couchsurfing Project Runway Canada – Episode 1

I have been anticipating this show for months and I am not above blogging a weekly redux, so you are warned – Tuesdays will be PRC-centric for the next twelve weeks. Despite the fact that I do not have cable, I am lucky to have many friends who have offered to let me watch the show with them – and Anita let me take up space on her couch for the premiere.

Project Runway Canada

For those of you who are not watching on schedule, I have hidden the spoilers after the break…

If you have been reading Final Fashion carefully, you will remember that I was an applicant and went through a couple levels of auditions but failed to be chosen. After watching the first show and reading this article, I can say that I am truly relieved to be couchsurfing Project Runway instead of participating. Actually, I feel like I have dodged a dozen bullets. I may not be on TV but my soul is whole… and I get to be entertained instead of played.

This show is brutal! The art of reality television seems to be a process of turning people into puppets. A highly secretive and scripted cohort of hosts and judges kick the dignity out of twelve identities, activate each designer’s doubts and delusions and scratch their sensitivities. It is like the designers are animals in some kind of crazy sketch and sew rodeo. Knowing that I narrowly escaped being one of them fills me with far more empathy than I have ever felt for TV show contestants – though it actually enhances my perverse enjoyment. It seems I am just another twenty-first century Roman watching heads roll in the Colosseum of cable television.

As if television is not brutal enough, Project Runway Canada includes a blog element with apparently unmoderated comments. Anonymous commenters are not known for tact and diplomacy and I expect that these blogs will quickly combust into flamewars which will likely be more annoying than interesting. Still, the lack of filtration gives us a clue to the reputations of the designers and the effects of their charisma on viewers.

The blogs themselves are also apparently unedited or unfiltered and for that reason help us get to know the characters better than the show can. They confirm what we already know – that designers are almost all flamboyantly semi-literate, exited when they are excited, defiant when they are definite, and often incomprehensible. The exception was surprising – Carly demonstrated a use of paragraphs and spell check. Besides that, her post was engaging and gave a better sense of her character than was possible to see on television. Who says the kids today can not write?

It is early days but I think the leading designers in terms of skill are already apparent. Lucian and Shernett are capable of incredible detail even under tight deadlines, and Marie Genevieve demonstrated a confident design vision that really stood out in the first challenge. It is not fair to dismiss the abilities of any of these designers considering the circumstances, but some are clearly not capable of performing with skill under scrutiny and seemed to be cast to create an element of fiasco.

Of the judges, Shawn Hewson and Rita Silvan both come across as true to their character, and so far seem to be able to tell when their comments are subjective and when they are objective, with an understanding that being able to evaluate design requires both taste and knowledge.

Brian Bailey in the mentor role fails to elicit any sort of reaction which is a shame considering he will inevitably be compared to the adorable Tim Gunn. Certainly he is one of Canada’s more prominent designers but beyond his peculiar mustache I can not recognize a single defining personality trait. Iman as the host manages to be both enigmatic and robotic in a way that inspires awe and allegiance.

Everything must be taken with several shakes of salt, remember this is entertainment first. What did you think of the show?

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7 thoughts on “couchsurfing Project Runway Canada – Episode 1”

  1. I agree that it was brutal-almost too much even for entertainment-value.

    Also, I probably would have cried at the announcement of the suitcase challenge. That makes me slightly concerned about my attachments to inanimate objects …but still.

    Brian Bailey I find insipid at first, and annoying after a while.

    I suspect I may have difficulty getting into this show, despite my enthusiastic counting of days until it started. I’ll be looking forward to your Tuesday expose though.

  2. My suitcase would have been a disappointment… not sure how I feel about that.

    I’m kind of concerned that Bailey is a lead weight on the show too. It is kind of hard to detect any kind of warm charisma from any of the non-contestant characters which might mean the show won’t easily catch the imagination of non diehard-PRC-fans.

    Also, I’ve checked on the blogs again – we’ve already got some recurring commenters (Syna the Calgary booster, etc) and small sparks. And I noticed that Shernett’s blog got cleaned up and edited a bit, and several of the blogs seemed to have a few more paragraph breaks, and more capital letters where they should be.

    Evan Biddell refers to himself as “the Biddell” which is just… awfully pretentious and not in a funny way. I wish Jay McCarroll would show up and slap him. Lincoln Cheung starred out “s**t” but left in the word “fucking” in full which is cute.

    Oh and Lucian always talking about his mom in Transylvania with the shirt unbuttoned to his chest – this man is made for television, it cracks me up in a good way. He’s right – he is good for Canada.

  3. Hm, update on the blog watching…

    Biddell had a skeleton from his closet commenting about cocaine and debts which got deleted… someone called Rita Silvan a B*** which also got deleted… so the comments are definitely weeded if not moderated. Whoever is weeding is doing it judiciously, criticism is allowed, but name calling is not, which is just good comment policy.

    Carly is leaving fan comments on the other designer’s blogs! She may be the Miss Congeniality of the show.

    Also, someone is going through the blogs putting links in connecting to other designer’s blogs, model’s profiles and so on. There is a bit of formatting problems mucking up the margins.

    I’m enjoying keeping an eye on the blogs way too much. I love that there is a live element and designers get to have a place to put their perspective, seemingly without a lot of interference. Even the fact that it is temporal and you can catch a bit of the trolling before it gets deleted and see the edits, it feels like looking through the virtual cracks of reality television and getting clues to the real reality.

    Oh, and they’re posting the full episodes on the site…

  4. Blog update – the blogs are cleaned up, margins and capitals at the beginning of sentences and working links, but the innocent misspellings are thankfully intact.

    Some of the borderline snarky comments have been trashed, which is fine. There’s a nice discussion of farting going on at Stephen’s blog, it seems unless he wows us with his work he will be most memorable for his preoccupation with bodily functions…

  5. OMG…I absolutely LOVE Lucian’s work and YES he is made for television and for Canada. The funny thing is that as much as he mentioned Transylvania, he always claims that he is more Canadian then anything. He tried to move back to Europe, but it didn’t feel right…he came back and wants to become part of the Canadian and International fashion scene and he will…with such trumendous talent and ambition…MAN, will he ever go far!
    I cannot wait to see what the future will bring for him…and sure hope that he’ll win PRC…if not the whole system is corrupt!
    People I dislike: DARIN…OMG what a piece of work he is…old and immature
    Biddell…tacky! After episode 6 and still haven’t seen any exciting stuff coming out of him…B O R I N G and predictable, already done/seen stuff
    MG’s attitude…she is OK…pretty talented but…B A D attitude.
    These are Top Fav…and hope TOP THREE…

    I heard that Lucian is the winner…well it is not a surprise…his talent level is way above all the other’s…

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