1. It never should have worked in the first place....But the producers gave it a chance anyway on the condition it didn't end up being "people in black, talking about designing a gown with, you know, a birdcage and a clock woven into someone's Marie Antoinette wig."
2. It features the smartest, most creative challenges on TV....As the guy with the tattoo on his neck, Jeffrey Sebelia, puts it ''We're not eating cow's balls or having to survive in the jungle with one book of matches and a bottle of water.'' Exactly! Yeah, there's no career in "cow" ball eating. Aw, leave our darling tattoo boy alone! It's not that it's hard to tell a cow from a bull, but it's funny to act like you don't give a damn.
3. The judges reward actual talent....
EW probes into the question whether the producers pick the winners and whether the choice has to do with the entertainment value of characters like Santino and Vincent. Nina Garcia assures us that she'd "mutiny" if the producers pushed her around.
4. The contestants aren't pathetic, fame-seeking narcissists.Except the ones who are. The work is too hard and specialized to bring in lightweights.
5. Tim Gunn makes it work.Of course, Tim Gunn. (Here's Project Rungay's tribute to him.) We like those other regulars too, though, don't we? Aren't you a Nina Garcia fan? And what about Heidi? I was asked if I liked her. I said I didn't know, but she was just such a part of the show -- like Ryan Seacrest on "American Idol" -- that I just don't like to think of the show without her. I want to hear her piercing voice to announce the next loser. It seems like it has to be.
Possible topic for the comments: personages on TV that you're not sure are all that good, but epitomize the show in some way that makes you completely attached to them.