Mixing Old Fashioneds
Project Runway Recap: Reunions Promise More than they Deliver.
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Here we are, back at Parsons for the reunion episode, which was taped right before the final four had their shows at Bryant park. Heidi and Tim play host, and there are ten designers on stage. Missing are the final four (Uli, Michael, Jeffrey, and Laura) and Keith. Heidi promises exclusive behind the scenes footage, answers to our burning questions, and the announcement of the winner of the Bravo TV Fan Favorite contest. Immediately it is apparent they did not do the “let’s see everyone gather at a bar” bit before the reunion taping, and everyone is stone cold sober. This does not bode well.
Good grief, not 10 minutes in and Vincent is already turned on.
Heidi asks the non-final-10 how it has been being recognized in the street. Bradley, who has since shaved his scruffy beard and looks a far sight better as a result, says he isn’t recognized all that much. Katherine relates that she was recognized in the street by a girl who then told her she sucked. Malan has enjoyed the fan reaction and is also showing at Fashion Week. Angela says she was wowed by the reaction, especially after the Mom challenge. Vincent says he loved knowing who is fans are (all 4 of them) and that’s a beautiful thing and it really turned him on. (Note to Vincent’s doctor: never ever give him Viagra.)
The Final Four that doesn’t come with March Madness.
Before Heidi brings out the last standing contestants, she asks the group who they thought would have been in the final four. Bonnie was certain Alison would have made it. Vincent thinks Kayne would have been in the final based on his construction. Stacey (ye gads, remember her?) says she thought Robert would be in the final four; Robert agrees that he thought he’d be in the final four as well. And with that, Uli, Michael, Jeffrey and Laura come out.
Segue, who needs a segue?
Out of the blue, Heidi then sets about lobbing questions from the viewers. First up is a question for Laura: Does she ever wear jeans? Why this is important, I’ll never know. In case someone is curious, Laura says she’s not a jeans person but prefers riding pants and boots for comfort. Heidi then says she’s never seen Tim in jeans, and I know she’s got a faulty memory, because even I’ve seen him in jeans on TV before.
The conversation then veers back to the final four and how it is that there are four final contestants, not three. Bravo chooses to include a cut-down, but still lengthy, series of clips from last week’s episode showing the judges’ deliberation and the ultimate decision not to boot anyone. Not like the viewers of the reunion show hadn’t just seen this last week, or right before this show, or the other fifty bazillion times it aired. After the clip, Tim commented that he didn’t think that they’d keep all four. Bonnie thought it was great that they kept all four and that the judges were nice for once. Kayne also agreed with the decision because the remaining designers are different and great in their own way.
Maybe the Men In Black did it.
In an attempt to transition to the scandal-revisiting portion of tonight’s reunion, Heidi says, “There’s one person we all thought would make it to the final four...Keith Michael.” That’s a bit of an overstatement since he was only in, what, 3?, challenges, but whatever. Out comes a very sullen looking Keith and we get a video retrospective on his offenses and dismissal from the show. Heidi asks Keith if he was the “laughingstock” he said he would be, but Keith says his friends were far more supportive than he’d given them credit previously.
Next comes first of the two truly strange events on the reunion show. Under questioning from Tim and Heidi, Keith says that he came to Project Runway with the pattern books, and the producers took the books from him. Then the books mysteriously showed up back in his room, where Kayne saw them. Keith has no idea how the books got back in his room, but he implies he was set up by the production. Tim and Heidi find this set-up theory very hard to buy and Tim stands up for the producers.
The other designers are asked to comment, and the question is posed to them whether or not it was fair to kick Keith out of the show. Robert says it was fair because everyone should have to follow the same rules. Kayne points out that they all signed the same contract. Keith, however, doesn’t think it was fair (surprise, surprise) and that there was no prohibition on pattern books in the contract. Whaaa???? All the other designers loudly disagree, and Katherine points out it not only was in the contract but in bold ink. Stacey chimes in and says that even if she were to look at a pattern book for one thing, it would trigger ideas in a bunch of different directions, so it makes sense that you can’t have the books. Jeffrey thought it was fair, but should have been handled differently, and Keith shouldn’t have left.
