Vision Malevolent #8: U-20 – Project Runway’s Instant Overload

The most excruciatingly dreadful days of Summer have arrived, when the Sun is a caustic beast, relentlessly bombarding you with its poison and eating away at your lifespan.

 

So I thought, “I should do that, too. AHA! I’ll start the Project Runway articles two months early!” And so, here we are.

 

My initial plan was to follow the blueprint I set last year: show restraint and wait until 5 or 6 episodes have aired, then do an analysis of the remaining designers. And from there, recap the remaining 7 or 8 episodes. The problem is, I was so fascinated by this first episode that I couldn’t help but fully explore the issues underlying the… uh, you know…

 

 

Alright fine, the truth is I couldn’t resist torturing the main readership of this blog, which contains a 0% overlap with the Project Runway viewership. So I’m recapylizing from the genesis of this season.

 

For those reading this that are not within the EE family, first I must  thank you: readership independent of this site’s personal friends is rare. But if you’re wondering why I am recapping episode 1 over a week after it aired, just take a look at the side-scroll. Go ahead, shift your eyes to the right and take a good look at it. If its intimidating for you to read, it’s exponentially more intimidating to write. And the main reason: the volume of people I just don’t give a damn about.

 

If reality television truly does mimic human social behavior (in that we meet a number of people in a group setting, and, through time, form tenuous and/or meaningful bonds with any number of them), then the first episode of any reality show is going to be uniquely awkward. Because that first step of socialization is horse radish, especially for the self-aware.

 

A lot of people considered anti-social, socially anxious, or simply a flat out fucking Chevy Chase asshole, are often simply just social deconstructionists, INTJers that see an underlying narrative structure of life. Relationships have to start somewhere, obviously, but that first initial feeling-out process is excruciatingly dull, because, in this mindset, it is essentially perfunctory. It’s simply an obstacle to a deeper relationship, something you just have to put up with for a while until you can consider yourselves friends. You can pretty much tell within a few minutes, anyway.

 

Whether or not that’s ultimately true, it is the way we watch reality television. We watch for intense competition and delicious drama, but it almost never instantly arises. At first, most participants are graciously cordial, the sort of flaccid, empty politeness that pervades American conversation. Then there are the ones that try to position themselves into certain archetypical roles. The Bitch, The Know-It-All, The Manipulator, The Creepy Creepster, etc. Problem is, the first few episodes of any reality game show are exploding with babble; no one stands out until the herd is thinned a bit and we begin to see patterns in the contestant’s interactions with each other.

 

We don’t even bother remembering your goddamn name until week 3, and we only have to remember your first name. Fuck you.

 

And, further to that point, we’re not ready to commit to your portrayal because we’re not sure whether you even will exist beyond 2-3 weeks. Those are always the saddest ones, the people that come on the show with a clear plan of how to embody a character (or, as it often happens, they simply have no self-awareness and they actually are that type of character), and then get axed almost immediately. Sorry pal, our emotions are precious. Earn them.

 

Of course, there are a number of people that consider the early period of any reality game show to be quite fecund, and time of curiosity and discovery. And that’s true to an extent, it you consider the fun of baseless speculation, dehumanizing scrutiny, and half-educated judgment as the byproduct of curiosity and discovery. And honestly, if you don’t then you are really fucking stupid.

 

And so, with all that in mind, we begin this season of Project Runway with 20 motherfucking contestants. Twenty. It’s either a pretty interesting comment of the disposability of these people in the first few episodes of a reality game show, or it’s a cheap ploy to fill time.

 

Project Runway has retained the 90 minute format.

 

We start with some jump cuts of a frenetic NYC: skyline, skyscrapers, jam-packed horn-heavy traffic…

 

Ok, so this is Season 9. All but one of those series have taken place in NYC. NYC itself is in Season 348, 90-something of which taking place as a densely populated automobile apocalypse. So why the same goddamn montage every year? Can’t you just show us Central Park?

 

So Tim and Heidi personally introduce us to Season 10, apparently from within the white void where The Gate resides in Full Metal Alchemist.

 

Where's Alric? What happened to Alric?!

 

A string of contestant snippets follows, almost entirely from people that are just about to be eliminated. Gunnar relates the shrewd observation that New York is bigger than Louisville (Well, where do you get your bats from?!), and Cecilia pitches a Lifetime Movie about leaving your fiancee in Iceland to chase your dreams on a completely fabricated television game show.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, the new Crystal Stilts album cover.

 

The show wastes very little time, which is odd because they still have all the time in the goddamn world for each episode, but nonetheless they get right into the opening salvo: 20 designers have been invited to New York, but only 16 will make it to the actual show.

 

An interesting premise, even if it does make you disoriented to begin with, since there’s so much transparent personality-by-clothing you might as well by at a Black Rebel Motorcycle Club concert. Seriously, it’s insane. But regardless, the stakes are high: 4 designers will be axed right off the bat, and have to walk the whole five blocks back to their homes. Honestly, there’s like 9 designers from Manhattan at this point. Not even NYC, fucking Manhattan. I couldn’t even afford to visit Manhattan for an afternoon; how in the name of Graham Coxon do nascent, obscure designers support themselves there?

 

But yes, the certain have leveled up in the prefab department. They don’t even care what underlying questions you might have about entire facade of manipulation. For instance, why not just have 20 designers actually compete in a challenge and eliminate five? At least then the eliminations are less vacant.

 

And less fucking time-consuming, too. This episode was preceded by a casting special. A FULL HOUR casting special. And then immediately we’re treated to this frantic 15 minute coda, when all we want is for the show to begin in earnest. I’m not sure how invested we were supposed to be in the eliminations of people literally just met, but the show apparently trusted us to instantaneously care passionately.

 

Are you FEELIN IT?! I can't even ironically call this extreme ironing, because extreme ironing actually exists.

 

So we’re treated to a montage of vapid discourse between the designers and general chaos as they all prepare to defend their aesthetic a final time before the official casting decision. Narcissistic Joshua chats up Insufferable Blonde Laura, Gunnar has the doe-eyed look of a Belle and Sebastian cover model, and Bostonian David compliments Cecilia with one of the most picture-perfect Judgementally Cynical Queen voices I’ve ever heard on television.

 

Charles Nelson Reilly would tell him to tone it down.

 

Oh hey look, we get our first view of the two loathesome, artless assholes that ruined last season, the charmless Nina Garcia and OranjeKors himself. I’ve developed a new nickname for Korsy this season. Maybe I’m just on an inescapable high from the Legend of Korra panel at Comic-Con, but for this season Kors is now Korrsa. Tanatar Korrsa.

 

In fact, Nina Garcia IS Tanatar Korrsa's animal companion.

 

Ok, so look at that picture. It might be an odd thing to notice, but neither Heidi nor Tanatar Korrsa have touched their water at all, while Nina is already halfway through her glass. But the main point is… why doesn’t Tim have a glass of water? Has he evolved past the human utility of hydration? Does heabsorb moisture from the water vapor around us? Is he siphoning it out of the water-filled vacancy in Laura’s head, where her brain should be?

 

So we have a cavalcade of twenty designers pitching their clothes and their brand to the judges, Some clearly took last season to note, making sure to mention concepts such as being “on trend,” and noting the importance of “styling,” two ancillary parts of the fashion world that logically would seem to stifle creativity and progress. But a win’s a win, right you guys?

 

Right?!

 

This is all egregiously dragged out, and particularly frustrating for the viewer because this is not what we’re here to see. The casting calls are on the website for a reason: they are a supplement to the show. This is the reason this recap is being published over a week after airdate: I didn’t want to have to rewatch all this material that I barely tolerated the first time. There is a zero rewatchability quotient to this segment.

 

Not to mention, if I were to screencap as liberally as I would normally, this column would be even longer than usual and contain somewhere between 50-75 pictures. Balderdash. So, for quick reference, here are the twenty designers, in images cropped as closely to the dimensions of their faces as 2-D allows:

 

 

Ok, so Kim is sassy and OranjeKors is enthralled. I love Kim. Bryce, whose mylifetime.com interview plays like a rough draft of Lady Gaga’s hagiography, has some pieces so outlandish that Heidi feels compelled to try them. If this was spontaneous, then Bryce’s glasses black-rimmed glasses are prescription. Balderdash.

 

We have twenty different personalities to deal with, and Heidi still thrusts hers as demonstratively as ever.

