The Tom & Lorenzo Archives: 2006 -2011
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Homeward Bound





Alright, let's cleanse the palate, shall we? We'll be ripping the collections and delving further into the drama in the days to come but for today, it's a kindler, gentler PRGay.

One of the best ideas Project Runway ever came up with was following the final three home to get to know them better and having Tim as the guide just makes it all too perfect. See, Tim's appeal works on so many levels. On the one hand, he's such a sweet, genteel, open guy that it's a pleasure just watching him interact with people. On the other hand, he's so ... of a certain place, we guess is how we'd put it, that there's a certain devious glee in seeing him plunked down in alien settings and watching his unflappability try to assert itself. If you look closely, you can see the little gyroscopes spinning as he tries to get his bearings. "Yes! Concrete septic tanks! That's why you're a fashion designer, Jay!" Too cute for words.

On the other, other hand, Tim is so good at connecting with creative people and drawing out their thoughts and getting them to defend their work that the whole thing is illuminating in addition to being entertaining and a little schmaltzy.

We love seeing the designers' backgrounds and day-to-day life. It fills in the blanks, not only on their personalities but on their aesthetics as well. Of course these things are edited to tell a story and we can't ever really lose sight of that, but it's not hard to draw a straight line from Jay's rural background to his knits and quilting-inspired collection, or from Kara Saun's Hollywood career to her ultra-glam, movie-inspired collection, or from Wendy's old-money, horsey set world to her somewhat traditional, mature collection.

Of the three, Jay's was probably the most interesting. It was a bit of a surprise to see how organized and focussed he seemed to be, especially in a setting that, at least on the surface, wouldn't lend one to think it was a place to cultivate an explosive creativity.

Wendy was interesting in that she seemed to be desperate for Tim to recognize her in some way. Desperate for his input; desperate for his approval, not just on her collection, but on her life. It was a little icky how she trotted her daughter out to perform in front of the cameras but we're going to be uncharacteristically generous and leave that one alone.

Kara Saun: all professional. Here's my collection, Tim. Here's where I buy my fabric, Tim. What do you think, Tim? What should I be doing next, Tim? Not that she wasn't sweet. She clearly loves Tim but she also clearly values his opinions highly.

More than anything else, though, the reason we love the "home movies" is because this segment is the closest the show ever really comes to depicting the process of fashion design. No designer gets locked in a room with a dozen other designers and told to make a dress in 12 hours. That's not fashion; that's reality TV. Getting to watch the designers, alone and without any drama, designing clothes and discussing their work with a stylish, debonair, kind and knowledgeable teacher? That's just fabulous as far as we're concerned.


[Screencaps: projectrungay.blogspot.com]



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30 comments:

PR GayBoys wrote:
"See, Tim's appeal works on so many levels...there's a certain devious glee in seeing him plunked down in alien settings and watching his unflappability try to assert itself. If you look closely, you can see the little gyroscopes spinning as he tries to get his bearings."

****************
Devious glee, indeed. You nailed it!

Seeing the designers in their home environments made Jay's creative genius and output all the more remarkable. The sign of a true artist is the NEED to create no matter what, no matter where.


It's also great just to see the designers away from the other designers and the stress of the PR workroom. A brief respite from the drama and negativity to come.


This is always my favorite episode. You get to see a side of the designers that you don't see in the workroom or in the apartments.


Oh come on! You guys didn't talk about Wendy pimping her daughter?! I was waiting for that. You know what I love though, Jay coming out with the wig and gun going "GIT OFFA MY PROPERTY!!" Now in the real world it would seem weird, but for Jay, totally appropo.


loved the trip to Jay's - so amazing to see him in his studio with all his colourful fabrics piled up. He is as Lauraandmichael said, a true artist. Also love how KS dialogues with Tim. He is the consummate mentor.
Loved you guys' take on Tim in this epi! Brilliant
CP


I think one of the reasons that this episode is always so popular is because it gives people hope that no matter what their real life is like, with determination and some luck, they too can escape "Home" and fulfill their dreams.

The author Amy Tan said that "Hope is the adrenaline of the soul"

Candace Bushnell author of "Sex in the City" says "When you live a lie you slowly kill your soul"


Mariana (The Unoriginal)

"Getting to watch the designers, alone and without any drama, designing clothes and discussing their work with a stylish, debonair, kind and knowledgeable teacher? That's just fabulous as far as we're concerned."

