Let's dispense with the party pics for a mo and get to talking about this episode, y'all.
And holy cow, is there a lot to talk about. First off, it really was a fantastic episode and probably the most exciting finale we've seen yet. Although that was in spite of the "controversy," not because of it.
We still maintain that Laura raised a valid question, although it had less to do with Jeffrey than it does with the way the competition plays out once you start allowing people with their own design and manufacturing capabilities to compete. Her "athlete on steroids" analogy was dead on.
Thing is, it's almost entirely unprovable, so any "investigation" is most likely going to come up empty. We're not even sure what a "thorough review" of receipts is supposed to prove anyway. Why would you hand in a receipt for something you didn't want people to know about?
Understand, we're not accusing Jeffrey of anything. We weren't there and like we said, it's almost unprovable anyway. In a way, we wish Laura had never raised the question.
But she did and it was up to the producers to address it and this was where we think the ball was dropped. Rather than shooting and editing the whole thing and leaking it to the press to get maximum coverage for the finale, it would have been better for everyone if they had handled it quietly and moved on. They couldn't wring more than seven minutes of drama out of it and even that was mostly rooftop cell phone scenes with pounding doom machine music, like there was a plot to blow up the U.N. and Jeffrey was the only man who could stop it. A secret agent in man-pris.
Still, it brilliantly illustrated a point we've been meaning to make all week. Many have said "It's not a popularity contest, it's a design competition." Well no, it's not either of those things. It's a television show, first and foremost. A great one, to be sure, but a TV show nonetheless.
In the end, we don't think it was the right creative decision for the show to make. It put a pall over the whole finale and has the potential to affect the careers of some of the people involved, not to mention affecting the reputation of the show itself, which up to now has always been seen as the thinking person's reality show. Too much obvious manufactured drama detracts from the things that make the show great.
And what makes the show great is talented people producing gorgeous things. Whether they sewed them or not isn't ultimately a measure of their worth, but since that's the way the competition is structured, questions like this are inevitably going to be raised. It's just telling (and we hope the producers noticed this too) that the real excitement came once they dispensed with this bullshit and got back to the clothes.