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''Project Runway'': Needling at the reunion show

On the ”Project Runway” reunion show, the 15 designers pretty much behave the same as always: Old enemies bicker, Keith complains about being ejected, and Vincent acts crazy

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Project Runway
Project Runway: Mark Abrahams

”Project Runway”: Needling at the reunion show

Reunion shows are supposed to offer reality-TV contestants a chance at Reputation Rehab. Did people who watched you all season call you crazy? Dishonest? Peculiar? Unpleasant? Untalented? This is your chance to prove them wrong, to demonstrate that it was just those mean TV producers and editors who turned you from a lovely human being into a vicious caricature. On this week’s installment of Project Runway, 15 designers got that chance. And who made the most of it?

Well…Bradley got a nice haircut. And that’s about it.

The Project Runway reunion show, if anything, demonstrated that all season long, the people we watched were pretty much being themselves. True, there were some fresh nuances. Jeffrey’s social skills never really impressed me, but I didn’t realize that they extended to farting at will. I had always slammed Vincent for being a wack job, but perhaps, given all that footage of the laundry incident, I didn’t give him nearly enough credit for being an explosive raging narcissist as well. (Belated and heartfelt kudos, by the way, to Jessica Shaw, my ew.com partner in Project Runway postmortems, whose excellent post-exit interview with Vincent, in which he trashed Tim Gunn and his fellow designers, was quoted on the show.) As for the models, the apparent epidemic of fainting they experienced whenever they had to do something really strenuous (like stand up) was a revelation. I’m going to go way out on a limb here, but I’m thinking that just maybe a few of the ladies could stand to eat a little more. (In case any models are reading this and aren’t familiar with the term, ”eating” is a word that means obtaining nutrition via the oral ingestion of food.)

And then there’s Keith. Perhaps when season 3 arrives on DVD, we’ll get to see outtakes from the extremely peculiar segment of this show in which the disgraced designer slunk out on stage, announced that he thought his dismissal had been unfair, and then semi-sort-of articulated what sounded like a conspiracy theory in which the design books that had gotten him kicked off the show had been planted in his room. Really, Keith? That’s what you’re going with? Evil producers stabbed you in the back in order to create drama? Or the rules were never in the contract you saw, or maybe they were but you never saw them? Or you knew you weren’t supposed to leave the production but someone pointed to a door so you thought it was all right? Okay. That all sounds good. Or maybe it was Al Qaeda’s fault. Here’s a tip: When you’re spinning desperately, it helps to pick one story and stick with it. (Readers who are unclear about this may want to Google the name ”Mark Foley.”)

Speaking of gay Americans, let’s talk about someone who acquitted himself well on the show: Malan! Lovely to see him again — sweet, sincere, and a likable reminder that Bravo, over the last few years, has become a model for inclusivity in television: It seems to be the only network that understands that ”diversity” doesn’t mean including one gay contestant or character in your mix but showing that gay people themselves are diverse. Project Runway does such a good job with this that I’m not even inclined to complain that they somehow managed to engineer an all-hetero final four (unless I’ve missed something) in a fashion competition.

Sadly, no clothes to make fun of this week, and not much drama — by far the most exciting part of the hour was the sneak preview of next week in which Laura strongly suggests that Jeffrey broke the rules on the way to the final four. So see you then.

Some questions to tide you over: Considering how smashing Laura looked in her red maternity dress, why didn’t we see her work with a color that vibrant all season? Was anything more priceless than the ”Who cares?” look on the producer’s face during Vincent’s tantrum? And are ”ambivalent,” ”consternation,” and ”caucus” really such hard words that Tim Gunn’s use of them should result in his being labeled a walking dictionary?