A word of warning to all future Project Runway contestants: Make a bland, dumpy skirt once, shame on you. Make a bland, dumpy skirt twice, extra shame on you. Make a bland, dumpy skirt three times, then prepare to be air-kissed by Heidi Klum, because you’re totally getting auf’d.
That was the harsh truth learned this week by hapless Becky, who, after whipping up a trio of prototypes of her unexciting mini, was ultimately dissed by Nina Garcia for delivering a garment with “no design whatsoever.” To make matters worse, she chose to create said frock in an unfortunate print that failed in its attempt to evoke the rapid passage of time for today’s harried woman. Noting Kimberly’s decision to ignore the homemade fabric created by Team Nuts & Bolts, Michael Kors summed it up with this hilarious bon mot: “Maybe Kimberly was smart to realize that not a lot of women want to have [the word] ‘cancelled’ on their crotch.” And nope, the presence of the adjective “delayed” didn’t help matters, either.
But let’s go back to the very beginning, moments before Joshua decided to unbutton his shirt down to the South Pole and give us all the snapshot of his chestscape that none of us actually requested. Our designers divvied up into two groups of five, then were asked to use HP Intel technology to create three original textile patterns (which had to be used in a minimum of three of the five looks the team would present) as well as a video installation that would serve as the backdrop to their runway shows. Bert, naturally, mumbled under his breath when he realized he’d have to interact with fellow Earthlings, and then fabulous alien person Betsey Johnson dropped by to show off her cartwheel skills and encourage the teams to be cooperative and do away with any notions of ‘me! me! me!’
This obviously turned out to be foreshadowing of a screaming hissy fit. Team Chaos (Anya, Viktor, Bryce, Anthony, and Olivier) settled on an ink-blot test theme, joined arms, and skipped off to Mood. But Team Nuts & Bolts (Joshua, Laura, Bert, Becky, and Kimberly) couldn’t even agree on a theme for their fabric patterns. Would it be amoebas, sea creatures, or maybe the circus? Suddenly, Joshua was getting genuinely excited about creating female versions of the Village People because he’s apparently addicted to having Nina Garcia question his taste level. No, wait, it would have to be clocks. “Clocks?” said Laura, looking ready to have a case of the voms. “Really? What is that?”
In the end, though, timepieces trumped cowboys and construction workers, but when Bert’s printer malfunctioned and he couldn’t show his teammates his ugly sketch of an old-fashioned pocket watch, they voted on the remaining textile patterns without taking his into consideration. And thus began a brouhaha of ridiculous proportions. “So much for my friggin clocks,” Bert mumbled under his breath, in his standard-operating “cranky old man who wants to throw shade without a direct confrontation” mode. Joshua, however, reacted as if the Piperlime Accessory Wall had been used in a way that was somehow less than thoughtful. “I will not have it!” Joshua screamed, then demanded Bert back away (as if Bert’s proximity somehow represented a real physical menace). When Bert played dumb and pretended he hadn’t dropped a “friggin” and a “f******” into his grumble, Joshua exploded into a high stakes game of Mad Libs. “Your WHAT clocks?” he seethed, his angular eyebrows vibrating with rage. “Your WHAT clocks?” In the end, Laura had to take Joshua out for a walk, and by day’s end, he apologized to Bert, his entire team, and everyone in the work room for his “insanity.” The gesture seemed genuine to me, but sourpuss Bert took to the confessional to question Joshua’s motives and insist the apology should’ve occurred one-on-one in private.
But the Nuts & Bolts discord didn’t end there. Becky took offense when she found Laura discussing her work with team-challenge rival Anya. “Such a plain skirt, in that fabric, it might read math teacher,” Laura told Becky, which made Becky think her teammate was preparing to throw her under the bus. No, Becky, throwing you under the bus would’ve been giving you the math teacher note on the runway; telling you your garment is a mess early on Day 2 is actually being helpful.
Tim Gunn then dropped by the workroom, and while his soothing words and expressions of concern were perhaps a little too late to save Team Nuts & Bolts, it still gave us an opportunity for a Project Runway first: Tim instructing the discordant quintet to join hands in an effort to reach some sense of cohesion.
And now for some notes from the runway show…
* I’ve got to admit I was happy Olivier didn’t take home top prize for what Michael Kors called one of the strongest tailored pieces he’s seen in Project Runway history. I guess the cut of the shoulders and chest were a magical fit, but that flared bottom kind of widened his model’s midsection, did it not?
* That said, I’d have given the win to Viktor: His sheer-topped black gown with muted cow pattern was chic and expensive-looking, and the train moved with the ferocity of Catwoman’s whip as it came down the runway. Anya’s print minidress was certainly cute and wearable, but I thought the degree of difficulty was perhaps a bit low to earn immunity.
* Bryce was really lucky to be on the winning team this week. His loose red blouse sat so sadly on his model’s frame that it looked like it had blown in from the street and accidentally attached itself to her torso. To quote La Kors about the way Bryce’s look fit into the collection, it was as if “urban sophistication went to the mall.”
* Who else died laughing when Michael referred to Nina as “madam here” when he noted why Team Chaos probably felt the need to work some color into their collection.
* I also got a chuckle at Bert declaring his mid-calf dress “pretty much perfect” as Anya whispered “the length is terrible.” (For the record, I’m with Anya on this one.)
* I can’t be the only one who didn’t feel any suspense during the judges’ deliberations, right? I mean, Joshua’s jacket was a little overworked, but there was no way it was getting him auf’d over Becky, no matter how hateful his outburst. (I mean, her best argument on her own behalf was that she sewed three versions of her ho-him skirt and two versions of her dreary tank.) Plus, if Joshua had been going home, then why did the producers devote an entire segment to helping us understand Joshua’s tantrum occurred around the second anniversary of his mother’s death? I’ll admit his tearful confession about missing so many family milestones — and hoping his sacrifice was worth it — put a little lump in my throat. Hey, I’m a mama’s boy myself, so it’s allowed!
* Michael also nailed it when he said N&B’s video installation looked like footage from the morning after a “hooker convention.”
What did you think of this week’s Runway? Did Anya deserve the win? Did the right person go home? Was Joshua’s tantrum unforgivable, or did you feel a little sympathy for him when he explained the core reason for his outburst? Sound off in the comments, and for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV.