Friday, October 22, 2010

Project Runway Season Eight, Finale, Part One: On the Road with Tim & Austin & Santino (but without Austin and Santino)!

One amazing product placement, four lucky ladies, one fabulous mentor!

So, the final four had nine thousand dollars (why not make it a more random number?) and six weeks to make a ten-piece collection. Tim drives all over the country to visit the designers. He also drives the Cadillac logo straight into our brains. We get it. It's a Cadillac. I'm convinced. I'll go buy one as soon as I finish writing this. Satisfied?

First off, Tim drives his magical Cadillac to the beautiful island of Oahu to visit Andy on the family farm:

Andy: "My parents own this huge piece of property on Oahu. Obviously, they want a better life for me."

OK, so Waianae is not the most prized real estate on the island, but still, they look like they are doing fine. There are probably worse things than owning a farm in Hawaii.

Andy has ordered all kinds of beautiful fabric and other crap from Laos. Tim is afraid it could look like a hot mess but I'm actually looking forward to seeing what he does with it.

Next, Tim visits Michael in Palm Springs. We meet his partner and finally start to understand what his deal is. Apparently, his partner just outed Michael to his parents a few years ago, because he has the most clueless parents on the planet. [I've been very confused about Michael's story and I think that was by design; he wanted to keep us guessing. I was confused by his audition video, in which we saw the contents of his refrigerator but no evidence of a child living in his house. Anyway, we finally learn that his son is from an arranged marriage. Subsequently, in interviews, we have learned that he has custody of his son and his ex-wife has sole custody of their daughter and they don't see each other. That's effed up. Still don't completely understand how he lets his family turn his life into a living hell. Is it purely about parental approval, or does it involve financial support or access to his children? Or is it all about trying to get his own television show?]

Anyway, Michael's collection is not looking bad. He has some nice pieces.

Next, Tim drives to Denver to visit Mondo in his full-Mondo studio space. Mondo is getting his inspiration from vintage Mexican circuses and the Day of the Dead. Love it.

We have dinner with Mondo's family and learn that he was forced to play baseball just so he could take piano lessons. That's nothing. I was forced to go deer hunting just so I could take my flower-aranging classes. Alright, I made that up.

Tim meets Gretchen somewhere in the 1980s. Her life has fallen apart. A long-term relationship has just failed:

Gretchen: "Can you believe I was accused of being difficult?"


By the way, is there some reason we are being so vague about the "relationship"? Are we talking about a boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance, life-partner, or what? Just curious.

Gretchen: "Fine. It was my cat. My house cat, who I've been living with for six years, finally had enough and told me to leave. Now my bank account is empty and I have nowhere to live. I know what you're going to say: it was probably a bad idea to put the house in my cat's name and to get a joint checking account with my cat. I can see that now. But when you first get a cat, everything seems so wonderful. You just never think it's going to end like this."

Tim: "Girlfriend, I totally understand. How do you think I ended up in New York."

Well, as bad as her life is, her collection is way worse. So that should be some comfort.

Tim: "People will either love it or hate it. Most likely, they'll hate it."

The designers meet in New York and Tim tells them they will be creating three-look mini-collections, using two looks from their existing collections and one new look that they will create in two days.

Mondo wastes one day on an ugly jersey dress and has to start over. Michael doesn't know which two looks to pick from his collection. Tim tells Gretchen it doesn't matter which looks she chooses:

Tim: "Seriously, you can just randomly grab pieces from your collection and it won't make any difference."

Gretchen: "Thanks, Tim! That makes me feel so much better!"

It does? Why?

On to the runway, with Heidi, Nina, and Michael:

Andy - His first look is a silver satin romper. His second look is satin underwear, which was the most ridiculous choice he could have made. Why would he show that? His third look is his new look and it is a beautiful pleated green dress. I don't see any influence from Laos in his looks. He had all that plain satin fabric shipped from Laos? Why? You can buy that anywhere. I don't get it. I guess the weird little headpieces came from Laos. They didn't work. The judges don't see much range in his mini-collection. Andy thinks the satin romper is daywear, which makes Nina roll her eyes.

Michael - His first look is his new look and it is a beautiful and fairly underwhelming gown. His second look is a dress with an unflattering feather skirt. His third look is the best and it has a really interesting fringe top over a surprisingly flattering sequined pant. I can't imagine anyone actually wearing a sequined pant, but they look good. The main problem is that his mini-collection is all the same color of brown. He tells the judges he thought that would make it a collection, which makes Nina roll her eyes.

Gretchen - Her first look is her new piece and it is a cute little casual dress. I like it from the front, although it looks a little like it's made out of a potato sack. The back is ridiculous. The thing attaching the neck to the hem of the skirt is interesting but completely impractical for daywear. If you got that tangled on something, you would choke to death! Her second look is a really ugly print top and clashing print pant. Her third look is about the most freakish thing I've ever seen. A shiny leather robe that doesn't close in front, exposing a pair of granny panties that are designed to look like the model's hoohoo is showing! What the Hell?! I like unusual designs, but this just looks like a horrible, horrible mistake. The judges, of course, describe it as "wearable." I'm wondering which one of the judges would wear that. Gretchen tells the judges she wanted to save her best pieces for the real runway show, which makes Nina roll her eyes.

