‘Project Runway’: Still wishing you were a superfan?

I bet you had the same reaction I did when I saw that tonight was the Superfan challenge on “Project Runway.” How lucky these ladies are! They get top-to-toe makeovers and their VERY OWN OUTFITS courtesy of highly skilled (and, yes, highly stressed) designers! They meet Tim Gunn! They meet Heidi Klum! They meet… well, a bunch of judges who aren’t Michael Kors! Sure, they have to listen to incessant plugs for L’Oreal hair care, but most gals get a version of that whenever they get their hair cut. What a treat!

It was only while watching the episode that I realized there is no amount of money that would inspire me to walk down a runway rocking a craptastic sofa cover or an unfinished suit that splendidly highlighted my back fat. I would also not care to have a well-meaning designer reveal to all of America that I had gobs of excess skin that needed to be corseted into an arrangement that made me look ]vaguely attractive and not so much like the Elephant Man. And so, with those bitter truths revealed, the dream of being a Superfan withers and dies.

Granted, it wasn’t all bad (and some of it was quite good) on the show. Helen’s full-time mom/full-time lawyer, who looked shockingly like someone who might be a member of a religious cult, was given the makeover of the century and a bang-up gown to boot. We can only hope she stops cutting her own bangs, which she appeared to be doing with gardening shears. Bradon’s model, who looked like the “after” picture before she even arrived in the studio, also got a cute haircut and a chic little dress, which probably made some of the other superfans plot to smother her on the double-decker bus ride to the airport. 

Everyone else, though, got various shades of meh that will probably be stuck into the back of closets across America until the ladies invite their friends over for pitchers of margaritas and giddy try-it-on parties. This is always the issue with these “real people” challenges, which make some designers giddy with excitement and others (like Ken) want to vomit. Either way, the results are usually about the same. 

It turns out that real women are all lumpy and curvy and have the grave misfortune of not looking like walking wire hangers. This just befuddles the hell out of the people who have to make clothes for them, as they were planning to only dress supermodels and heroin addicts for the rest of their lives.  Even Kate didn’t seem to understand that putting a raglan sleeve onto an overweight woman had the misfortunate side effect of making her look like a lace-wrapped soccer ball.

Admittedly, it was a stressful challenge, which of course made Ken lose his fool mind again. Apparently the idea that “Project Runway” would consolidate housing as the numbers of designers shrank offended his delicate sensibilities, which seems a fairly predictable reaction from a man who irons his clothes while wearing a zit-purging face mask.. in front of a rolling television camera. Ken does have excellent skin, though, and perhaps that was just a canny play for an endorsement deal.

While Ken refusing to give Alexander access to the apartment was rude, Alexander’s reaction — to shove Ken’s iron and ironing board across the room — wasn’t great, either. It was, however, entirely understandable and kind of awesome. As Alexander said, he can throw drama, too, honey!

What was initially disappointing is that Tim Gunn, in trying to soothe the savage beast, promised Ken he wouldn’t have to stay in a room with the other guys, which implied he’d get a room of his own. I would say that maybe Bradon should have gotten the single, as all he seemed to be suffering from PTSD after the ironing board incident and seemed incapable of doing much more than squeaking and quivering. In retrospect, I think Tim might have just decided he was going to lobby hard for the judges to send Crazypants packing before he shoved a hot iron into Alexander’s face or stabbed Helen with his pin cushion, which is exactly what happened anyway.

Yes, Ken made a hideous green dress which managed to make his poor superfan look misshapen and gave her crooked boobs, but I have to wonder if he could have sent her zooming down the runway in Awards-show worthy couture  and the judges would have found it lacking just so they’d have a chance to change the locks. 

With Ken gone, it’s going to be much calmer in the workroom now. While I was disappointed with an awful lot of what went down the runway (although it was nice and Justin clearly took into consideration his Mormon, extra-skin-hanging model’s issues, I was not overly wowed by a basic LBD), I have to think the designers no longer having to worry about Ken suddenly flying off the handle for absolutely no reason will only lead to better designs. Hey, they don’t have to design anything else for real people, after all. 

Are you glad Ken’s gone? Do you think Tim Gunn handled the situation the right way? Would you want to go on the show as a Superfan?

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