Idol Chatter

I was hoping to write up a little piece today about “Project Runway” contestant Pamela Ptak’s Baha’i faith, but she was bid “auf wiedersehen” at the end of last night’s show. You see, Ptak, who considers God her favorite designer, was singled out for committing the ultimate fashion sin–making a model look fat.
Challenged to create couture out of burlap sacks, several of the 15 contestants had it in the bag while others completely unraveled. Ptak’s design seemed somewhere in the middle: not exactly inspired, but demonstrating excellent craftsmanship. Surely next to Ping’ Wu’s poorly constructed, buttock revealing, barely beyond burlap creation, Ptak’s faux-denim dress would be safe. But, no.

Now if there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching season after season of “Project Runway” it’s that the judges don’t like “safe.” But, to let Ptak go when Jesus didn’t even follow the rules of the challenge and Ping sent her model down the runway with what can only be described as a butt flap is simply ludicrous. When critiquing Ping’s outfit, the judges noted the egregious flaws and questioned whether they wanted to see more from her. Apparently, the producers did as always-on-the-verge-of-tears Ping, this year’s makes-for-better-television-way-out-there personality, wasn’t even in the bottom two.
I understand that the producers, who have judging input, are trying to create compelling entertainment and that fashion is a somewhat superficial pursuit to begin with, but what kind of a message is being sent when it’s deemed worse to create a dress that makes someone look a little bottom heavy than to create one that actually reveals the bottom? Is being hippy really more abhorrent than being a flasher?
What really annoys me, however, is the dissonant-like effect that this kind of patently producer-driven (and ‘drama’-seeking) decision creates, destroying the whole faux reality of the show and diminishing my enjoyment of it. Yes, it’s “reality tv” and I see the small print roll by describing the amount of meddling the producers are allowed, but I really want to believe that the contestants really are being judged on their talent and their ability to “make it work.”

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