Finally! Those pesky holidays are over, and it's time for a fresh batch of Project Runway! Three weeks is way too long a time to go without a good Aufing.
We begin this episode with the "Previously" which on Bravo is kind of a joke, since they tend to replay episodes every hour, on the hour. Anyone not see Jack leave, and cry? Then see Chris return, and cheer? Then see Chris make a Shirley MacLaine Streetwalker outfit, and cry again? Good. On with the show!
At the Gotham, Kevin sits alone in his apartment. His suitemates have been auf'd one by one, and he all but breaks into a chorus of "I'm So Ronery" from Team America. He says he's going to miss his "cubicle buddy" Steve. That's one euphemism I've never heard before. Could he really be straight? Just maybe...but don't quote me. Kevin takes care of that enough by himself.
In the other male suite, Chris, Ricky, Rami and Sister Christian are chatting in their PJs. Ricky, sensing a chance to be on camera, asks Christian how he feels about Steve leaving. Christian, sensing another chance to be precocious, blithely says "I don't care," and the others howl with laughter. Next show in 5 minutes.
Over to the ladies, where Jillian is popping a vein trying to predict the next challenge by process of elimination while she, Sweet P, and Kit get ready for the day. Sweet P lets us know that she's elated to still be here, and wants to go all the way to Bryant Park. Well, good on you, girl! I'm actually sort of rooting for her; I think she has that Wendy Pepper kind of luck, meaning she will continue to flounder until she falls into a win in the last challenge before the finals, guaranteeing her a Bryant Park show against all odds. Will Christian be this year's Austin? (Isn't he already?)
The designers all head for Parsons, and down the runway comes Heidi, who is still not pregnant, but give her time. The first revelation is that the models will actually be used this time! Let us open our hymnals to Modelsthisisa competitionforyoutoo, oneofyouwillget aspreadinElleMagazine. Is it me, or is this year’s crop of models absolutely uninteresting? Not a Tara or Melissa or even an Amanda among them. Surely one of them must have a story to tell. Pity.
Christian, last week's humble winner, gets to pick first, and starts a potential drama by switching models for Lea. However, nobody utters a peep. I guess maybe after all these seasons, designers realize that it's just part of the game. The big news during this selection is that, for the first time all season, Sweet P isn't the last one picked to choose! She revels in the moment and then keeps her model Katie. Since the models weren't used last week, two of them are gone. Which two, you ask? Does it matter? Okay, it's goodbye to Ashley and Christina, and kudos to Ricky for being put in the position of choosing, and not crying. Or at least waiting till later. Heidi tells them that their next challenge will have to wait until the next morning, and to be prepared to get up early. Elisa is inserted, letting us know what we already know: that the challenge is very early and they still don't know what it is. I guess no one else had anything more insightful to say at that point, not even Christian. Pity.
The sun rises over the greatest city on Earth, my hometown, Manhattan, and what better way to be woken up than by the gentle rap of Tim Gunn's knuckles? Tim goes door to door, giving everyone their wake-up call. Kit answers the door first, looking like she ran straight from bed to the door. She admits to being traumatized by having Tim see her in such a state. I'd pay real money to see Tim in such a state, but I fear it's physically impossible to get him that way.
Next, Kevin answers his lonely door, shirtless, in shorts, and mumbling with a toothbrush crammed in his mouth. Why he insists on leaving so many Freudian doors open at every opportunity I just don't know, but Tim is jovial upon greeting him. Also on Tim's route, Ricky answers the door with his comforter still in his hands, and we see a dazed Chris in his blue robe, and Christian still unconscious in bed. Ten seconds later, Christian is ready to leave, his hair done to the hilt as always. I seriously think it wasn't a trick of editing. And away we go!
The designers make their way to Times Square (not a long walk, as the Gotham is 3 blocks west of there and Parson's is even closer), and Tim points them, not to a Broadway theater in need of new costumes, but to the Hershey's Times Square store. It's a food challenge (sort of)! Elisa tells us she is excited, for how could you not want to make a dress out of chocolate and its magic-magic-magic? Christian is inserted immediately after her, giving his concise and bleep-filled thoughts on the challenge. He should hold a martini glass during all his interviews, just to complete the sassy picture.
