Did you guys see it last night? I'm talking about the premiere of PROJECT RUNWAY's third season....
For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, PR is a docu-reality show on the Bravo channel which follows a contest for up-and-coming designers. Ugh, another reality show? you say. But...no. You have to check it out before you pile it in with dreck like BIG BROTHER and FEAR FACTOR. PROJECT RUNWAY is awesome becase the contestants are amazingly talented, and it's extremely satisying to watch them do their magic. Every week, they compete in a challenge that tests their skills to the limits: not only do they have a short amount of time to produce something wonderful, but the contests can be wacky: consider, for instance, last night's opening challenge in which the designers had to create something that "defines them" by using materials from their apartment. What came out of this was both wonderful and strange: there was everything from a classy fur-trimmed coat to a cool dress made out of coffee filters. Seriously. In seasons past, they've had similar challenges (Season one--my favorite season so far--featured a challenge in which the designers were let loose in a supermarket to find materials. Austin Scarlett, my fav reality contestant EVER, made a dress out of corn husks. It was incredible.).
The winner gets $100,000 to start their own line, but the top three designers are all showcased in Fashion Week, which is a HUGE deal. This program can be a real career kick-in-the-rear. It's not just a "here's half a million dollars, buh-bye" sort of gig; these contestants are seeking more than fifteen minutes of fame. And the program manages to capture a lot of personality from the designers. You really feel for them (unless that designer is Wendy Pepper from Season one but, even with her, I felt sorry for her profound lack of self-awareness).
So, reality shows? Don't say nay to this one. I've even converted my disbeliever parents into big fans and my dad even talks about "piping" now. Awesome.