I’m not sure how to react to this week’s episode of Project Runway. Part of me recognizes that the challenge was one of their freshest and most original, made more so by the fact that it came after another boring “garbage challenge.” Yet part of me felt somewhat manipulated and defensive. Let’s just say EdHill is an unabashed momma’s boy, and he don’t take too kindly to people raggin’ on someone’s momma. Unless we are playing the dozens, then I will destroy you (Yo momma so fat, her belt size is Equator). All controversy aside (and this episode did have it) I still think it was one of the best episodes of the season. It was a truly original challenge and really tested the designers’s limits. We got to hear words we’d never think would be uttered on Project Runway. Words like “Poncho”, “Tank dress” and “muu muu”.
We start as always the next day after the challenge. Jeffrey is still reeling from the travesty that as the Alison loss. “Alison was eliminated yesterday. It was a huge blow” he says emphasizing the word blow as if it’s a word that has become part of his everyday vernacular, as in “Hey man where’s the Blow” or “Holy shit I am so high of blow right now I just shat myself”. Jeffrey tells us that he feels that it was Angela who should have been in the bottom rung of the ladder and not Alison. Listen, there was plenty of shitty dresses to go around last time but for once Angela’s wasn’t the worst. She still sucks mind you, but come on, Did you SEE Vincent’s snow cone? Over in the other apartment Michaels is reveling in is double win. He’s so happy he says he grinned himself a headache. He’s really getting his moneys worth on those gold caps.
When the contestants are brought before the runway Heidi tells them that they will be designing an outfit for the everyday woman. But knowing Heidi and her knack for tomfoolery, I suspect a devious yet adorable twist involved. “But first (Should TVgasm get some kind of residual for every time this phrase is uttered?) let’s bring out your models”. And what follows next is a series of what Tim Gunn would call “Zaftig” looking older women. Angela freaks out and almost faints, but she does that every 5 minutes so at first I didn’t notice. But then it dawned on me. Each model is a loved one of the designers. Most of them are their mothers.
But there’s yet another twist. The designers have to pick but they cannot pick their own relative. Ooh, a veritable Sophie’s Choice. Michael gets to pick first and he picks Roberts sister, who is kind of cute, relatively young, and not as zaftig as the other ladies so probably the easiest one to design for. Plus we get the added bonus of having Robert watch her walk down the runway with a hip hugging nip slip of a Michael dress. Woo hoo! Next up is Laura and she’s chooses Jeff’s mom “Just to torture you Jeff” she says laughing that fake “Yes I’m laughing but I’m totally serious you piece of shit tattooed neck freak” laugh. I love that laugh. Vincent picks Uli’s mom. Oh Vincent, you better be on your toes my good man. Uli’s mom has got to be at least in her sixties, meaning she was born in say the mid 1930′s, in Germany. Let’s just say she will not tolerate failure. Then it’s Angela’s turn to pick. Who’s mother will be drowned in flourettes? Laura’s mom! Kayne picks Michaels mom and Uli picks Kayne’s mom. Robert goes with Vincent’s sister, and Jeffrey since he had to go last, is given Angela’s mom. We then hear Jeffrey joking about how god must have gotten drunk today for him to get her mom. Yeah well, he created Jeff when he was wasted on mescaline and tequila and choking on his own vomit, so these things do hapen.
In the workroom Tim comes by with what must be the 8th surprise of the show. They are all invited to special event hosted by their guest judge and they are leaving right now. Where they end up is Tavern on the Green in Central Park. They are met there by Michael Kors and an older looking woman who I instantly can tell is Michael Kors mother. Michael opens up some bubbly and the moms immediately whip out dorky photos of their kids when they were younger. It’s what moms do. And how embarrassing is that? I mean my god, imagine if you had a really lame picture of yourself as a kid out there for all the world to see? I can’t even imagine how I’d react to something like that…
EdHill age 2. And yes, that’s a beer
After we see pictures of Kayne as a fat kid he tells us that “he was a fat, funny kid”. Unfortunately for us now he is neither. When Jeffrey’s mom brings out pictures of her young son with braces everyone laughs. I must admit looking at his picture his neck looks positively naked. Then Jeff’s mom tells us that Jeffrey is a recovering alcoholic (Is anyone really surprised?) and she is really proud of him. And would t have killed hi to have fit in “Mom” on his neck? I mean Christ he’s got the room.
Not to be outdone Kors is talking with Laura and her mom and they are all bonding over the only child thing. Kors tell his mom that Laura is in fact the mother of five. “Working on six now actually” Laura says. That’s right. Laura drops the bomb that yes she is in fact pregnant with her sixth child and has only found out since the show began. Malan is going to be a daddy! OK, it’s probably her husband who is the father but a guy can dream cant he?
