You guys: In less than two hours (okay, so by the time I post this it'll be way after but still) I will be watching the actual Project Runway tent show at Bryant Park. Can you believe it? It will be like the highlight of my entire life (and keep in mind that yesterday I saw Joan Collins walk a runway to a techno remix of Chris DeBurgh's "Lady in Red," so my standards are HIGH.)
Because I had such a busy morning I stayed up super late writing this, and because I am known to get a little slap-happy when I'm tired (see also: my last recap, which made prominent use of the word "cooter") I asked my friend and fellow pop culture enthusiast Owen to be my second set of eyes. I will put Owen's commentary in italics.
Greetings, all! I'm so happy to help Una out with some additional commentary on this week's episode of Project Runway. It's an honor and a pleasure to serve up some snark for y'all.
Now, if you're like me, you might not suffer a fool interloper writing on your favorite recap too kindly. You want the designer label, not the cheap knock off. I feel you, but I'm prepared to win your hearts and minds! I can't wait to read the comments down below. (Hint: I respond well to praise!) Here's a quick rundown of my stats:
Name: Owen The Man
Runway Fan Since: Season 2
Favorite Runway: Season 3
Favorite Winner: Christian Siriano
Favorite Judge: Nina Garcia
Fashion Kiss Of Death: Questionable Taste Level
Political Views: I voted for Models of the Runway, before I voted against it.
OK, let's do this. Previously on Project Runway: The designers splashed big hot Campbell's soup messes all over women recovering from major surgery and it was a Very Special Episode, albeit one that unfortunately resulted in terrible garments because the contestants were not used to making clothes for real people. Amy won the challenge with an flowy, ethereal gown, while Jesus sadly learned that while he may be able to turn water into wine, he cannot turn Campbell's soup into anything that is mmm, mmm good.
Owen adds: "The model who got cut was Sarah. No great loss."
It is morning in the Atlas apartments, and we are treated (?) to a view of a shirtless Seth making coffee. Anthony calls to a sleeping Jay: "Get up, it's time for Bible study!" I for one would love to hear Anthony's retelling of Bible stories: "And Jesus said honey, Judas Iscariot can kiss me and all my families' asses." Anthony tells us that it felt wonderful to not be in the bottom three last week, noting that the upside to being in the bottom is there's no place to go but up. (Owen says: "This is not true. You can also totally lose. But I enjoy his positive attitude, so I'll let it slide.")
Speaking of which, over in the ladies' bunker, Anna interviews that being in the bottom three sucks. "But I'll be okay," she says. "I may be sweet but I am fierce." She then resumed cleaning herself and batting at a ball of yarn. I'm not calling her a pussy, but Anna strikes me as being about as fierce as my mom's enormous cat, Dinah, who has thirteen toes and fewer brain cells and likes to sleep underneath the rug. Mila, for her part, is upset that no one was happy for her when she got runner-up for the Campbell's challenge. She wonders if it is jealousy, and then the editors helpfully cut to a clip of Mila bounding backstage crying, perhaps a tad too energetically, "Top two! Top two!" I think the others just don't like Mila. I can't tell exactly why, but I suspect it has something to do with her confidence. (Owen says: "It's just like when her model ditched her for greener pastures in the potato sack challenge. Mila needs to be adored! I wonder if some of these designers recognize that need and consciously deny her, hoping she'll crack sooner rather than later.") Then again, Emilio comes off as super cocky and everyone seems to like him. I want the real scoop! Does Mila constantly hum Eagles songs when she sews or something? Does she Bogart the bong Seth's crafted out of a Tim Gunn bobblehead and a Capri Sun straw? TELL ME, EDITORS!
