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July 28, 2014

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Best TV of the '00s: Reality Series

by Kona Gallagher, posted Dec 31st 2009 2:02PM
top chef judges
More of our best of the decade coverage, which started on Tuesday. You can read the other posts at the link above. Here, we talk about a major category that came of age in the aughts: Reality shows.

While I would never call myself a reality TV junkie, it really bugs me when people make blanket statements like, "I hate reality TV," or, "Reality TV is the bane of my existence." The genre has grown so much in the past decade that it has become just like scripted television, in that there's good and there's bad. Even though we're splitting this up into two lists, "Reality," and "Trashy Reality," you won't see a single show that starts with, "Who Wants to Marry" on either list.

This list is dedicated not to the guilty pleasures, but to the shows that you wouldn't be embarrassed for your neighbors to know you watch: the classy reality, if you will. So without further ado, here is TV Squad's list of the best reality shows of the decade.

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Project Runway: What's Your Sign?

by Annie Wu, posted Sep 11th 2008 8:38AM
Christian and Heidi(S05E09) My last review began oh-so bluntly with "I am so full of anger", which was a pretty good summation of the grumpiness that would follow. This episode triggered some very familiar feelings and, while some of you thought I was being a little too hard on the designers, especially Kenley, I can't see how anyone could wonder why after this episode. Don't get me wrong, I'm still a Project Runway fan. If I only half-cared for it, the drop in quality of this show would not affect me quite as badly. But when a show I love so much and have constantly praised and confidently recommended takes such a sharp drop within one year, it's disappointing, to say the least.

As horrible as it sounds, I'm actually looking forward to the Lifetime move now, despite my earlier worries, because at least PR will be on a network that wants them around. The same can not be said for Bravo, which is currently treating PR like it's the ex that still has to live in the apartment because they're legally obligated to finish paying half this year's rent.

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Christian Siriano brings his fierceness to Eloise

by Kona Gallagher, posted Jul 22nd 2008 9:03AM
Christian Siriano Tim GunnLast season's Project Runway winner, Christian Siriano, has snagged himself a Hollywood job. The 22-year-old designer who has the dubious distinction of introducing the phrase "hot tranny mess" into the popular lexicon, is designing a collection that will be showcased in the upcoming film, Eloise in Paris.

Siriano is excited to be featured in the movie, saying, "It is a dream to work with legends such as [director] Charles Shyer, Uma Thurman and [costume designer] Milena Canonero on a wonderful story filled with creative inspirations." One of the film's major scenes takes place at Paris Fashion week, and it will be Siriano's creations that the models will be wearing as they strut down the catwalk.

While having a collection in a movie-version of Paris fashion week isn't quite as prestigious as having a collection in real Paris fashion week, the young Siriano is off to a good start. After all, he could have been designing clothes for the Bratz movie, like a certain other Runway winner.

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Ugly Betty: Burning Questions

by Erin Martell, posted May 2nd 2008 9:02AM

Christian Siriano and Becki Newton

(S02E15) You can add "glamourtunity" and "preg-nasty" to the Ugly Betty lexicon. While this episode gave us some cute moments and clever dialogue, I felt like it was light on plot. Yes, we got Renee's storyline out of the way, but the rest of it was build-up to the season's bigger issues. I'm ready for things to start happening.

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Project Runway: Finale (season finale)

by Annie Wu, posted Mar 6th 2008 10:41AM
Project Runway
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Folks, we have finally reached the end of the line and, to be perfectly honest, I think I'm okay with that. This season, I haven't felt the same sense of anticipation from week to week. "Isn't there something I'm supposed to do on Wednesdays? Oh. Right. Project Runway." This near-apathy is a far cry from the screaming that had ensued in my house when Wendy Pepper moved into the final three of Season One or when Daniel Vosovic presented in Fashion Week for Season Two. That said, I was pretty satisfied with the top three because they really were the best of the bunch, even though that bunch wasn't so great to begin with.

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Project Runway: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

by Annie Wu, posted Feb 28th 2008 9:04AM
Rami and Chris(S04E13) These pre-finale episodes are always interesting because the viewers get to take a little peek into the world of designers as normal people, outside of the weird reality show setting. This season's visit to the designers was different though, for Rami and Chris still had to duke it out and figure out who would compete in New York Fashion Week. Good ol' Tim Gunn took a trip to the coasts to check in with each of the four designers and make sure their collections were chugging along.

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Project Runway: Reunion

by Annie Wu, posted Feb 21st 2008 8:21AM
Christian(S04E12) I swear, if I hear Tim Gunn say that this group is the most talented season yet one more time, I will jump up and scream, "Lies! All lies!" and then flip over a table to kick-start my violent rampage. Sure, there are some super-talented individuals, as always, but I still don't believe that this is anywhere near the strongest group of designers yet.

Watching this Reunion didn't manage to convince me that this was the most exciting season either.

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Project Runway: The Art of Fashion

by Annie Wu, posted Feb 14th 2008 12:24PM
Winning Outfit(S04E11) For the first time since the history of the show, I'm actually quite satisfied with the final group of designers going to Fashion Week. Now, that is not to say that I've changed my mind about how well this season's designers have been doing, because I still feel like it has been one of the worst seasons. However, this time it seems like the final group of designers all truly deserve to be there.

All right, before I get ahead of myself, let's go over just how well everyone did in this challenge. Please excuse me if I fail to fully suppress my pretentious artiness.

