Up until now Project Runway has been credited with being the most honest reality show out there. Granted, all reality shows have a certain element of playing to the cameras and fake drama. For instance, I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think there is one second of the Real World-Road Rules Gauntlet 2 that isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t faker than any night of WWE Raw, but the beauty was always basking in the horribly amateur way they all play to the cameras (Ã¢â‚¬Å“I surcomb!Ã¢â‚¬?), thinking that anyone over the age of 13 believed that nonsense. The only thing real on that show is T.J.’s utmost respect and reverence for the Gauntlet. You can’t fake that.
But Project Runway eschewed all those trappings and based a reality show on skill and talent winning the day, not reality-show backstabbing Ã¢â‚¬Å“villainsÃ¢â‚¬? and phony alliances. Well, that veneer has begun to crack ever so slightly with this episode. The end results are still based on talent, but we now have this season’s Wendy Pepper, i.e. the woman who will pull reality show gimmicks to get ahead. Zulema. What, pray tell, did she do this week to send everyone into a tizzy? Two words. Two magical words.
Walk Off!!But before we get to that letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s set the stage – or the runway, to be more apt. After another (sadly metaphorical) close shave with Santino last week (Why is this one note DEE-signer still on this show?), it’s truth time. “What I made for Sasha was pretty ridiculous and horrible,” he tells the camera. This time he will heed the advice of the judges and try to tone it down more. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll see.
When they are all brought before the judges we see Heidi and her cute little bump, which we all know carries the dreaded moleman baby. This challenge, she says, is all about inspiration. And to give a talk on inspiration, as well as a contractually obligated in-show plug, we will go to Michael Kors’ studio where he will give them a talk about what inspires him, and tell them all about their next challenge.
But first let’s bring out the models in their sexy black slips. Zulema won the last challenge and her model was Rachel. If she decides to go with Rachel than Shannon is out. Or she can have them bring all the models out on the runway and choose a new model. This has been one of the new Ã¢â‚¬Å“twistsÃ¢â‚¬? this year, whereas last year every week the designers got to choose a different model. Up until now this twist has backfired with every designer staying with their models from the beginning. But not now. Zulema is here to play a game. She is going to switch models. Which kinda makes sense since her model, Rachel, has a cottage cheese ass and canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t walk. When everyone realizes what she is going to do we get all sorts of stunned reactions from the DEE-signers, including the obligatory Andrae face, which IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve seen so many times IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m starting to think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not so much an expression as a weird form of palsy that he canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t control. Daniel V. says it best when he tells us Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a mother f*$&ing walk off.Ã¢â‚¬?
Zulema wants the walk off to be between Danielle, Tarah and Shannon. After we see the girls strut their stuff, Zulema decides to go with Tarah, who has one of the best walks of all the models (but nothing close to the legendary coked-out Morganza from season one). Tarah was Nick’s model and by the expression on Nick’s face, he looks like he wants to take all his marbles and go home. He’s about to cry. I havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seen a gay man this upset since Crash beat Brokeback Mountain for Best Ensemble Cast at the SAG awards. (There, my weekly Brokeback joke quota is fullfilled.)
Does Andrae even have any other expression? Seriously.
But first we need Michael Kors to explain this weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s challenge to us. Time for another field trip! I guess Bravo canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t afford a bus. Next season they should totally get a bus and paint it like the Partridge Family bus and we can watch them drive all over the city and even get a theme song. When Mike meets us at his studios he brings them all together and talks about inspiration. And lo and behold he has his new spring designs there to show them! What an amazing coincidence. His inspiration is Doris Duke, a tobacco heiress from the 40Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s known for her floral prints, and not the dead wife of Uncle Jesse Duke from the Dukes of Hazzard, because then the whole spring line will be done in dungarees, and we all know they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t breathe well.
Michael then has a present for each of them. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s an Olympus Digital Camera! Yay product placement! Their job is to spend an hour walking the streets of New York taking pictures. From one of the pictures they take they are to design a dress using the picture as their inspiration. I have to admit, that is a neat idea.
