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Project Runway delays its twin reckoning for a Shawn vs. Claire battle

Project Runway delays its twin reckoning for a Shawn vs. Claire battle
Shawn and Claire Buitendorp in the Project Runway workroom. (Photo by Barbara Nitke/Lifetime)

Finally, the time has come on Project Runway season 16: time to eliminate one of the two twins, Shawn and Claire Buitendorp.

“Claire, Shawn, one of you will be out,” Heidi Klum said. Finally!

And then she said this: “But not yet.”

For fuck’s sake.

As I rolled my eyes at this obvious milking of the twin drama for one more episode, Heidi explained:

“We are in a really tough position. We truly don’t know who is more responsible for what look, and who did what. Eliminating a designer on Project Runway is something we take very, very seriously, and right now we feel like we don’t have enough information to make that decision. We need to see what you can do individually.

You will be going head to head in a one-hour challenge that starts right now. You have one hour to create a new look and there’s fabric waiting for you in the workroom. Same rules, same time, same fabric.

I shouldn’t really have to say this, but you cannot help one another. We need to see what you can do individually.”

She forgot to say: The producers also need to delay your elimination by one more week so we can get even more conflict and dramatics out of our stunt casting that is sucking the life out of what is otherwise a very strong season, so while you do that we’ll wait and search around for our integrity.

If the judges and the producers really took elimination as seriously as Heidi suggests, they would not be pulling this stunt.

The correct answer, as far as I’m concerned, was to eliminate them both. I thought Project Runway was working up to that, because at least once this season, Heidi has suggested more than one designer could be eliminated.

Also, tonight’s episode—episode seven—made a strong case throughout its 90 minutes that not only are Claire and Shawn 1) unable to work without each other, specifically Shawn who’s unable to work without Claire, 2) incapable of designing for women of different sizes but capable of blaming that on their lack of understanding of women’s bodies even though they’re designers, and 3) borrowing what few ideas they have from pre-existing clothes and other designers’ work.

After all of that, why are either of them on the show? Why the charade? Oh, to make sure people tune in next week, too, because forbid anyone in Hollywood trust their show and viewers enough to let it work without artificial theatrics.

Perhaps the twin-off was just irresistible. But it’s mostly just irritating.

After learning of this twist, Claire told us, “I’m now in a position where my success will result in my sister’s failure. It is a torture-some feeling.”

It is some torture all right. For us.

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.


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