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During these hot, humid August days, everyone needs a bit of something to cool off, relax, and chill out for a moment. At present, this is a difficult task for me because I’m watching Project Runway, and the judges have lost their minds yet again. And there’s nary a Tim Gunn Facebook rant to be found to explain this insanity, leaving me at a loss. So let’s review how we all got wound up on Thursday night when we should have been getting ready for the weekend.

A Dog of A Challenge

On their way to meet Heidi at Parsons to discover what fresh hell awaits them, Josh C. thinks he can only go up from his poor showing in the first challenge, Anya believes that placing so high means she can win the show, and Bert is just glad he has immunity. From the runway, Heidi tells them that they must unleash their creativity in this challenge. Josh M. plays word association and goes from “unleash” to “leash” to “fetish” to “S&M.” Josh M. must have forgotten this is Lifetime, not Showtime After Dark. Heidi gives them a cross street address and sends them off to meet Tim.

There Tim is, standing outside Petland Discount. A few designers worry that they will have to dress pets, but that’s been done. Olivier wasn’t keen on the idea of dressing pets, because all he ever had were rabbits and they all died. Is it me, or is Olivier just a bit morose? The designers must purchase $300 worth of materials from the pet supply store in thirty minutes and create a design from the materials (and can use muslin as a base). Tim cautions not to use materials that are too much like fabric, so Bert buys a dog bed. Once again he says he’s glad he has immunity because he does not do costume. Bert’s gone from sympathetic recovered alcoholic to Emilio Sosa but without the edge inside the first ten minutes.

Cattiness in the Work Room

The designers return to Parsons at noon; they have eleven hours to work on their pet product designs and only a little time the next day, as usual. We get a look around the room at what everyone is using for material. Julie purchased giant bags of dog food, but isn’t sure what she is going to do with the bags. Anthony went to the side of the store opposite from everyone else and came back with a bunch of birdseed to use as beads. Cecilia considers using the actual dog food as beading, which sounds good to no one except my dog. He likes to chew everything and would love it if I wore a dress covered in dog food. Laura, resident pretty privileged girl, bought giant plastic dog cones to fashion into a skirt. Fallene seems to think that this challenge is in her wheelhouse, but feels extra pressure because of it. Then the big reveal of the night. Seriously, brace yourself, because this is a doozy. It is revealed that International Man of Mystery Olivier is from…Columbus, Ohio! OHIO, people! Look, I’ve got nothing against Ohio, but Olivier haling from the Buckeye state is seriously strange.

After recovering from that shock, we see Viktor and Josh M. going some bitchy-teasing concerning Josh M.’s failure to buy connectors for his aquarium tubing that Viktor knew to buy. Josh M. explains he’s got a theater background so while “less is more” for most people, more is more for him—if it looks like it’s too much, then keep adding. Where’s Tim and his “editing eye” speech when you need him? Becky bought brightly colored aquarium leaves to construct her dress but worries it could go horribly wrong. Josh C. fools around with dying a pet bed purple, but I don’t think that material got into his final look. Bryce, Viktor and Danielle are all using puppy potty training pads in one form or another; Bryce just likes saying “wee-wee pad” over and over again.

Tim stops by in the evening to check on the designers. Viktor’s got the front half of his dress pinned on the mannequin; it’s made of the pee pads but dyed varying shades of purple. Tim laughs at the “Depends” dress—she’ll never have to get up from the barstool, he chuckles. Bert has draped the black dog bed cover over his mannequin, which perplexes Tim, as it looks like a beach cover. Tim cautions Bert that the judges like him right now and not to squander their good will. Josh C. tells Tim he is going for a feminine, functional look; the top is made out of a dyed puppy print umbrella, and Tim likes it. Checking in on Olivier, he’s draped a cream colored dog bed for a top; he asks Tim if this will be an issue, since it is like fabric and Tim says no given that the skirt is made from hamster and rabbit wood chip bedding. Wait, what? Didn’t Tim specifically say dog beds are obvious just 10 hours earlier?

Laura’s plastic dog cone collar skirt gets Tim’s eyebrow moving north and Josh M.’s ambitious project with aquarium rocks, dog toys, and other stuff makes Tim wonder if he’ll get it all done. Anthony is busy gluing birdseed to a muslin dress, which Tim declares fabulous, if he can pull it off. Fallene is also busy with a glue gun, attaching orange aquarium flowers to the skirt of a dress, so there’s not much time with Tim. There are several quick cuts of other designers, but nothing substantive. I wish they’d go back to the first season’s format of only 12 designers so we could get to know them better from the get-go.