 

Anya proudly notes her participation in the 2008 Miss Universe Pageant, blatantly failing to mention her additional participation in a widely-publicized sex tape made with a photographer and another contestant. She runs through her rack and, once again, no one makes any mention of her publicly getting the stuffing fucked out of her on tape. Don’t insult the audience, guys. Whip out the damn thing and break it down. What are you getting paid for?

 

Instead they openly question the legitimacy of her claim that she constructed all the garments herself. Tim asks her about when she learned how to sew, and Anya admits that her education in sewing began when she applied for the show, a scant four months previous. The reaction?

 

Tim makes a Tim face...

And Kors performs a difficult ventriloquist's trick to get his Garcia Puppet's mouth to contort like that.

 

Tim is aghast and physically inspects her work, whilst being cheered on by Korrsa, which is kind of weird, because in Anya’s sex tape the other girl, gleefully cheers the dude on as he fucked the Christ out of her. Photog dude and Tim both complied. Tim is also horrified, and the pile-on commences.

 

Scream, bitch!

 

Tanatar Korrsa protests, dismissing Anya immediately. But, in a rare misstep, he does not enter the Tanatar State, so Heidi badgers like crazy and refuses to concede. Funny, since this is how we ended Season 8. Heidi sure knows how to pick her battles. Oy.

 

Becky, who believe it or not is from Portland, Oregon, is breezed by, and we see just enough of the adorable Olivier for Heidi to openly squee and put him through without debate. Olivier is typically British, falling over his words and bashfully gesturing. He reminds me of those scarved, Dickensian figurines you see in Christmas Village displays.

 

Model not to scale.

 

Josh C., a Mormon menswear designer, insists he is straight and reveals that he was a banker for six years. Heidi’s reaction is one of the most perplexed we’ve ever seen her give on the show.

 

You mean to tell me my husband once wore a shirt under a sportscoat?

 

In full disclosure, I’m typing this part of the recap while I watch episode 2, and they used that line and the subsequent silence in the opening montage. I’m as perplexed as Heidi, though I appear effortlessly perceptive, believe me. Honestly, was this really that astounding a statement. Why not just go full-on and have Nina do a dropped-fork take?

 

Laura gets defensive when Nina postulates that her rack contains too much color, fulfilling every preconceived prejudice we had about her. David is soporific and appears to present them at least half-a-rack of menswear. That’s one thing that has been glossed over in this segment: they brought like 5 menswear designers to this thing.

 

Anyway, David gets the axe, and Nina cites the recycling of certain shapes in his designs. This seems like one of the more preposterous excuses possible. Who won last year, you imbecile? Honestly, of all things, she’s judging on technical issues? David’s elimination still irks me, a week later. What standard did they hold him to? I thought his stuff looked pretty good, too. This seemed arbitrary.

 

Viktor is glossed over completely, and Snowboard Chick Archetype Julie has a weird philosophical debate with Nina about the purpose of outerwear. Bubbly Sex and the City Cosplayer Amanda points out that the romper she shows them was made simply to stay on trend, and Heidi notes the challenge involved in that choice. Amanda seemed like a sure thing at this point, but she was given the axe as well, marking the first time ever that a reality show cast didn’t have at least one habitual up-talker.

 

Superficial Weird Chick Falene gets more praise for the clothes she designed for herself than the stuff on her rack. Gunnar, Gunnar Deatherage, shows off some gowns that I considered completely elegant and demure. Wrong Era Soft Talker Danielle is given just enough time to heavily praise herself. Strident Narcissist Josh M. piles camp upon camp, and even Campy Kors is unimpressed.

 

Feisty Foreign Person Cecilia is called out for being too ostentatious with her technique and not enough with her design. Rafael is up and GOOD LORD this segment just goes on forever. I can’t believe there’s another 80 minutes left in this goddamn show. Raphael believes that Nina is looking at him in lust, and honestly, I believe him. Since Nina looks at every single person she interacts with this way, that means that Nina has wanted to have sex with every single person she has ever met. THAT I also believe.

 

Oh yes, you ethnic hairdresser archetype. Mmmm, yeah.

 

Williamburg Coolster Serena is getting such an obvious loser’s edit in retrospect that her session with the Four Coarsemen seems even more baffling now than on first viewing. She goes out of her way to bring up styling, and Korrsa doesn’t bite? Really? After what you did last year, you disregard that? So here comes Old Queen Bert, who relates his story of leaving the business, AIDS, and alcoholism. You’re watching Lifetime.

