August 23, 2006

What's worse, being boring or being a jerk?

Did you agree with the outcome tonight on "Project Runway"? I was going to do a very detailed post on tonight's show, like last week, but then my TiVo "season pass" failed to perceive that this was a "first run," and I only noticed about 20 minutes into the show when I sat down to watch. Then, during the critique part in the end, we got a tornado warning here in Madison, Wisconsin, which not only introduced a warning text crawl across the top of the screen, but also knocked out the audio. So I'll have to catch the full show later.

Anyway, it was fun to jump in and have to get the hang of what was happening -- the models were mothers or sisters of the designers, and nobody had his own mother/sister so there was a conflict of interest where each model had a motive to sandbag her designer. Angela's mom was not happy with Jeffrey -- the guy with a tattoo on his neck -- and Jeffrey was not disposed to put up with it. Angela's mom got all weepy and Angela got super-protective, and it was a bit of a scam. But Jeffrey stood his jerky ground and made what he thought was right, which was -- quite independently of Angela's mom's opinion -- crap. Very amusing!

But then in the end, it wasn't just Jeffrey with a problem. It was Robert, who had opted for the standard, desperate strategy for draping a fat woman: a huge poncho-like nonjacket. In red, the color she wanted. And the biggest problem is that Robert has been boring before. His boringness was the culmination of weeks of boredom. Of course, Jeffrey's jerkiness was nothing new, and this week was a real spike in his trend. But which tendency would you cut -- the boring or the jerky? I think they made the right choice.

But you might ask, did I make the right choice hanging around upstairs during a tornado warning, when I could have been holing up down in the basement?

UPDATE, on seeing the whole show: Well, I see they drew lots to choose the models (with last week's winner, Michael, getting the first pick). It was a little awful watching them pick, because it was so obvious that they were picking in order of weight. Michael immediately snagged the thinnest (and youngest) one. After each selection, it was more and more obvious that everyone was saying to the unchosen ones "You're fat!" Then those women had to work with the designer they had to know would have shunned them if they'd gotten an earlier choice.

But no one forced these women to go on the show. They had to know -- and I suspect the producers elaborately explained it to them -- that they would be seen as a special challenge and everyone would be inspecting them and talking about their size. But they might very well have reasoned it through and seen how they could help their son/brother. Since you couldn't pick your own family member, a difficult model would hurt a competitor the model had a interest in defeating.

Angela's mom seemed to know that. In the original consultation with Jeffrey -- who only had her as a model because he got last choice (no choice) -- Angela's mom told him two colors she liked. Shopping, he decided he needed a better color match and went with light blue, which upset her rather bizarrely. He dealt with it badly, and both the mom and Angela exploited his emotional weakness by acting all emotional, in a much warmer way, which made him look monstrous... just by chance. I love when Angela and her mom are behind the screen and Angela is all you have a right to say you're not happy.

Meanwhile, all the other designers displayed a nice bond with their models -- though Robert's distaste for his large-sized model showed when she wasn't around. So Jeffrey, you were outplayed. And you should see how much you were helped by your own mom, who -- by being nicely normal -- humanized you.

27 comments:

nina said...

In the downtown loft it never even struck me to hide during the tornado warning. But the absence of sound (for the duration of the warning) was tense. The outcome? Unexpected. But not as bad as last week's.

Ann Althouse said...

Are you enjoying the hail?

Lindsey said...

It really surprised me that so few seemed capable of designing anything decent for plus-sized women. I mean, should these garments really have been worse than the ones made of actual garbage?

johnstodderinexile said...

I seldom read your posts on shows like this, but how reassuring that the writer who launched a thousand throw-downs on the Internet today now insouciantly relaxes with a fashion show.

On days when Ann Coulter roils the blogosphere, I imagine her chain-smoking, biting her nails, and screaming at her mother on the phone until 3 a.m. But not you.

Ann Althouse said...

Johnstodder: Keep in mind that I was defying a tornado. But I guess I am pretty insouciant about roiling the internet. It's funny what you can do with words.

Fenrisulven said...

Funny. I had the exact same thoughts. When competing on a television show that needs ratings, "boring" will lose to "drama queen" every single time.

Like others, I'm also astonished that these "designers" were incapable of dressing a plus-size.

And Angela & Mom may have been playing games with tatoo-guy, but the bottom line is she was serving as his client for this challenge. I would have fired him just for his rude comments. Hard to believe that a guy who designs for music primadanas hasn't learned to deal with such in a more professional manner.

