For the last two weeks, The Amazing Race and Project Runway have been on top of their games. Both shows have delivered storylines that are satisfying for essentially the same reasons, and after the jump, we can revel in them.
In both cases, the contestants I’ve most connected to this season have been clutched from the jaws of defeat, which makes me, in my living room way, feel like I have been victorious. (I don’t watch sports, but I’d imagine this is what it feels like when you’re sitting at home, watching your favorite team snag a come-from-behind victory.)
My heart has belonged to Project Runway’s Anthony Williams from the moment he rolled into the Atlas Apartments announcing that he’d “brought all of Georgia” with him. That man is funny. And he’s funny in the way that I try to be funny… clever and well-phrased without being mean. And he adds an extra level of flamboyance that makes me want to have brunch with him. With mimosas. And attitude. And a side of bacon.
You can imagine my sadness, then, when Anthony got eliminated during the “Hey, That’s My Fabric” challenge. I mean, his dress wasn’t amazing, so I couldn’t argue… but still, sadness. But then! Maya dropped out and Anthony got to come back… and he won the design-a-dress-for-Heidi challenge. Ha-ha-ha-ha! The taste of victory is sweet like honey on my tongue!
I enjoy the cowboys because they’re so guileless and sweet (and buff!). I enjoy Brandy and Carol because they do not apologize for being snobby, high-maintenance bitches. Unlike Caite, who seems to think she’s not a whiny brat, Brandy and Carol will tell you straight up that they’d rather be drinking expensive wine than talking to your dumb ass. I respect that, and just as the show would be poorer without the git ‘er dun energy of Jet and Cord, it would suffer without Brandy and Carol’s refreshing bluntness.
So anyway… two weeks ago, I was bummed with Brandy & Carol were second-to-last and Jet & Cord were last. But then! Non-elimination leg! Then Jet & Cord, despite having an extra challenge, came in first! And then Brandy and Carol scooted in front of Brent and Caite to come in second. Brilliant!
Now, I realize that if you don’t like Anthony or the Cowboys or B & C, then these events may not make you as happy as they made me. But no matter your feelings about the individual contestants, you’ve got to admit that both shows have delivered some meaty drama of redemption and second chances. They’re both reminders that that inherent fiction of reality television—the fiction that comes from carving a discrete narrative out of the sprawling mess of real life—can be as engrossing as anything else on the tube.