As Hank Williams Jr. never said, “Are you ready for some Runway?”

I’m excited for the return of Project Runway tonight. Since the season finales of Game of Thrones and Mad Men our tv’s primary use has been to play Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on repeat and occasionally stream a post-kids’-bedtimes movie from Netflix.*

I don’t watch many reality shows, but I do like ones that highlight the creative process, most notably Top Chef and Project Runway. Sure these shows love to show fights and craziness just like others in the genre, but that’s not why I watch. Sometimes I even fast forward through the evening at the apartment segments. I just like to see how creative people face a challenge.

I considered including “Have a Project Runway challenge in which competitors make clothes for me” as an item on my list of unattainable goals before 40.  Unfortunately, I’ve seen challenges that force the designers to make clothes for people other than super slender models, and the complaints from the designers can be brutal. Even as an unattainable fantasy I don’t like the idea a bunch of designers moaning about how hard it is to make clothes that accommodate such deformities as hips and an ass (and, okay, a bit of a post-baby belly). I wouldn’t want to hear what an impossible task it is to make a clothes in size 8. (Yes, I realize that as a size 8 I’m rather thin. That’s a bit of the point.) Somehow, despite my enormity, I manage to wear clothes everyday, and I even think I look good in many of them. Take that, designers!

Perhaps I should boycott the show because it promotes the unrealistic-to-most body images so typical of the fashion industry, but I like it. I like the creativity, and I like the pretty clothes. Tim Gunn is charming. Besides, unlike a magazine, a tv show isn’t photoshopped (Is it?), so the bodies we see are in fact real even if they are out of reach for those of us without trainers, personal chefs and extraordinary genetics. Also, I hope most viewers see the absurdity of hyperbolic laments about making clothes for “real women” and that it emphasizes how unreal most of the images they create are.

Of course the designers of Project Runway are welcome to prove me wrong. I’d happily take a custom outfit even if it has to be made entirely of snack food or things found at a methadone clinic.

UPDATE: Yeesh. This season’s challenge was worse than usual. Ven was a monster!


*If you like real life mysteries, street art or both see Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles, a bizarre and compelling documentary currently streaming on a variety of providers.

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