Saturday, June 28, 2008

All Aboard the Failboat! (Or, a Rope of Sand)

In its ongoing effort to destroy the last great good thing on television, the Weinstein Company has made the following ridiculous changes to the format of Project Runway:

1. Selling it to Lifetime TV, where all challenges will probably revolve around what one should wear when escaping from one's psychotic ex-husband/lover/father/stalker, preferably with one or more frightened children in tow

2. Moving it from New York, a legitimate capitol of fashion, to Los Angeles, where people like that vacant girl from the Hills worked at Teen Vogue and has a "career" in "fashion"

3. Today announced that the show was being taken over by Bunim-Murray production company.

Don't know who Bunim-Murray is, and don't want to read the article? Well, here are some of their past reality show highlights!

For E: Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Living Lohan
For Oxygen: Bad Girl's Club
For Lifetime: America's Psychic Challenge (!!)

And, my favorite:

21 seasons of The Real World. Yes, ladies and gentleman, the company that steered the ship of the Real World from the calm seas of docudrama to the retarded ocean of famewhoring is going to be handling the delicate flower that is Project Runway.

Why did the Weinstein Company feel like they had to mess with a good thing? In the slew of ridiculous competition shows out there (like America's Best Dog, which I didn't even know I needed in my life) PR is– was– the best. The contestants, for the most part, were legit designers who had either experience or talent. The show's drama didn't derive from picking Homophobic Redneck A and making him live, eat, and work with Flamboyantly GayGay Homogay B. The drama unfolded when real people got tired, when they'd been working for a million hours straight to make a dress made of toilet paper and dammit, they probably just all wanted coffee and a few moments of sleep. Drama emerged from personalities clashing– over design vision, over sharing space, over working together.

That kind of drama is the kid we all experience in our daily lives. For instance, if there were a reality show like PR about "World's Best Barista" at my old work, we'd have cast of "characters" and a psychotic "boss." But fights always came from personalities fighting in context, personalities clashing in the middle of working towards something else.

The Benim-Murray brand of drama is none of those things. The Bunim-Murray brand is about Drama!!!1!1!, about picking bland caricatures and pitting them against one another to ensure for the most scandalous footage. The Bunim-Murray brand is about TV. Project Runway was about fashion and TV, about collecting a bunch of people together who all loved doing the same thing and making them work their skinny-denim covered ases off to get the prize. Unlike Bunim-Murray's past efforts, the fame that came with Project Runway has felt like a happy addition, a means to an end. You don't hear Christian Siriano say "Oh yeah, I totally want to present at crappy reality TV awards shows for the rest of my life, and walk red carpets for events I've been paid to attend." You hear him say "I want to be the next Alexander McQueen."

It's infinitely frustrating to see the Project Runway transition drama go from terrible to shitstorm in such a short time. In the months since the Weinstein Company has announced PR's move, so many people are now saying that it's going to blow that when it does move to Lifetime, I'm betting that the first season will have high ratings, but not as high as in the past. Every season the ratings will go down. Dollars to donuts Tim Gunn will leave. And Bunim-Murray, instead of looking at how great the show used to be, will only look at the stereotypes. They'll cast ever more flamboyant gays, and ever more idiotic bigots, and then make them sew a dress while suspended over a lake of flame or something. Viewership for PR will decline, and decline, and decline, and soon it'll be like The Real World. I'll hear about a new season of it and think "Wow, that used to be good back in the day. I wonder if I should tune in now." But I won't.

Monday, June 23, 2008

It is my goal in life to be as cool as this man:

Seriously. Look at that mustache! That hat! the way his collar folds down so precisely over his debonair little bow tie! Never in my life have I ever looked this cool, even in my attempts at drawing on moustaches with eyeliner on Drag Ball. In my future sartorial attempts I will attempt to fashion myself after Hercule Poirot. Maybe without the mustache.

I just got done watching Death on the Nile with my godsister, who is about to move to Austin. Sad, sad clown. She is finishing up her thesis for her master's, in international community development (or something). She's going to be working at a costume shop in Austin, which is somehow quite fitting, since she's always been putting together her own clothes and remaking things. We are going to get together for an evening of Highlander tomorrow evening. I am quite excited about that.

I've also joined a book club- Eva D at the theater mentioned it at the cast dinner for Present Laughter, and the first meeting is on Wednesday. I guess technically the first meeting was last week, but nobody read the book. This week the book is The Geography of Bliss, so I've got to go get my hands on it. In the meantime I've got the newest of Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series, some wonderfully terrible vampire romance novels set in Louisiana. They're fabulous, and full of awesome vampire / human love triangles. Sookie Stackhouse is, herself, a psychic barmaid, admired by not one but TWO powerful vampires! She's got to fight the evil forces of the undead AND the vampire and human bureaucracies that conspire against her! It's seriously one of the most entertaining series of books I've gotten involved in in a long time.

