Thursday, July 13, 2006

Project Runway

I watched the first episode of the new Project Runway season last night and it looks like it will be another good season. I don’t have any favorites yet, but I do have some definite opinions about some of the contestants (but I’ll save those for another time).

This entry is about why I actually like this “reality” TV show and the Top Chef show (also on Bravo). I’ve watched episodes of other shows and while I found them interesting for a few episodes, I’ve never really cared whether or not I missed an episode (or a whole season for that matter) before. I’ve thought about it for a couple of days now and it boils down to these factors:

1. Creativity – Each week the “contestants” are challenged to use their skills to create something that will win the challenge for them. Last night the designers could only use items found in their apartments (that they share with each other) to create a piece of clothing that represented who they are to the judges. Everything in the apartments was fair game: bedding, furniture coverings, light fixtures, wall art, etc. While I found some of the outfits completely odd, I was very impressed with the different materials were used and I absolutely LOVE that I get to see someone else going through their own creative processes.

2. Talent – Most of the contestants on these shows are individuals who have been working in their field (fashion/cooking) for many years in some way or another. They didn’t get lucky (okay so maybe luck played a small part in it), but instead have been honing their talent for quite some time. They are in difficult, highly competitive fields and, I feel, are taking a chance on these shows to display their talents.

3. Passion – The contestants show an obvious passion for what they are doing. It’s something they love and is as much a part of them as breathing. Most realize that being on the show could help their careers (or hurt them), but really would still be doing what they are doing even if the show never existed just because they love doing it. This passion often expresses itself in their work.

4. General Lack of “Evilness” – What do I mean by this? Well, for the most part the challenges given on these shows are totally based on talent. There isn’t so much of the backstabbing, evil plotting, two-facedness that is VERY common on other reality TV. shows. Don’t get me wrong there is still pettiness and such but not to the same degree. The contestants seem to like each other and will often help each other out or give advice or instructions to those less knowledgeable. I do see the egos getting out off hand on many occasions, but again these are highly competitive fields and ego (to a point) is often beneficial.

5. The critiques of the work – The judges on these shows actually know how to give a critique without being complete jerks (again, for the most part). They give each contestant an honest appraisal of their work’s strong and weak points. They seem like they genuinely want to encourage and challenge each contestant to do the best work they can do and succeed in their field. How often does that happen on other reality shows or even in “real” life?

I admit there are exceptions to all of these points, but for the most part I find these shows to be of much higher value than others. I probably won’t post every week about what happened on the episodes, but you may find an occasional post about them. We’ll see what happens, I might have more opinions about fashion than I ever thought possible.

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