An open letter to “Project Runway”

(I apologize to loyal readers who expected “Dispatches” today. I just have to write this letter and get it off my chest! 😉 “Dispatches” will return to their regularly scheduled Friday morning timeslot next week.)

Dear producers of “Project Runway”:

I have been a fan of your show for years. The creativity and skills of the designers over the years both astound and amaze me. I’m always intrigued by the way people can start with a piece of fabric that I don’t even like and make it into something I love! And let’s not even get into the creativity and skill required to make clothing that looks wearable out of random things like groceries, party store supplies, and car parts and materials, all of which “Project Runway” contestants have had to use in the last few years.

Several years ago, “Project Runway” moved to Lifetime. Fine, whatever. I didn’t really understand all the law suits or care; I just wanted to watch the show on whatever channel it was on. But that leads me to the first point of my letter today: when “PR” moved to Lifetime from Bravo, the focus became less on the clothes, designers, and creativity and more on the DRAMA! I mean, really. Does every show on TV have to have the over-the-top drama and immature antics of “Jersey Shore” and other less-than-intelligent reality shows? That’s not the reason PR’s fans watch the show. We do like the interaction among designers and the cattiness that’s bound to happen when that many creative people are living and working together plus competing against each other, but really we’re there to see the creative process at work and the clothes. The DRAMA focus is so overdone and stupid. This is not high school.

The editing and promos don’t help. A story is made in how its parts are edited together and I don’t trust you anymore to tell me the true story. You want a dramatic story, so you string together clips of people saying mean things, fights, and the most emotional moments. Your promos say things like “the biggest ‘PR’ accusation EVER,” and then, when the show actually airs, we discover that what really happens is that someone’s feelings were hurt, she accused someone else of cheating, and Tim squashed the whole thing as baseless and immature in a matter of minutes. This is an actual example from this season. The commercials all detailed the DRAMA and CONFLICT of the episode and really the whole “conflict” took up about 8 minutes in the finished episode. That’s dumb and I’m tired of you building up drama that may or may not exist and making a big deal out of nothing.

There was also the episode in which Mondo revealed his HIV status. I was touched by his admission and thought large portions of that episode were very touching. But the way you packaged it with the editing and referred to it later and in commercials made it seem like those “very special episodes” we used to have back in the day on TV shows, when characters dealt with real life issues and everything was tied in a neat little bow by the end of the episode. That’s not fair to Mondo or the reality of the situation. My advice: stop marketing, editing, and treating this show like it’s your movie of the week. It’s not and shouldn’t be handled in the same way.

And finally, to the judges of “PR”: you are stupid and I don’t understand you. Last night, you selected Gretchen as the winner of season 8. Gretchen! Who designs in the blah browns and muted reds and tans and wouldn’t know color if it hit her upside the head. Gretchen who makes clothing that looks like a cross between the pegged pleated pants of the 1980s and the flowing dresses of the 1970s. I mean, a lot of the time, her dresses are a few inches away from being muumuus with belts. And just so you know, every real woman in America that I’ve talked to about the show hates Gretchen’s aesthetic and wouldn’t buy any of the clothes she’s designed. They’re just too boring, too fade-into-the-background, too granola, too olive green and mustard, too sleep-inducing and don’t take into account a woman’s body or curves or display either in a way that would leave the average American woman feeling pretty. And that’s really the point of fashion, “PR” judges: to take the average woman, display her to her best advantage, and make her feel pretty and confident. I think you missed big time this year in picking Gretchen.

And finally, 90 minutes is too long. Way too long. Learn to edit.

I’ve been a loyal fan for years, but I’m not sure I’ll watch again if this is the way you’re going to treat the show.

A loyal fan in Tennessee,


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