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Project Runway: Raw Talent

by Annie Wu, posted Feb 7th 2008 1:05AM
WWE Diva(S04E10) In one of the classiest moves in Project Runway history, the designers faced the challenge of creating outfits for the WWE Raw Divas to wear in the ring. When I heard the angry grunts and sounds of lady-violence behind the door, I thought they were going to face roller derby girls or something. The Divas were cool anyway, offering the designers a chance to get really crazy and maybe a little sleazy.

The designers seemed rather horrified when they saw their new clients, which was quite amusing, but not as amusing as the reactions (or lack thereof, save for Tim Gunn's polite chuckle) to the sex kitten ripping open her robe. I couldn't stop myself from mumbling, "Your goods have no power here, sweetheart."

By the way, the Blockbuster Total Access placement was real subtle, Bravo. Maybe next time they should have Tim pop in to share an exclusive coupon code.

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Project Runway: Even Designers Get the Blues

by Annie Wu, posted Jan 24th 2008 1:15AM
Ricky's dress(S04E09) It's strange to feel this way about a program all about imagination and creativity, but I think Project Runway may have lost its voice. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of the show and I understand that programs often evolve into something different from the original season. However, this season's constant use of special clients/judges like (Sarah Jessica Parker or the high school girls) and big company sponsors (like Hershey's or Levi's) makes me feel like the show has sold out.

Previous seasons had some challenges that were incredibly bizarre but were at the same time open-ended enough to let the designers work with their own voices. They didn't have to cater to a very specific client each week, the way this season's designers do. Just take a look at the recent avant-garde challenge. Even with the high stress and drama, the contestants made some of the best work of the season.

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Project Runway: On Garde!

by Annie Wu, posted Jan 17th 2008 8:00AM
Winners(S04E08) Finally, a challenge where the designers really pushed the limits and showed us just how far they could take things. However, I knew things were too good to be true, because the elimination was pretty upsetting. Well, it was upsetting for me, anyway.

Also, I thought this was too good to pass up. Heidi dropped this gem of a quote during the runway critique: "If they had executed it in a beautiful way, with beautiful materials, it could have worked." Oh. Oh really, Heidi? I didn't know it was all about the execution and materials. I thought it was just a matter of marvelous post-justifying on the catwalk and sliding a few Lincolns and a Ziploc baggy of M&Ms under Michael Kors' dressing room door.

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Project Runway: What A Girl Wants

by Annie Wu, posted Jan 10th 2008 11:15AM
Victorya's dress(S04E07) I'm sure just about every teenage girl dreams of going to prom with Orlando Bloom and/or a custom-made dress. Bloom is a pretty busy guy, what with all of his swashbuckling and celebrity duties, so he probably doesn't have time to do proms. However, Project Runway decided to make a couple of girls' dreams (and designers' nightmares) come true by inviting a few high school girls to be clients/models in a prom dress challenge.

I feel like this challenge produced some of the most interesting work we've seen this season, but it also caused a bit of viewer drama on the runway. It's as though it's part of teenage girls' nature to drag drama in their wake.

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Project Runway: Eye Candy

by Annie Wu, posted Jan 3rd 2008 12:19PM
Rami's dress(S04E06) Okay, okay. I think I may have figured out what has been going wrong this season and why the Bravo viewers voted this challenge as their favorite thus far. In this challenge, the designers did not have to cater to a particular customer. We're barely six episodes into the season and we've already had fat-to-skinny ladies, Tiki Barber, and Sarah Jessica Parker to work for. Last season, the designers pretty much only had Miss USA as a guest judge by this point and had worked heavily on other challenges that allowed them to show their own vision and style a bit more. I believe this season could have done with one or two more "creative" challenges like this Hershey's one earlier on. Weed out the designers that struggle with basic creative problem solving and then take care of those who fail to listen to clients' desires.

Either that is the reason why this season has been a whole load of suck, or Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum have been spiking the Kool-Aid with some sort of performance decreasing drug.

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Project Runway: What's the Skinny?

by Annie Wu, posted Dec 13th 2007 12:33PM
Steven(S04E05) Okay, so, this episode was slightly less boring that the previous four. I'm still waiting for someone to blow me away, but at least a few things kept my interest this time around. First of all, we knew "normal size" models were going to come into play sooner or later, but I found this challenge to be a bit of a surprise.

It was a great concept, no? To have this group of women who recently went through dramatic weight loss (160-some pounds?!) come in with their favorite clothes was really touching. However, coming right off of this really lovely high of doing something nice for these ladies, the group received the news that Jack had to leave because of health issues. He had been HIV positive for many years and had to go get treatment for a recent infection. Jack had potential, definitely, so it was sad to see him go. So, the designers are crying into their garments, when who should walk in but... Chris March! He's giggling and being his old jolly self, so everyone stops crying and starts laughing and shouting and hugging and all that other fun stuff. Talk about an emotional roller coaster.

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Project Runway: Trendsetter

by Annie Wu, posted Dec 6th 2007 12:38PM
Chris(S04E04) Insert obnoxious, exaggerated yawn here. Honestly, I'm still a little bored with the contestants this season, but at least I was impressed with a few more outfits from this episode. The designers were challenged to take old, outdated trends and rework them to fit in today's world. They were then given the additional challenge of working in teams of three to create collections incorporating each of their own selected trends. The end results weren't exciting as they could have been, but there were a few pieces that stood out.

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