Tim then grabs everyone’s attention and says its time to go back to the workroom with their champagne buzz. When they get there he fills them in on the challenge. They are to design an everyday outfit for their “Client” but it has to be fashion forward as well. They have 30 minutes to meet with their client and a day to work. When they all start their sketching a big kudos to Robert for talking about the difficulty of working with “normal” women as opposed to the rail thin models that they have been working with where you can just drape the form and go to work.
Angela is working with Laura’s mom Lorraine. Lorraine tells Angela that “I am open to anything that you think is good”. Oh sweet, sweet Jesus. This is borderline abuse. Poor Lorraine. Over at Kayne’s station he is working with Michael’s adorable mom and he thinks that because she had rhinestones on her shoes that they are going to bond. And they do bond. About rhinestones. Vincent is working with Uli’s taciturn mother and he suggests something sleek. “Something black and tan” she says. Now for people like me a black and tan is a truly glorious thing. But it has nothing to do with fashion. Laura and Jeffrey’s mom Pam are talking and when Pam mentions she just came home from a cruise they go with the idea of cruise outfit and gets a sketching. We hear words like “sea foam green” and “cobalt blue” being bandied about. Over at Jeffrey’s station he is with Angela’s mom Darlene and things aren’t going well . She mentions that she wears a lot of jackets and he immediately shoots it down saying he doesn’t want to tailor a jacket with just one day. There’s a bit if tension and Darlene starts to feel really bad that Jeffrey is struggling. See, this is the awkward part about having the family involved. But if you think that’s awkward, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
After they are done sketching Tim comes in to tell them its time to go to Mood. To the Partridge Mobile!!!! Robert is not happy that Patricia, Vincent’s sister, wants to go with red ad black for colors. Robert thinks they are too boring. But Vincent’s sister thinks it’s hot. It totally turns her on man. So Robert is stuck.
Back in the workroom Laura say there are some stumped designers in the room, which is based mostly on the fact that they are designing for mostly larger women. None of them are comfortable because they are used to working with models that have perfect measurements, which are of course .000999 percent of the population, but thankfully 80 percent of those woman end up as models on Project Runway and/or ex girlfriends of mine.
After the designers get a few hours of work in Tim stops by to check on their progress. Vincent describes his relationship with Uli’s mom thusly. “She is very, very comfortable with me. In spirit”. That’s kind of like the old axiom “Communism works, in theory.” I mean when you think about it, Tom Cruise is straight, in theory.
When Laura’s mom poo poo’s Angela’s color choices Tim “zaftig” Gunn diplomatically says Angela is “lucky to have a client with a point of view!”. Well, not when they have one day for the challenge and no way of changing fabrics Tim. Now it’s kind of a pain in the ass. But that’s not tension. What happens next, that’s tension. In fact I have to say what happens next will have to go down in the annals of reality show douchebag moments. In fact, I would have to say that this is almost as bad as Johnny Fairplay taking a shit on a woman as she sleeps in Kill Reality. When Tim comes by to talk to Darlene (Angela’s mom) alone, he asks her about the colors. Darlene is ambivalent because she never really worn them before and it’s not something she’s used to. Soon Jeffrey sneaks up behind them as they are talking and says “Tim I didn’t even know you were at my station” in a kind of dickish way that is classic Jeffrey. After Tim diffuses the situation with his trademark wit and a nicely paced bon mot. He just explains that he wanted to take the opportunity to talk to Darlene alone and see what she thought. Another interesting thing to note, in Tim’s always entertaining podcast, he says he was embarrassed for Darlene because Jeffrey decided to pad up his dress form to the size of a hippopotamus with paper towels and tape.
Tim tells Jeffrey what Darlene said. Namely that she is ambivalent about the colors. Jeffrey then gets defensive and starts taking it out on Angela’s mom. That’s right, Mr. punk rocker tattoo bad boy rock and roll hot shot starts insulting Angela’s poor middle aged mother to her face. When Tim leaves Jeffrey just continues his tirade. “I’m gonna make the dress I’m gonna make and if you don’t like it you don’t like it. I just hope the judges like it”. Angela’s mom asks, correctly, why she is being treated this way. Jeffrey’s responds with “I don’t even appreciate you even standing here”. Oh Christ I want to reach into this TV and strangle him. And god knows it’ll be easy with a neck like his. It just screams out for a garrote.