Tim introduces them to the nice store manager lady, who greets them warmly in what will probably be the only television appearance in her life. We find out that they are to make an outfit of their choosing, using only materials from the store. There is no budget for this challenge, only shopping bags in the store, and five minutes for them to grab whatever they can. Some people, like Chris, think about it and realize that, hello, chocolate MELTS, and start grabbing stuffed Kisses, Hershey pillows, and reams of paper and plastic. Victorya comments that she was so focused on grabbing materials that the whole thing was a blur. That sounds promising for her, doesn't it? Jillian runs to the Twizzlers section, an interesting choice that has possibilities. Tim counts down the last 5 seconds, calls time, and Christian throws his hands in the air and does a twirl as if he's starring in Midnight Express! The Musical. Come to think of it, I'd pay real money to see that, too.
Everyone grabs their bags after being wished "a sweet day" by Nice Store Manager Lady, and Jillian gets a montage as she tries to carry all of her bags out of the store successfully. She does!
We break for commercial, and HEY, it's the Santino Rice Saturn ad! Santino sounds all rough and hip as he plugs the Saturn, an art gallery in L.A., and his Bravo blogs. I miss the 35D crew from season two! When Tim came knocking on their door at 6AM, they thought to offer him a cup of coffee. Those were the days...
Back to the show, and back to Parsons. The designers seem upbeat and goofy at first, like they can see the fun to be had in this challenge. We’ll see how long that lasts. They only have one day to complete the outfit, so it's go time.
Jillian says she's the only one using "edible product" (Twizzlers) in her garment, and immediately began designing a bodice in which the Twizzlers would provide the frame. Sweet P starts bashing ceramic Hershey pots in order to use them on the front of her bodice, explaining her grand plans for the outfit in great detail to the camera.
Next Christian lets us know that he works fast and doesn't have to think too much because he has "a very strong style." He unwraps dozens of Reese's Peanut Butter cups, and starts gluing the brown paper holders to brown fabric. The sinfully delicious peanut butter cups themselves are tossed away, making me drool a little, and maybe even shed a Ricky tear. What a waste of such a treasure trove of fattening delights! He drapes his form and begins gluing, and within minutes, he has virtually recreated Melan's Miss Dungheap Universe gown. (Shh, no one tell him, I want the judges to be the ones!) Christian is in love with it, finishes hours before anyone else, and spends the rest of his time snarking the other designs. But in that cute Christian way, you know?
Chris and Rami hit the machines fairly quickly, and seem confident with the direction their garments are taking. Rami expresses concern that Jillian won't be able to sew her garment out of Twizzlers. She seems a little concerned herself, not long after starting the bodice. We shall see...
Next, Elisa tells us she's definitely feeling like she wants to make "some sort of fairy-tale-esque type thing." It's good to have a plan. The monologue turns into Elisa's life story: about 3 years prior to making the show, she was selling a t-shirt line in London when she was hit by a Porsche. Her head was cracked open and her neck was broken, and she was in a coma for 5 days. After taking 2 months to recuperate, she came back to the States, and is now on Project Runway to try to reclaim the life that she might have had. It's very touching, and explains a lot about her free-spirited ways. Unfortunately, when the producers show a designer's life story, it's often during the challenge in which they get auf'd. Foreshadowing? We shall see...
Kevin wants to go the "classy" route, with a halter/corset/pencil skirt with a bolero jacket that will hopefully be quite wearable. Meanwhile, Christian is walking around playing mini-Tim Gunn to everyone else's work, his garment apparently locked for the night. By the time he gets to Kevin, Kevin informs us that it will now be his duty every week to mention that he will get Christian gone, so that we will never see him again. Meow, sistah! I laughed out loud at that one. Christian strolls over to Sweet P, who is in total doubt about her garment. After a fierce but seemingly helpful chat, Sweet P chucks her original idea, and decides to start over with not much time left to the day.
With 3 hours left, Tim enters. He stops by Victorya, who shows him a pile of listless ruffles trying to pass as a dress. Tim, ever the optimist, speaks to the outfit's potential and tells her to keep at it. Next is Rami, who has an elaborate and colorful dress near-complete. Tim proclaims that "it's a Jillian" in its look, which apparently is a great compliment. It is an impressive dress, though.
