Hooray for us! We made it… To the finale of The Cut. I’d like to thank both of you for completing this journey with me. Honestly, how many of you can say that you saw every minute of this show – through the five timeslot changes, through the month of NFL pre-emptions, through all the clichés and the silliness? We should definitely give out prizes to those of you who did. In lieu of that, I guess we’ll just have to re-live the finale and discuss who and how the show’s big prize was doled out. The show included another daunting task, two new hats on the head of finalist Chris, and a return of Crazy Jeff – quite possibly the most fascinating reality contestant of the summer. And that’s not necessarily a good thing.
The finale began, as all derivative reality finales do, with a quick review of episodes gone by. I call this, “six minutes I don’t have to recap.” One thing they did do, which I appreciated, was to point out the times in the past when finalist Princess wasn’t exactly at the top of her game. In fact, the review only solidified my “why is Princess still here?” sentiment. One other thing stood out – and it was pretty cool. In the premiere, HALfiger noted, “First impressions are very important.” Back then he explained how people initially judge on how you look, first and foremost. In other words, ugly people need not apply with his company. The point here was, that way back when CBS thought this show would be good Thursday night primetime fare, the first three contestants who were selected for teams (on looks/clothes alone) were none other than Chris, Princess, and Liz. Hmmmm, I thought for a split second that HALfiger just cut people based on the premise that he’d want these three in the finals so he could be shown to be a genius prognosticator. I’d believe it, especially after some of the arbitrary and seemingly unfair cuts he’s made throughout the season. (James? Wes? Deanna?)
Since Princess was one of the final three, that meant we’d get to enjoy more Princess-isms than in any previous episode. The girl has energy and the girl has confidence, but she annoys the crap out of me. Without a trace of irony, she lamented to the camera, “Why is Liz still here? She can’t sew, she can’t pattern make, and she can’t sketch. Ferrreal!” Great, Princess, maybe you can get a job in HALfiger’s Malaysian sweatshop sewing for 18 cents a day. Better yet, just use your sewing skills on your lips and the world will be a better place. Ferrreal!
HALfiger arrived at the final challenge to describe the particulars. It was nice to see the gang back in the more fashionable confines of Manhattan, rather than a trash barge or shipping warehouse in New Jersey. Oooooh, this week the Sugar Queenie HALfiger model appeared, resplendent in his black turtleneck with pinstriped blazer. If only he had a top hat, monocle, and cigarette in one of those long plastic holder things like Lovie had on Gilligan’s Island… Sigh. If only. Even without the Mr. Peanut get-up, HALfiger still looked like a lounge act from the Titanic as he explained the exciting final test. Each Cutter would get a Macy’s window on 34th Street with which to fill with their idea of their “lifestyle brand.” The 7000 passersby would get to gaze into each person’s clothes, perfumes, bags, shoes, bedding… Whatever they wanted as long as it was tied together by a common theme of some sort. Wow, that’s a lot for one person to do in 2 days. Hmmm, after mining and stealing liberally from The Apprentice all season long, what was the one last idea left to copy? Bringing back the old reality whores for the final challenge?
Yup. Bringing back the old reality whores for the final challenge. Down they descended from the escalators, one by one. Why, there’s that guy I forgot about! And look – there’s that girl whose name escapes me. Oh my – it’s, it’s, oh hell, I didn’t remember. But Crazy Jeff was there, with that wild look in his eyes I grew to fear (and love). After a round of fake hugs and a series of glares from Vlada that clearly said, “I cannot believe CBS flew me back here from Minnesota to stand here for 35 seconds,” the final three got to each choose 2 partners to help them on the task. Ohpleaseohpleaseohplease pick Crazy Jeff! Alas, my dream was shattered as Liz took Wes and Felix, Chris took James and Deanna, and Princess opted for Rob Walker from Boston and Chris, the good-looking kid that was barely on the show. After the selections, Chris noted, “I got exactly who I wanted, that’s a sign.” Signs, signs, everywhere are signs, blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind, do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign.
Ha-ha, now you’re singing that terrible song in your head. That’s what YOU deserve for making ME watch the whole season of The Cut. I always win in the end. But who would win The Cut? Patience, dear readers – first, the Cutters got to meet with none other than the person who, according to HALfiger, “Built a lifestyle brand better than anyone in the world, Jennifer Lopez.” Tsk-tsk, someone turned up the HALfiger hyperbole-meter and forgot to reset before rolling tape. Liz, Chris, and Princess all fawned over Mrs. Anthony and got to ask her a series of pithy questions. Chris asked the obvious, “When preparing for Gigli, which acting method did you prefer to study?” Liz followed up with, “When you were a Fly Girl, did you find that your giant ass helped or hindered your split maneuvers?” Finally Princess queried, “After being married to Ojani Noa, Chris Judd, and Marc Anthony, who was the bigger megalomaniac – P. Diddy or Ben Affleck?” God, my parallel reality TV universe is so much better than the one we actually live in.
In truth, they all asked very boring, very benign questions. And also, I actually like Jenny from the Block… Well, I liked the fact that she apparently was in too much of a rush to put on a bra before meeting the Cutters. I also enjoyed how Chris brought a notebook and pen as if J-Lo was going to offer such sage advice that he’d have to write it down. But, like all of us who have worked corporate jobs and have gone to team meetings, he never actually opened the notebook or even uncapped the pen. At this point, the Cutters began forming and explaining their ideas for their window presentations. (Y’know, it just occurred to me that two weeks ago they carted those mannequins around town and this week they were creating windows for an urban department store. I made a cryptic Kim Cattrall and Andrew McCarthy reference then but now it’s obvious – HALfiger loved the movie “Mannequin” as much as I did. Oh Hollywood, you slay me.) Liz’s idea reflected her own lifestyle – modern sophisticated woman. Chris was thinking more “urban storm” with a badass mannequin standing in the face of destruction all around. Princess, meanwhile, was stuck on repeat mode with her nonsensical, “Urban chic sexy sassy sleek,” which she said about 8 times during the show. She went on to say, “My look will reflect the city. You see ‘scafells’ in New York you see buildings.” Right. Gotcha. Never argue with royalty.
Bras are like musical talent: who needs ‘em?
When it came to the nitty-gritty, fabrics were purchased and props were crafted for each window. Liz was Liz, waffling over patterns and materials. Chris had a relatively clear vision and his team did their part well enough. Princess, meanwhile, was basking in the glow of her “fabulous buttons jacket.” A jacket covered with real glass buttons from France. Because that’s attractive to…? The 62-year-old lady who plays the clown at Sunday school in Terre Haute? For her part, though, Princess did state that the reaction she was going for was, “People gonna stop in my window and say ‘dayum, what IS that?!’” They did that for Piss Christ too, but when was the last time you heard of Andres Serrano?
The show spliced together some fairly exciting clips of mad seamstressing and stressing and gathering supplies. In the excitement, Princess ran into some trouble with her mannequin supplier. Turns out, he “took her money and ran,” so to speak, as he closed up shop before she showed up to get what she’d paid for. Princess was not happy. (After writing that, I feel like I should be saying, “Princess sad?” and petting a cocker spaniel’s head.) In a bind, she essentially begged some random storeowner to borrow a few mannequins for what would amount to only a few hours. The guy agreed (no doubt for what he thought would be some good free advertising on CBS) and ate up the camera time. Eh, good for him. The next thing I knew, he was giving Princess an assuredly expensive Lynx fur coat. While Princess was ecstatic about her good fortune, one look at that coat and we knew it was merely a mercy gesture. That ugly-ass coat has been collecting dust for 8 years and he couldn’t have been happier to pawn it off on someone as tasteless as Princess. The damn thing looked like the person who made it couldn’t fully wash the Lynx blood off it. Or spilled a bowl of Trix milk on it. As a way of thanking the shop owner, Princess yelled out, “Chicken is good, God is great, holla at ya girl, ok?” Um…. Ok.
Each finalist had a kickass seamstress who was working her ass off for a pittance. One thing I learned from The Cut is that in the murky world of NYC seamstresses, they all go by “Miss” and then their first names, i.e. “Miss Pat” and “Miss Jenny.” Perhaps someone can explain that one to me. Princess was still yapping (I knew I’d get far too much of her this episode) stating that she wants to be the first famous female African-American designer. Ok, a worthy goal. But then she went on, “I want girls to be like, ‘I wanna be like Princess.’ I’m on fire and so is my team!” As annoying as that was, Ghetto Chris was up to his old tricks again, stating, “If my window comes together, it will make history!” For those of you following this show, this marks the 3rd or so time Christ has claimed that some stupid thing he’s touched was historic. The billboard in the first episode, the jet he painted, and something else he did in the second episode. I’m too lazy to read my older recaps – actually, I just don’t want to relive those shows. I’m this close to the end, no need to go backwards now.
