Last night’s Project Runway‘s eighth season premiere encompassed a seemingly rebellious enthusiasm in the constrictive fashion world: more is…well, not better, if the glacial stride of these 90 minutes were any indication, but somehow worth having. More is just more. Hear that, ye waist-whittling Photoshopping editors and celery-gnawing catwalkers? Project Runway is now an hour and a half, with 17 contestants (up one from the usual harried troops), and it will siphon those extra 30 minutes of L’Oreal Paris advertising gold through a houndstooth-lined funnel of indulgent contestant eccentricity and quickly bubbling friction.
Short version: Project Runway is so very long now, and we’re so very tired.
In the (apparently unshared) interest of brevity, a quick guide to steer the unwieldy beast of this season. Because as we all know, even if this show were 400 minutes weekly and sponsored by ads for Kim Jong-il brand pantyhose or whatever, we’d still watch it. C’mon, it’s Project Runway.
Project Runway Season 8, Episode 1 Index
Contestants: 17 (up from traditional 16)
Episode length, in minutes: 90 (up from 60)
Contestant described in ominous terms of a bankruptcy-laden ready-to-wear brand: 1 (Tim, in comparison to Heatherette)
Time newly allotted on Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn’s Bachelorette-style confessionals against white, seizure-inducing white background: 8 minutes (approximate)
Immediately strange, jarring, twitchy contestants named Casanova: 1 (you’re killing me, Smalls)
Age of oldest contestant: 50 (Peach
Number of times we slur, “Those dreadlocks worry me,” at screen: 2 (to contestant McKell)
Indications that location of their first meeting, Lincoln Center, is going to work as the new home of Fashion Week: 0 (plaza is near-empty, echoing)
Challenge: 1 (incorporate fellow designers’ personal favorite clothes into new look)
Hours for construction: 5 (stroke-inducing)
Contestants who look aghast at concept of handing over wares to competitors: 16
Contestant who offers no discernible human reaction to news: 1 (Casanova – hey, tell us now if you’re merely a Dolce and Gabbana cyborg, will ya?) Pro-offered knitted pieces that look like knitted, asymmetrical Rodarte knock-offs: 2 (both Michael’s)
Product placement before end of first hour: arduous (HP, Brother, Mood, L’Oreal, Marie Claire)
Helpful Tim Gunn critiques in workroom as too many contestants cast side-eye and whirl around each other like glittery dervishes: limited (“heavy-handed,” he moans of eventual winning frock)
Staples left on garment as it is sent down runway: 4-7 (Jason’s)
Inexplicable guest judge: 1 (Selma Blair)
Contestants facing elimination: unclear (Heidi Klum bellows with internal laughter)
Looks on runway that can only reasonably be described as “wonky”: 5-8 (Mondo admirably offers adjective for own pea-green and black zig-zag pattern shift dress)
Times in Runway there has ever been a unanimous winner: 0 (Nina and Michael need the hate sex)
Unanimous winner in this challenge: 1 (duh…. Gretchen’s simple black dress with beaded epaulet-trimmed sleeves)
Contestants facing elimination: 6 (the horr-ah)
Michael Kors’ spectacular insults: 2 (“very confusing” on Ivy’s ruched pants; “It’s odd, like mother of the bride who’s a bellydancer. A sexaholic who’s conservative. A pole dancer in Dubai,” on Casanova’s tasteless escort wear)
Nina Garcia’s spectacular insults: 1 (“mumsy” on Ivy’s pants)
Heidi Klum’s spectacular insults: 1 (“she made pants out of pants” on Ivy’s pants)
Selma Blair’s spectacular insults: 0 (Bueller?)
How much it sucks to be Ivy: incalculable (but those pants were lame)
Contestants sent home: 1 (McKell, for confusing side-boob mixed-material dress)
Overall contribution of extra 30 minutes to show pacing, excitement, and purpose: unclear
See you next week!