As we walk the streets we get a glimpse of everyoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pictures. Chloe takes a lot of pictures of buildings because she likes lines. Kara takes pictures of construction signs because Kara sucks. Santino finds a picture of some overlapping graffiti, which makes me fear for another Santino ruffled explosion in our future. Daniel’s picture is a vase with orchids in it that was in Michael Kors’ lobby. Gee, way to really phone it in, Daniel. Why not just take a picture of the Olympus Digital retail box and use that? Andrae takes a picture of a grimy puddle. His theory, he tells us, is that he likes to take things that are considered ugly and apply the Ã¢â‚¬Å“charm gunÃ¢â‚¬? to it, which is the only gun Andrae will most likely ever hold.
When we all get back to the studio to have everyone start working we see that Nick is still whining like a nine-year-old girl with a scraped knee because of the great model stealing brouhaha. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s losing what little focus he has. Thank god Tim is there to the rescue as he comes in and tells everyone it’s Ã¢â‚¬Å“tough loveÃ¢â‚¬? time. No one’s love is tougher than Tim’s. Damn, why did I already waste my weekly Brokeback Mountain joke!
He believes Daniel has great ideas but he loses momentum and ends up falling short of his potential. Chloe needs to step out of her comfort zone, meaning enough with the blue dresses. Zulema needs to take risks. Instead of just nodding and accepting the criticism, she decides to get snippy and retorts with a Ã¢â‚¬Å“well with me it’s more about time constraints.” Tim wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have it. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They don’t care. They know about the time constraints.Ã¢â‚¬? Zulema, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t cross Tim. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll eat you up and spit you out and look fabulous doing it. Kara is the only one left who hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t won a challenge. She needs to step away from making dresses that look like something that you can buy on Madison Avenue. Santino. Oh poor Santino. Ã¢â‚¬Å“You are in serious jeopardy. And I reserve that comment only for you.Ã¢â‚¬? Uh oh. Santino is feeling the heat. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s even starting to sweat. Or that could just be grease buildup. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hard to tell with Santino.
Andrae and Nick. Tim has only 3 words for them Ã¢â‚¬Å“Be more ambitious.Ã¢â‚¬? With that, Nick’s already tenuous grasp on sanity is sent into a tailspin. He just wants to quit the whole thing. All of this because he has to use a different model this week. Something tells me he is not meant for the business side of fashion.
After TimÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pep talk it’s off to the fabric store Mood to get started. At the store Nick is still wallowing in his own misery and decides to invite Tim to join his pity party. In a passive aggressive masterstroke he asks Tim his Ã¢â‚¬Å“adviceÃ¢â‚¬? about which fabrics would look good on a blonde model. Tim bites and asks why a blonde model and Nick tells him that Zulema did the unthinkable and switched models and left him with Rachel. Once Tim hears this he reacts in quite a funny way. He rips Rachel apart. Ã¢â‚¬Å“SheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s such a problem. SheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s like an elongated marshmallow with Gumby legs. Ugh, SheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s such a stiff walking.Ã¢â‚¬? Damn Tim, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t hold back.
On the other side of the store Zulema, the model stealing witch, is searching for fabrics of her own. Her inspiration is a picture of a woman in traditional African garb. So her inspiration to make a dress is a picture of a dress. How creative, Zulema.
Back at the studio the great Nick Crisis of 2006 is reaching its breaking point. He tells Daniel he doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even want to be there any more. He may just quit. Man, when I first saw Zulema pull the walk off stunt I thought it was a cheap reality show gimmick. But damn if it isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t turning into one effective cheap reality show gimmick. Luckily Nick has Daniel V. there to back him up. They are like two peas in a pod. Nick is Wonder Twin Jayna to Daniel’s Wonder Twin Zan. So I guess that would make Tim Gleek. Daniel gives Nick the pep talk he needs and soon Nick is back to his old self again, ready to take on the world, in the form ofÃ¢â‚¬Â¦an Ice Gondola!
