Monday, August 30, 2010
Tim Gunn makes us appreciate the art of the tell off
This new season of Project Runway has really gotten it's act together for many reasons-going back to New York,expanding the length of the show in order to give the viewers more time to check out the work in progress(and behind the scenes hijinks)and dropping that whole "Models of the Runway" after show,which made paint drying look exciting.
However,things got particularly nasty on the last challenge,which had the designers in teams of two working on a collection with the theme and color scheme of their choosing. Team Luxe,run unofficially by Gretchen,the current queen of mean for this PR season,were the losers for this round and before they went out to be judged,Gretchen insisted that everyone agree to have an "all for one and one for all" attitude when defending their work.
Well,that went out the window fast,folks. In between contradictory ramblings about who did and didn't do a good job here,Gretchen and her cohorts went out of their way to throw Michael C. under the bus in a truly bullying manner that was hard to watch at times.
Their main problem with him is that he won immunity from the last challenge(something Gretchen and her little fashion flunky Ivy thought he didn't deserve)and consider Michael C to not be in their league,an attitude that lead most of that team to undermine Michael during the whole time they worked together.
The only person on that team who refrained from jumping on the Michael C blame train here was A.J.,who wound up going home for the lousy shirt dress that he made. The judges were less than thrilled with how Team Luxe behaved,especially Gretchen,but made their decision based on the work presented in front of them rather than their behavior.
However,longtime PR mentor Tim Gunn made his displeasure known to all of the members of Team Luxe as he went to the waiting room to say farewell to A.J. Tim is usually a rather even keeled fellow,so for him to have to scold anyone here is a major league sign that you were wrong(and not just "kind of",Ivy!). That tastefully done tell-off moment helped to redeem the emotional horror show that episode had become:
Tell-offs,whether for fictional purposes or reality show wake up calls,are fun to watch in just about every pop culture forum but TV allows those word daggers of indignation to hit the mark a bit harder in the audio-visual realm. That's mainly due to the extra time allotted to character development,which makes a real tongue lashing sting upon delivery.
As a salute to Tim Gunn for his well timed tell-off of those horrible PR contenders(who will receive the bad karma due to them in the end),here are the LRG Top Five Favorite TV Tell-Off Artists,in all of their glory:
1) Emily Gilmore
Verbal veracity is a skill that many of the characters on Gilmore Girls possess and used rather pointedly to their advantage,yet the ultimate queen of the smackdown title belongs to Emily Gilmore,who was still the undisputed champion towards the end of the series.
While Emily's vicious wit and rapid fire vocal assaults were the emotional weapons of choice when dealing with her loved ones at times,her arsenal of subtle yet slaughterhouse deadly when necessary renditions could mount a considerable defense for them as well.
Her best moment came when the mother of Rory's college boyfriend Logan made Emily's beloved granddaughter suffer through a family dinner serving of snobbery and when the truth of that night was revealed to Emily,she snapped into slick snark mode to take aim and fire:
2) Lafayette Reynolds
For a character that was meant to be short lived in the books,Lafayette's presence in True Blood has quite the long legs there. Part of the appeal of his character is his sassy straightforward and pragmatic take on both the human and inhuman dealings going on in the world around him.
For all of his charm and easygoing nature,however,Lafayette has a lot of fury that he strives to keep under wraps until he has no choice but to unleash it upon those foolish enough to insult and underestimate him.
While he's had plenty of stellar confrontations over the past three seasons of the series,many of Lafayette's fans cherish that first season throwdown at Merlotte's,where a simple order for a hamburger deluxe was turned into a cutthroat culinary experience by the simpletons at the table:
3) Dorothy Zbornak
Granted,the other three Golden Girls(and yes,even Rose)were more than capable of delivering a proper set down to those who incurred their wrath,Dorothy's innate authority and perfectly nuanced timing gave her a strong advantage in this area.
During a special two part episode,Dorothy found out that she had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,a new illness at the time,and many of the doctors she had seen were quick to dismiss her symptoms as frivolous. The most arrogant of them all,a specialist that she had made a special trip to New York to see,turned up at a restaurant where Dorothy and friends were celebrating and that prime opportunity to set him straight was taken:
4) Judge Judy
Out of all daytime court shows that rule the airwaves,Judge Judith Sheindlin and her take no nonsense and prisoners attitude towards dealing with small claims cases has earned her a legion of fans and followers who keep the show within the top ten list of syndicated TV programs in that division.
While the cases are real and dealt with in a short span of time,Judge Judy quickly cuts to the legal heart of the matter as she insists upon chucking away the baloney that's often served to her by the foolhardy folks on either side of the litigant's table:
Sometimes,a tell-off can be justly delivered by the worst person in the room and during the run of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and it's spin-off series Angel,William the Bloody became the annoying voice of reason that couldn't be completely ignored.
His first major foray on that sound stage was in the third season of Buffy,when Spike came back to Sunnydale in sorrowful search of a way to win back the crazy heart of his darling Drusilla.
Buffy and Angel reluctantly offered him their assistance but when their snipes at his lovelorn state got to be too harsh for him to take,he skillfully stripped off the band aid over Buffy and Angel's gaping romantic wound and took pride in his love's bitch status:
Telling someone off at the right point in time is not an easy thing to do but very satisfying in the short run when done well. It may not be a noble trait to honor there,yet perhaps preferable to the more violent alternative to releasing long built up tension between people. However it's done,a knockout punch when least expected can certainly liven up the pop culture proceedings,just as long as you know when to stop as well as start:
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