'Project Runway': The Oscars of Being Auf'd
Oh, the guilty joys of this episode each season. Old-home week. The blasts from the past months. Our favorite reunion since Romy and Michele headed back to their 10-year high-school shindig in the '90s film. This season, call it "Rami and Michael's High School Reunion."
Rami laughs at himself. Michael Kors, in an uncontrollable jag, laughs at everyone. And there's even a popularity contest to remind everyone who's "in" (Christian is named "fan favorite") and who's looking in from the outside, still nursing the wounds of exclusion (hello, Carmen and Victorya).
Which reminds us that part of the brilliance of this show is how sharply a handful of contestants emerge each season. As much as any reality show, ""PR" knows how to carve full characters through smart film editing.
Then again, should we expect anything else? This is, after all, a TV project produced by the Weinstein Brothers, the Men Who Made Miramax, the brother duo who couldn't sneeze in the '90s without drawing serious Oscars consideration.
So with the Academy Awards upon us this weekend, we look at how last night's "PR" reunion show played like a field of Oscars plots:
THERE WILL BE FLOOD: Ricky Lingerie tears up. He sobs. He cries a river. "PR" mines Ricky's waterworks for a montage of misty moments. Rami then speaks highly of Ricky's ability to show his emotions honestly and we momentarily feels the slightest twinge of guilt for making sport of Ricky's tears until we realize the show exploits his crying jags way more than we ever have.
NO COUNTRY FOR STRAIGHT MEN: We wrote early on this season how often Kevin insisted on broadcasting his sexual orientation -- to make sure there was Absolutely No Confusion. For the reunion, Kevin is the good sport as he is teased at length about being the lone hetero among the men (Tim Gunn: If Project Runway didn't result in you being gay, nothing will.) Says Kevin: "Maybe I was gay in a former life."
JUNO, MEET "KLUMO": For a while there, it seemed as though the impeccable Heidi was preggers every season. This season, Heidi also emerged as quicker-witted, snarkier and sometimes meaner than ever -- though much like "Juno," the razor-sharp lines emerging from her lips sometimes felt scripted by a professional writer.
INTO THE CHILD: Christian, 21, could have emerged as this season's witchy villain, but somehow -- through "fierce" talent and enough true laugh lines -- he escaped the Love-to-Hate-Him Villain tag of Santinos and Jeffreys past. Last night he was announced as Fan Favorite as Michael Knight -- SO good to see him again -- presented the $10,000 check that comes with the award.
MEANIE TODD: Won't the perenially peeved Victorya ever crack a smile? Lighten up, V., you've already done Fashion Week, even. Instead, she looked as though she wanted to Auf Heidi's head when the host teased Victorya about her dour intensity.
MICHAEL BRAY-TON: One of the best video flashbacks of the reunion: Watching the usually poker-faced Michael Kors laugh uncontrollably -- and contagiously -- during the judging of the Wrestling Divas episode. Even Nina Garcia joined in the hysterics. The producers should show this flashback to Victorya on continual loop till she cracks a smile.
What Oscar films did we miss? We welcome your comments. And later today, we announce the winners of our official Gunny Awards. Till then, the image of nearly every contestant -- and Heidi! -- imitating Chris's loud staccato laugh remains the reunion's Best Picture.
-- MICHAEL CAVNA
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