 

And speaking of, here comes Anthony to remind us once again that he had testicular cancer and that he continues to have color blindness. And lo and behold, he starts crying in his very first interview. He also refuses to give Heidi his preposterous scarf. Some considered this a misplay, since you always give things to Heidi when she asks for them. I think it was shrewd; she’s going to keep him around until she gets it, even if it means giving him the victory.

 

So we have a deliberation, as the designers nervously chitchat. In fact, the four eliminated designers, in two pairs, seem to be talking to each other a lot. Nice one, get rid of the already forming cliques. Come on, people. Anyway, it’s time for the intense selection sequence, which provides us with gems like this:

 

Yeah, Josh. It somehow ran all over every square centimeter of your body.

 

Tim and Heidi come out and eliminate David, Amanda, Gunnar, and…

WHAT?! How do you eliminate Gunnar Deatherage?!

 

I hope he doesn't end up on the Metherage. Take a Breatherage. All hail Macbetherage! AND SO ON/

 

Anyway, Serena is the fourth eliminated. Have fun in Iceland! Oh, wait, it’s a reality game show, meaning that if you are eliminated you still have to stick around until the show is over. Enjoy your month of solitary confinement. In the very city you live in!

 

So they toast to human sacrifice, Tim Gunn makes the most thinly veiled allusion to a challenge ever captured on film, and the designers move into their apartments. The editing department takes this time to introduce us to Becky, who recently went back to school in her late-30’s, and is the physical manifestation of Portland, Oregon.

 

Your hair is BLUE?! Well, now I have seen everything!

 

The boys also move into their apartments. Everyone is completely gracious and open to one another, but there’s something unsettlingly genuine about it this time. I fear we’ve landed the dreaded Cast of Social Butterflies that pop up every so often. This type of cast really sucks, because they end up supporting each other and fucking nonsense like that. Hopefully this is balanced with some hardcore fragility, or this is going to be a very long Summer.

 

Laura takes the time to point out that she is, in fact, not a Barbie type, even though she has blonde hair, impeccably groomed features, cheekbones at an angle that looks like she took a crowbar to them, and… ah yes, she spent a full 30 seconds of the casting special explaining how her privileged background makes her better than everyone else.

 

Oh, see I thought you grew up POOR and was overcompensating. Thanks for clearing that up.

 

Everyone goes to sleep…

 

OR DO THEY?!

 

Well yes, technically they do, but they are all awoken abruptly at 5AM by a dashing Tim Gunn, who seems so natural doing this that I’m a bit disturbed by it. The Vince McMahon strut down the hotel corridor, the casual unlocking of a door that he shouldn’t have a key to…

 

Note the shirt. That pattern makes a peculiar reappearance later.

 

Anyway, Tim informs the apoplectic coterie that their first challenge, the Come As You Are Challenge, has begun. If this ends with Courtney Love forging Michael Kors’ suicide note, I will not be surprised. But the thrust is this: the designers are allowed to bring one bedsheet, and nothing else. They literally need to get out of bed and follow Tim Gunn immediately, like the Pied Piper… if the Pied Piper was a freaking catchphrase factory.

 

So after plugging HP, and denying Kim Red Lobster cheddar biscuits, Tim presents the concept: the designers must make a work that incorporates what they wore to bed, and the one bedsheet. And they appear to be a bit limited in their time, as well, since the following day will provide them almost no time for actual work. This really is one of the harshest trials by fire I can recall.

 

So, people start to figure things out. Falene is wearing that clown-vomiting-rainbows shirt from Threadless that you used to see everywhere. She’s incorporating the shirt’s design graphic, which is probably the most inspired bad decision I can recall. Laura is impressed with herself for wearing elaborate pajamas, giving her an inherent advantage.

 

And, in a move that is already infamous, Bert decides to use his boxer shorts in his design. In fact, the boxers end up covering the model’s right breast in the design. Obviously, this is repugnant, but I think from the fact that the designers were all soon wearing nurses smocks that it’s safe to assume that their clothes were washed while they sketched.

 

 

And yes, that was an attempt to make myself feel better about it. No, it didn’t work. You could wash those boxers in the craziest mineral acid on the market and then bake it in the dry heat of the Arizona desert… this is gross.

