Wednesday, November 28, 2007


So, obviously advertisements are made to play on our insecurities and biases, but why do fast food commercials continue to be goddamn oppressive? You're selling food, for goodness' sakes, it's a basic human need, all you should need to do is make it look appetizing. Even "edible, cheap and not revolting" is a good marketing scheme. But, no- as I've discussed before on this blog, men are attacked if they don't act like men, and apparently eating meat is a masculine trait. Of course Burger King's "I am Man" commercial made that clear, and a new spot from Wendy's has made the point a little more subtly, by cutting up and pasting together male and female bodies so that they can have the series of events they want but without any pesky gender role variation.

The ad freaks me the fuck out. If you haven't seen it, go to their website and click the black and white cut-and-pasted head on the bottom right. They did not put regular male actors in this commercial, because, duh- being overexcited, fanatic and hysterical are totally femmey. Please, talk to some wrestling fans for ten seconds if you want to prove male fanaticism exists. You would also find a ton of female wrestling fans, and surprise! Women eat bacon, too! But you'd never know it from a fast food commercial. Women actors couldn't be cast in this commercial because, duh, meat is for men! So the obvious solution is to impose pictures of men on the bodies of women, so the womanly parts can act crazy and the manly parts can eat meat. What the fuck?

Another commercial currently on the air that bothers the fuck out of me with its subtle prejudice is KFC's heartwarming family's-favorite-moments commercial. After some searching I thankfully found that I wasn't the only one that has an issue with this one. It seems like a sweet moment over dinner at first, but after they panned around the tables a few times I realized it was a black family, enjoying a bucket of chicken, and they were fatherless. Oh, dear.

Anyway, if you're here it's probably due to Project Runway and not my analysis of advertising. Though I would love to draw an analyzing-advertising audience because, hell, it's just as entertaining as watching PR and feels way more productive. But, I'll end with my prediction for the next episode. From the previews it's pretty obviously a men's wear challenge, but that by itself is a little boring. Even if it wasn't, PR always needs a second twist (you're designing for SJP's line- with $15, ha ha ha!), so I'm hoping the real challenge is designing a look for Tim Gunn. Though it may be problematic were he walking around giving advice during the process, but think about it- Tim could finally be on the judge's panel! Also, Tim Gunn objectification ahoy!


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Episode 2: Cheer Up!

I think Rich at fourfour (probably the reason I started this blog, by the way) is totally missing out by not covering this season of Project Runway. I understand his reasons, but if the season continues like this, the cry count will rival ANTM’s.

1. Chris

He’s crying because Sarah Jessica Parker entered, and Sex and the City was the reason he moved to New York City. He’s precious. Not quite our little lamb, but perhaps our big teddy bear.

2. Ricky

He’s crying because in the last challenge, he, in his own words, sucked. How sadly self-defeating. However:

3. Ricky

Sarah Jessica Parker liked his design, so these tears are out of joy. I couldn't tell if he was also crying when his model from the last challenge got aufed, but I'll leave it as just verklempt.

4. Carmen

She got very upset because she had to say Christian should go home. She seemed surprised that they were asking- does she not watch the show, or was this just dramatics? When Steve was asked the same sort of question, he opted for mumbling instead of waterworks. His "I don’t like the idea of that, no", was so very Milton-esque. I, I believe you have my chiffon?

5. & 6. Sweet P and Marion

Heidi’s exact words: "Your look left us very sad". Maybe that’s why there’s so many tears in this episode- Marion’s depressing Xena Chic.

You know who I love? Elisa.

I love her. Whatever grass-staining yoga-practicing spit-marking happy planet she’s from, I want to visit (and by the looks of things, the other designers could use a vacation there, too). It's a shame Sweet P doesn’t know the name. Even though I find saliva really disgusting, when Elisa explained herself with this tone of, “Well, duh, to imbibe it with energy and essence, of course”, I got weak in the knees. She totally owns her crazy.

