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Project Runway has managed to be the smartest, no-guilty pleasure in all of reality television: a finely-produced, compelling series with real drama and true talent– a fact made very clear in the surprisingly terrific clothing lines that the Final Four (even poor Michael) displayed in that fashion show finale.
But now there are accusations that the producers tarnished the Runway brand by planting a ringer and troublemaker in the Final Four– which was supposed be the Final Three.
The finger-pointing comes from the high-brow journalistic website Salon.com (we wouldn’t want to give the National Enquirer, which pays sources and lawyers to make sure its stories are spot-on, credit for this one), which accuses producers of “contrived turns that smeared off some of the show’s high gloss and made its usually sturdy premise suddenly seem a little wobbly.”Salon points to Laura Bennett, the “caricature of the idea of class and sophistication” who threw a surprise spanner in the works by accusing fellow contestant Jeffrey Sebelia of cheating:
“This was not the first time that Laura has seemed like a total plant by the show’s producers. There were moments– like the time she told Kayne, her voice campily dripping with sugar, that she ‘really questioned [his] taste sometimes’ — when you watched with awe, and then suspicion.
“Even her inclusion in the final four seemed somewhat dubious; Laura’s clothes are so one-note, they barely register… Later, when she told Jeffrey of her charges… she did it with such brazen camera mugging, it made you wonder how many times she had practiced it in a mirror beforehand.”
Salon doesn’t stop there: “But the probers did discover that Jeffrey went $200 over budget, and needed to knock something out of his collection. But wait a minute, isn’t going over budget also against the rules? Why didn’t that lead to his disqualification?”
Says Salon: “The culmination of so many questions dimmed the luster of ‘Project Runway’ this season.”