A blog by Brad Aspey
Some find it a guilty pleasure. Others believe it to be the end of civilization as we know it. To me, it depends on the show. Project Runway, for example, is a favorite of mine because it pits contestants against one another in the field of creativity. (Besides, I've always felt strongly that our fashion designers should be considered legitimate artists regardless of the fact that fashion has a purpose besides art for art's sake.)
In the "end of civilization" category, the number one example is MTV's ugly Jersey Shore which is populated by real-life morons who seem to spend every free moment drinking breathtaking amounts of alcohol and beating the tar out of each other.
Then, there's The Arrangement, a show on which floral designers compete to be the most creative in challenges such as coming up with pleasing floral designs from discarded produce found in a dumpster and arranging flowers and platters of sushi on nude models.
The Arrangement falls somewhere between the above two extremes. It's definitely closer to Project Runway than Jersey Shore, but it sure has its share of tacky production values and ridiculous guest judges. The dumbest choice was reality show irritant Omarosa, a woman who became infamous for swinging wildly back and forth between sobbing and throwing tantrums on Donald Trump's own reality show, The Apprentice. Her contribution to The Arrangement was only to make us wonder whether it was going to be too stupid to watch.
Then, The Arrangement invited the gimmicky RuPaul who, besides the strides we've made in the portrayal of gays in entertainment, thinks that simply displaying his transvestitism is entertaining enough. (Hey, it's easier than writing actual material.)
However, despite some bad choices in presentation, The Arrangement genuinely values good art and design.
When I became Arts & Culture Reporter for IPR, I couldn't have guessed that one of my tasks would be to follow a Reality TV show. Yet, here I am, on pins and needles waiting for the outcome of The Arrangement.
The real reason that I first became interested in the show is the fact that a local young man by the name of Derek Woodruff is a contestant. Derek is a 25 year-old floral designer (I've found that the term florist is not exactly in vogue amongst these artists) who owns and operates his own business in his home town of Traverse City. His studio is called Underground Floral where I tracked Derek down for an interview for my feature.
I not only found Derek to be an outstanding designer but one of the nicest people I've ever run across. He even has a well-honed sense of humor about himself.
And, get this: Derek has made it all the way to The Arrangement's finale on which the best of all 10 designers will be chosen! The winner will receive a $25,000 cash prize, a Smart Car and, most likely, the creds to be able to write his own ticket in the potentially lucrative job of floral design.
I'm rooting for Derek and not because he's a local boy. I believe he's truly the best, and most inventive, of the bunch.
And here's a treat for those of us who don't get Logo TV (the cable channel on which The Arrangement airs): The State Theatre will show the finale on December 1st at 10 p.m. so we can all cheer our hometown hero on. See you there!