Friday, July 13, 2007

Project Inspiration

I'm a little late in the game (hey, it's me, that's normal when it comes to pop culture), but I have been voraciously eating up episodes of Project Runway, thanks be to Netflix. I watched Season 1 a few months ago and just watched the last episode of Season 2 today.

What an terrific television show. Wish I'd thought of it.

It's well-produced: well shot, written and edited, and even though I know they're cutting it for maximum drama, I get totally caught up in the content and am not distracted by the editing as much as I am with most television. That's good, because I've been trained to notice things like that.

I am not even into fashion. I like clothing, like certain looks, and have my own evolving style, but I am not much interested in the world of fashion. Maybe because, from my perspective, although designers may have a creative vision, and their clothing is often artful, the label and the price tag seem to become more important than the clothing itself. And often, the result is a look that shouts, "Hey, look at me, I spend a lot of money on my clothes." Like, who cares? And listening to people talk about clothing? Not really my thing, either, unless maybe, it's a historical discussion.

But this show is about way more than fashion. The things I love most are exactly the things that drive those designers crazy... challenges like the grocery store challenge or the flower district challenge... the ones that call for creativity and innovation and outside-the-box thinking... the lack of time... the tight budgets.** They start whining, and here I am -- I can't even sew -- scrunching up my face, saying, "Hello, people? Let me at it! I wanna play! It's an adventure! I thought you were a designer! Make it work!" ***

And then there's the people-to-people interaction. The first season seemed a little bit "typical reality show," but the second season -- the impressions, the singing -- often had me laughing hysterically. The chemistry between the designers was phenomenal, even when they hated each other.

So, I accidentally found out the outcome of Season 1 before I had finished watching, which lowered my level of anticipation for the rest of that season. I still liked the episodes, but I already knew the names of the winner and one of the other three finalists, and they weren't people I was rooting for. When the final episode came, I was pleasantly surprised by the collections and not disappointed by the outcome, but I wasn't jumping up and down.

This time around, I studiously avoided stumbling upon such spoilers. Which made the anticipation and excitement that built up for me in those last few episodes even more fun. I was actually sitting on the edge of the seat. And I was so, so excited when it came down to the last two -- I really wanted them both to win. Not a bad place to be watching from.

The thing I really take away from the show, though, isn't the triumph of rooting for contestants who make it into the top three. It is the spirit of creativity, of inspiration, of making something beautiful out of whatever you happen to be given.

Can't wait for the little red envelopes that bring Season 3 to my mailbox. And maybe, just maybe, this year, I'll watch Season 4 with the rest of the world. Just, somebody, please let me know when it's about to start.

* Many of the same points could be made about art, I suppose. Instead of reacting positively or negatively to a painting, a woman once said to me, "Is it by somebody I should have heard about?" Why should that matter? If you like it, and you see something of yourself reflected in it, and it makes you happy or joyful or contemplative, that's what's important, and then, yes, you should find out the name of the artist so you can buy some artwork and help them keep doing what they love. But only because you like the work, not because you want to impress other people.
** Although, really, it always seems like a small fortune to me.
*** Oh come on, you knew that was coming.


Merisi said...

Now you got me hooked! Do I have to move back to the States? Those little red envelopes you are talking about, do they contain DVDs?
Some of the points you take remind me of my friend M., a TV-journalist and filmmaker. Watching a movie with her is always an erudition, I have learned to observe things that previously escaped my attention. And soo does your blog, educate me in many ways. Thank you for that. :-)

paintandink said...

Awww, Merisi, I'm blushing. Thank you for your kind words.

The red envelopes are from Netflix, which is also something I wish I had thought of; for a monthly fee we get DVDs mailed to us and when we're done with a movie we mail it back and they mail the next one in our queue. We usually get the next movie within 48 hours of mailing the previous one back. That's pretty fast when we still have two movies to watch. If we don't remember to watch them quickly, though, it becomes a very expensive rental.

(They're not paying me to say this, I promise)

As for Project Runway, though, I've been told it airs around the world, so you may be able to find it in Austria. Good luck!

belinda said...

i'm so with you on "fashion". i hadn't heard of this show yet, wonder when it will hit germany. heidi is hosting a model show, maybe she'll do this next? anyway ... this is interesting and you tube offers some free insights. i like challenges and i sounds very intriguins being able to watch the designers working on the challenge. and see the result of course. as to airing, it depends on your network whether they show it. need to check it up. my cable station has which has interesting shows every time i zap thru. i'm not into luxary at all, but interesting to find out AND SEE more details about embroidery, fashion, interiors etc.

Merisi said...

Oh, stop blushing, I hadn't even told that your blog musings (hope that's a respectful term *g*) make me feel connected to the place I will always consider my most important "home". *chuckle*
I had heard about that DVD-Service (a friend of mine moved to Spokane from DC, sort of very "out there" for her, and she was thinking of subscribing). For me, as much as I love watching movies, it would probably mean paying a lot of late fees, because I usually do not find the time to watch a DVD from the library within the deadline and often end up paying hefty fines for what should have been a cheap entertainment (not even watching that thing, what pits!).
I think I did see a couple of episodes of the show you watched, in 2005, or something similar, with young designers working on deadline. I remember one drop dead gorgious woman, mother of a couple of kids, whom I liked very much.
Have a great weekend!

Crashdummie said...

I'm not into reality shows but I kinda like that show - just laugh sooo hard at all the divas. But i guess artistic ppl have their quirkiness.

heck, I'm not artistic but I'm nontheless quirky ;)

Pam Aries said...

HAW!!!! THat is my guilty pleasure as well! I also love the Chef one! ...Aren't you glad you pulled up the carpet?? It is Grrreat! I have to get started on my floor painting..I am going now to look at paintsssss....It is hotter than HE-double hockeysticks...ha ha! WHY did I start this now!!?

Hanna said...

your quote: "am not even into fashion. I like clothing, like certain looks, and have my own evolving style, but I am not much interested in the world of fashion."

THAT is just so ME too! hihi!

Crashdummie said...

ryc: thank you for your sweet comment

Tinker said...

Though I confess I don't watch this show (we don't have cable, for one thing) I was impressed by the one Project Runway contestant that I saw on daytime TV, who they challenged to create an outfit composed entirely of cocktail napkins (I think that's what they were). Though not something I'd want to actually wear myself, he did create something that looked very haute couture with the napkins. I thought it was a fun and interesting challenge - if the show is anything like that little segment I saw, I think I'd rather enjoy it myself. Hope you're enjoying your summer!

Tinker said...

Came back to clarify, I don't normally watch daytime TV very often - but as I recall, it was on a TV in a waiting room.

OH MY GOSH! I just realized the funniest synchronicity - the word verification letters for this comment are "hytvmnky" which my silly side insists upon reading as "Hi TV Monkey!" OK - I used to watch Ellen AND Oprah - but I haven't seen either one in months.

CaBaCuRl said...

I don't think we get this show in Australia...sounds like we are missing something!

CaBaCuRl said...

Thanks RadioGirl for the book recommendation....have put in a request for it at my local library.

Princess Banter said...

yeah -- i also love project runway! it was quite addicting. it started when i was flipping channels and a dress design caught my eye... oooh, not bad! then i got hooked onto it to no end! i will not bust your day with spoilers... but do keep watching! i'm happy for your discovery haha!

Lisa "Oceandreamer" S. said...

I am a huge fan of Project Runway...I've watched it from the beginning and now it's coming back again(new season). There is a blog devoted to it that is HILARIOUS called Project Rungay....the 2 guys who created it have become well known to the show now.
I will most definitely remind you to watch when the new season start date is announced!!