Nothing new on the job front. No news from Exxon-Mobil, but it is the weekend so I might have to wait a bit. No news from Borders- but they did say that they'd be making calls this week. I've decided to apply for a Fullbright- Claire is going to help, because apparently her dad used to do a lot with the Fullbright people. I want to go back to China, hopefully Beijing.

I've also put in an application for a personal trainer at the Y. There's a request form! Not like the old days, when you'd just walk up to the desk and whoever was available would put you through your paces. Under "Reasons for wanting a personal trainer" I wrote "Weight loss- 50+ lbs." In all seriousness it's more like 75 lbs. Actually, probably 85. I want to be 150. God, I've let myself go. Still! There's no time like the present, and once I break some of my nastier habits I should be OK. Claire & I are going to start at Weight Watchers, and it'll be nice to have someone my age to do it with. Lord love her, but it's hard to deal with my mom. She has this disapproving look- this "Are you going to eat that? Really?" look that just drives me up the wall and makes me want to go consume my weight in lard. Well, maybe not lard, per se. Just the 99c tacos at Jack in the Box. SO GOOD.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The genius of Katt Williams.

He was at the Toyota Center tonight but we couldn't get tickets, so this will have to tide me over until the new stuff comes out on DVD:

Seriously, people.

When you've got four kids in tow, please make an effort to show up ON TIME for the show you've purchased tickets for. We're very glad that you are introducing little Timmy, Tanya, Tiffany, and Thomas to the theater at such a young age- but could you perhaps make an effort to get them here on time so we don't have to disturb everyone who COULD get here on time to get your ass in some seats?

Also, I know you think that little Thomas is "mature" for two, but let's face it. HE IS TWO. Child can barely walk on his own, much less sit through an hour-long piece of live theater. Three and up means three and up. And we can tell when you're lying.

And no. There are no bathroom breaks. EVER.

I love working at the theater, most of the time, but dealing with the children's theater is ridiculous- a bunch of self-absorbed yuppie parents that just can't handle their children. When I tell your kid to stop running around the lobby, don't then tell that kid to stop running. Clearly if you were concerned, you wouldn't have waited for a stranger to do your parenting for you.

I know you can be overwhelmed, and I know you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?

So, I'm a college graduate. Instead of instantly finding fame, fortune, or at least a passable job, I've been crashing with my parents and doing some serious navel-gazing. This last part hasn't been too difficult, since I've gained a full forty pounds since I started college and now have what my friend affectionately calls a "Food Fetus," a gut the likes of which Larry the Cable Guy would examine with boozy jealousy. Seriously. Freshman year I was a hottie. My physical deformities notwithstanding, I seriously haven't been this directionless in my entire life. When you're in college you know what to do- the steps are clear, the options are elucidated and you know what path a choice will take you down. Now it's the "real world" and all the shit that I've talked about doing is a possibility- but the only one who can make it happen is me, and I'm not exactly kicking my ass about getting it done.

So since I've been home I've gotten myself about eighty percent unpacked- there are still two boxes of books out in the garage, and those have to wait to move in until we resolve the bookshelf situation in my room. The situation being, there aren't any. Or rather, there isn't space on the bookshelves that are in here for my many copies of the complete works of Dorothy L. Sayers and the ouevre of Nora Roberts. My room is a strange hybrid of me when I was 14 and my mom's stuff, with my computer on my grandmother's desk and my cardboard standup of Legolas standing in front of my mom's collection of back issues of Food and Wine. I haven't done anything to this room since I was 16. I still had a Hanson poster up in my closet, for crying out loud.

I feel wierdly stagnated. I feel, in the words of the fabulous Daisy Steiner, like "there's something I've gotta be, I just don't know what it is! I'm like a rabbit, trapped in the headlights of the twenty-first century!" Well, not quite, but mostly. I want write but every time I sit down to actually do some writing it's like I have a mental block that prevents me from putting anything down on the page. I'm living with my parents, which is awkward and horrible because I feel like they're watching me, all the time, looking to see if I'm horribly depressed or sad or whatever. My mom thinks I'm a mess, and I probably look a mess to her but I'm mostly a mess because she won't stop insinuating that I'm an alcoholic.

Yeah, it's an awesome time here in my house... on the whole, it could be so much worse. It's not so bad living here- it's free, and they've stopped freaking out (mostly) if I come in late, and after I yelled at my mom she has stopped mentioning outright that I need to lose weight. (Small victories, people. Small victories.) Tomorrow I'm house managing, which will get me a little bit o' cash, and I hear back next week about the gigs at Exxon-Mobil and at Borders, both of which will also get me cash money. I'm going to apply for a fulbright, which my friend Claire has promised to help me with. It's nice to have goals. Maybe now I can get those last two boxes unpacked.