DO NOT DEFEND THE SHOE: It is time for us to begin presenting the 2005 ALOTT5MA Awards, given each year for outstanding achievement in the field of excellence in the subset of popular culture. Decisions are made either individually or collectively by the blog, but, basically, we're all free to do what we want.
And because I started this site, I get to kick things off with the third annual award for Reality TV Host/Judge of the Year. Past winners include Robert K. Oermann of Nashville Star (2003) and Ralph Garman (as Derek Newcastle) for Joe Schmo 2 (2004).
This year, I don't think there will be too much debate. While perennials Tyra Banks (the Susan Lucci of this category) and Jeff Probst (for the Janu council, via Isaac) did solid work and Phil Keoghan was great in the one season of The Amazing Race which aired this year -- there was only one, right? -- a new entry into the field gave us such pleasure that to ignore him would be absurd.
Tim Gunn teaches a course called concept development at the Parsons School of Design in New York City, and concept devlopment is what he did so well on Project Runway. In his role as both task assigner and mentor on the show, Gunn has been the bridge between the viewer and the intricate work being done by the competitors. His position on the show is unique -- his purpose is to improve the work of all the competitors and does not judge them, formally or informally. His criticism is constructive in the best sense of the word. In this, he gives viewers clarity in an arcane field -- much like 2003's winner Oermann, he gives the context in which we understand that "pretty" is not always "good" and the importance of balancing one's own vision with the client's.
Without Tim Gunn, Project Runway is just American Idol with scissors. With him, it's an educational hoot.
And he has a blog.