'Project Runway': No! Group! Challenges! Ever!

Let’s get one thing out of the way: I l-l-l-l-love Project Runway. Every Wednesday from 10-11 p.m. is sort of a mini-weekend at Casa Slezak, except for no one is allowed to speak, and also the phone gets turned off. Plus, there aren’t as many mojitos. That said, if I might make one teeny suggestion to the show’s producers — aside from ”Bring back Kors!” We’ve had enough of the Kors Lite, no? — it’s this: Let’s call a moratorium on Project Runway‘s group challenges. I know you’re with me, folks; a lot of you have been making the very same plea on our TV Watch message boards today — and with good reason.

For one thing, group challenges punish the designers with the most innovative sketches. It’s simple math, really: Last night, there were 12 competitors, four of their designs were produced, and two of ‘em landed in the bottom two, with one going home. In other words, become a team leader, and get a 25 percent chance of being the next evictee. Wouldn’t it almost make more sense to cough up a lame drawing, and guarantee safe passage to the next round? (Or no sketch at all, as Angela did during the Miss Universe gown competition?) Worse still, viewers get punished during group challenges, too. Last night, instead of experiencing the joy of watching 12 distinct outfits float down the runway, we only got to see four. Booo!

Okay then, rant over. I now return to my Project Runway happy place, wrapped in one of Laura’s faux-fur dreams, with lots of sequins and bugle beads courtesy of Kayne. Robert and Michael and Alison are there, too, ’cause they’re all awfully adorable. Are you with me, PopWatchers?

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  • Jen

    I agree 100%!! I was so scared Robert was going to go home last night. I think he is one of the best designers on the show. I can’t believe Angela has immunity for next week. Arg!

  • Muhlyssa

    Hear Hear! We need to see more of Michael and the others. I thought last nights show was the more boring of the bunch thus far, even with all of the Keith drama that was included and it’s because the challenge was weak.
    If you are fan of this show, you MUST listen to Tim Gunn’s podcast, it’s the stuff that dreams are made of.
    Carry on!

  • Corinne

    Agreed! Bring back Kors! Give us more Michael! And more poofy dogs!

  • K.I.

    Yes, I am with you completely! Especially after seeing Bonnie’s interview pieces, I think talented designers are booted too early because of this stupid group competition. Feel bad for Bonnie, but I am glad that Robert stayed.

  • jckleveland

    ‘Project Runway’: No! Group! Challenges! Ever!

    nice..

  • Connie

    the editing this season is too obvious, this is the third episode in a row they’ve suddenly started featuring someone only to have them kicked off at the end of the episode. no more group challenges, how about no more obvious editing?

  • Lisa

    Group challenges are so weak. It’s getting very Apprentice-y, pretty much guaranteeing that the winner/loser will be the leader. Doesn’t put much at stake for everyone else and Slezak, you’re right, it robs us of the runway. I miss Kors and his pumpkin skin. Vera Wang may be a good designer but she doesn’t have his bitchiness. Anyone notice that a lot of dresses feel like repeats of previous seasons? Last week Bradley’s reminded me of Danny V’s orchid dress and Robert’s reminded me of Nick’s Barbie win, with the graphic pattern and scarf (makes sense since he designs for Barbie)…

  • Maria

    Glad to see I’m not the only one who’s been ranting about the group challenges. They seem to bring out the worst in designers, not the best. Best example of that being the usually talented Robert. The only good thing about Wednesday’s episode was that we got to see a little more from my fellow Georgian, Michael, who I loooooove.

  • Anna

    don’t worry, i caught a glimpse of michael kors on the preview for next week’s episode :)
    the group challenges have always been there in the beginning, they should stop now that the field is smaller.

  • Mel

    I think that after two designers were ousted this week the producers of the show should bring back one of the former evictees. I say bring back Malan!! He was weird, looked like high drama and he laughed like Reinfield from Tod Browning’s Dracula.

  • nay-lo

    I agree 95% – it stinks that, unless one of the helpers screws up royally during work-mode, its the leader of the losing gorup that has to go…eventhough they were chosen to be a leader because they had one of the most innovative proposals! It doesn’t make sense! But I do think the group challenges have their merit. In the “real world”, collaboration is probably prevalent in most dseign jobs, so its beneficial to see who’s good at it and who isn’t. I feel bad for Bonnie, but I’m glad Robert is still in it.

  • TsuKata

    Since per Tim Gunn’s podcast, there’s no manipulation of the winners/losers on the runway for drama reasons, I wonder if the group challenges are the producers’ workaround. It allows them to keep around so-so or bad designers that are drama-ridden, as well as giving that drama a place by creating a team dynamic.
    When there’s only four designs, it’s going to be the best of the best warring it out. That’s an awfully tough bar to put up 3 episodes in.

  • Josh

    I’m with you if you replace Robert with Uli…
    Anyway, what I think having two big challenges has done has made it difficult to find a designer or two to really root for. Last year, I had Nick and Daniel V, rooting against Santino. This year it’s root against Angela, but do I root for Laura or Alison or Kayne or Michael? Because we haven’t seen their own work week to week, it’s difficult to be pick the frontrunners. Which maybe is a good thing, but I’d still like more individual challenges.

  • C

    The reason they do the group challenges is because group work is relevant to design work and because it is hard to craft a three piece outfit in two days from one individual. Most of these poor designers would go nuts if they had to do that.
    That being said, I do think it is time we drop the team challenges and get back to individual work. If they HAVE to do another, maybe it can only be 2 people a team, this makes for more designs on the runway. Also, Kors is back next week.
    Michael, Allison, Laura, and Kayne are standouts. They (along with Uli) have a unique fashion sense and are fun to watch. Laura and Michael had me rolling when they called Angela’s rosettes “Granny Circles.” More more more!

  • miles

    i agree, I don’t mind one group challenge a season to thin the herd, but this makes it two… I am done, and the next time I hear Tim Gunn saying “you’ll be working in teams of…” I’m going to switch turn off the tv and get something constructive done.

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