PR: Producers Know What’s Best

Posted on August 26, 2011

Sweet Jesus on a breadstick, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover this morning. Has there ever been such an … eventful episode of Project Runway? That wasn’t reality television; that was Ben Hur with scissors.

But first, we’d like to say a few words.




You both needed to be packed up, stuffed into your little bitchboxes, and sent home for being such nasty queens. Although we appreciated the symmetry of it. Neither the young gay man nor the old one came off looking much better than the other. You both managed to embarrass us! Well done, bitches.

Now, let’s talk abou– hang on. One more thing to address.

You’re an asshole.

Oh, sorry. That was kind of– no, to hell with it. You let someone else go home the previous day and NOW you want to opt out? Why didn’t you speak up on the runway? And you know what? You signed up for a reality show. It’s 2011. If you don’t know by now that such a state of affairs would mean you’d be stuck doing stupid things like running a race to make a dress then we have not the slightest bit of sympathy. Not only did hundreds of others compete to get the slot she’s giving up, but 4 people went home before she could work up the nerve to walk. Pft. Done with you, you sour thing.

Boy the producers must’ve really thought they had a great idea on their hands with this racing thing.

Betcha that’s not gonna happen again soon. Somewhere in the background a producer is hastily scribbling over next season’s planned “motorcycle jump through a ring of fire” challenge.

Oh, and look a that; it’s the Privilege Olympics, where everyone who isn’t a man in his 20s doesn’t get to lead a team. Next week, the girls will have to do all their work in corsets and 4-inch heels while the boys can wear their pajamas.

NEVER BEFORE IN THE HISTORY OF PROJECT RUNWAY have all the team leaders been gay men. Result? MASSIVE amounts of drama! Who could’ve predicted?

Wait. Bryce is gay, right? We never actually thought about it before; just assumed. Can we get a ruling on that?

“HELLO DESIGNERS! Like you, I am also a designer as well. Except I don’t have to make an ass of myself on TV like you do. See? I ‘designed’ these New Balance sneakers! They are totally unlike every other New Balance sneaker you’ve ever seen because… Denim! Suede!”

And here is where we come in and state our thesis for this post:  This was ProducerFest 2011. There was so much producer manipulation going on in this one, they might as well have had production assistants standing behind everyone in every shot, whispering into people’s ears and goading them on. To start off ProducerFest, they had that ridiculous Sprint to be a Leader thing – a manner of picking leaders designed to get people annoyed right from the beginning – which they then followed up with the classic Weak, Undefined Challenge, where no one, not the judges, producers, or designers, had any real idea of what the parameters of the challenge were. Work out clothes? No! You can make a dress! You made a dress? I don’t see how any woman could work out in that!

If you look at it as a psych experiment to study group dynamics, it makes perfect sense.

And look! The Happiest Gi– Boy in the World is back!

Um… why? Every other time something like this happened, the previous auf’ee was always automatically brought back. But the producers can’t have fairness, now can they? It has to be about maximum amounts of drama and Dogblankets Julie was apparently not going to provide as much drama as the Mormon Who’s Looking for the Right Girl but also Wears These Weirdly Draped Lady-Sweaters.

Remember, he just skipped over two whole challenges. Everyone else in that room had to make it through all the previous challenges except for him. Fairness!

So let’s recap ProducerFest 2011 so far: Cagematch-style leader-picking, resulting in one designer running away screaming and another on the floor with a busted knee; followed up by deliberately vague instructions designed to cause panic and give the judges an out when they don’t like someone;  and then capped off with the return of the most dramatic of all the auf’ees returning to the competition. Well done, producers. Look at all this drama and no one’s even picked up a needle yet! What ELSE can the producers do to wring more drama out of the situation?


Why, clumsily reward the biggest asshole in the episode, of course.

It seems to us Becky made a classic mistake: she thought go-along-to-get-along was the best way to deal with a lop-sided team that was stacked against her. That’s never the way in reality television, dear. Being nice is almost never rewarded. Just look at your team leader.

Not that we can find fault with her. Her reaction to the situation was to be expected – although crying’s never a good idea when you’re being ganged up on. And can we just say that Anya is SUCH a player it’s not even funny? Keep your eye on Mean Girl, because she DEFINITELY knows how to work people. Pageant queens. They’re dangerous bitches, y’all.

