Project Runway is a gay show that moved from one gay network to another and appeals to a gay audience and includes scores of gay characters. So how come it’s so afraid of gay love?
It was no web secret that, during Season 5, designers Wesley Nault and Daniel Feld enjoyed each other’s company more than most. They held hands during the runway shows, flirted in the sewing room, and even exchanged notes when Feld was voted off — against the show’s policy. The duo are still dating, living and working together; they started their own fashion line called WesFeld.
And yet Project Runway edited the season to remove any notion of a romance.
Except now in Runway‘s sixth season, and its first on Lifetime, the show opted to include the fawning of opposite-sex designers Carol Hannah and Logan Neitzel (who, despite your lamp rubbing, is straight). As far as viewers can tell, it’s only an innocent crush so far — but Runway didn’t include Nault and Feld’s relationship to any degree. (The pair say they were trying to keep it private, a fallacy in reality TV.)
Host Tim Gunn, a big gay, says he’s fine with Runway producers’ editing job. The show isn’t about romance, he says, and cutting any indication the pair were a couple was just them being “discreet.” But that’s an amusing term for a show that also could have edited out Jack Mackenroth’s HIV status.
It’s got True/Slant‘s Allison Kilkenny on the verge of shouting “homophobes!,” which she might be doing if it weren’t for Runway‘s nonchalant inclusion of gay characters through the show’s run.
But maybe it’s a television network switch that has Runway now willing to showcase romance … of any variety?
Don’t bet on it.
In the final episode of last week’s five-part preview of Sherri Shepherd’s new Lifetime sitcom Sherri (which is, dare we say, amusing), a same-sex kiss between straight characters Angie (Sherri’s colleague, second from right) and Summer (Sherri’s boss, far right), who pretended to be domestic partners to score a cheaper gym membership, is never shown. The camera cuts away immediately to the girls just talking about the kiss.
Then again, Lifetime is the network aimed at straight women and gay men, not gay women.