You know who I DON’T love? Carmen.

Leave the irritating self-promotion to the Bluefly Dot Com Wall, Carmen! Am I culture illiterate because I didn’t get her second reference? I would spend so much time trying to figure out who she was talking about that I would totally forget her design.

Something I found totally hilarious in the pitches to SJP- we totally would have guessed that Kevin was the straight man of this season without him telling us in the first episode. Because when others reacted something like this-

Kevin reacted like this.

Totally left her hanging. Tsk.

Tim Gunn Objectification Watch Alert: In this episode, an image of Tim Gunn was accompanied by...

an image of Tim Gunn. I understand promoting his show while he’s on the screen, but displaying him from two different angles? Demeaning.

It may be cliché, but these teams of two reminded me of high school cliques. The idea really started with this team:

Marion and Steven: Team Nerds

All they need is a pocket calculator and a 30 sided die. I think it’s fairly obvious what would belong to whom.

Christian and Carmen: Team Rich Scene Popular Kids

They’re elite, they’re full of themselves, and they’re really, really irritating.

Rami and Jillian: Team Valedictorian/Salutatorian

Which one is which, you ask? I imagine all valedictorians and salutatorians switch back and forth constantly, with a great deal of bitterness and scorn involved.

Victorya and Kevin: Team Cool Dark Drama Kids

They’re talented, they’re sexy, they appear often in 90s teen movies.

Kit and Chris: Team Other Drama Kids

They’re probably just as talented as the really serious dark drama kids, but they don’t quite have the same ambiance. Some may call them a little out there. But, of course, not as out there as:

Elisa and Sweet P: Team Stoners

Like, totally, you know, it’s all about, like, the materials, right? And like, energy, man. Sweet P kind of gets this one by association, but considering she’s been in a motorcycle gang, I don’t think it can be too far off the mark. Thank goodness Elisa got matched with Sweet P. Besides making a really nice product, I don’t think anyone else would have enough patience for her. Also, if there was indeed a challenge to design for Snow White, Sweet P would rock it.

Ricky and Jack: Team Jocks

This one was kind of a default thing. Check out those guns.

I really liked Ricky and Jack’s final product the most, but as Jack pointed out, it might be because Ricky’s model was gorgeous. I’m also confused as to what the second piece of this was, as it was supposed to be a two-piece challenge, unless it was the belt, and if so, did Ricky actually make it? Whatever, it was gorgeous, and could definitely be worn in an array of looks.

My own ranking and the judge’s coincided for the other top two spot- Elisa and Sweet P’s dress and cape. It’s beautiful and all, but I don’t know how many women would invest in a cape. Of course, if it’s featured on Project Runway, that point is pretty moot: people are going to buy it. Though I didn’t mind it on this piece, I am going to get sick of this shade of blue pretty soon. I know it’s not all exactly the same- Team Ego’s was a more fluorescent, for example, but this range of blues that hearken back to Chloe Dao are being done to death. I'm also wondering, do they teach this deer-in-headlights look in modeling school? I think Katie perfected it.

Victorya and Kevin’s dress, which actually won, didn’t do much for me, but I suspect it fit the line more than the other pieces. Rami/Jillian’s and Kit/Chris’s pieces were a little dull, except the strange choice of headwear in both cases.

My bottom two would be the same as the judge’s- Christian/Carmen’s dress was just not flattering at all. I pray that Elisa will go farther than Christian. Though he’s been pegged as a genius and she as a nutcase, she at least has the common sense to listen to Tim Gunn. If Tim calls your piece too retro and you tell him it’s perfect, I’m pretty sure it’s legal to burn you at the stake. Or at least tie you to a real giant spool of thread, or stuck in a giant pincushion or whatever.

Marion and Steven’s final product was indeed, as aforementioned, very sad. You know what I was happy about, though? Marion got to at least reference one comic book character before his departure.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Tofurkey Day, Vegetarians!