 

We get the usual kinetic montage of designers sewing, dying, glancing furtively at each other, and so on. Anya is given an odd treatment; they fully embrace her limitations, not only showing her dying fabric for the first time in her life, but they literally show her threading the sewing machine. Have we ever seen that before?

 

Kim randomly points out that Bert’s model will have “nut juice” on her, from Bert’s boxers. And there we have it. Kim has replaced herself as my favorite for the fifth time this episode.

 

Yup.

 

Tim comes out to provide his exquisite advice and banter, and it’s the normal sequence at this point in the season. Some get dedicated segments. Anthony gets air time because he manages to, in Season 9 of the show, completely overlook the pubis-reminiscent placement of some kind of feathery material.

 

Tim's celibacy punches Morrissey's celibacy right in the vas deferens.

 

Falene appalls and mesmerizes Tim with the puking clown. The extended critique of this on mylifetime.com is phenomenal. Tim seems impressed by Josh C… oh, wait…

 

GONNNNNNGGGGG!

 

Ok, so… you’re an editor on a reality game show. A famous one. One where the budget and notoriety allows for just about every single facet of the show to be compartmentalized and specialized. There’s probably a team devoted to graphics, with one person is responsible for title cards ans such. This one, simple, very pointed task. And that person couldn’t even make it halfway through the show without fucking up. We have two Joshes: one is a burnt umber colored and one is alarmingly white. This isn’t difficult.

 

They explicitly foreshadow fit issues with Josh during his brief time on screen. Julie defaults to snowboard-esque fashion, and I swear to God I am sick to fucking death of snowboard chicks becoming the model of tough tomboys. Enough. Tim goes over to Bert, and that extended critique on MyLifetime is unbelievably awkward. Tim seems confused about mentoring someone that is almost the exact same age as him.

 

Equally awkward… take a look at the screencap of Bert’s dress and the screencap of Tim’s unwelcome wake-up call. Tim’s shirt and Bert’s boxers are the same exact print. And Bert and Tim never once noticed it? Two 57 year-old gay fashion veterans? Saint plop.

 

A barrage of one-line edits follow, with one of the greatest things Tim has ever said:

 

Josh M: (worried) She’s going to look like a 50-cent hooker.

 

Tim: (with resigned concern) I knowww.

 

Tim’s critique of Raphael is probably a bit controversial. He implores Raphael to use the head scarf he is wearing, and Raphael rebukes this until the last possible second. Tim responds to this by informing Raphael that when the cuts were made to go from 20 to 16, Raphael’s name was in and out of the cut list several times. What Tim was meaning to do was let Raphael understand that the judges are going to be looking at his work very carefully this early in the game, and that he needs to put everything he has into this garment.

 

I understand you completely, Tim. when you say you want me to succeed, you are telling me you want me to fail. Got it.

 

Raphael takes it as demeaning and emotionally undermining. He claims that he is going to fight for his spot, but soon he visibly checks out and the next thirty minutes are purely perfunctory. I feel for Raphy… it was probably an excruciating thing to hear after 14 straight hours of working on a design, when hearing become selective. But when you get on a show like PR, you have to be aware of your context. This early, you should be able to detach yourself from the proceedings a bit more.

 

The next day arrives and… Tim Gunn is wearing the same shirt.

 

Or did Bert have leftover fabric?

 

Boy, they really are locking him down this season. They won’t even let him out of storage to change clothes. So final alterations are made, and… wait… this show is defined by formula… so… any second now…

 

YESSSSSS! YES YES YES YES YES YES YES!!! THERE HE IS, HANDLEBAR MUSTACHE MAKEUP BRO!

 

Now THIS motherfucker should be named Gunnar Deatherage!

 

What’s great about that screencap is that the angle makes it seem like he shaved the actual mustache part , like he’s literally sporting just handlebars. Which isn’t the case (and shouldn’t be the case), but he can do whatever he wants. He’s second only to Tim Gunn on the PR food chain at this point.

 

They go over the makeup and styling, and that screencap is from when Anthony goes, “She has such pretty eeeyeeessss,” and it’s creepy even by Project Runway standards. Like, if he keeps this model he’ll be walking down the runway in a gown made of her skin kind of creepy. Also, enough with the bowties. Unless you drive an interdimensional police booth vehicle, or your first name is Fonzworth, fuck right off.

 

Colorblind testicular cancer doesn't excuse this, pal.