Over at Parsons, Heidi emerges on the runway wearing some sort of turtleneck tunic and no pants. No leggings, no short shorts, no nothing. NO PANTS. But it's Heidi so of course it's fine. If Michael Kors wore a getup like that I'd be blinded for life (and, of course, also impressed that he finally branched out from his Where's Waldo-esque uniform of homogenous black crewnecks). Anyway, Heidi announces that Amy has immunity. (Owen says: "Amy nods appreciatively and that concludes her involvement in this episode. Bye, Amy!" HA. So true.) For some reason everyone seems surprised that she has immunity. Dudes, that is like the basic drill. Is the honeymoon phase really not over yet? (Here I'd like to alert you all to a fabulous Twitter feed called TimGunnHaikus. A sample: Oh no! Second look?!?!/ Hey designers-have you not/ seen this show before?... which I think is applicable here as well.)
This week's challenge, in Heidi's bizarro code, is "to design a look that had better be picture-perfect!" (Owen says: "As she says it, her eye brows go berserk in the sexiest of ways. If she could trademark that move a la Tyra and "smizing" and then teach it to the girls on Models of The Runway, I'd totally watch that show again".) Heidi's cryptic hints sometimes make me think of the unhelpful innkeepers and townspeople from the early '90s MS-DOS version of In the World Is Carmen Sandiego? who were always crappy at remembering details that didn't relate to flags. Anyway, Emilio thinks they're headed to a photographer's studio, but in fact they arrive at the Hearst building... the parent company of none other than Marie Claire magazine. Curiouser and curiouser...
Indeed, they find Tim waiting to greet them inside along with Joanna Coles, the editor in chief of the worst-named fashion magazine on newsstands today (now that Gynaika, which sounds like something you might clear up with Monistat, is off the market). Tim is all, "This is the biggest challenge in the history of Project Runway and probably all other shows, too, even The Amazing Race when they have to zipline off of Machu Pichu carrying donkeys." Joanna chimes in that the challenge is to design an outfit to be worn by a celebrity on the cover of Marie Claire. Which, I will grant you, is a pretty big deal. Not as big as having a limited-edition Bratz doll model your clothes, mind you... but pretty decent. Joanna reminds them that the cover will be an April cover and should reflect the season, adding that covers are generally shot from the thighs or waist up, which means that the look should have the most detailing on the top, and that cover lines have to go on top of the image, so no black. (Owen says: "I really like how she's laying it out for them. This is much better than last year's challenge of "Interpret 'blue'. Okay, off you go!") Joanna tells the designers that "a reader takes three seconds to decide which magazine to buy," and I call bullshit. I give a lot of thought to deciding between Carrie Underwood's Dream Wedding, Secrets of the Bachelor, and Kourtney's Baby Joy, thank you very much. Oh and also? This outfit is for Heidi Klum. Well, at least it's not Nancy O'Dell. God, remember that challenge? That was awful.
"Not only are we going to be on the cover of one of the best fashion magazines," Janeane says breathlessly, "but we're also designing for one of the biggest supermodels." Hey now, enough with the pregnancy jokes. Jon observes that "when the garment comes down the runway, [Heidi's] right there." Yes, how convenient. What are the odds that out of all of the celebrities in the world, they'd pick the host of the show? It is a small fuckin' world sometimes. We hear from a few of the designers as to what they are planning--Anna is doing an icy color palette (Owen says: "...because she has apparently never met Heidi or seen anything she's worn"), Anthony is doing something form-fitted and short but not slutty (Owen says: "see? HE knows Heidi!"), Ben is focusing on color--and then they are off to Mood with $150 and a dream. (Owen says: "Tim announces that this is a one day challenge, and I call bullshit*. The last challenge was also one day. I haven't tested this theory, but I'm confident in my assumption that one day challenges produce a greater amount of designs that look like ass. Can't you give them TWO DAYS, show?" Seriously.)
*OMG we both called bullshit. Jinx! Owen, you owe me a Coke.
Owen bothered to recap the twenty seconds at Mood, because he is a better person than I. He says: "We are off to Mood! People run around like usual. Janeane says she is grabbing, grabbing, grabbing at fabrics, but it seems to me more like grasping grasping grasping at straws. She admits she doesn't really know what she's gonna do. But time is up. Thank you, Mood!"