Jeffrey won’t let up and Darlene tries to tell him that “I know what works for me”. Jeffrey then fires of his last salvo of pure dickishness. “Maybe other people find things about you that you don’t find in yourself because of your own insecurities. How does thatsound?” he says with dripping disdain. Angela’s mom comes back with what I have to say is a good comeback. “I think that if you have your own tastes in clothes that that doesn’t make you insecure.” Jeff can no longer take this kind of horrible abuse so goes off to sew while calling Darlene a “crazy bitch”. Class personified.
Meanwhile, the somewhat oversensitive Darlene’s is crying. Angela tries to console her by explaining that that’s just Jeffrey, he’s the obnoxious drug addict egotistical moron of the show. Every shows gotta have one. He’s like our Balki. In Angela’s diary room interview she is breaking down into tears because her mom was so upset. There are no patchwork flourette designs that can mend the hole in her heart… Back in the workroom Vincent lets Jeff know that Darlene is crying. Jeff remains unapologetic to the last saying he feels no need to be nice to her.
In the break room Jeff’s mom is trying to minimize the damage he did, a role she looks like she has played many times. When she goes into hug Jeff she breaks down crying herself. Jeff, still clueless tells us that “it breaks his heart” because his mom is so proud of him. Back in the workroom Angela confronts Jeffrey about what happened. Jeffrey’s take is that she went out of her way to embarrass her and “I’m just not gonna stand for it”. With that drama out of the way everyone hunkers down and works through to the midnight deadline.
That night when they get back to the apartment Uli pours herself a glass of wine and makes a reference to Laura’s pregnancy. From there we hear Laura talks more about her 6th pregnancy “5, 6, 7 it doesn’t make that big of a difference, I’ll just throw it on the pile with the other ones.” OK, it’s official; I’m now an unabashed Laura fan.
The next morning everyone is excited about the impending runway show. Tim comes in and tells them they have an hour to dress and get their models ready. When it’s time for Darlene’s fitting she steps up to the plate because, as Tim Gunn has said, the dress is a monstrosity. When she goes behind the curtain to change Angela is their to tell her that when the judges ask her what she feels about the dress that she should be honest and say what she feels. Jeffrey overhears this and probably thinks it’s Angela trying to subvert his chances. I suppose it kinda is, but he did make her mom cry, so yyou can’t really blame her. Jeffrey is already smelling defeat by saying he would feel good about going out on this challenge because it was nothing he could have prepared for. These women aren’t anorexic rock stars with bad taste. He’s just hamstrung. Vincent meanwhile is talking to Uli’s mom as if she is from another planet. “Is OK? I come downstairs (Pointing down). We do hair, makeup. I go with you.” It’s like Tarzan meets Woody Allen. With that the time has come and its Runway time.
On the runway they are greeted by Heidi who introduces our judges Michael, his mom (who sounds as if she is no stranger to the menthol) and Nina. Heidi also says that for this challenge, there will be no immunity. The first one up is Laura’s design modeled by Pam, Jeff’s mom. It’s a classic Laura, but not one of her best. The nautical thing is goofy and it doesn’t fit her right. Laura spots this as she’s walking down runway. Next up is Uli’s design being modeled by Kayne’s mom Judy. Its great. Classic Uli print and it flows and fits her real well. If Uli is not showing at Fashion Week in September I will be so mad I am going to drape my BAWLS on the runway. Speaking of which, don’t forget to enter the contest and go with me and drink my BAWLS. They are quite refreshing I can assure you.
Next up is Vincent’s outfit modeled by Uli’s mom. It’s a tan outfit with an enormous collar. I’m surprised she doesn’t have the huge oversized sunglasses to accessorize it. I just don’t get it. Vincent meanwhile is quietly masturbating to its unabashed hotness. It just turns him on man. Kayne’s model is Michael’s mom and it doesn’t fit her well. The colors are nice but Capri pants on a woman that size? Not working.
Next up is Angela’s dress modeled by Laura’s mom Lorraine. It’s a basic black dress with all sorts of layered fringe around it. The sad thing is this is “understated” Angela. Also, it doesn’t flatter her figure. Another dud. Angela however is thrilled. She loves the fringe and how it moves and thinks she really embodies the spirit of “casual elegance”. When Vincent’s sister comes out wearing Roberts outfit she looks like a giant walking hurricane warning flag. I’m not ragging on the woman’s weight but it’s more that Roberts dress is just not tailored well. It’s just a big black muu-muu with a giant red wrap around the top. The pissy look on Patricia’s face didn’t help sell it either.