 

Ok, so finally we get to clothes. Well, first we meet our panel. To Heidi’s right is award-winning fashion designer Michael JP Leonidas OrangeCrush. Next to him is Nina Garcia, who looks more like a Crank Yankers puppet with each successive year. And the guest judge this week is Christina Ricci, who looks like she marinated her face in Botox for a month. Super cute dress, though.

 

Quick question, anyone have a creepy older relative 30s or older who think she was her cutest in The Addams Family?

 

Well then, let’s get to another reason this recap is over a week late: 16 different runway designs, all needing to be screencapped and evaluated. Oy gevalt.

 

Josh M:

 

 

Not particularly inspiring, and that hemline in the back pretty much goes out of it’s way to skate the line of indecency. I like the shade of blue used for the bodice, but the back of that little shrug looks like napkins at a fancy restaurant that are pinned in shape.

 

Laura:

 

 

She had the best materials to work with, and it wasn’t even close. She did nothing with a fantastic print. This looks like lazy sleepwear, and the most interesting piece, the jacket, obscured it’s greatest features. Subtlety is not going to help you here, girl, and 99 times out of 100 they are not even going to notice that you lined the jacket. Slinky little back, though. The pants are like a time warp, and not in the Richard O’Brien sense.

 

Danielle:

 

 

Speaking of time warp, this seems like an outfit on at least one person in every single picture taken in the 70’s. Camp David Accords included. It also happens to look oddly fresh, the shape and the structure of the shirt make it feel very modern and the styling is simple and engaging. This could have won. The more I see it, I believe it should have won.

 

Viktor:

 

 

Oh, but then I see Viktor’s piece. I was floored by this on first viewing, and I still adore it. It is so flipping chic. I’m a total sucker for black-white interplay, and this is downright film noir. The sunglasses give it that glamour factor it deserves. God, those buttons are so striking and the side paneling is super flattering. This dress just screams Manhattan to me. Yeah, Danielle… you definitely deserved second place. Viktor won the week, hands down.

 

Becky:

 

 

Meh. Becky astutely self-criticizes the colors as being “too pastel.” I agree, but I also think it’s a bit wide at the hem, which itself is a bit bland. It’s like a hoop down there, kinda like she made the dress… out of a bedsheet. Still, a very good effort to get past the first challenge.

 

Bryce:

 

 

Holy fuck, what are the chains for? That introduces a trashy element to me. Obviously, the dress is super high in the back, and the shirt seems kind of blandly on trend. But, like Becky, it’s more than passable for week 1. I could see Heidi wearing the skirt.

 

Anya:

 

 

Ok, I seriously did not understand the relentless praise slathered all over this one. Anya had an inherent advantage over everyone but Laura due to her elaborate silk pajamas, and yes, the back is pretty good, but those pants are bollocks. And if that girl had bollocks, she would not be walking in them. She wouldn’t be able to walk in them.

 

Julie:

 

 

A lack of imagination explodes off the model. Ok, so you have a loud, goofy pair of pajama pants. And you feel like you have to incorporate it into your look. Well, it was made very clear to all the designers that dying materials and supplies were on the house. Manipulate that fucking print, girl. This is just a mess. That shirt is on a one-way trip to Civil War. God, I hope the South loses this one, too.

 

On the plus side for Julie, she is complete upfront about the quality of her design: she openly admits to being “mortified.” The back, however, is really cool. Interesting geometry back there.

 

Olivier:

 

 

Underwhelming. Looks like porno secretary, and Olivier playing the “time and resources” card this early is alarming, especially considering that he came into the first challenge no doubt an early favorite.

 

Kimberly:

 

 

Oh girl, no. That looks like an overstarched top valance and a pair of trainers. Kim is uncomfortable with the fit of the pants, but they look pretty damn good to me. That top is a bit abstract this early in the game, I believe.

 

Anthony:

 

 

The more I examine that top, the more impressed I am. Making the shirt black and white is a debatable choice, and he did make a shirt out of a shirt, but the embellishments he added to the stipring looks great. That very unfortunately placed center panel on the skirt is hideous. It doesn’t even go all the way up the skirt. Tim told you to stay away, and you simply took a detour. And wow, that back hem is crazy high. It’s like the theme this week was honest self-analysis and upskirt.

