06 September, 2015

Project Runway and Human Nature

Project Runway Season 14, Ep. 5 | Aired Sep 03

I'll be the first to admit that, at my age, even watching this show and being a dedicated fan STILL makes me ill-equipped to form an opinion -- since Fashion has always been relegated to the select few, ages 16-25, who are dead gorgeous and can afford a majority of the haute couture being created from Paris to Tokyo.

As a dedicated fan of the show, however, it sometimes behooves me to form an opinion anyhow.

As artists go, I am a writer and not a fashion designer, much less a fashionista, nor the creator of anything that can be hung on a wall, set on a pedestal for all to admire, or worn with flair in any major city around the world.

I watch Project Runway not simply for the entertainment value surprise outcomes, but more for its constant, if not sometimes subtle, hints into the human psyche.

This show is a terrific way for a writer to shamelessly voyeur the anticipated nuances of human nature with all of its gilded foibles, faux fur attitudes, and cringe-worthy Wal-Mart-style melt-downs.

Let me begin by saying that this season's designers turned out to be worth watching and even rooting for, which is surprising since at the very start I was not of that opinion AT ALL. I initially had this ugh feeling about every one of them and expected to see mediocre, lackluster product marching down the runway each week.

There are actually FIVE designers who show real promise --

Photos: Lifetime Network

And of those five, two are likely to knock my socks off, if I may be so bold as to borrow from Mr. Gunn in the Idioms department.

This week's episode was another team challenge where it ended up being boys against girls, with the noted exception of Merline ending up next-to-last picked on the boy's team and Ashley being relegated to the girl's team by not being chosen at all.

I'm sure we all knew that the tears would flow and the creative juices would end up being stunted as a result, but as for its being a shocking maneuver on the part of the women? No, not surprising at all.

Ashley is a force to be reckoned with and the girls all know it, which was why they chose to be girls and make every halfhearted mean-spirited attempt to cause her elimination.

Jealousy is a strange thing and all the more strange when it is seized upon by a small group of otherwise put-together females on the road to their particular form of nirvana.

As of the release of episode five, cut-throat attitudes have yet to be revealed.

Okay, so with the exception of Joseph Charles Poli, we have yet to see (or hear) any truly vindictive, out-for-blood hints or musings from the contestants.

"This is a competition, bitch, and I'm in it to win it." type mentality where tossing anyone and everyone under the bus, offering up bad advice or none at all, and always bitching about someone in the interview segments is their forte.

Okay, so with Amanda Perna out of the running now, I can honestly say this is the case.

Kudos to Laurie Underwood for coming to Ashley's defense!

From the start of this season, it was clear she possesses a mature outlook on life in general, and yet since this IS a competition, things are bound to change -- including attitude and mindset.

However, since season one of this reality-based series, I have always felt that it would be a refreshing change to meet SOMEONE who truly understands the nature and spirit of competition, and who is that well-adjusted in their own talent to WANT to be pushed, prodded, and even goaded into improving themselves via someone slightly better, more gifted, or who does one thing a bit better than them.

Not to put down, sneer at, and devise evil plots to have them knocked down so as to be taken out of the running. This shows lack of character and lack of confidence in their own talent. If you are that threatened by another, it is you who need to step back and re-examine your craft; not the other way around.

It is also easy to spot the designers who come into the competition thinking it is a cakewalk and then soon discovering just how much they actually still need to learn, develop, and grow not only as a designer but as a human being.

Thankfully, they are usually the first three designers to go.

Not always; just sometimes.

Last week, I couldn't believe it when Jake Wall's basketball jersey dress made it past the elimination round. Prior to that, I still had to wonder what it would take to have him eliminated. This week, he again did very little in the creation aspect of the show but ended up on the winning team.

While all else cry for the removal of Blake, I continue to wonder when it will be Jake's turn to hear Auf Wiedersehen from Heidi.

At seventeen, Blake is sure to be a bit immature and admittedly blunt. He's a bonafide blurt-er, but at least he is aware of that fact and continues to say he will work on it.

I like him and his work.

But, back to the real issue here, and that is women behaving badly.

Candice Cuoco is a backstabber extraordinaire and I'm sure she knows that now. She won a dual first place thanks to Ashley and then -- what? She grew increasingly wary of Ashley's skills so felt obliged to sabotage her two-weeks-ago best bud?

Second: Candice may LOOK intimidating, and maybe because she was picked first in this challenge, she felt a certain obligation to run the show, but there were six women on this team and it was like watching a hen house at egg-laying time.

Embarrassing fail for our gender.

Which makes me shake my head not only in dismay but utter confusion in the 21st century scheme of things.

There has to be SOME point in human nature where a red flag is signaled or a bad feeling starts to creep in that would make at least one of them want to shout STOP! And then make every attempt to right the derailment before it is too late.

Not so in this last episode, where the train wreck occurred without much fanfare, the casualty count started to climb, and these women simply stood there and watched. Okay, so they hemmed, hawed, mumbled, grumbled, and muttered to themselves but still did nothing to rectify the situation.

What was it about Candace that kept the others from telling her to back the F up and actually listen to their complaints?

And, as always, after the dust settles on such instances, I'm left to wonder about the state-of-mind of at least one of the contestants who walked away from that crossfire.

In this case, I worry that Ashley will end up losing self and fail to produce what she is entirely capable of producing because she's let this instance get her down.

I worry, too, that Lindsey Creel is going to do a 180 on Candace and make every attempt to get on Ashley's good side now -- which is just dumb.

To hope that Candace makes a sincere apology for her childish behavior is expecting far, too much, I know, but, it is still a possibility. To hope that Ashley rises like the literary Phoenix and becomes much stronger as a result is a possibility as well, and one I do hope she accomplishes.

Ashley needs to know that it wasn't anything personal and sheer jealousy on the part of the others that led to that debacle.

She is, as I said, a force to be reckoned with and therefore deemed as a threat to the others, but that just brings me right back to what I said earlier about human nature and grasping at straws in a crunch instead of taking a nice, deep breath, calming down, and seriously thinking about why you're there, what is expected of you, and how best to accomplish that goal.

WITHOUT all of the unnecessary and, frankly, pathetic drama that the PC will say isn't right or fair of you to label the female gender with possessing --- and, yet . . .

the proof is in the pudding (as Tim Gunn may or may not have said already).

Your comments, thoughts, suggestions, issues, and insight are always welcome. Please feel free to reply to any of my posts.

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