I caught the first episode of Lifetime's latest design venture on a rerun this weekend. Models of the Runway is a spin-off focused on the much-pricked mannequins of fashion reality show Project Runway. This "bonus" show is pretty much a throwaway - literally scraps off the Project Runway cutting room floor, and the impression is that the producers simply hate to waste all that celluloid. If you've just watched the near-feral clawing of Project Runway for an hour, this copycat is tame. TV models haven't been so docile since Tyra worked her America's Next Top Model girls into a dehydrated stupor on that ill-fated Death Valley shoot. But this dull harmony is more a tribute to the models' awareness of their own impotence than sweet natures.
Unlike ANTM and Make Me A Supermodel, where contestant pose-offs rival Zoolander, these mannequins are not the captains of their fate. Each week, Heidi lines up the girls on a runway before a solemn cadre of designers, pulls names from a black bag, and the girls are selected like dodge ball partners. The un-chosen are sent packing. Having your career future determined by an over-worked, sleep-deprived reality show contestant is hardly a boon. The surest ways to get sent home so far are to offend your designer (such as by possessing standard anatomical features, as the hapless Vanessa recently learned), or by working for a losing designer. Other than kissing up to the designers - literally, in the case of the much-desired Logan - the models can do nothing but strut. Frankly, I'd rather sit in an airport to watch people walking. There's at least a chance I'd be going somewhere.
Models of the Runway (da da DA DUUUM!) airs on Lifetime Thursdays 11 pm et.
images, lifetime.com and tv.yahoo.com.