Happy Turkey Day, all, if you're celebrating. The update on PR is going to be late, but to keep you entertained through Buy Nothing Day, I wanted to share a few things.

This video via brownfemipower:

It's a die-in in front of Citibank in DC, and several of my friends were there as part of Powershift. They were protesting Citibank's investment in coal, and ended up shutting the place down for the day. Power to the people! I'll also share with you the chant my friend made up, but did not exactly catch on: "I don't want to wait, for our lives to be over! I want global warming to end right now- hey hey, ho ho!"

I am pretty much in love with this comic from Overcompensating:

Seriously, if you care about peace, or just want to vote for someone NOT evil instead of LESS evil, vote for Dennis Kucinich. Think he can't win? Uh, he kind of already is. Just in secret.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Episode 1: Fabric Incontinence

Project Runway sure knows how to keep things fresh- this season the designers had to do their first challenge with the surprise material of fabric. $50,000 worth of fabric. I went to a Hunger Banquet directly before this episode, and let me tell you, fifty grand sure could feed a lot of starving children. But instead, it was spent on a fuckton of fabric, and I'm willing bet that a grand 7% of all that fabric was actually used. Not to be mean, but I'd rather see them using tent material- which Christian initially thought was the challenge, and whined about. He needs to get over that, fast, or he's going to jinx it and they'll all be making clothes out of their own hair in a few weeks.
Seriously, fabric? I'd rather see tent material because then they're all working in the same context, so making it represent them has to come through in construction and skill. The first episode is wildly unfocused enough with so many designers, I thirst for some kind of theme.
Also, why no road-to-the-runway, auditioning type show?

Carrying on.

Bravo is obviously trying to capitalize on the popularity of Tim Gunn. He has his own show, he's in the theme song now, and he got his own category in the "your favorite thing about PR" poll- and won, of course. I don't know if I like it. I'm on a Tim Gunn Objectification Watch.

Speaking of watches, I'm also on a Carmen's Hair Watch. Will it become less majestic as the season progresses and the stress builds? Let's hope, because if not, she's got her priorities out of order for this competition.

Also in the theme song:

Did you hear? Marion is awkward! I think this is apparent enough without this embarrassing image displayed before every episode. Why is a shapely female shadow kissing Marion? Everyone else gets to strut or wiggle (watch for Simone next time) or at least talk about what great designers they are, and Marion gets make an aw-shucks face weekly. Bold prediction: Marion is not going to win Project Runway.

Jillian matches the sheets. Perfectly. SHE MATCHES THE SHEETS. I thought Marion was going to creep me out, but so far I just feel bad for the little guy. Jillian, however, is creeping me out, with italics and everything. This no-nonsense competitive thing she had going in her little quiet voice it is so secret-murderer-y.
Also: she matches the sheets!
However, her design was still totally boring, as I predicted. It reminded me of a Barbie outfit. Not a high-fashion-season-2 Barbie outfit, a this-came-with-the-beach-house Barbie outfit. Blah.

A few other people seemed to fit my predictions pretty well- Sweet P is definitely high on my favorites list, while Christian is near the very bottom. The judges loved Rami (and with good reason). Elisa made an art project. Ricky, bless his little stereotypical gay Latino heart, was choking back tears, before anything even happened! What a sweety. I liked his dress (though I knew it was doomed to be called "safe"), and his attitude, I hope he sticks around for a while.
A few, though, won my heart unexpectedly- namely, Chris and Steven.

I think Chris is going to last a while. He may be told to edit at some point, but he has plenty of experience with bizarre challenges. I loved his dress, I would have put it in the top three. The colors were a little furniture-esque, but the purple material was gorgeous and the construction was great. And his salad ingredients dress?

And it looks like Richard Simmons really really liked it.

As for Steven, he's just, well, adorable. His sense of humor is so genuine and endearing. How could you not love this face?