Tim departs and the models arrive for their fittings. Viktor’s dress is a bit too tight on his rail-thin model, so I sense he won’t be able to design for a “real” woman challenge. Bert’s grumpy attitude starts to irritate Bryce; he thinks Bert is wasting his immunity as well as the opportunity afforded by being on the show. Josh M. has only a skirt done for his model to try and realizes time is short and he must reconsider what he can complete on time. Laura’s model tries on the dog-cone skirt and she’s got ¼ of her butt hanging out of it. Laura realizes she must re-do the skirt and sews some cat scratch post strips together to make a skirt. Josh M. gives some styling advice to Josh C., saying C should lose the clutch so as not to distract the judges. Julie is just generally pissy and doesn’t like her dog food bag strips woven into some kind of wrap dress/coat concoction. Bryce has used his pee pads to make a giant, wide, napkin/handkerchief skirt. Josh C. laments that he might have gone down the wrong path, as his design does not involve a glue gun. The clock strikes 11 and the designers head to Atlas for some rest.

The next day, the designers return to the giant mess of a workroom. Frankly, I’m amazed flies haven’t gathered around the strewn dog food. And where did all that dog food go? Maybe Michael Kors ate it to maintain his orange glow. Overnight Anthony re-thought the idea of attaching aquarium grass to the bottom of his skirt and goes whole-hog on attaching birdseed to the entire garment. Anya is so far behind and doesn’t have a top or a skirt, so she busily fusses with dog leashes and collars. Tim arrives to set the two-hour clock for hair, makeup, and finishing. Anthony continues to glue birdseed; my hometown boy is starting to worry me. The models go down to the hair and makeup rooms, and Bert stresses he wants a “young” look. At least he listens to the judges, even if he is kind of a curmudgeon. Bryce knows his hanky skirt of pee pads is not going to win. Josh C. likes his dress because at least it’s pretty. A couple of models are treated to the torture of having either dog leashes or birdseed hot-glued on them. The lawyer in me wonders what kind of insurance policy the production carriers. Whatever it is, it should be upped by 50% at least, given these nutbags. Cecilia rears her still only potentially crazy head to quip that she doesn’t want a dog on the catwalk, and it’s off to the runway show.

Decision for the Birds

Heidi greets the designers and introduces the judges—Michael, Nina, and guest judge Stacey Bendet, fashion designer whom I’m not familiar with. At least she’s a fashion designer, not some actress I’ve last seen in a movie ten years ago, like last week. The designs come down the runway:

Danielle used rope dog toys and potty training pads to create a grey skirt and a mauve top with a open weave mauve topper. That open weave topper makes me flash back to some very bad early 90s fashion choices I made.
Fallene used a dog bed and aquarium seaweed to make a strapless dress with a brown bodice and an orange skirt of glued-on seaweed. I really don’t think it’s THAT bad, but the notable lack of sleeves, straps, or anything up-top makes me wonder what kind of skills this group has.
Anthony used birdseed to cover the muslin, making a basic shift dress but with a high collar of sunflower seeds. The collar is jewel-like, but the dress is a bit short. On the other hand, if he used the grass, it’d have probably looked stupid.
Bert used a dog bed and bird cage netting to make a seriously misguided short, strapless black dress with pink trimmed netting hanging from the top of the dress like some weird kitchen curtains. He should have used his immunity to go full-on crazy; maybe make a bikini out of bacon-like dog treats. Lady Gaga would wear it!
Julie used leashes and dog food bags woven together to make a sleeveless coat-like dress that is in the basic shape of a lot of her audition sketches, so yawn.
Anya worked with leashes and rope dog toys to make basically the same top she did last week with a black fitted skirt. All of this was more than she was wearing in her sex tape, so I guess that’s good?
Bryce used blue hamster bedding glued to muslin to create a belly-bearing ill-fitted tank top and potty training pads to create a multiple layer handkerchief skirt that is way, way huge. Ladies with even slight hips will run away screaming.
Kimberly used a dog pillow and aquarium tubing to make a strapless fitted dress of a short black skirt and dark blue top with the tubing attached to the top. I don’t see anyone legitimately wearing this anywhere.
Josh C. used a puppy printed umbrella for the halter top and reptile cage lining to make a short pencil skirt. Cue comments on puppies being over the puppies, as it happens later. Nevertheless, it’s not as fug as Bryce’s skirt.
Viktor used potty training pads dyed various shades of purple and put together horizontally to create a very lovely dress. This should win.
Cecilia used dog collars and glued-on hamster bedding to make a simple sleeveless v-neck dress with the collars across the open back. I am not impressed.
Olivier made the top of his dress out of the dog bed and the skirt out of muslin with glued on hamster bedding going from a light shade to a darker brown at the bottom. And yeah, the model has the bedding glued on her eyebrows, which is all kinds of freaky looking.
Becky used aquarium flowers to make a bird costume in pink, green, and yellow. It looks like a costume from The Magic Flute for Papagena.
Laura used cat-scratch cardboard sewn together to make a slightly A-line, utterly immovable, skirt and leashes to make the very tight fitting strapless bodice, and put a leash from one side-boob up around the opposite shoulder. At least no one’s booty is showing.
Josh M. used aquarium rocks glued on muslin to make a blue, green, and purplish loose tank and reptile cage lining to make a short, somewhat flowy A line skirt that is utterly see-through. I saw underwear, even with Lifetime’s shoddy lighting. Someone bring out the vulgar card, because I’m going to play it. And oh yeah, he put dog toys on the heels of the model’s shoes.

