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On Wretched Gretchen and the Finale of ‘Project Runway’: The Clyde Fitch Report

November 1, 2010

The Brown Tweed Society is pleased to welcome new contributing partner Leonard Jacobs, Editor of The Clyde Fitch Report, who will routinely weigh in with news from the New York theater scene and ongoing arts issues.

If it’s true that American Idol desperately needed a tuneup (like Steven Tyler cares what Kid Rock thinks?), then it must also be true that Project Runway probably needs an overhaul.

Thursday’s final-winner reveal makes the case clearer than ever.

Gretchen Jones won? Talk about someone spinning dross from gold. OK, this is TV, not a discussion of nuclear waste or how to intercept terrorism or Sharron Angle’s white-woman racism. But I’m a confirmed Runway fan — and this year you may consider my sadness/fury/revulsion to be duly registered.

The wrong person won. I mean, I’ve hitched my stitches to the show through the years — during its imbecilic jaunt to La La Land (has anyone ever looked less comfortable in LA than Tim Gunn?), even during those seasons that pomposity cases like Christian Siriano took all the marbles.

But Gretchen Jones?

Lord, let us pray. May we please just get the Apocalypse over with?

My problem with Jones winning is partly that, yes, the woman came off as so hateful — not to mention treacherous, sneaky, snappy, snarky and underhanded. She was the Pol Pot of Season 8.

I do understand that Project Runway is a competition, and that some of us on this difficult and crowded planet simply can’t compete unless their trigger-finger is on a nuclear device every 20 minutes.

In Jones’ case, if there was at least some coherent talent there — real talent, a sense of individuality, something beyond the mercenary and the cunning — then maybe I could overlook her unpleasantness.

An even bigger issue, though, is that the extraordinary debating marathon that raged the Hundred Years War between the Project Runway judges — Heidi Klum and guest Jessica Simpson, favoring Mondo Guerra; and Nina Garcia and Michael Kors jonesing for Jones — actually told us more about the judges, about the serious challenges facing the show, than about the designers themselves.

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Visit Leonard Jacobs and The Clyde Fitch Report daily for for more posts on arts, theater and politics. Follow the Clyde Fitch Report on Twitter at @clydefitch.

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