Chris unveils two new hats we hadn’t seen before!
As the designing time came to an end and the Macy’s windows were getting their finishing touches, Liz had a monumental problem: Her seamstress Miss Jenny hadn’t arrived at the store with her clothes! 10 minutes left and no clothes! Oh dear, I simply couldn’t handle the drama. With mere minutes to spare, Miss Jenny appeared and Liz’s live models quickly changed. She had a pretty cool idea behind her window, in which identical twins would rotate through doors so one would look at a lifestyle brand item (aka, a dress) and then “leave” with that dress in hand as her twin entered the far door with that very dress on. It was all very Benny Hill-end-credits. I’m not sure if you’re a fan of redheads, but there was something intriguing about nearly naked twin sister redheads getting yelled at by Liz. The final bell rang and now it was all in HALfiger’s hands. Actually, HALfiger AND Naomi Campbell, who had somehow been roped into joining him to judge the presentations.
As each described his or her creation, they all sounded very pleased with their efforts. And to be honest, they all did a pretty good job I guess. Since this show never actually concentrated on showing us any fashion that anyone created, it was hard to tell. Princess, of course, made sure we all knew what she’d done, droning on again about her “real glass buttons from France,” and how all of her clothes were “on fire.” Chris, who had thus far remained totally calm throughout the show – even though he claimed that as a younger man working at Macy’s his dream back then was to design windows for Tommy HALfiger in a Macy’s. Dude, Chris, I like you and all but you are either a) a liar or b) you are seriously creepy in love with Tommy Hilfiger. Chris described his cool little window scene as a result of his coming “from the streets. It’s chaos from neatness.” I think he meant “neatness from chaos,” but then again, I’m not “from the streets,” and I wasn’t raised by rats and pigeons, as I’d imagine those “from the streets” are. So what do I know?
I know that all three were giddy at the prospect of winning the quarter million grand prize, which was the salary given to the winner for his or her new job working for HALfiger. The prize description was rather cleverly worded by the show as, “the opportunity to DEE-sign your own collection.” In a sense, don’t we ALL have an “opportunity” to do that? At the Style Forum, Liz and Chris presented their pieces well, explaining their inspirations and design concepts. Princess, for the 3rd time in 45 minutes, spit out her well-practiced “urban chic, slick, sexy, blah blah blah” shtick again. And oh yeah, her buttons were real glass from France. That’s like, I could shave off some of my pubes and glue them on your face or I could get some “real curly pubes from Bangladesh” if you’d prefer. IT DOESN’T MATTER. At this point, I was very much hoping Princess didn’t win. HALfiger gave criticisms of each presentation but apparently hated Liz’s the most as he unceremoniously declared her, “Out of style.” Oh Dear Lord…he can’t give this to freaking Princess!
Before deciding, HALfiger polled the former contestants who had appeared again for the hell of it. Everyone seemed split on who was the best, but Felix did us the favor of explaining Chris’s affinity for those goddamn off-kilter hats he’s had plastered to his head since day one. Chris actually designs the things. Please, HALfiger, give Chris a job ’cause like the crack dealer who smokes all the product, there’s no way Chris is going to sell those hats. (Thanks to TVgasm reader “uh” for the info and yes, I know he’s a successful hat salesman. But his website sucks ass.) Trying to create some excitement and intrigue, HALfiger tried his best Trumpish misdirection.
“Chris, you are terrible, come up here with me. Shake my hand. Because Chris… You ARE in style!” Finally! A show where I actually liked the winner and thought the right person won! (There were other rightful winners here, but at least I didn’t hate the winner.) Chris was gracious in victory and Princess was quiet in defeat. Since Chris’s salary was only $250K (before taxes), it will be interesting to see how he adjusts to living in a real ghetto for once, since all he’ll be able to afford is a 23 floor walk-up studio in freaking Astoria. Welcome to the big city, brother!