Back at Parsons, Amy muses, "We're going to have our garment on the cover of a magazine and we have one day to make it." Jesse (my husband cracked up last week when I called him Shitty LeNoir, so that repeat's for you, baby) observes that Marie Claire magazine is huge, and that everyone is working so hard that there is eerie quiet in the workroom. Until, of course, Seth starts singing and talking to himself. "Seth is immature and he doesn't stop," says Jay. Emilio interviews that "some people don't know how to work, chill, and let your garment do your talking. Seth needs to take it down a notch." Anthony simply drawls, "Did you smoke anything other than a cigarette when you went outside?" SEE? I am telling you, bobblehead bong. Well, that or whippets.
Ben is having a crisis. Prepare yourselves, y'all: his magenta fabric is looking fuschia. This will ruin everything. (Owen says: "I think his biggest problem might be that I always forget he's even on this show." TRUE.) Mila notes that both Anthony and Anna are using bright turquoise, which could pose a problem. Janeane suddenly realizes that her shell pink and cream-colored fabrics are looking "very bridal." (Owen very wisely says: "She seems to be one of those designers who can identify their weaknesses, but not really ever avoid them. She also seems to know she's not long for this competition and has made her peace with it.") Anna frets that she's never made three pieces before, and now that she only has a day she decided to make separates. Seriously, people, Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was the pantsuit.
Six hours left to go. In the sewing room, Anna asks Jon if he is making a dress. "No," he replies, totally deadpan, "I'm making a space suit." Ohhhhkay then. Moving on. Mila tells us that with every challenge she gets better at dealing with time constraints. Not so braggy is Janeane, who is simply "trying not to emote the dread that's boiling up in my stomach." (Instead, she's chosen to emote the fear that is seemingly genetically coded into her face.) Jesse tells us that his biggest competition is "everyone in that room." So... everyone, then? Not just the guy who plays Cap'n Jack Sparrow at Euro Disney? Mila says, ever-humbly, that she doesn't really see any competition for her look, although she thinks Jay and Maya have interesting things going on.
Tim checks in. (Owen says: "His Spidey sense for crap design is tingling.") First up is Anthony, who is working with a whole lot of turquoise. "What is it going to look like?" Tim asks. "That's the thing; I don't really know yet," Anthony says. Naturally, this worries Tim. He stops by Mila's workspace next. She's using a bunch of different muted colors and he seems to generally approve. Janeane's look is all about layered waves. "Is that really you?" Tim asks, and Janeane worries that this is the fifth challenge and she still hasn't met the judges. "That might not be a bad thing!" Tim says. Foreshadowing! The editors of ProjRun are pretty heavy with the foreshadowing, which I'll expand on at the end of the recap. Suffice to say I think they need to have a little Final Cut Pro bris and snip that excess foreshadow right off.
Anyway, back to Tim's rounds. Ben tells Tim that his look is "Madame Butterfly on acid." He's using a lot of color as well as some metallic leather that Tim worried may cheapen it. Anna is making a top a vest, and shorts, and just as he did with Janeane, Tim questions whether this is really her. He also questions the short shorts, and rightly so. Tim's last stop on the Make It Work express is Emilio, who's making a dress out of magenta (NOT to be confused with fuschia) jersey. He's using some sort of ombre fabric to detail the neckline. As Tim bids them adieu, he turns and says "I'm leaving for the night... reluctantly." Sounds like someone came over for more than just a check-in. Sounds like someone was hoping for a booty call.