As for his design, I think it definitely represents him- as long as not every thing he puts out has a suit jacket on it, I'll root for him. I hope he and his model stick together, the aesthetic suits her well. I also hope that I can get a picture of his closed-mouth smile at some point- it's so bizarrely cute, as if he's delighting in sucking on a lemon.

I guess I should mention Elisa's craziness, since it was the main focus of the episode. I like Elisa, and her craziness. I kind of want to be her friend. However, I also know that as innovative as it is, Michael and Nina are not going to dig grass stains. As for her dress- I was taking some notes during the show and definitely wrote "oh no! pooping fabric" as soon as I caught a glimpse at the back. I thought it was cool, in theory, though it looked more like a peacock than a "cascading river" to me. But I dug the peacock. Unfortunately, the thing didn't function at all. I'm really glad she's still in, though. Based entirely on what walked down the runway, I'm really only interested in seeing what she and Rami (and maybe Jack and Chris) create next.
I'm also glad she's still in because Simone's dress earned the aufing. Sorry, Simone.

Now, let me talk about the top three- Rami's dress obviously deserved to be there, and to win. The selection of Victorya and Christian, however, was a surprise to me. I guess I just don't "get" Victorya's piece. It looks better in the website photo, but while watching the show I thought it was, well, not pretty. And Christian's outfit was, well, ugly. Well-made, for sure, but the colors were gross and it was not flattering.

I know they're probably editing Christian into the villain, but I can see myself not being able to stand him fairly soon. His disdain towards Rami's outfit irked me- it was unfounded and immature. I'm also trying to figure out who or what he reminds me of, in the home video when he says he's "kind of fierce, and kind of a celebrity", it strikes me as so familiar- I thought maybe it was Bobcat Goldthwait's character in Scrooged, but that's not it; and nor is it exactly Kelly. It may just be the way he adds an invisible question mark to his sentences that contains familiarity. If you have any ideas as to what character he's emulating here, let me know.

I could break down what I thought of every single design- Carmen's impeccably executed genie from the future look, Marion's- um- thing, and so on. But there's so many in episode one. Frankly, it's exhausting. I hope you enjoyed what I had the energy to muster up this week. Stop by next week- there may be commentary, or I may just be in a coma.


Friday, November 02, 2007

First Impressions, or Lack Thereof

I have so much to do this semester that I am embarrassed to mention it all. Just know that right now, whenever I have time to do something unimportant, say, enjoy a magazine, play video games, or blog about reality television, it is because I am putting off something important. Blogging about Project Runway is pretty low on the "relevant to my future" list. So you best appreciate the fruits of my procrastination.

I know it's just days away, but I'm itching for the new season and all the joy and sorrow of fabulousness and inconsistent judging it will bring to me. So, after putting off more important things to watch the video interviews and read the Q&As, I thought I would gather a little list of my first impressions. I did the same thing for Season 2, though after the first episode, but who knows where my stamina will be at that point?

What we know: She's an "established designer"
What I want to know: What kind of French phrases did the monkeys on her t-shirts from age thirteen actually say? "Je voudrais un banane"? Or maybe, "Pourquoi est-ce que je parle français"? Monkeys shouldn't be in France. They're not native.
What I expect: A whole lot of "impeccable execution".

What we know: She got on season one, but turned it down. That strikes me as a good sign.
What I expect: Considering she was raised by two artists, and she tells of being "discovered" or something because of a Halloween costume involving a golden spool of thread over the heart and treated eucalyptus leaves, I predict she is going to get "costumey" from the judges more than once, even if it's not justified.

What We Know: He sells clothes out of his flower shops, his style is "Oliver, with a twist!"
Reminds Me Of: Oliver Twist indeed, if Oliver Twist was a fucking pyro.
What I Expect: Michael Kors will call his clothes "something you see on the Sci-Fi channel", Marion will take this as a compliment.