I agree. It's really fabulous. They are creative people and that is always something fascinating to watch.


I found Jay's family to be really endearing. They seem like sweet people. The wig thing creeped me out a little, though.


This episode magnified my love & respect for Jay a hundredfold. He was already my favorite -- his talent, his quirky, snarky humor, his originality made him stand out from early on. But seeing the environment that he grew up in made me appreciate his vision and creativity even more. Not exactly, one would think, the most hospitable environment for a gay aspiring fashion designer, and yet, there he was, designing his little heart out, bless him. I loved Tim's visits to Kara Saun and Wendy as well, but his stopover at Jay's really stood out. And yes, Tim was magnificent in this episode. Showing once again all the reasons why he is the true star of PR. The show, brilliant as it is, would have no soul without Tim. I think that even Kara Saun would agree. :)


I'm not sure why it should be surprising that the creativity of could Jay spring out of those rural roots- just as it is should not be suprising that he would need to leave that environment to fulfill it's promise. The suburbs are all about conformity, above all else - it is no place for any artist.

But it is his quilting background that made made his work all season, as well as his collection unique. You can see it in every piece he created.

--Gotham Tomato


I cringed everytime Jay aimed that gun at Tim. I wish they had edited that out.


Why do we think Jay has not been able to gain traction and actually *do* anything in the years since he won? His family seemed supportive enough. He had to have surgery, but surely that wouldn't take years to recover from.

I suppose maybe getting acclimated to NY and a different vibe would take quite a while. If you're struggling just to figure out where to buy groceries and light-bulbs, and how to get from here to there without getting lost all the time, it would be hard to focus on being creative.

I think Jay should have interned for a couple of years before striking out on his own. If I remember correctly, he was offered some sort of a partnership and turned it down, with the implication that the money wasn't big enough. He should have accepted and used that as a solid base from which to build his empire.

Instead, he's been floundering in whatever self-inflicted quagmire he finds himself in, and I question that at this point he'll ever be able to overcome the "what ever happened to Jay?" question when people think about him.


nahncee:

Well, Jay *did* show at Bryant Park this fall. His collection was quite good. I'm not saying he's on his way, yet, but he is doing something. I hope that he'll keep up the momentum and that his designs will be available someday soonish. Or, well, someday. One can only hope!

gothamtomato: The suburban town I grew up in was rather a haven for artists, actually. As are many other places, some of which might seem unexpected. I have no personal info about rural areas -- it's just that huntin' & fishin' and cap-wearin' blue collar folks and gay fashion designers don't exactly go together in my mind (although I think I saw a porno like that once). Of course, that's a huge generalization; in Jay's case, his family seemed very supportive.

And even in those suburbs of our nightmares -- all indentical ranch houses and perfect lawns, yadda -- well, what better breeding ground for rebellion is there? Plenty of creative types first found their voices when they raised them against their stultifyingly dull surroundings.

In reality, of course, creativity can be found anywhere and everywhere. I guess I'm just spoiled by living in the city for so long, and I forgot that people actually do interesting things elsewhere. Shame on me and my urban snobbery.


"NahnCee said...
Why do we think Jay has not been able to gain traction and actually *do* anything in the years since he won?"



I think we get some clues in that Project Jay special that they did. You can see in that show, (and also when he appeared in the Kathy Griffin show), that his people skills were what held him back.

He went into that meeting with the money guy & just insulted him - acted very unprofessional. Maybe he was performing for the cameras, being the reality show monkey, without realizing that what makes you a 'star' on a reality show doesn't translate into the real world of business (or anything).

Then there was the meeting he had with his PR person who seemed a bit fed up with him. When he did that dress for Heidi, I couldn't help but wonder if the real reason she decided to not use his dress at the last minute was that he was chain smoking through the whole process and she didn't want to show up on the red carpet smelling like an ashtray.

Who knows? But of all the winners, he is the one who I would think had the most potential to be a breakout star in younger fashion. That he hasn't been has been disappointing. Hopefully he can, but I also think that winning PR is alot like winning the Olympics: You have to capitalize on it quickly because it has a definate shelf life.

I'm still hoping he can pull it off.


"And even in those suburbs of our nightmares -- all indentical ranch houses and perfect lawns, yadda -- well, what better breeding ground for rebellion is there? Plenty of creative types first found their voices when they raised them against their stultifyingly dull surroundings."



