or she’s gonna kidnap their babies or maybe she’ll have to learn the true meaning of Christmas…it’s a little nutty over there on the tv for ladies.  Ladies are kinda crazy.  Also it will be in L.A. because now that ANTM is back in New York a full-blown citywide turf war had be avoided and Hedi and Co. were forced to retreat.

Summer just got a little more brighter yet simulateously darker because new curtains might have to go up to block out that pesky sun.  TV is my man for all seasons.