What kills — KILLS US — about all this is that the producers and judges quite clearly violated a whole bunch of longstanding dictates of the show by giving Josh the win. Never before has a designer been rewarded SOLELY for being an asshole to other designers and yet that’s exactly what happened here. The judges came down on Becky for not asserting herself in the design but actually PRAISED Josh for railroading her. “Good leadership.” Fuck THAT. There was nothing in Josh’s leadership style that could have been quantified as good. He was a TEXTBOOK bad manager.

And we hate to say it, but it wasn’t until Tim opened his mouth at the end that we saw just how much the producers were behind this one. “I just want to commend you all for telling the truth blahblahblah…” Tim, you’re a whore. As recently as last season you were berating the designers for having fights on the runway and now you’re suddenly praising them for it? Gross.

As for the actual dynamics of this group, what can we say? Josh is a typical nasty twink who thinks far too highly of himself and is genuinely surprised when the rest of the world doesn’t share in his self-love. He’s also, we’re sorry to say, the kind of gay that gives rise to the idea that gay men don’t like or respect women. Becky’s too passive. Anya is that most dangerous of creatures: the gorgeous, cunning woman. We’re serious. After this episode, we wouldn’t turn our backs on her, that’s for sure.

Josh figured he’d insincerely buttered her up enough and she would continue to weakly submit to him on the runway. But when Becky saw which way the wind was blowing on the judging, she finally got the nerve to speak up. You could tell Josh was FURIOUS about that. We just wish she’d had the nerve to tell the whole story to the judges.

Oh, what are we saying? She almost certainly did, it was almost certainly edited out, and the judges almost certainly didn’t care because turning Josh from a minor player to a Major Villain was too good an opportunity to pass up.

We can admit that this was one of the more cohesive collections on that runway and had the highest number of usable, wearable pieces. We’ll get to the other entries later this week, but we’ll just focus on “Josh’s” winning design for now.

Scroll up and look at what Heidi was wearing when she announced the challenge. Remember last week when Nina wore a salmon, black and grey blouse and Josh made a salmon, black and grey dress? We hope the judges start noticing this sort of thing and calling him on it, but they probably won’t. As for the design… enh. The racing stripe in the front and the zipper in the back are horrendous. The dress is just okay, but the idea of a maxi dress paired with running shoes is just too weird.

So…congrats, we guess. You didn’t design or sew the outfit, but the judges were really impressed by your ability to run roughshod over people. Because remember? Remember all those times in seasons past when the judges implored the designers over and over again, “In order to make it in this business you have to treat people around you like shit?” No? You don’t remember that? Hunh. Funny. Neither do we.

Is that a face you want to slap or what? We wouldn’t recommend it, though. One slap and you’ll be enveloped in a cloud of chemicals and hair products.

This is what really pissed us off. They had a winner with Viktor and they just couldn’t let that be enough, so they shoehorned in a win for Josh even though the winning design was sewn and designed by other people.

And while it’s true that the overall collection was too drab…

We thought this was an inspired look. The juxtaposition of the sharp, highly structured jacket with the artfully wrinkled dress felt extremely modern.

Even better, this felt like a true ensemble; like each piece is lessened without the other piece.
We really adore that dress, which has a funky, city feel to it; like a chic girl on a Saturday running her errands.

But of course it’s the jacket that makes the look complete. That is a pretty stunning piece of workmanship considering the time constraints.


Just a really chic, breezy modern look that actually works as an outfit designed for sneakers. Of course she’s not going to work out in this, but she can run from one end of the city to the next picking up her drycleaning and dropping off the mail, looking super-chic the whole time. Somehow, Viktor managed to weed through all the conflicting directives of this challenge and come up with something that satisfied practically all of them (except the working out part).

So congrats, Viktor. It was a well-earned win. As far as we can tell he was a decent team leader and the design that won was one hundred percent his own. It’s just a shame he had to share the win with someone who didn’t fit either of those criteria.

For shame, Bunim Murray. You’re doing exactly what everyone feared you would do when you took over: you’re turning this into The Real World with sewing.

[Photo Credit: Barbara Nitke/ – Screencaps:]

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