Heidi asks Keith where he went, and Keith rambles on about how it was becoming a tense situation, with everyone finding out about the books. Heidi counters his argument and points out that it would seem logical to stay and sort it out, not run off. Keith then comes up with a tale that he talked to a production person, threatened to leave, and she pointed him to the door. Uli finds this disingenuous, saying that they can’t even go to the bathroom without production accompaniment. Keith says he’s not going to “roll over like a puppy”, as Tim had said in media interviews. Tim clarifies, saying that Keith did roll over and put up absolutely no fight when confronted. Keith starts to argue more, but Tim says it is time to move on, and no truer words have been spoken all night. Keith just sits on the couch for the rest of the night stone-faced.
Tim Gunn moonlights as an SAT prep teacher.
Continuing the tradition of video montages, Heidi next introduces a clipfest of Tim Gunn’s magical lexicon, which apparently baffled some of the contestants. Words that perplexed the designers included: mitigate, consternation, faux bois, circuitous, ambivalent, egregious, and Sturm und Drang. I make an open suggestion to Bravo to supply all contestants with a copy of Webster’s and weekly vocab tests.
After that is over, there’s another random Bravo viewer question, this time for Tim. The viewer wants to know if Tim designs any clothes. He says he does not, and he is a design educator not a designer. However, he does produce Tim Gunn originals in the form of sculpture, painting, and drawing, as he is more into producing fine arts.
Idiosyncratic Lexicon of Designers
Not wanting to leave making vocab-based fun with just Tim, a few of the designers’ interesting turns of phrase are targeted in video clip segments. Laura is shown first using the term “serious ugly” about 1.75 million times, as in “There’s some serious ugly here.” or “Kayne’s dress has some serious ugly going on.” Robert clearly embraced the term “boring” and used it to excess. (Seriously, this was the best they could come up with for Robert? The guy was a riot.) Not to disappoint, we get to see Vincent saying something “turned him on” ad nauseam. Finally, we get to see Bradley’s montage; he doesn’t really have a phrase per se, but more a fascination with making odd popping noises with his mouth or other random sounds. The guy is just in his own little happy world when he does it and it’s almost endearing, but if one were to have a work station next to him, one may want to strangle the last bit of life out of him to make him stop.
It’s never wise to trash talk Tim Gunn.
Showing a complete disregard to smooth transitions, Heidi throws a question out to the designers and asks what it was like working with Tim. Uli says he’s great, like a dad, and very helpful. She says that when she’s 95 she’ll still remember what a great guy Tim is. Heidi then brings up the ew.com interview Vincent gave where he said, “If he gave me great constructive advice, I would thank him, but if he tried other things, I would dismiss him.” (The entire interview was posted here.) She also brings up that Vincent called the other designers amateur. Tim says he has criticized Vincent’s work, but it has always been about the work, not about Vincent personally, and suggests that Vincent read the Tim’s Bravo blog.
When asked for comment on the “amateur” remark, Laura stood by her position that Vincent is delusional and she’s not going to agree with his perspective. Michael says that if he’s an amateur, then Vincent is as well, since they were on the show together. Robert finds it amateur to put down other competitors. Finally, Vincent babbles something incoherent and they move on.
If designing fails him, Kayne has an auction house career awaiting him.
While they’re on a semi-roll of making fun of how people speak, Kayne’s fast talking becomes the next target. I hope this helps dispell the notion that all southerners talk slowly. Some of us talk fast, faster than the speed of sound, especially in Kayne’s case. We get to see the entire pitch he gave to Miss USA, and in the sixty seconds or so, Kayne got out 932 words to Miss USA’s measly 7. No wonder she didn’t win the pageant. After the video, Kayne comments that he wants to tell himself to shut up, just like he wanted to tell his model, Amanda.
A lesson in Malanese.
