Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Project Runway

Some observations for future meditation.

1. Watching the first season, Heidi flubs her lines a lot, and when she does, she gets the chance to redub it in post-production, which in technical terms is called "automated (or automatic) dialogue replacement" (ADR). And of course, the audience gets to hear in some cramped studio rerecording her lines so as not to interrupt the live feel of the show. Same goes with Top Model. Rather than make the easy jab at supermodels and their speaking abilities, I wonder why Top Model and Runway feel that they must maintain this illusory sense that what the audience witnesses is uninterrupted, unexpurgated Reality, that is, liveness (see Jane Feuer), whereas other reality programs like Survivor and The Amazing Race use explicitly narratorial voiceover. My guess: the latter two take place in exotic locales, while Top Model and Runway are located in more professional and domestic (i.e. familiar) places.

Consequently, where do candid interviews figure into the "live" scope of Top Model and Runway narratives?

2. Is Runway only interested in designers who have a mature and fully articulated aesthetic? Because so far, I haven't seen the judges say the ultra-familiar, "We want you to grow as a [fill in the blank]" that's become a convention of what I've started to call the bildungsroman verite, i.e. reality narratives of growth (either personal or professional). Runway seems not to contextualize its contestants in some narrative of growth (i.e. no "You're the most improved female designer left" (see So You Think You Can Dance) or "We expect our contestants to improve" (paraphrase of Top Model)); instead, Runway throws its contestants into challenges with crazy deadlines and stupid themes and demands that they churn out fabulous pieces.

Indie rating: The Pipettes - "Pull Shapes"

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