The models are sent in for a fitting. Now here I am a better person than Owen beacuse he does not care for the model fittings. ("I don't pay attention to this part. I figure if Tim Gunn has nothing to do with Models of The Runway, then maybe I shouldn't either. They try shit on and then leave.") I kind of wish I hadn't watched this part, actually, as I am horrified to see that Jesse has incorporated a basket weave into his dress. Shudder. I don't know what it is about basket weave, it just makes me twitch. I think it's the association I make to those seatbelt purses that were all the rage for a hot minute in 2003. I find them so inexplicably disturbing, and as far as I know I have not had any traumatizing experiences with basket weave. In fact I quite enjoyed my little potholder loom as a child. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, fittings. Anna was way off on the proportions of her shorts and has to fix them. Apropos of seemingly nothing, Jay announces that he thinks Mila is fake and Emilio says she's just colorblocking in every challenge, calling her a "one-note wonder." (Owen says, awesomely: "Emilio rather heavily lisps to us that there's nothing wrong with Mila as a person, but as a designer he thinks she's too cocky. Pot? Meet Kettle.") They are definitely making Mila into this season's villain, and she's not half as bitchy as Meana Irina. They don't let the real assholes on the show anymore, I guess. Come on, Lifetime! I know you air Army Wives and Drop Dead Diva, and therefore I know that there is a dearth of bitches on your network when there should be myriad bitches. (What, I can't recap and build my vocab at the same time?)
As the day winds to a close, Anthony is concerned because he wants to do something special but isn't sure how to work through his dress. "Oh well," he laughs. "Life isnt fair; why the hell should Project Runway be?" I know I play favorites, but I can't help but love him. Emilio worries that his dress is too short, but he says he doesn't have time to recut the dress and is just going to let the judges see (I'm assuming the last, unuttered words of this sentence are "her bidness.") Anna is also super worried, not about her model flashing vag but that her entire outfit totally blows.
In the morning, over at Atlas, Emilio says that there will be "a bloodbath on runway today." In the girls' room, Janeane says to Anna, "I feel like our time is running out. I feel like we completely missed the mark." For real, guys, if foreshadowing were horses, we'd have ourselves a stampede right about now. As the men are leaving their apartment, Emilio cries to Jonathan "You forgot your purse!" "No, I didn't." Jon snaps, and they all laugh. Wait, what is this joke and why are we not in on it? Does Jonathan have a man-purse? What's going on?
At Parsons, time is running out (yeah, I'm getting all dramatic. Get ready!) Anna has a lot of finishing to do on her shorts and Janeane says that she's nowhere near being done. Mila says she feels like she's on target, and I am pretty sure that this cockiness will come back to bite her in the ass. Tim comes in to list all of Project Runway's sponsors and to encourage the designers to make their garments "absolute perfection." The models come in and the usual chaos ensues. Maya is happy with her dress but wishes she had been able to spend more time on the neckline. Emilio thinks that the designers who opted for muted colors will be in trouble. Janeane, who is still in the sewing room (that's the BROTHER sewing room. You are welcome, Tim) says that if she could go back and do it over again she would have gone in a completely different direction. (Owen: "If Janeane could turn back time? If she could find a way? She would take back all the decisions that hurt her, so she could stay.") Anthony doesn't care what happens, he just wanted to make something he loves. Ben thinks that after four episodes of being as exciting as a cardboard cut-out, this could be his moment.
Here, Owen notes: "As we head into the commercials, there's a clip of Kors saying "you know we've never done this before." Initially I thought this was a clip referring to the challenge prize, but right about now, my heart lifts a little, because maybe after seeing the Runway show where it all sucks, the judges don't pick a winner and make them do the challenge all over again, this time maybe giving them two days, or at least giving them a day to rework their designs. Maybe this is why there have so many confessionals from the contestants lamenting the time limit. Pleaseopleaseopleaseoplease!"
Out on the runway, Heidi introduces the judges. We have MK, wearing the same damn thing and smiling the same damn way (seriously, replace him with a Teddy Ruxpin in a blazer and see if anyone notices), Nina, who is looking a little Botoxy, and Joanna Coles, who clearly cannot wait to see what eyesore she's agreed to put on her April cover. Let's not waste any time finding out, shall we?
