Monday, July 28, 2008

Oh the Hughmanity! Week 2: “Ribbed for No One’s Pleasure”

Possums, it was the Roman playwright Terence who wrote, “I am a man. Nothing human is alien to me.” However, had he survived into the modern age, and were he a viewer of Bravo and a reader of blogs, there is no doubt in our mind that he would have written, “I am a gay man. Nothing Hughman is alien to me.” And it is in that spirit that the redoubtable Hughman brings you his take on the second episode of Project Runway:

Jeezy creezy.

I so want to believe everything Tim Gunn says. Honestly. “Pencil skirts are in.” Hell yeah! “Glamour is the new black.” Hot-cha! “The Eighties are back!” Um, ok I guess. They weren’t that inspiring the first time but whatever.

So it seems particularly telling that in his first rooftop appearance, instead of telling us, as he usually does, that “this season has the best designers we’ve ever seen,” Tim says that this is the most “diverse” group of designers in the show’s history. “Diverse”?! Really?! That’s really damning with faint, meaningless praise. The thing is, though, I think his scrupulousness is showing through; the man is trying to tell us something, and not for nothing has he been bitchier than on any season past.

Maybe it’s just me but this season of PR already seems like the Presidential Primaries, no end in sight. And it’s ONLY THE SECOND SHOW!! Maybe I need to drink more but I feel like I’m sitting through a long boring movie (cough*The English Patient*cough) and desperately need to pee.

Why? Maybe it’s the lack of the “Speech in Berlin” moment thus far. There’s been no Gay Gasp like when we first laid eyes on Laura Bennett (who in my movie is played by Rosalind Russell). No jovial Chris March. No annoying yet strangely magnetic Christian Siriano. Not even a Wendy Pepper hovering around the edges like a soccer mom on a meth binge. We barely know anything about this season’s contestants, so when they’re booted, the best we can manage is “meh.” No thanks to Bravo, who’ve been as tightlipped about this season as Condi Rice at the Dinah Shore Classic.

The one thing the designers do most creatively on Season 5 is be Reality Show Contestants. Fortified by years of Real World, America’s Next Top Model and I Love New York, they eagerly jump into roles as Stereotypes. Talent be damned, this is about what the camera loves or what some people have decided the camera loves. The rest of us know the camera adds ten pounds to your ego and usually not where you need them.

So we get second-rate, crazy hippie, an overcaffeinated small gay, and a misplaced straight guy. All they need are “Hi, My Name is That One” nametags and we’re all set.

Even the clothes are meh. On this episode they could have all come from Forever 21 and we’d never know the difference. Short, nondescript little numbers from the wardrobe of The Hills. Twenty or so outfits thus far and frankly, I don’t think I could pick one of them out of a lineup.

Bravo tried to shake it up. First, all material had to be “eco friendly,” a vague enough term slapped onto everything these days to try and assuage our TV-addicted guilt. I still don’t really know what it means and I doubt any of these kids do either. In a perfect world, we’d get bamboo leaves and recycled glass. As if.

Second, we were treated to the Models being forced to buy the fabric at Mood. It was like watching the Valet Parker being made to buy your car. Just let them do their job, get a check and go back to smoking and drinking bottled water. I can tell you firsthand, models really don’t usually give a shit about what they’re paid to wear. It’s a JOB, not a stint volunteering to stop world hunger.

The results spoke volumes about what Models think of designers. Apparently designers are like crows with bad taste, attracted to shiny things in dull colors. Brown satin was the main draw. Perhaps the Models thought it was made of recycled camel dung and the remnants of lip gloss. (Eco Friendly!)

Stella ain’t having it. She declares in her best Penny Marshall voice that she’s Urban and all about leather. No shit. If Squeaky Fromme were a dominatrix, Stella would pretty much be her Doppelgänger. Oddly her final design didn’t exhibit any of these two qualities, unless Urban means we’re about a half inch from seeing the model’s “Lower East Side.” One-armed hookers everywhere are drooling over her product.

In what may go down in the records as Most Ironic Statement Ever on PR, Blayne calls her “leatherface.” I was hoping Stella would slap that kumquat he calls a head right off his shoulders (which Korto could snatch off the floor, splice in half and call a brooch.) Instead, the Gay Gollum takes the one-sided dress idea and applies it to his “Licious,” making yet another “I’m a little teapot” concoction. The result was also very Pretty in Pink/Flashdance, complete with a side ponytail in case you weren’t yet convinced it was retro enough.

Finally we got our requisite shockers.

Suede wins! Bisexual Kewpie dolls everywhere are crying with glee. I didn’t personally think it was the Best (I favored Kenley’s shift with the dramatic neckline which I could see Pat Buckley wearing to a cocktail party) but if you were a milkmaid going to a milkmaid prom, you could do worse.

Poor Wesley. I’m not into Conspiracy Theories but I’m just gonna go on a limb and hope (to his credit) that he was overwhelmed with Puppy Love. This is always the way it works. First the sultry looks, next the stolen kisses then suddenly you find yourself forcing your model into a brown satin condom while you whiteknuckle through frustration. The dress was too tight, too short and ribbed in a way that brought no one pleasure. Here’s hoping he can release some of that tension by the reunion and it’ll all be doe-eyed moonlit walks on the beach once again.