Project Runway Season 9 Episode 14: Finale (the Final Finale, that is)

It’s different this time.

Last season, I was shocked, horrified, outrage, fading to confused, disappointed, sad. Any way I looked at it, it was a travesty.

This season – well, what did you expect? She’s gonna make herself – and Heidi – a bunch of money in the next year or so. And that’s what it’s about.

You want art, go to an art gallery. This is Lifetime.

Did you think they could pass up the exotic multi-ethnic beauty queen from Trinidad with the slightly sordid past (which could easily be turned into a betrayal of a trusting soul, with the right lighting and background music) who’s got a firm handle on camera presence and spin, who knows how to play the plucky “I’m in trouble now and I’m going to have to work my way out of it in a period of time no mere mortal could possibly manage” character and when to trot out the tears and the dead brother on her wrist?

It isn’t like last season. There was no Mondo here. I actually felt sorry for Joshua at several points tonight, because he really thought he had a shot. He had a moment or two. But those neon-green laced-leg shorts? Come on. I really felt sorry for Viktor, who indeed can sew and tailor and has produced most of the few looks I’ve liked this season. But he doesn’t really capture the imagination either; he makes clothes I would’ve worn back when I cared about clothes (that’s why fashion is a youngster’s game, as you get older, you realize there’s so much more important than the perfect little black dress). And he is a little old lady in so many ways. Kimberly, I feel most for. I liked her designs the least, but I get her, I think. And I hope she does become the first breakout mainstream black designer. I think it’s never been clearer that America might be ready for a black man in the White House, but not for a black woman in their closets. But keep going, Kimberly, and maybe they will be some day.

None of them ever had a shot.

I had moments when I thought they might. When Anya brought out her awful satin gown and ridiculous wool bathing suit last week. I knew, in my heart of hearts, it was the same “oh no I’m in trouble” that they’ve pulled on us over and over again this season, that she would triumph. When Tim came in with $500 and no strings on how it could be used, that settled it. In that moment, Anya won. They didn’t even need to bother with the runway show.

It’s not Anya’s fault. She’s not Gretchen, not nearly. There was none of the supercilious, “I think his collection looks like student work” or “I know in my heart I was meant to be at Fashion Week with you.” The worst you can say about her is that she decided when it was time to stop helping each other, and that just happened to be at the moment she didn’t need help but others did. And I give her credit for helping Kimberly when Kim lost her “kit.” I mostly give her credit for realizing she had to do that. And of course Lifetime gets credit for knowing to catch it on tape and broadcast it.

I give Anya credit for a lot of things. Putting her hands in a vat of black dye. Climbing on a table to cut fabric. Stomping on The Roach That Terrorized The Workroom. Knowing how to spin a sex tape.

Just not for being good enough to be a contestant on the Project Runway I knew and loved.

She’s good enough for Lifetime Project Runway, though. In fact, she’s good enough to win it.

Need I say more?

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7 responses to “Project Runway Season 9 Episode 14: Finale (the Final Finale, that is)

  1. You have to have a little pity for Anya now. It will be interesting to see if Project Runway can even get talented applicants anymore as many realize that talent alone is not enough. Not that it was always just talent, being creative under pressure, working in teams, etc., but this? And we are beginning to see that the title of Project Runway winner meaning less with every rigged season. At this point, Viktor should be thankful that he didn’t win. And, and I can’t believe I am saying this, Gretchen deserved her win more than Anya deserved this win.

    • I think Anya’s going to do just fine. That may be her greatest talent, the ability to do fine no matter what. The Lifetime crowd seems to think she’s wonderful. And then there’s the entire population of Trinidad. And Tobago. ;)

      As for future applicants, I think they’ll get exactly what they want: camera-ready people with dead relatives (or other human interest stories) who can produce Piperlime stock. You should read the Tom & Lorenzo blog entry for the finale, it’s dead on. This is a major shift away from what used to be Project Runway. It’s like Top Chef shifted to Next Food Network Star. Now, I have a blast with Food Network Star, but it’s snark material; it’s right up there with ANTM in terms of stupidity. But I’ll miss Project Runway. The real Project Runway, where given $150 and one day, most designers could come up with a two- or three-piece outfit for the US Olympic Team. And that was in one of the weakest seasons (it was just rerun yesterday, nearly brought me to tears).

  2. While nobody here was on Mondo’s talent level, I almost find this outcome harder to stomach. At least when Mondo lost, I felt that they had evaluated him by more or less the same standards as his competitors. They evaluated *wrongly,* but there wasn’t the same grade-curving and contest-manipulation to justify the winner. And Gretchen, as repulsive about it as she was, did at least appear to give a damn about designing and construction and basic skills.

    I shouldn’t even care, because the fix has been in for a while, but the treatment of Kimberly and Viktor still sits badly with me. Were they the strongest designers in the show’s history? No. But they at least seemed to be trying to compete *as designers* and not pure reality show personalities. They seemed to be under the illusion that they had signed up for Classic Project Runway, and no one told them the rules had changed. Perhaps it’s fitting, in a pit-in-my-stomach way, that they were the first to be sent off the stage.

    On a final note, I don’t give Anya herself a pass. While I think the producers and judges are the primary culprits, she was still willing to smile and walk off with the prize money.

  3. The creation of this ending was what was so offensive to me, in fact, if you remember, in one of the recent (maybe most recent) “After the Runway” in response to a question Anya responds, “And I won! … some challenges,” she “accidentally” blurted out that she won. Come ON Lifetime, retape the answer, give us some hope.

  4. Granted, last season’s judging was a travesty. I was really down on the judges.

    This season, I don’t think it’s the judges fault — in fact, I don’t think they had much say-so in selecting the winner.

    I blame this on Lifetime and the producers. They’ve changed this show into “Project Personality” and made it a show about characters rather than a show about designers. Running a thinly-disguised “fan favorite” poll … otherwise known as “Tell us which designer should win”. Loosing all credibility and believability twice in the final episode — first, when they kept Anya after the “showing of four” when she brought ugly crap to judged … and second, when they gave everyone an extra $500 to give her a chance to fix her ridiculous “collection”.

    The producers have ruined this show — it belongs back on “Bravo”.

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