(Owen has been kind enough to write his first reactions to all of the looks, which I will list along with my commentary. Thanks again, O!)
I like that she used a print, but if I never see an oversized boob flower again it will be too soon. Carrie Bradshaw, as much as I love her, needs to die now.
Owen says: Weird boobs. Nice print. Not a Heidi dress.
Perhaps he misheard "spring" as "Springtime for Hitler"? Or misheard April as "Pieces of April" and thought, Katie Holmes was super punky in that movie, and I'm sure she would have saved Thanksgiving had she only been wearing this metallic suit.
Owen says: Suit. Shiny. Shoulders. Meh.
Seatbelt purse! SEATBELT PURSES WHY GOD WHY? Sorry. I like the general shape and especially the neckline but THE SEATBELT PURSE IS COMING OUT OF HER STOMACH ALIEN-STYLE AND OH GOD WHY???
Owen says: Sexy. I can't see the detail really. I wish Time Warner Cable showed Lifetime in HD.
If there is one thing I hate it is formal shorts. In fact--this is not a joke--I has to reset my Gmail password recently and it asked me my reminder question, which apparently I had written myself because the question was "What is inappropriate formal-wear?" I don't think I have to tell you the answer. I also hate the top and vest.
Owen says: Awful. If a bad outfit from My So-Called Life married a bad outfit from Saved By The Bell and had an inbred baby outfit, this would be it. The opposite of everything Joanna asked them to create.
This is not the most flattering shot of the model or the dress but the color popped, the structural detailing was modern and pretty and apart from the shoes (damn you, Bluefly.com accessories wall!) I love everything about this.
Owen says: A total Heidi dress. This one has to win.
This just doesn't look done. I won't even get into the tissue paper shoulders and the repurposed bridesmaid vibe. This just looks a mess. (My husband dismisses it as "pus-colored.")
Owen says: Speechless. Hopefully someone else can effectively rip it to pieces. Literally and Figuratively.
I actually love the pattern and shape of this, but I realize that you'd have to have dark skin in order not to look washed-out. If only I did not have a pasty, translucent Edward Cullen complexion, I would totally buy this.
Owen says: Too nude. Huge Boobs.
This is my least favorite thing Emilio has done so far. Very milkmaid-y with the detailing. I guess that was a nod to Heidi's German heritage? It's like slutty leiderhosen neglige (and yes, it is way too short).
Owen says: Nice color. Nice construction. A little too teen lingerie with the straps.
Hmmmm. I get that this is objectively pretty, but it's boring pretty. Also that empire waist with that full skirt will make Heidi look pregnant (if she's not already on baby #5 by April).
Owen says: Too much dress. Not enough color. Not Heidi's style.
My notes say, simply, WTF NO PANTS! And I stand by them. I cannot even judge this... thing, so offended am I by its very existence. (If you're new to my writing you should know that I hate rompers even more than I hate formal shorts.)
Owen says: ABBA, right?
I'm sorry to be crude, but is this a fabric reenactment of the Miracle of Life? Because if not, I have issues with that neckline.
Owen says: Too pale. Not springy. The collar might've worked for me if she had time to do more with it.
I really like the kimono part of this. I love the colors and the shape. But I wish he had made his own belt out of fabric or something. Would that look too much like a bathrobe? Maybe that's why he didn't. Anyway, good on you Ben, for standing out. This was your moment.
Owen says: I actually like this. But the model is so unlike Heidi it's hard for me to see her in it.
Now, don't be mad guys but I am going to let Owen tell you what happens from here on out because seriously I got NO sleep last night and might very well just start typing gibberish in ALL CAPS NSJGDUIEHEGYGEUG. Take it away, Owen!
