Unlike most people who claim to hate reality shows, I actually do. This is not snobbishness - I watch plenty of crap on TV (mine is just more sports-related). I just don't get reality shows. I don't think they're fun. They give me a headache.
Except Project Runway.
It is not too much to say that this month's debuts of Project Runway and Mad Men are MAJOR events in my house. Granted, we have a 9 week old baby and don't get out much. But all the more reason to sing the praises of shows that make you glad to be home.
The first thing I love about Project Runway is that I think it is the purest celebration of creativity on television, maybe the best ever. I am never less than astonished at what even the lesser talents on the show can accomplish. Told they have 12 hours to make a party dress made out of material they bought for 10 dollars at a Gristede's, they do it! And the designs are often gorgeous. Some of them inevitably end up being a train wreck, but who among us could even make an ugly garment under those circumstances? I am never less than amazed at what they do, and watching their minds work and create in such a pressure-cooker circumstance is riveting television.
The second thing I love is simple - Tim Gunn. While the less-than-cuddly Heidi Klum is the host, the presiding spirit of the show is Mr. Gunn. He is, simply put, the most compelling father figure on television. I used to watch Bonanza just because I thought Lorne Greene was such a reassuring presence, but he can't hold a candle to Tim Gunn.
Who could want more from a father? He is gentle, but absolutely honest. He believes in his designers, but is not afraid to push them when he thinks they are being lazy. He asks for nothing from them, and is always genuinely saddened when one has to go. He is a totally loving but totally independent being. I am besotted with him.
I have been told by more than one gay man that if I proclaim my love for Project Runway in mixed company my sexuality will be thrown into question. Let it be. Project Runway is one of the best shows on television.