The brutal war of attrition between Bravo and the Weinsteins is over, and the first episode of the sixth season of Project Runway has come and gone, and guess what! It didn’t suck, like, at all! Well, ok, parts of it sucked, but those parts will get eliminated eventually. I was pleasantly surprised, and most of my fears were assuaged.
In fact, the show felt almost exactly the same. The folks at Lifetime apparently made a painstaking effort to keep the details of the show as they were – the one-on-one interviews had the same background, the runway set was exactly the same, even the workroom at FIDM didn’t look that different than the one at Parsons. Even the font that shows the designer’s names at the bottom of the screen is the same. Without the commercials aggressively advertising Lifetime shows about plus-sized women, I would have forgotten I was watching Lifetime. Which is exactly what I had hoped.
Get the good, the bad, and the ugly after the jump.
Even more so than the show actually feeling like Project Runway, I was surprised at the performance of guest judge Lindsay Lohan. She was smart! She was articulate! She had valid criticisms and comments on the clothes! Holy crap, right? I’ve always been on Team Lindsay, and this just puts me more staunchly on her side. It’s hard to imagine Paris Hilton or any of Lindsay’s other contemporaries doing as well. And she hardly looked coked up, like, at all.
But now, to the nuts and bolts: the designers. We’re not going to go over every single one. There are lots of them, and frankly, I can’t remember all of their names or all of their dresses. And most of them don’t matter because there’s no way they’re going to win. The fierceness and the hot tranny messes are what this show is all about; mediocrity is boring.
Which is not to say that most of these designers were anything but mediocre – a lot of them were. In fact, there were very few standout dresses this episode, which may not bode well for the rest of the season. But there also wasn’t a glut of terribleness, so I’m going to chalk this up to first episode jitters and hope that everything turns out for the best. Remember, Christian Siriano didn’t win his season’s first challenge, either. And this year’s crop is highly diverse, which has always been one of PR’s greatest assets – there are people from the South and the Midwest, as well as New York and LA. Young, old, black, white, gaysian. Project Runway takes all kinds.
So who was bad? Who was good? Who was entertaining?
Well, of course, there are the criers. Both of them are male, which is actually not much of a surprise on this show. There’s Johnny, the recovering meth addict that CANNOT stop telling everyone that he’s a recovering meth addict. Yes, addiction is horrible. Of course it is. And kudos to him for fighting it publicly. But he seems to have decided that that’s the thing that’s going to get him camera time, that’ll be his story arc, and he’s running with it. He had a cry-fest with Tim Gunn over his paralyzing fear of failure, and it just proved that Tim is indeed the best and most wonderful person on the face of the planet. Really, what a mensch. Also, there is Christopher, who didn’t go to college. Did you read that? He didn’t go to college! Go back and read it again. And then rewatch this episode on TiVo so he can tell you eight more times. It seems that he, as well, has found his desired story arc.
Both of them ended up in the top 3, along with Ra’mon-Lawrence (yes, his real name). The challenge was sickeningly easy, when compared to what Bravo used to ask of their competitors, which was the only big difference I saw between the two networks. All they had to do was design a red carpet dress. For any awards show. $200 budget. And they got to use fabric, instead of vegetables or paper napkins. Easy, right? Well, everyone kinda screwed up, even the top three. Meth Johnny made a weirdly voluminous red poof of a dress that was actually quite well-fitted in the back, but I didn’t like how it fell in the front (Lindsay and Heidi did, though, oddly enough). Ra’mon-Lawrence made a beautiful, if safe, navy blue evening gown with some gorgeous pintucking and pleating, but it didn’t foot in the boob area.
Christopher made a cocktail dress that looked like a scrunched-up garbage bag over a dirty petticoat, but I mean that in the nicest, most stylish way possible. I was both edgy and sweet, which is a hard line to walk, and I think he did it well. And he didn’t even go to college! Perhaps winning the first challenge will solve some of his inferiority complex. I think the correct dress won, but my write-in votes would have been Irina and Malvin for the rest of the top three. She made a beautiful vintage-looking dress of lace and liquid silk (plus she also makes handbags), and he made a cocktail dress with an incredible amount of detailing done quite well. They both should be around for a while.
And now, the bad. The bad is the best part. First, Qristyl (also her real name), who made the cheapest-looking dress I think I’ve ever seen on the show. It was bright purple and flower-printed and it looked like one half of it was slowly eating the other. She would have been my vote to go home, but she stayed to make more tacky things in the future. And there was also Mitchell, whose model apparently got bigger and bigger, the more he complained about how big she was. He made a dress that didn’t fit her, so he got all Scarlett O’Hara on it (he is from Georgia, after all) and just draped some stuff around her and called it a dress. Except you couldn’t see Scarlett O’Hara’s thong. I guess that’s the main difference. But he was safe as well!
Ari, the space cadet Samantha Ronson look-alike (ironic, what with Lindsay and all) who made, as Michael Kos said, a “disco soccer ball” with hot pants under it was the one that went home. She said that she was going to pick up her Nobel Prize in it. As fabulously delusional as that is, they decided to auf her, even though I think we could have gotten a couple more weeks of entertainment from her designs. We’ll have to settle for the incredible tack of Qristyl, who will probably go home next week anyway.
I feel much better about this season than I did before it premiered, and I’m glad it still has the smarts and snark that distinguish it from much of the reality pack. I watched the premiere with my best friend, who had never seen the show before, and she said that she wanted to see the rest of the season. So if it’s still entertaining to someone that’s not wrapped up in the lore of Project Runway, then it looks like Lifetime is making it work.
And also, a request: if you know of a place online where I could watch the All Star special that aired before the premiere, let me know. It’s not on my cable’s OnDemand menu, and I was too busy watching Police Women of Broward County (not kidding, it’s awesome) to catch it the first time around.