Round-up: Seth Aaron, Jay, Maya, Jesse, Jonathan, and Amy are safe. They leave the runway. Bring out the remaining designers models. First we go to Ben. The judges all like it (He did not use his original materical for the belt). They move on to Anna. All the judges hate it. Joanna hits her the hardest telling her it's like three ingredients in a meal that make you nauseous. Damn. Up next is Anthony, who the judges all love. Anthony is thrilled. I am sure he will win. We move on to Anne Marie, who we know is another bust. Again, Joanna goes for the jugular, saying if the inspiration is the sea, it's a polluted sea with plastic bottles in it. Yikes! They don't like Mila's dress either, because the color is way wrong. They like Emilio's outfit, or rather they WILL like it right after they make a few LITTLE alterations on the runway, and then they are happy with it. They have Emilio actually cut off the straps to his dress. That's what Kors said they've never done before, by the way.
The judges talk amongst themselves. They continue to like what they liked and hate what they hated. I didn't learn anything new here. I did like Joanna desribing Mila's dress as the color of hospital food. Bring back Joanna every week. Permanent 4th judge, I say!
Commercials! Lifetime's Sins of The Mother: Precious-Lite? Diet Precious? You decide.
We're back! One of them will have their design on the cover of Marie Claire magazine. Anna or Janeane will be OUT. Anthony... is the winner! I knew it all along. He milks it for all it's worth, but it's worth a lot. Ben and Emilio are obviously safe. Mila also dodges a bullet, leaving Janeane and Anna Marie as bottom two - just as Janeane said it would be! Heidi tells Janeane she was bridal and not fashion forward. She tells Anna her design was forgettable. With no one being told that the judges question their taste level, it's a toss up at this point. Finally, Anna is out. That feels right. Janeane hesitates as she moves toward Anna, wondering if she's allowed to give her friend one last hug before the firing squad comes in to shoot her dead. Heidi permits it. Janeane then runs off the stage, and Anna is auf'ed. But she lives to tell the tale! Anna exit interviews that she's proud of herself. She'll take away confidence in herself as a designer. I love her hair and her eyes and her smile. Good luck, Anna!
Next Week: Tiny Tot Models!!! YES! The designers' nightmare will be our dream come true.
Thanks to Una for including my thoughts this week. Thanks to those of you who read them! It was a lot of fun! I can't believe how fast Una turns these recaps around. It's not easy, she just makes it look that way. J
Did you miss me? I'm back as promised to discuss this foreshadowing business AND to launch the first-ever Sassy Curmudgeon Project Runway Caption Contest. So anyway, the foreshadowing. I'm sorry I compared it to foreskin earlier; like I said, I'm tired. But I've noticed that there are some not-so-subtle hints the editors drop to tell us who's in trouble or vice versa in every single episode. To wit:
1. Without fail, one of the first few people who gets a talking head interview at the start of the episode ends up being the winner or loser (or both--in this episode Anthony and Anna were the first two people we heard from).
2. Tim rarely checks in with someone who does not end up in the top or bottom three (my husband pointed out that the ONLY people Tim checked in with this episode were the final six).
3. If someone says something hopeful at the beginning of the episode (i.e. "I'm really going to show the judges what I'm made of!") they are automatically out. Project Runway does not keep hope alive. They like to stomp it to death.
With these heavy-handed hints it's hard not to know the outcome of the show by the time the models hit the runway. I think this is no fun. I want to gasp in surprise when someone is called in or out... but I want the decisions to still be sound (I am still not over you, Ra'mon-Lawrence, even with your double name that has both an apostrophe AND a hyphen!)
What say you guys? Too much foreshadowing, or am I just overanalyzing?
On to the caption contest. Every week I read The New Yorker's cartoon captions and am generally unenthused. But I saw this on Lifetime's website and I just had to.
Submit a caption to this photo at firstname.lastname@example.org by next Wednesday, 2/17. I'll pick a winner and announce it in next week's recap. At this point the winner just receives bragging rights but I'll try to come up with some kind of actual prize soon. Perhaps a print of some of my awesome art?