Ann Althouse said...

But the judges never take into account the backstage scene we've been privy to. I agree that he was terribly rude, but I do think Angela's mom hammed it up and was encouraged by Angela to do so. I loved the way Vincent -- who won -- treated his model. What a nice guy!

Matt Brown said...

I thought Vincent should have been sent packing last week instead of Alison, so it's kind of surreal to see him win the very next challenge when he was so close to be auf'd.

Lindsey said...

I agree about Vincent. This is the first episode I actually liked the guy. And he was so touched to have won. I'm sad to see Robert go, I loved when he and Kayne got together and dished on everyone, but he has been awfully boring. Jeffrey's design, though, was just plain awful.

price said...

Vincent winning with another awful dress seems like nothing short of damage control after last week, as though the producers are now trying to convince us that keeping him was a legitimate decision.

Angela's mom was kind of a sad, embarrassing a-hole, but Jeffrey shouldn't have fallen for it. His behavior made him look even worse.

I still think this show is putting constraings on the designers that hurt the quality of their work. Just like last season, they really never have a chance to show how good they can be. This is two projects in a row where they had one day to create an outfit. I truly want to see something more incredible and I don't care how long it takes to make.

Palladian said...

I was at Mood Fabrics today and though I've never watched Project Runway, I did remember that you said the cast shops there. It's a great store, if a little overpriced. Got some beautiful orange wool. My friend, who accompanied me on the trip, was there the other day and saw Laura from PR shopping there, though no cameras.

knoxgirl said...

I'll miss Robert, but he deserved to go. And I thought, once again! Uli was robbed. Hers looked great, plus-size model and all. Maybe it "just comes down to taste" as Tim Gunn always says on his podcasts, but I just wasn't that crazy about Vincent's.


As for Jeffrey:

Hard to believe that a guy who designs for music primadanas hasn't learned to deal with such in a more professional manner.

No doubt he just defaults to a pandering ass-kisser when he's dealing with someone who's rich and famous--this requires no real professionalism. Anyway, it's obviously there's an angry, petty 16-year-old alive and well in that adult body. He has just seethed with hatred for Angela ever since she won that I.N.C. challenge.

Jim said...

Is Laura's husband a willing participant or a sex slave/sperm donor being used to start a new red headed master race?

katiebakes said...

thoughts:

1) WHY do they keep giving the designers only one day? the result is half-assed clothing. this could have been a great challenge if they'd given them more time to really adapt their ideas to the models.

2) i really cannot get enough of the clip of laura's kids banging baseball bats over one another's heads!

3) i thought what humanized jeffrey most was the scene at the end when he was CRYING to his mother because he was sad that robert - who he felt was one of the few good hearted people on the show - had gotten auf'd

4) i think uli should have won! she's really been one of the most consistant on the show. she and her mom were sooo cute.

C. Schweitzer said...

Thanks Jim. I just spit soda out my nose laughing.

tcd said...

Uli's been robbed like 3X now. I thought her dresss from recycled week was gorgeous. Wonder why the judges keep overlooking her? That crunchy granola hack Angela needs to go (like 3 weeks ago).

Joan said...

Uli's design was gorgeous, as was Michael's. I thought Vincent's winning dress was poorly fitted and hung on Uli's mom like a potato sack, but the judges were all praising the fit! Did they even look at the back? That belt was ridiculous, but I will say I liked the collar.

Funny: just after watching the new episode, I caught up to some of the earlier episodes and in the second ep, there is a shot of Laura walking into Parson's wearing pretty much exactly the same outfit she made for last night's episode. Even my husband noticed (and laughed) when he saw it.

Jeffrey obviously didn't give a damn about Angela's mother, oblivious to the fact that part of the challenge was to work for his client. Robert went overboard the other way, doing only what his client wanted, and not injecting any of his own personality into his design. It doesn't bother me to acknowledge that the judges made the right decision. The only creative thing that Robert has come up with is the "Maria in West Side Story" dress with silver straps and red bow in the back. Everything else? Yawn. Time for him to go.

But ITA that Uli was robbed, and if she doesn't make it into the final 3, I will be gravely disappointed. Angela is just a fruitcake, and I can't believe she has survived this long. Next week will be most interesting, because they have now weeded out the weakest members of the herd, those who couldn't sew or properly construct a flattering garment. I think there's a huge target painted on Angela's "I don't sketch" forehead.

