Oh, Project Runway! You have sold your soul to the business world! And you, Tim Gunn, should be ashamed of yourself. The Project Runway opener tells the whole story: L'Oreal Paris, Piperlime.com, Marie Claire, HP and Intel are all mentioned in the little overview/lure at the beginning of the show, before the actual drama of the reality show is underway. Nary a yard of fabric has been purchased nor a needle threaded and we viewers have already heard a roster of show sponsors the like of which hasn't been seen since the 1950's had shows with the sponsor's name right in the title, like The Texaco Star Theater.
Later in any given Project Runway episode, we learn the contestants live at the Atlas apartments; shop at Mood fabrics; do all their styling and sewing at Parsons, the New School for Design; and send their models down to the Garnier studio for hair and make up. Rolling Stone magazine was prominent in last week's episode, as well as a Canadian band, The Sheepdogs, who must have gotten some bad advice from their agent that appearing on Project Runway would be good for their careers. The Sheepdogs looked ridiculously uncomfortable and out of place getting dressed like shaggy Ken dolls in (poorly) handmade dashikis, cowboy shirts with swan-patterned fabric, and saggy tan pants with brown pockets somewhere south of the butt region. They then had to perform their particular brand of harmonizing rock-n-roll in these God-awful getups made mostly by designers who only design for women. Man oh man! There was Pleather and fringe and headbands! Finally a product placement that looks awfully sad to have signed up for the honor.
And don't get me started on our sports arenas with their ever-rotating corporate names. Why can't we just have one name that stays put? One that doesn't change with the new owner, a name that perhaps had something to do with the fans, the city, the teams. We don't need a Toyota Stadium that morphs into a Preparation H stadium or a Pabst Blue Ribbon stadium every time money changes hands. It's tacky. Can the corporations dial it down a notch and find a classier way to advertise? And Project Runway, I liked you way better before your sponsors were approaching double digits.