What We Know: His favorite color is leopard.
Reminds Me Of: A gay Fred Flintstone. Just think about that shirt without sleeves. Separated at birth, right?
What I Expect: Gee- he's worked with Madonna, Cirque Du Soleil and Disney, and once again his favorite color is LEOPARD. But, he does have a lot of experience, so he might do alright, depending on the challenge.

What we know: She gets snappy at someone at some point.
Reminds me of: A younger Wendy, on sedatives.
What I Expect: She seems pretty together, so I think she may go far, but totally bore me in the process. I hope her clothes are more exciting than she is. I'm not buying that she's going to be a big drama queen as the promos may lead us to believe.

What we know: He is both "raw talent" and "kind of a big deal".
Reminds me of: Love child of Daniel Franco and Santino.
What I Expect: A big ego, and not much else. Prove me wrong, Christian.

What we know: His aesthetic is both "girly" and "fabulous".
Reminds me of: Love child of Robert and Kayne.
What: Holds a national record in swimming, and lists Christian Siriano- the one directly above- one of his competitors- as a favorite designer. He's his fourth choice when they asked for three. All around: What.

Kit (Christina)
What we know: Her aesthetic is "coquettish"
What I expect: The judges won't "get it". Supposedly inspired by Florence, she will likely be called out on appearing to be inspired by the 80s. I can't think of a third category because so far Kit has left almost no impression at all with me. That's a bad sign.

What we know: He's the token straight guy.
Reminds me of: Clive Owen, if Clive Owen was an Italian fashion designer, with tattoos and a beard and everything. Kevin is pretty, is what I'm saying.
What I expect: Will develop a strong fan following. Bravo will continually air footage of him brushing his teeth in boxers. But really, he seems authentic. I hope he delivers.

What we know: Also turned down a spot on PR in an earlier season. Good sign.
What I expect: The judges will probably like him. Also, if he makes it to the final three/four, we'll hear all about his childhood in West Bank.
What: When asked what would shock people, he answered "Nothing I can think of!!!". Three exclamation points. What.

What we know: He's the token crier in the promos.
Reminds me of: Love child of Raymundo and Andre. Extravagant gestures, boyish looks, big heart, and of course, he sheds some tears.
What I expect: He may turn out to be my favorite, at least for a little while. He's shown in promos trying to talk people out of fighting. I'm a sucker for a peace keeper. You just know they don't belong on reality TV.

What We Know: She's honing her psychic abilities.
Reminds me of: The kind of person that overdresses and looks forlorn and says they belong in another decade, but really, there was no decade in which people did nothing but drink wine and stand in the corner at art shows and talk about how cultured they are.
What: You'd think the psychic thing would do it, but what really gets me is she considers "heirloom piece of jewelry" to be a must-have fashion item. What.

What we know: She appears to think fighting is a necessity, but this could always be out of context editing.
What I want to know: What exactly is a bag that makes a statement? That seems fairly subjective. And what kind of statement would you try to make? To me it sounds an awful lot like a "say-something hat", and "say-something hats" usually say "tacky".

What we know: He worked for drag queens at some point, but hated it.
Reminds me of: Andre's other-dimensional twin: looks similar, but is as soft-spoken and conservative as Andre is loud and outrageous.
What I expect: Considering his must-have fashion items (which includes an ascot tie and a briefcase) are aimed at men and are, well, boring, he at some point may be aufed for "not understanding women" or being, well, boring.

Sweet P (Kathleen)
What we know: She was encouraged to try out by Jeffrey, who was in turn encouraged to try out by Santino, so, I guess that's interesting?
What I want to know: Why Bravo showed this picture of her tattoos, when a ton of the contestants this season have visible tattoos?
What I expect: She'll be my favorite. Authentic and edgy, and without Santino's ego or Jeffrey's penchant to call people feminazis. Also, she was in an all-female biker gang, which has inexplicable appeal to me.

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