Next comes Elisa, who tells Tim she's going for a Hansel & Gretel look. Ricky asides to us that he thinks it looks more like a Barney Rubble in its flat brownness, and he's right. Tim is nonplussed. It needs to be exuberant (as opposed to farty), and urges her to take a critical eye to the dress, and to wow him. Which is Tim-ese for, "You are so screwed, honey. Nice knowin' ya!"
Jillian is next, and she is upfront about how far behind she is in her construction. Tim speaks of its potential, but time is not on her side. Tim then walks by Sweet P, and is instantly concerned. Her second skirt looks like "a coffee filter/maxi pad." (I'm so skipping my morning beverage tomorrow) Sweet P is so far in the weeds, they'll need a frog team to collect her for the runway show. But for all this, we still have yet to see Mean P this season! I'm beginning to think she simply made up Mean P just so she could have symmetrical tattoos...
Then Tim leaves and the tempo of the music hits double-time, meaning time is running out! Chris is found napping, while Kevin checks in on Jillian, who is now officially terrified she won't finish. She is comforted by her peers as they file out of the workroom at midnight.
Cut to commercial, featuring a huge picture of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup with a bouncy orchestra flourish playing underneath. Damn these people, they are making my mouth water! They have the nerve to follow it with a Hershey's Kiss ad. I'm chewing on my pillow by this point.
Back to the show, where morning has broken once more, and everyone is getting dressed and ready for the day of the runway show. As Elisa is applying rouge, she tells us that her goal today is to safely get by, because she wants to make it all the way to the final 3, and she really thinks she can do it. Man, if this is her week to go, the producers really are pouring on the cruel irony! Cut to the still-apoplectic Jillian, who is afraid her dress will fall apart on the runway, which for her as a great designer is unacceptable! Take that seesaw of emotions as you will, as the designers head out to Parson's.
They re-enter the workroom and all their garments, which Christian sums up as a "tranny mess;" Chris agrees. Sweet P is still worried that her second dress isn't good enough, but is hopeful.
Tim enters and starts the TRESemme-L'Oreal countdown to hair and makeup. Kit fits Marie and is very happy with the look. Victorya wanted her dress to be fitted as well, but things aren't working out as planned. Chris tells us that he feels for Jillian, since he has enormous experience trying to fashion costumes from food. Jillian's model even offers to help her sew once she is made up. It's "Pity Jillian Day" on the Mickey Mouse Club! But she tells us that if she does pull it off on the runway, she will have a major advantage over the other designers since she used actual candy. She may have a point.
Christian sighs about Elisa's "hot mess" of a dress, and Chris tells us that he'd be very surprised if Sweet P isn't in serious trouble. As if we haven't been steered that way during the show enough already. Sheesh! These producers must think that we have the attention span of a Twizzler.
Tim announces that it's showtime, and Jillian's dress seems done as she is the last to leave the workroom. We shall see...
After the commercial, everyone is in place, and Heidi ascends the runway once more to start the show. She works her tight red dress well, even if her cleavage is pushed so high it's practically a cleft chin. Our guest judge this week is that sibilant PR favorite, designer Zac Posen. Is it me, or does it seem like he's cruising the designers whenever he judges? OK, it's probably me.
(For the runway portion of this recap, please forgive me for using dumbed-down or even wrong terminology while describing the outfits; I'm not a designer, I just watch them on TV)
First up is Ricky and Lisa, sporting a tight, mostly-foil party dress with a poofy Hershey-foil skirt that looks quite clean and bright. Next, Marcia walks in Chris' fabulously sleek dress with short brown skirt, the Warholesque top made of strips of alternating portions of Hershey and Twizzler logos. It's entirely sophisticated and not at all costumey! Ding dong, Shirley MacLaine is dead!
Next, Marie is wearing Kit's dress, which looks polished and fun, mostly made of wrapping paper. It’s sort of a prototype of Rami's dress to come. Then, Aviva comes down the runway in Elisa's hot brown mess with detached Jiffy-Pop sleeves. Elisa is beaming and nodding "yes" as it tramples by, perhaps trying to create a positive energy around it that might infect the judges. I wouldn't put money on it.
Now, Amanda struts in Kevin's fairly elegant outfit of chocolate wrappers. He achieved his goal of making something classy. It may be not quite as fun as the other outfits, but it's definitely wearable. We follow this with Lea crinkling and crunching her way down the catwalk in Christian's halter-top poop monster. It now looks like the abandoned love child of Melan's gown and Michael K's coffee filter dress. If it were born addicted to crack. Christian thinks it's "amazing" and is happy that everyone can see that the dress is truly him. Follow your bliss, I guess, even if it leads you off a cliff...