Heidi sends Danielle, Julie, Laura, Viktor, Becky, Ceclia, Kimberly, Anya, and Bert off to the safe room but cautions Bert that he was lucky to have immunity. He agrees to that statement, but does not defend his kitchen curtain look. Who could? First under the judges’ microscope is Bryce and his puppy pad monstrosity. Michael can’t believe they are seeing the same ugly napkin dress again. He also doesn’t like the fit of the top and the styling is ludicrous. Nina thinks the dress belongs with the Blue Man Group and there is no balance. Stacey agrees the top doesn’t fit the model but appreciates the aquarium rock texture of the top.

Anthony says he decided to take a different approach from everyone else in the use of birdseed. Heidi likes the dress, silhouette, and says it is strong and modern, though a little short. Stacey likes it as well and was glad she couldn’t figure out what it was made of at first. Michael thinks the dress could be worn off the runway to a party (where there were no birds) and Nina appreciates its dramatic simplicity. Next up, Olivier explains his use of the dog bed and the hamster and rabbit chip bedding, and, perplexingly, he used stuffing from the dog bed to make the skirt stick out more at the butt. No one says that the top looks like he used fabric to create a blanket top and a stiff skirt with a large bootie. Apparently they’re still under the spell of the International Man of Mystery, as Nina finds the plastic tubing belt a nice detail and proclaims the entire look very “editorial.” Michael likes the way the skirt went from light wood chips to dark and Olivier’s sense of tailoring. What sense, big butt and droopy ta-tas? The only negative was that Stacey didn’t like the wood chips on the model’s eyebrows; Michael agrees that they were distracting.

After all the Anthony and Olivier love, Josh C. gets slammed for using “normal” material taken from the umbrella. Michael also doesn’t like the use of the conventional material either. So what gives? Olivier used a friggin dog bed for his top, and Josh C. gets slammed for an umbrella? The epic inconsistency from the last few seasons has returned. Nina thinks the outfit is not terrible, but it’s also not enough. Stacey determines it was a safe way to go though the shoe choice was bad. I’ll give her that—those animal print shoes were ugly. Meanwhile Josh M. gets all kinds of love for the use of aquarium rocks on the top. Absolutely no one mentions that the skirt is utterly see-through nor plays the “vulgar” card. I’m about to give up on these judges. At least Michael calls him out on the over the top makeup and hairstyle. But that’s too little, too late. We see underwear!

Fallene gets busted for having a simple silhouette and Nina complains that the orange and brown color combination is terrible. Michael declares it is “autumn harvest festival” but Fallene doesn’t bother to stand by her dress and folds into agreeing with the judges. She needs to go back to her salon. Or maybe take advantage of being in New York and take a course at Bumble and bumble.

The designers are sent away for the judges deliberation. Josh C.’s dress was boring and he used “fabric”. Bryce’s skirt is the worst thing ever and they want to pee on it. Fallene’s dress was boring and had terrible colors. Josh M.’s aquarium rocks were super-terrific-awesome and the skirt was fantastic. (Fantastic for the gal who likes to show her underwear. Perhaps I should buy some new undergarments and roll into the office Monday with a see-through skirt. I’m sure that will hit big in the otherwise all-male deposition I have.) Anthony’s dress was totally different and modern; had it been a little longer, it would have been perfect. Olivier’s use of obvious fabric is disregarded, as Nina loves it. Stacey and Michael voice concerns with the fit of the top and Heidi likes Anthony’s better, but we see who carries the most weight in a minute.

The designers are called back to the runway and Olivier is declared the winner. Nina clearly calls the shots and he goes off to listen to some back catalog of The Smiths, ‘cause you totally know that’s what he did back in the Columbus, OH days of his life. Anthony and Josh M. are obviously safe. Then, in the second shock of the evening, Bryce and his pee pad napkin skirt are safe. So it’s down to Josh C. and Fallene. Fallene’s color choice was crap and Josh C. used no imagination, and perhaps failed to use the obvious dog bed for material. I think they just don’t like Josh C. for whatever reason, and they give him the boot. He wishes he could stay another dy and Tim tells him to feel proud for even making it this far.

Next week, people on stilts. Because, you know, stilts are so “in” this season. I’m wearing them right now, aren’t you?