Later at dinner Zulema is wondering why everyone is shunning her. She thinks they are acting like it is kindergarten. From what I remember about kindergarten there was none of that stuff. You just sat around and played with blocks. Man those were fun times. The backstabbing stuff didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t start for me until at least 4th grade. But I get her point. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t sympathize with her of course. She wants to pull that crap, of course no one will talk to her.
Once everyone gets to work itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s time for Tim to stop by and give us his take on everything. My favorite part of the episode. Nick’s dress is a full length gown and Tim warns him that he better make sure his Gumby-legged marshmallow-assed model can walk it right. Santino actually gets off without much of a scathing report. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know if that means Tim liked it or heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just so tired of Santino’s repetitive designs that he just gave up. AndraeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s gutter water picture is actually shaping up quite nicely. KaraÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, of course, is lame. Her inspiration was a No Trespassing sign, and her dress is literally a black tube dress with a black and yellow stripe wrapped around it. Booo-ring. Tim warns her that she may be too literal minded with this one. He then tells her that in fashion there is a fine line between being witty and being funny. Thankfully in the world of TVgasm, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a line we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to worry about too often.
Zulema is even worse than all the others. She has practically nothing done and her inspiration sucked in the first place. She even admits she has almost nothing to work with.
The next morning it’s time for everyone to get up and go to the runway. Kara is forced to wake up Zulema and tell her they have 15 minutes to get ready. Zulema then gets out of bed with the same clothes she had on last night, and goes downstairs without showering or changing. How very Santino of her.
When Tim comes around and tells everyone that they have one hour for fitting and makeup, it’s time forÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Models in their underwear! Zulema is so behind she is forced to stitch her model into her outfit, much to the dismay of her model Tarah. Tim then comes in after the hour is up and tells them it’s time to go. “If you stay here you self-eliminate” he says. Funny, I self-eliminate myself every night before bed, but you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see any reality show cameras filming it… yet.
At the runway show it’s time to meet our judges. Michael Kors, Nina and the winner of the first Project Runway , Jay. After the models all do their intial walks, they bring everyone out to discuss. Daniel’s seems to be a big hit with everyone there. Kara not so much. When they ask her about it she goes into this long diatribe about warning signs and how it’s welcoming yet not welcoming like the city is welcoming yet not welcoming, yadda yadda, yadda. Jay says that her talk doesn’t mach the dress. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s too simple. Kara comes back by saying Ã¢â‚¬Å“simplicity has its voice.Ã¢â‚¬? Yes we know, it’s called Saved By the Bell.
Nick also has a bout of verbal diarrhea describing his dress when he starts by saying he was thinking of water and the ocean, and ends up with saying that he pictures it as something Paris Hilton would wear on the beaches of Greece. Whoa buddy, unless it’s got built-in Pampers, she ainÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t wearing it.
Zulema’s is a mess. They think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s uninspired and poorly executed. Santino’s dress, which was inspired by graffiti, or as Heidi calls it, graff-EEE-ti, causes quite a stir when Jay says it looks exactly like Austin Scarlett’s Emmy dress. They then cut away to a look at AustinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Emmy dress and it’s an almost exact match. Heidi says that the waist is too high and it looks like a big butt is hiding there somewhere. To this Michael shoots back Ã¢â‚¬Å“I know a few women who can use that dress!Ã¢â‚¬? Oooh, you’re so bad!
When it’s time to announce the winner itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Daniel’s orchid poofy dress. He is shocked since he thought Andrae was the clear winner. Oh but the shocks keep coming, because when it’s down to Kara and Zulema we find out the one to be eliminated is Zulema! And I pity poor Heidi who had to double cheek kiss stanky Zulema who at this point probably smells like a week old egg salad sandwich.
When Kara walks back and Nick sees that sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s OK and it was Zulema who is gone, he has a mangasm that makes last week’s Sasha Cohen explosion look like foreplay. It just goes to show you, one day you are EEN, and the next day you are out.
What did everyone else think?