 

Raphael:

 

 

Brother, you earned this elimination. Yeah, the back of that shirt is pretty awesome. But you made PANTS OUT OF PANTS, totally forced your scarf into the look, and, as it turns out, those pants-pants are some of the most unflattering pants I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen every picture on People of Walmart.

 

Falene:

 

 

The dress kind of looks like it was construced to mimick those trees in front of people’s houses that ends up being a big metal pole with lgreen ights streaming off the top to the ground. The puking clown is gratutitous, but it’s an iconic design.

 

Bert:

 

 

I didn’t think this was as stunning as the judges did, but I do agree that the styling is jarringly dated. But, while not stunning, it is super cute and I think is ridiculously accessible. This could go right into shops immediately and sell out.

 

Josh C:

 

 

Oh look, Little Red Riding Clijsters. Man, he got hammered for this look and rightfully so. You know, if you were walking down the street and a girl was wearing this you might be impressed, but this is a runway show and that is not even close to plausible runway design. He was lucky that Raphael made girdle pants.

 

Cecilia:

 

 

Aw God, when does this end?! She has flipping Azula hair, and what the hell is that cut in the back seam? Are you trying to get this show kicked off basic cable?

 

You know, I could make a little pun here using the word “cut” in English and the word “kut” in Dutch, but I lost any motivation 6 designers ago.

 

Ok, it’s over. Anthony, Anya, and Bert are in the top. Julie, Raphael, and Josh C. are in the bottom. I am stunned that both Danielle and Viktor are snubbed. This is preposterous. Danielle shows disturbing parallels to Gretchen, complaining that she deserves to be in the top and that the middle is not good enough. This is disturbing because we all instantly pegged her as a Gretchen the moment we saw her.

 

—So Anthony goes straight for the Colorblind Card. Heidi is impressed. Tanatar Korrsa took the colorblind bait, and the girls are impressed.

 

—Raphael gets lambasted, with Korrsa breaks out high-level quip bending in calling the little bib thing a “Flintstones Disco Pouch.”

 

—Julie is given the Disappointed Parent scolding. Christina Ricci gives some well-said and purposed criticism. You know, it’s kind of cool when they have legitimately smart celebrity guest who know what they are talking about. More Christina Ricci’s, less January Jones’. In fact, just make Ricci the standard celebrity guest. And I take back what I said about the Botox Face. It was just that the camera on her was a bad angle. She still looks amazing.

 

OranjeKors gives a gloriously smug, smarmy face when he wonders whether the weird angle of the pockets make them a “very I like myself pocket.”

 

Would you like to taste my orange juice?

 

But, like all things Kors, he gets away with it because it’s legitimately funny. Less funny was his literal acting out of that scenario. That will void your organs, fast.

 

Girls have strokes while they do that. So says the Tanatar.

 

— The judges are impressed with Anya’s daring, since she never sewed silk before. Heidi seems personally vindicated, and Kors seems a bit too encouraging when they all babble about how well the model’s ass looks in the pants, which it really doesn’t. Not to the level where a queen the likes of Kors would repeatedly mutter “great, great!” about a girl’s ass.

 

—Bert shows that he knows manipulation. He instantly mentions how he changed due to their specific criticism, and gives an onslaught of technical jargon that assuredly pleases the panel. Christina Ricci gives a brilliant critique. Korrsa obliterates the styling, and for once it’s relevant.

 

—Josh gives a valiant attempt at defending his look, but Ricci annihilates him by going all Socratic Method on his gay man’s straight ass. Josh does a pretty good job of presenting “fit issues” as an obstacle, but not an excuse. But he totally implodes when he inexplicably laments that the other designers did not warn him about the problems his garment had. Embarassing.

 

The designers go to the back. Josh C cries in Bryce’s arms. Dude, just give it up. The judges deliberate, but they all are in agreement, and, once again, it’s nice to have a guest judge that can not only hold her own in the discussion, but be acknowledged as such by the other 3. Ricci was great. That she still has yet to fully break though in American pop culture consciousness is just criminal. And now, with the Speed Racers and the Pan Am’s, it’s clear that she’s given in to blatant, vacant commercialism. She was so hot and talented for so many years, and now she’s totally lost. What the fuck, America.

 

Bert wins, earning immunity and his co-designers respect. Raphael is sent home. And now I can finally go home.

 

And by “home” I mean “drink.” I’m J. Michael.

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