Heidi tosses out a question to the group concerning public interest that has been generated for the contestants through their experience on Project Runway. Malan again says he’s experienced an amazing public reaction, having received over two million e-mails and now has a show at Fashion Week. Heidi brings up that Malan had said his family was less than supportive; Malan explains that they were afraid he may be gay so they didn’t want to encourage fashion design. To lighten the mood, Heidi then comments that the most memorable thing about Malan is his laugh, and we’re treated not only to Heidi doing the Malan mwaha-ha-ha-ha (quite well, actually) but also to a video montage of other contestants as well as Malan doing the laugh. The guy is weird, but his laugh is quite catching.
Good grief, do we have to go there again?
More questions are lobbed at the group: What was the most enjoyable challenge? Alison volunteers the dog challenge because animals make her happy.
Next question: What challenge was the most difficult? Universally they agree that the Mom challenge was the most difficult. Robert says it is because he got a lot of criticism for not being able to design plus sized clothes, but he says he never was trained to do so. Angela said it was the hardest too because of what happened between her mother and Jeffrey. Cue the video look back in anger at the Jeff/Darlene/Ang situation.
Jeffrey doesn’t look at the situation any differently than he did when it happened. Angela is still emotional over it. Jeffrey says he didn’t set out to make Darlene cry because she was Angela’s mother, but by the time he told her that she was just going to have to deal with the dress as it was, it was too late to change anything. Jeffrey maintains that Darlene would have never said anything about not liking the dress had Tim not asked her. Robert pipes up and says that even so, you should never talk to a client in that manner. Laura sees Jeffrey’s side to a point and says Darlene took the whole thing to personally, whereas the other mothers just wore what they were asked to wear. Angela, showing that she remains delusional, said that but for the Mom challenge, she and Jeffrey might have been friends. That comment is met with blatant sarcasm: “Oh yeah right, you’d be dating if it weren’t for meeting on Project Runway”.
The Great Fluff ‘n Fold Disaster of 2006.
It seems that Vincent likes expensive clothes. Who would have known it, based on his somewhat schleppy wardrobe, but he’s got a passel of $125 shirts. And he does NOT want them washed in the regular laundry by the production staff. In the second of the two really strange events of the reunion show, we get some behind-the-scenes footage of Vincent unloading on a production staffer in bleeped language that would make Ozzy and Sharon proud. It seems that someone took his shirt and washed it, despite notes all over the place to not take his clothes to the fluff ‘n fold. Vincent is so scarily riled up, Michael and Kayne go out on the balcony and have a smoke. They can barely keep it together, they are laughing so hard. “He so crazy,” Kayne says, to which Michael agrees. Vincent gets more and more wildly angry he threatens to leave the show, asking for an airline ticket. He storms out of the apartment and is down on the street and Kayne and Michael can still hear him.
After that video is over, Heidi comments that they used the most bleeps on that clip than any other clip. Vincent seems to laugh about it now, but I suspect he’s still quietly seething that his shirt was ruined.
Out comes the big obnoxious poster check.
Now it is time to announce the winner of the Fan Favorite, and the $10,000 check will be presented by two mysterious guests. Heidi then announces that Michael is the winner of the Fan Favorite challenge, and he get the cash. (It’ll make a hefty dent in the orthodontist bill; Michael is sporting some nice clear braces.) Bringing out the giant poster check is Nina Garcia and Michael Kors, our special guests. Michael is thrilled he won and he is just really happy for all the fan support. It doesn’t hurt that he seems like a really nice guy and his designs aren’t too shabby either.
Once a hoochie, always a hoochie.
Michael Kors and Nina aren’t there just to hand out an impossibly huge check (let’s see Michael trying to cash that at WaMu), but also to field questions about the judging process. Heidi kicks off the discussion by saying that each design is scored from one to five as it comes out, and, after questioning the designers, sometimes the judges change their scores. Then the scores are added together and that’s how they get the winner and the loser. Nina says she looks at each challenge individually, looking to see how creative, realistic and imaginative it is. Kors says he also looks at each challenge separately, not at the designer’s entire body of work, and he looks to see if it is the best work that fits that designer’s style for that particular challenge. Heidi then opens the floor to questions from the contestants. They seem hesitant, but since they aren’t on the show any more, it seems silly to hold back.