Next up is nice bit of fresh air as Roberts sister Teresa comes out looking cute in Michaels outfit. Sadly she has had no screen time and we haven’t even heard her speak yet. So she speaks with her runway walk. She does it like a pro. And Michael’s outfit is nice to boot. Black with a printed belt. And it’s reversible! Next up is Jeff’s dress on Darlene. It’s the mess we all knew it would be. A blig blue patchwork pile of nonsense.
After the show they bring them all before the judges. They start with Michael, Kayne, Vincent, Uli and Robert. They start with Michael. It’s a reversible shirt dress and they all like it, with the exception of Michael Kors who had issues with the belt. He felt it looked to “matronly”. Then it’s Uli’s dress. My favorite. I love Uli and her prints. And so do the judges.
When they get to Kayne the mood changes. They don’t like Kayne’s dress on Michaels mom. Nina thinks its too “matchy matchy” for her. Next they talk to Vincent. Before they critique the dress Heidi and Uli’s mom have a short conversation in German. Not speaking German I’m not sure what they were talking about but I’m sure it had something to do with the Jews. The Kors duo both like it was well as Nina and Heidi. Not sure why as it’s just a black dress with a giant clown collar. But what do I know? I got a girl helping me pick out my outfit for Fashion Week.
Then they move on to Robert and the hurricane warning dress. Nina is upset that he went the easy way with the tank dress, and they also wanted a print. Kors says it’s a good basic, but it doesn’t show her personality. The “boring” stigma is staying with Robert. Will it be enough to get him booted?
Next they bring out Angela, Jeffrey and Laura. They start with Angela and when she start talking about “Casual Elegance” and how this would be a great dress that Audrey Hepburn would wear to Jubilee Jumbles yada yada, they cut her off and tell her that it doesn’t look Audrey Hepburn at all. Kors says its more Stevie Nicks than Audrey Hepburn. And fat older Stevie too, not the young hot and coked out Stevie.
When they get to Laura’s sailor outfit they aren’t happy. Kors thinks it looks aging, and it doesn’t fit her well. But Laura benefits by the fat that they go from her outfit right to Jeff’s. They ask Darlene her opinion and Darlene lets loose. She feels matronly and that she would never buy something like that. Jeff tells the judges that “My objective really was, really was, to make this dumb bit- I mean Darlene happy.” Kors doesn’t like it at all. He thinks it looks confused. Then we hear Heidi say something that then becomes one of their tell tale voiceovers. She says “I have to tell you I didn’t like it” which is then overlapped with the voiceover of Heidi saying “But at least I see a point of view here.” This of course means that Jeff is going to make it. It’s the same ploy they used last week with Alison. As far as you knew Alison was making a good dress, so they had to insert Tim Gunn in a voiceover expressing concern about the design so that way when Alison gets booted its not completely out of nowhere. Same thing here. Everyone ragged on Jeffrey’s outfit, but since we now know he didn’t go home they have to insert a voiceover caveat making it sound like there was a saving grace in the outfit that spared him. The whole thing makes me suspect about the judging process of Project Runway. The show has always shined on its integrity of the process, but lately I’m not so sure, after we found out that the producers have a hand in the judging, and with the phony voiceovers, I’m starting to form a theory about how the show is set up. I think the judges know fairly early on who they think the top 5 most talented designers will be. From there it’s not a question of who is eliminated, but just when. Vincent sucks, but since he’s crazy they’ll keep him around longer than they would Alison, who didn’t make for good TV (well, if you don’t count the shots of her in her nightie that is). At least that’s my theory.
From there they ask Angela how she thinks her mom looks, and Angela wastes not time in hurtling Jeff under the bus. “I think it’s embarrassing” she says.
After the judges deliberate (Highlight: Michael comparing Jeff’s outfit to “Comme des Garçon goes to Amish country” Oh my god he is so right!) they bring everyone out for the final decision. Michael gets to go first because he had immunity. Which means no threepeat. Next they tell Laura that she is safe. Now its time for the winner. And the winner is… Vincent. Whoa. The judges must have quite the hard on for collars. Uli, Kayne and Angela are all safe and leave the runway. And the look on Jeff’s face when Angela makes it never gets old.
So that leaves us with Robert and Jeff. And we all know because of the voiceover who is going home. It’s Robert, for his boring two color tank dress. Backstage everyone laments the loss of Robert. Kayne expresses his sadness in a tortured metaphor. “You brighten up my sunshine every day”. Jeff is also taking it hard and in complimenting Robert while choking back tears, also throws more backhanded insults at the others “They’re not all good people, bottom line., and Robert is a good person.”
After that they give Robert a nice round of applause and send him on his merry way. What did everyone else think? Did the right person go home? Did Vincent deserve to win? Is Roberts sister a mute?