Mondo - His first look is a cute shorts outfit with mixed prints. He made a bag out of the dress that Tim thought looked too junior, which was pretty genius. His second look is his new look and it is a cute print skirt with a blue jersey top. His third look is a fabulous polkadot gown. He went full-Mondo on that dress. Very few designers could get away with that print for a formal gown, but I think he pulls it off. The judges don't all agree on the dress. Michael and Nina think he crossed the line into costume. Heidi loves it, which makes Nina roll her eyes.

Michael Kors: "I just hope the circus doesn't come to town, because we are not here to have fun!"

Mondo is in (duh).

Gretchen or Andy should have been out. If that was the best they have to offer, I'm not very excited about seeing their full collections. But they are both safe.

Michael is out. I understand the problems the judges had with his mini-collection, but I still think this was the wrong decision. He doesn't take it well:

Michael (aka The Effortless Sheikh): "Tim, please don't make me go home! My parents will force me to impregnate another woman!"

OK, he's really starting to scare me.

Tune in next week when the waiting is over and Mondo finally wins this thing!


Cliff O'Neill said...

Oh, is it wrong that I totally sobbed and begged Michael for forgiveness for all the awful things I've said?

Or am I channeling Andy and Gretchen?

Cliff O'Neill said...
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kittens not kids said...

I've liked Mondo ever since he said he was kind of quiet and kept to himself and was sort of introverted. Which was like the second episode.
But the home-visit cemented my Mondo-love - his house!! his workroom! his adorable piano-playing, bad-shortstop self!

And I need to reiterate that Mondo is HOT. like, seriously, seriously, dreamy hot. I enjoy looking at Mondo as much as I enjoy looking at Mondo's work.

Love the vintage circus/Day of the Dead mashup.

Gretchen's "third look" looked like it was from the pigfarm burlap-sack challenge from a couple seasons ago. Gretchen's other two looks reminded me of cat vomit in fabric form.

I loved Tim's squeal of horror over the prospect of touching catfish. which sounds like some kind of very vulgar dirty joke, but is actually about catfish.

Poor old Michael. Dude has some serious issues and it kind of looked like he was - at least partially - using Project Runway to work them out/acquire self-esteem/prove to his parents that being a fabulous gay designer is actually not a hellbound evil sin.
I think Michael should have gone to the finals on the strength of the Surprisingly Flattering sequined pants. That outfit was really interesting, mainly because I don't understand how things that should have been ticky-tacky awful ended up looking kind of good.

If Mondo doesn't win this handily, then we'll know for sure that PR has jumped the shark and gone to the dogs and every other mammalian metaphor you can think of.

eric3000 said...

Cliff, I don't think anyone should feel bad about misreading Michael. I think he and the show producers have been intentionally misleading us in order to create a more mysterious television character. He seems like a nice guy, but if people ever doubted his sincerity, I don't think he really has anyone to blame but himself.

Kittens, contrary to Heidi's claims that this will be the "most difficult decision in Project Runway history," I don't think it will be.

Scott Waller said...

eric three thousand. thank you for the PR comedy gold. I've been telling everyone with a computer to read you. Plus, I would love to see the Gretchen and Michael C show, where they're made to open a little dress shop together in Bev Hills and have to sew looks for Rachel Zoe and the Kardashians. @cliff: I love it when they CRY!

mumblesalot (Laura A) said...

I think the Birkenstock's wearers should sue for defamation of character. Gretchen's collection of hobgob was an insult to them all.

I saw Janet Jackson wear Gretchen's weird leather outfit somewhere, sometime, someplace in another millennium.

Are the designer's are suffering from Stockholm syndrome? They found true friends and they view their real lives as sad and lonely. Did you hear Gretchen say we should all get to stay?
Move over Patty Hearst the reality show posse is coming.

I believe this syndrome is caused from abuse or long time exposure to tacky designs.

Mondo does seem the most stable of them all.

Gretchen and the cat.....hysterical

Eric you are the true hero of this season. You make it fun even when it is sssooo bad.

lovemesomeaj said...
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lovemesomeaj said...

Awesome recap as usual, Eric. I cried for poor Michael because i believe he actually thought he had a chance, which he never did. They knew who they wanted to send to the finals and kept poor Michael hanging in there just to torture him. I really think Gretchen should have gone home for that sad showing. Now let's just get this over with and hand Mondo the win already! Love the combo of circus and Day of the Dead. Genius. I agree with you Eric that this will not be the toughest decision in PR history. Looks like the easiest to me. Almost as easy a win as Seth Aaron.

eric3000 said...

Thanks, Scott! You're too kind! You know, I promised myself I would not watch Michael's inevitable reality show, but if it is as good as the one you describe, I guess I would have to watch!

Laura A, it is scary how the designers cling on to each other for dear life. Yes, I think it could be some form of Stockholm syndrome.

Lovemesomeaj, yeah, Seth Aaron was easy. I'm trying to think of what the most difficult decision was. Maybe season two?

Sewing Siren said...

I too think Mondo will win. Gretchen will be 2nd and Andy will be 3rd. I'm not expecting any suprises on Thursday.
Mondo's collection is cute, but I think in real life he's going to have a job keeping the high fashion crowd interested in whimsy or joy. I guess we just have to wait and see.