Angela dares to ask a question and inquires that, were her story of the French art school head mistress a different story, would her dress have scored better in the dog challenge. Nina said the score had nothing to do with the story and everything to do with the clothes. Heidi says the whole outfit was quite hoochie, and Kors agrees that it was for some ho. Angela is no doubt crushed, as that’s pretty much the look she sported for half the show.
Alison says that while she’s moved on, she does have a question about the recycling challenge dress she made, stating that she got a lot of positive feedback on the dress. She said the dress looked great on the form, but didn’t work so much on the model. Kors said that she, as the designer, should have fixed the dress on the model when she saw it didn’t work as it should have—just “make it work.”
Almost reading Alison’s mind, Laura then asks if the judges ever go back after the show airs and think they got the judging wrong. Kors says no, because he does his initial reaction scoring then goes back over it several times, re-evaluating his scoring, before the final numbers are tallied.
Another awkward segue to some more video clips.
We’re in the home stretch here people, so bare with me. This show seemed shorter, and the recap is shorter, but it seems like it is taking forever to write up. OK, we’re down to a set of three goofy things that happened during the runway shows to interrupt production in some form or fashion. First we have a video clip entitled “Alarm” which is just that—some alarm in Parsons kept going off during a runway show, which halted taping. The designers couldn’t have looked more annoyed, standing there under the hot lights, while the alarm kept going. But, other than that, it was a pretty lame clip.
The second clip is entitled “Feeling Faint” and it’s all about fainting models. It seems Marilinda fainted on the runway in the last challenge and had to get a chair. In some direct camera interview footage, Michael says that he’ll give Marilinda a pass, because she really was sick and she’d never done it before, but he doesn’t cut Amanda the same slack because she did it so many times. So we then see Amanda nearly passing out in three or four challenges. Kayne says in the direct camera interview that she did it every time she was in the bottom group. At this point it would have been great to call Amanda out and interview her on the reunion show, but, in fitting with the lackluster reunion, they didn’t do it.
The last clip is called “Gas Leak” and it is—oh, brace yourselves, it’s soooo funny (not!)—a fart joke. The designers are lined up to walk out on the runway during a judging, and Jeffrey passes gas because he ate pork ribs for breakfast. Pardon me while I catch my breath from laughing so hard. Was there no goofy Paris footage that would have been better? Maybe Vincent trying to speak French to a hot French model or something?
Place your bets.
The final four take their leave, and the remaining group is polled as to who they think will win. Katherine says she’s got several favorites, but she thinks maybe Uli will win. Robert says Laura looks like the dark horse (Sly riding pants joke? You decide.). Bonnie sees Michael has the strength to win. Alison thinks it’ll be between Michael and Jeffrey. Kayne goes with Michael and Laura. Heidi asks the sullen Keith who he think will win, and he responds that Jeffrey is the most innovative and youthful, so he may win, but Uli is also very good at what she does. Vincent picks no one, but opines that they will all “throw down.”
And, in our final bit, the same question is posed to prior contestants. Jay thinks Michael will win because he won as the gay white guy, Chloe won as the Asian immigrant, and now they’ll pick a black guy. Chloe also picks Michael, because his design is like hers. Kara and Daniel V. both go with Uli. Daniel Franco says that Laura will win and she’ll make a great CEO of a fashion company; something is still really pervy about the way he makes the fairly innocuous statement. Finally, Robert Plotkin pops up; he says he should have won Season One, and Franco should have won Season Two, and Franco will now have to win Season Three.
And with that, Heidi and Tim thanked each other for being there and ended the show. Since they’re dragging out the end of this show, join us next week for the first part of the finale, where more drama erupts between Laura and Jeffrey. Just ONCE I’d like to see Uli and Michael fight; if would too, send me a PM.
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