“Return of the Supermodel”
March 17th, 2009
This is going to be a pretty short one, because this episode is as simple as it gets: no gimmicks, no major drama, just five designers given a task to create an outfit for a supermodel. While I think that Adejoke’s depressed take on the challenge was a little bit off kilter, she’s right: while it sounds like this should be really exciting as an opportunity for young and new designers to showcase their work on a grand stage, in reality it’s not actually that interesting.
The only way it gets interesting is if people step outside of the challenge (See: Sunny), or if people are unable to execute their ideas (See: Kim), or if they don’t quite fail miserably but instead settle on being dead wrong about a challenge’s purpose (See: Genevieve). The end result of the entire affair is nothing even close to surprising, and the most interesting thing to come out of the episode were the scenes from next week – that’s never a good sign for a reality show, which is supposed to get more interesting as it goes along.
Sunny is honestly a bad thing for this show, as long as there’s no one else to compete with him: he took this challenge carefully, pulling together a look that really wasn’t what Coco Rocha had asked for but was nonetheless uniquely suited for her occasion. Sunny is not conceited: he chalks up his good performance to something highly logical, paying attention to each individual challenge, and we have never seen him gloat or anything similar. Sunny, right now, is just operating at such a higher level than everyone else that it ruins the suspense. Biddell last season was a loose cannon who could have gone home at any time, a genius some weeks and a loser the others – Sunny’s just too damn good for a show that wants us to be concerned about his safety.
And while I think that Jessica and Adejoke made serviceable clothes this time out, they’re just not in it the same way: Jessica spent the episode trying to avoid drama with Kim in order to keep the peace, which was admirable if not very engaging, and Adejoke was so bummed out by last week’s “it’s not fashion” critique combined with what for her was too simple and direct a challenge that she was barely able to muster a smile the entire episode. Jessica played it completely safe after a couple of weeks of success, showing that she isn’t exactly stepping out there to win every week, and Adejoke has a weird sense of the fashion industry if she was that disinterested in dressing a Canadian supermodel.
In a way, I prefer Kim’s absolutely self-centered perspective on life, or Genevieve’s bug-eyed insistence that her clothes are beautiful and she’s just going to do what she always does. Genevieve listens to Coco Rocha and hears buzzwords, and decides that what she wants is what everyone in Genevieve’s world wants: the result is not a poor design, fitting within pleasant enough aesthetics, but rather the entirely wrong design for a supermodel going out for a night on the town. Kim, meanwhile, at least tries something different with her unfortunately constructed/planned volume around the waist, and while it fails miserably it did nonetheless feel like Kim doing her take on the supermodel look as opposed to Kim doing Kim.
But none of it really clicks: Kim and Genevieve are quite hateful throughout, which makes for some semblance of engaging television, but none of what we see stretches the Project Runway mode very far. Coco Rocha was charming, and I especially enjoyed the moment where one of the models realizes that she is going to be in attendance at this show and becomes a total fangirl, but it was all par for the course. And at this stage we should be so invested in these people that we should be anxious during that final elimination: instead, since Sunny was completely safe and Jessica didn’t completely screw up, is there anyone out there who was really concerned about the end result? I mean, Kim’s a little bit more hateful than Genevieve, but not enough to make me actively root for her departure – it’s just not worth it.
And it all kind of feels even more useless when the preview for next week shows that Jason and Genevieve are coming back, much as Marie-Genevieve was given a chance to come back last year, in order to stretch out the season (since three people went home in the first episode) and in order to add some more drama into the equation. Usually when this happens we complain about who should have come back instead, but outside of perhaps Baylor I don’t even really care – there’s just not enough reason to be emotionally invested at this point. And while I’m not quite Adejoke, who is clearly on the wrong show, I do think to a point that we need to see something a bit more interesting before I suggest we just fastforward to Fashion Week, cut out everyone but Sunny, and just coronate the bugger already.
- I like how much more hands-on Brian is than Tim Gunn – he questioned Genevieve’s decision, who was of course defensive about it, but then he was like “no, you’re wrong” and started fixing it. It shows that he is there as an actual mentor, not just as a sound board (although I do love Tim Gunn for that, don’t get me wrong).
- My favourite moment in the episode was easily with Coco indicated that she didn’t mind draped skirts, but she only really liked them when they were draped properly. I’m surprised Genevieve didn’t leap off the stage at that moment, to be honest.
- Sunny’s “Krusty” laugh was the only part of the episode that felt the least bit laid back or peaceful – we need more of those moments, producers.
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