Timothy said...

I don't know, Chole didn't really sketch either, but I agree that Angela needs to go. If nothing but as punishement for her batty personality and her weepy, insufferable mother.

That woman inspired me to more hate of anyone I've seen on TV in a matter of minutes. Angela is weak, and it's obvious tha ther mother is both weak and patronizing. Pathetic.

Craig Ranapia said...

Ann:

OK, I've basically made this point before - but in the frame of a reality TV show jerky is always going to trump boring as good television. But if Jeffrey (and a couple of others) really wants a career in the fashion industry, they need an attitude reduction. Bitching your clients on national television is not only unprofessional, but it's bad business when (in the real world) most women look more like Angela's Mom than a size zero glamazon with a H-habit and a eating disorder.

useless ducks said...

I don't know that models are necessarily ever the clients. However, much like in the Apprentice or the like, I always see the client as the person who one needs to impress, who is judging, not the window that is being dressed to do the impressing.

Playing nice with others is a good trait, but getting along with Angela-prime was about as important as making the dogs feel comfortable 2 weeks ago: a wouldabeennice but ultimatelyunnecessary activity. He just had to not stray SO far below the threshhold of sensitivity that she didn't wear her tarp down the runway. And, breakdown in front of the ladies aside, she still wore the thing.

Vincent didn't strike me as particularly nice, just aided by the fact that he was less frenetically verbose than usual since he knew that she didn't speak english. He also did the "MAYBE...YOU...WILL...UNDERSTAND... IF...I...SPEAK...LOUDER... AND...SLOWER" thing too, which made me cringe a little. The bottom of his piece sort of bunched up in a way that I thought would make Heidi go ballistic as per the Alison elimination last week. Tricksy thing, figuring out what is and isn't fashionably acceptable.

P. Froward said...

Damned if I'll settle for just one or the other.

markrose said...

Pam is my sister-in-law and Jeffrey is her son, raised by my brother. I had no idea that Pam would be on the show – they are sworn to secrecy. All that mother-son hugging and the crying and yes Jeffrey showed that inner anger that drives artists and outcasts (he used to play in a punk rock band). I was stunned to see this played out on national TV. Jeffrey was a junkie and an alcoholic, as he said, and he is in recovery. He has a beautiful son that my brother and Pam dote on like loving grandparents. But, yes, you hit it right, Pam humanized him and Angela’s mom was way over the top. Jeffrey likes to flit around the edge, obviously. The first episode he was also on the verge of elimination, sort of how his life might be summed up before he got sober. Can someone that radical win this thing? Doubtful, but it makes for good dramatic TV.

Oscar Madison said...

I wouldn't be at all surprised if the producers in fact failed to warn the moms that they would be paraded as fat ladies. From the producer's point of view, why should they-- it should be obvious, right? I don't think consideration for people's feelings is a big factor in producing reality TV shows.

Jen Bradford said...

I love Michael & Uli but can't get very interested this season otherwise. Even Tim Gunn seems bored and a little disappointed.

The blonde whose name I've already forgotten was so beautiful it made me feel like a teenage boy in a trance. But she's gone. Vincent's nuttiness isn't very amusing, and neither is Jeffrey. Attitude without real humor - meh. Kayne is loveable, but a cartoon. They're not pulling me in yet.

screwie said...

Jeffrey is the only one who is truthful about how he feels and is the only one (I think) who has a successful career already - his designs are carried at Barney's and Fred Segal, and others.
OK, so he was under alot of pressure to design for a shape that he will never have to design for again and he may have gone a little too far. But his informed opinion about the color combination was not respected by Angela's mother and her tears (crocodile tears, methinks)were simply put on for dramatic effect. Perhaps she was crying because she knew how much her daughter disliked Jeffrey and here she is, stuck with him. Puhleeeze, when has a creative, sensitive, highly intelligent, vastly misunderstood designer not had a temper tantrum? Give him a break, folks - he's not a cruel individual. I actually think his creation worked to detract from her shape and bring attention to her face. That triangle of purple was placed brilliantly.

Fenrisulven said...

But the judges never take into account the backstage scene we've been privy to.

But the producers/directors on the set do. Check out the disclaimer during the credits. It implies they have a say in who gets cut, but doesn't go into detail.

One day, we're going to discover that all this "Survivor" nonsense was even more scripted than we suspected. ;)

Enrique said...

being a boring jerk