Wednesday, July 18, 2007

all tim all the time

updated 07.19.07

Let's talk overexposure.

He's everywhere. Magazines, television, web. He's on red carpets. He's on Oprah. He's on Kathy Griffin introducing Paula Abdul as the greatest woman on the face of fashion. He's selling the book. He's selling the new show. He's selling the new company. He's selling cars. He's selling salad dressing for chrissakes! (WTF?)

Everything he does is breathlessly discussed and repromoted online and in talk show and infotainment interviews.

He has an opinion on everything ... and I mean everything.

(Including a few things he may want to keep to himself ... but whatever. He sounds like an expert and that's what counts... and we're only talking about women's body images here -- so no big deal, right?)

For the Gunnophiles all this is great.

For the rest of us (or maybe it's just me) . . . not so much.

I am actually not all that interested in the new Tim Gunn show. He keeps claiming his show is going to be "different" from other fashion makeover shows but I have yet to see anything that convinces me of that.

I am interested in fashion design. I liked Project Runway because it showed the creative practice of innovative new fashion designers at work. At this point, I think that Project Runway could indeed exist without Tim Gunn. Yeah Tim is great in that role but deep down inside haven't we all heard "make it work" just one too many times?

Wouldn't it be fun to see Laura Bennett's droll eyerolls and wicked "Bad Mommy" comments? And she is someone who actually knows how things work. She is someone who has serious training in the history of design as well as technique. Or what about Uncle Nick?

I'm just saying that Tim Gunn isn't totally irreplaceable. I think Bravo is making a mistake if they think that he is the reason people watch Project Runway. Call me crazy but I think the work of the designers is more interesting than the personality of Gunn or Klum or Kors.

Gunn's priorities are obviously with himself. Fair enough. I just hope that he -- with Bravo's assistance -- doesn't crush Project Runway in pursuit of them.

His makeover show may be a "lead-in" for Project Runway for some people but fashion makeover shows are a completely different genre. And they are really depressing. They ultimately end up being infantilizing and condescending. (With Tim in charge I can't imagine this will improve -- I mean he is the personification of haughty. That's partly what makes him such a hoot.)

I got hooked on watching Project Runway (and Top Design, etc) because it was creative and challenging. If I wanted to I could watch this other kind of programming on E! or Lifetime (celebrity, run-of-the-mill reality, women's daytime programming). I think that by focusing on promoting Tim as a star rather than on the actual creative work done on Project Runway Bravo is risking the very audience it gained from its innovative programming.

On the other hand, Bravo could always go in this direction (click image for link):

two questions about project runway

1. Why was it delayed? Why did they skip a season? Was it because of the Tim Gunn negotiations? Was it because they couldn't find enough good contestants?

2. Inevitably there is some energy lost by the show being off for this long in between seasons. Do you think it will be able to recover or do you think it is not going to be quite the same hit that it was by the end of the third season?