Next comes Katie in Sweet P's dress, which ultimately isn't terrible, but is way too simple, as well as unfinished and slightly wrinkled. It is quickly forgotten as Sam saunters down in Rami's truly exuberant dress, colorful and fun, with an impeccably pleated skirt of candy wrappers. Rami comments that he saw the dress caught Zac Posen's eye instantly. Hmm, who's cruising who today?
And now, the moment that the producers hope you've all been waiting for: Jillian's dress. Will it stay together? Will it fall apart? Well, it stayed together, and it looked fabulous. The licorice served as a terrific fringe on the skirt, but the licorice bodice, while amazing to look at, seemed to jump away from Lauren's chest, swaying like a metronome as she walked, and damn near giving us the whole story on Lauren's assets with each step. Still, it was a real achievement.
From the sublime to the ridiculous: Jacqueline comes out in Victorya's "ice princess" dress, which looked more like a frilly apron and didn't seem to have any candy-like materials to it. To make matters worse, Victorya instructed her model to walk with her arms held out away from the dress, which made her look stiff and uncomfortable, as if the whole thing would fall apart if her hands touched it. To her credit, she did not crush her model's boobs this time.
The designers hit the floor, and Heidi calls out Ricky, Christian, Kit, and Kevin. They are safe, and leave the runway. The models for the remaining designers come out, and the judges dig in.
Rami is first, and Zac is in love (I assume with the dress). Michael applauds the charm and spirit that shows in the workmanship. Next, Elisa tells them her goals for the dress, which seem to have nothing to do with the dress next to her. Michael bemoans the lack of joy to it, and Zac chimes in agreement. They were almost too kind; almost, because MK had to put in a dig about the sleeves looking like two shower caps.
Jillian is next, and the judges are ODing on the cuteness of it. Nina applauds the hard work put into it, and MK calls it chic, to which Jillian adds that as an extra benefit, her model smells great too. It's a winner in their eyes.
They turn to Victorya's dress with furrowed brows, and she instantly defends it as totally wearable. MK instantly shoots back, "You wouldn't wear that!" He declares it not wearable, and not fanciful, something that a dress with that many frills should be, I guess. Heidi interjects that it looks like she works at Dairy Queen. They machine-gun it for another moment or two and then move to Chris. Chris explains the artful inspirations behind his dress, and gets qualified compliments from Zac. Michael however, loves the restraint shown this week, and Nina goes even further and proclaims that the total look Chris has presented, with hair and accessories, could be shot as-is for one of the front pages of Elle. High praise indeed, and I think well-deserved. The dress is elegant yet fierce.
Now comes Sweet P, who meekly explains the materials used, and defends the boring aspects of it by letting them know that she had another dress first but scrapped it. Nina call the current dress "sad."
The designers leave, and the judges caucus. Generally they are impressed, and make note of how sophisticated Chris' look was. Rami's just made them smile when it came out, and they appreciated the detail and hard work. Same for Jillian. Elisa's was a disappointment, and not as avant-garde as she was trying to sell it. Victorya was uninspiring, and Sweet P was unoriginal and uninventive. The designers return, and the cliffhangers begin as we go to commercial.
(Is anyone interested in this new "I Want to Be a Supermodel" show? I think I'm just going to watch it for the hot bods...just like everyone else...)
Back to the runway: Chris is in. Damn, I wanted his to win! Oh well. The winner is...Rami! Probably because he kept his model's bust covered. Jillian blows him a kiss as he leaves the runway, which I don't think he even saw.
Jillian is in, leaving Victorya, Sweet P and Elisa. Victorya is in, and quickly leaves. It's down to Elisa and Sweet P, and...apparently the producers are indeed that cruel, for Elisa is out. She is gracious and thankful as she exits, adding her own hard-to-decipher mantra to Heidi's auf wiedersehen as they kiss goodbye. It was inevitable that she would be auf'd, but she will be missed as a quirky, fun ball of positive energy. And spit.
In the previews for next week's show, the designers will be charged with "creating a memory." Christian is "very scared" about his garment, and Ricky is crying to the camera (again). Nina is not crazy about the color of someone's outfit. Sounds like another day at Parson's to me...