Exactly. That's why I said it wasn't surprising that he came from there. But you really do have to leave there to make it - which is why creative people flee to urban areas.


It is funny how snobby we city fols get, really. Jay always had a arts and crafts aesthetic. Where do we think that comes from? Not NYC or L.A. to be sure. In his Bryant Park show last fall his rural Pennsylvania roots really shined with all the quilting and such. I think it shows true vision to take something most people think of as "homely" or homespun and turn it into something most people would consider "good art." Sorry, don't mean to gush, but I think Jay is brilliant and I appreciate the straight-up beautiful work he does without falling for what's trendy and yet still seeming so of-the-moment.


I enjoy these little Tim's field trip episodes, too. It has a humanizing effect, seeing the designers in their own element, too. By this point I've had enough drama.

And of course seeing Tim OUT of his element is priceless. His aplomb in these situations speaks volumes about his character.


The last paragraph of this blog is generous and insightful. You guys are fabulous, too!


" Anonymous said...
I enjoy these little Tim's field trip episodes, too. It has a humanizing effect, seeing the designers in their own element, too."


Same here, and Tim really helps them with his advices.


More than anything else, though, the reason we love the "home movies" is because this segment is the closest the show ever really comes to depicting the process of fashion design. No designer gets locked in a room with a dozen other designers and told to make a dress in 12 hours. That's not fashion; that's reality TV. Getting to watch the designers, alone and without any drama, designing clothes and discussing their work with a stylish, debonair, kind and knowledgeable teacher? That's just fabulous as far as we're concerned.

And that's why I love you two boys! Great writing!!


"or from Wendy's old-money, horsey set world to her somewhat traditional, mature collection."

For some reason, I read "mature" as "manure". I'm not sure what that means...


i would just be so happy if tim would drive me around the countryside.

he is so cute sitting up all straight and handsome in the front seat, hands firmly affixed at 2:00 and 10:00, just as we learned in driver's ed those many years ago.

i love that boy! love him!!


I loved this episode, mostly because I grew up in Dallas, Jay lived in Lehman, but the show kept saying Dallas. My sister-in-law was 3 years ahead of him in school and we all went to Dr. C, the doctor he sees in Project Jay.

What cracks me up is that they portray it to look like some kind of back woods, one step up from Deliverance area. Less than 5 miles down the road and there are shopping malls, 15 miles and we have huge shopping centers, with stores and everything.

Some of it was dead on, hunting is a sport and treated in the same regards as a national holiday, most schools still do have off the first day of hunting.

The Back Mountain (the area where we live which is made up of several towns) has a rich artist background. Schools had extremely strong art and music programs. Fantastic antiqueing, and also home to some very big money families. Sadly the big chain stores have all moved in and pushed out the great little boutiques and fantastic jewelry stores we had.

The Back Mountain is definately the suburbs to Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, if you were to visit you would be shocked to see how different it is as comparred to what they showed. Yes there are farms, but next to the farms are also huge estates.

Enough about Jay, really you guys are going to let slide Wendy pimping out her daughter..Oh and Tim here is the picture she made for you, and the classic, no I didn't mommy. Really, gonna let that slide?


"uncharacteristically generous"??

You guys are always generous... with your praise, with your wit and humor...and with your biting commentary when it's warranted.


aw, you have to admit that wendy's daughter's tiny dress form and sewing machine was a *little* cute ...

and the painting that she "made for the judges" and the "momma so crazy" look Finnley shot her beore she corrected wendy?


Great post. It was nice to see where the contestants came from.

Jay should watch he doesn't get labelled a gun fanatic.That won't be good will it ?


For god sakes - lay off Wendy and her daughter. Everyone "pimped" their kid/mother/8 sisters/etc. when they were visited at home.


I loved Jay's wig!


"For god sakes - lay off Wendy and her daughter. Everyone "pimped" their kid/mother/8 sisters/etc. when they were visited at home."

Amen! Most parents do that with their kids on a routine basis, Tim Gunn or no Tim Gunn. I have a neighbor who is shameless about it.

All this venom directed at Wendy about such quotidian matters is more proof of what a good job Bravo did with their manipulative editing.


The home visits are my favorite parts of Project Runway; yes, I licked my lips with anticipation when I knew Laura Bennett would be in the finals of Season 3 and I was saddened that he wouldn't visit Angela Keslar's organic farm to help can heirloom tomatoes. Can you even imagine anyone other than Tim making those visits? Me neither.





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