Thursday, August 26, 2010

Project Runway Season Eight, Episode Five: Restaurant Wars!

It's a big week here at Eric Three Thousand! After seventeen years writing this blog the stat counter is finally going to hit ... wait for it ... ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND! I know what you're thinking: "That's it?" Well, I'm sorry, but that's the best I can do! You expected me to wait until it reached a million? I don't have that long to live. Seventy or eighty more years, tops. And by the end I'll probably just be a brain hooked up to electrodes floating in a jar of saline solution and blogging will be a distant memory. So I'm going to celebrate whatever milestones I can.

So here goes: WOO HOO! OK, that's enough celebrating. I'm tired. But I would like to thank you, my readers, for making this possible. If each of you would just visit my blog a few thousand times a day, we might make it to a million. I also want to thank the good people at Blogging Project Runway for linking to my posts every week. This blog wouldn't exist without them.

Tim Gunn: "Don't forget to thank your sponsor, Garnier Fructise!"

Oh, please. Anyway, last week Kristin was out and Michael C. won. The rest of the designers were so upset by his win that they all committed suicide.

Michael C.: "I was hoping they would be happy for me. The fact that they all killed themselves hurts my feelings a little."

This week the designers are back from the dead. It's television. Don't expect realism. They will be working in two teams of six for our favorite challenge, Restaurant Wars! Each team will choose a theme and ingredient and then create a six course meal that is on trend for fall 2010.

First, they pick teammates. April wonders why anyone would pick Gretchen:

April: "Oh, my god. Who would want to be on a team with Hitler? Although he did have a good eye for graphic design. Still, totally not worth it."

OK, the comparison between Gretchen and Hitler is totally ridiculous and offensive. I'm going to go with it.

Here are the teams:

Team Hitler: Gretchen, Christopher, Andy, Michael C., Ivy, and A.J.

Team Total Losers Without a Chance in Hell: Peach, April, Mondo, Michael D., Valerie, and Casanova

You would think Team Hitler would be so ruthless and single-minded that they would have the obvious advantage. But you never know when someone on the team will do something stupid like bomb Pearl Harbor. So, anything could happen.

The themes they can choose from are:

Baby Got Back
Performance Art
Asian Fusion
Operation Iraqi Freedom

The ingredients they can choose from are:


Team Hitler picks Menswear and Dirt.

Team Total Losers picks Military and Lace.

Some Garnier guy tells the designers that this week the styling should be on trend, unlike most challenges, where the goal is to look dated.

On Team Total Losers, Valerie suggests that each person create his or her own dish and they will just try to coordinate them so they create a cohesive meal. Peach gets upset:

Peach: "That's not how a team works! We need some big bossy bitch to tell us exactly what to do!"

Well, Valerie has more important Diva's to deal with. After Tim tells Casanova that his dish is a little old and needs to be euthanized, Casanova has a total meltdown:

Casanova: "Everything I do is either for whores or old ladies. Or elderly whores. Sometimes for elderly flamenco dancers who work part time as whores. Oh, what's the difference. I'm fat."

Peach: "That's not true, Casanova. Once you made something for a young flamenco dancer. Sure, it was a flamenco dancing whore, but at least it was a young one. And don't forget all your work for drag queens. However, I have to agree you are looking fat."

Casanova: "I'm just going to sprawl here like Cleopatra. Someone fan me with a palm frond. Let me know when it's time to win the challenge."

Valerie: "Oh my god? We are all counting on him? And if one person doesn't do the work? Then we can't win? And then one of us will go home?"

Is she asking us or telling us?

Fortunately, Casanova's model just happens to be Suze Orman and she saves the day:

Suze Orman: "Girlfriend. let. me. tell. you. what. to. do. First, make sure you are getting the maximum matching contribution from your employer to your 401 account. Second, stop wasting money on your automobile lease. And finally, just go finish this stupid challenge, you big baby."

Casanova: "Oh, my god, she's right! I've been such an idiot! I shouldn't be leasing a car!"

The guest judge this week is James Beard Award winner Georgina Chapman.

Team Total Losers serves its meal first. It's pretty successful. There are a few really nice things and it's a pretty cohesive menu. The judges are especially impressed that Peach and Casanova didn't create complete nightmares.

Gretchen is convinced her team will win.

Team Hitler serves next and it is a complete disaster. Everything is bland, cold, and overcooked. Nina gets a piece of gristle stuck in her teeth:

Nina: "Inexcusable!"

Team Total Losers wins. Duh. Casanova is the individual winner. It was pretty obvious that was where the editing was leading. But I still couldn't quite believe it until it actually happened.

Gretchen: "I am a little surprised we didn't win."

No shit.

Team Hitler spokesman, Gretchen, makes her case:

Gretchen: "I was up all night writing lists. In my own blood. That's how dedicated I am. For my first list I just wrote over and over again that we all worked really, really hard. Next, I listed all the things that make this the best and most cohesive team effort ever; how we are so proud of everything and stand by every perfect detail; and how we all contributed equally to the effort so there is no way any of us could pick a weak link on the team."

um ... ok

Gretchen: "Then I will follow that with my list of everything that went wrong with the tragedy you see before you; all the ways we completely screwed up; and how ashamed we all are of the mess we created. After that, of course, I will start cannibalizing my teammates; encouraging everyone to turn on Michael C.; and then telling you everything I did, so that you will know I was basically carrying the whole team."

Michael Kors: "My god, she's a big bossy bitch. I am so turned on right now."

Yeah, so anyway, A.J. is out. Too bad.

Tim makes an unusual announcement:

Tim: "Team Hitler, what happened to you? You had this peace agreement and then you just let Gretchen go and invade Poland. I'm very disappointed."

Wow, Tim is being very critical today!

Tim: "And Casanova, that green sweater makes you look fat."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Project Runway Season Eight, Episode Four: Jetblue's "All You Can Design" pass!

I don't have time to write this week's post because I'm too busy planning my Jetblue "All You Can Fly" schedule. I'm going to fly to 216 cities in one month and in each city I will create a garment in fifteen minutes using one dollar in materials. You could follow me on Twitter if knew what that meant. What? The pass just sold out? Oh. Never mind.

First, let's find out what happened to Ivy. As usual, it's all my fault. I made her eggs Benedict and she ended up in the hospital. Sorry about that. I'm a little bitter about the fact that I got salmonella-contaminated eggs from Iowa at my Trader Joe's, when I thought I was buying locally-produced salmonella-contaminated eggs.

Ivy is fine now and is back up to two packs a day. Good for her!

So, Heidi comes out onto the runway in slow motion to a Seal song wearing a flower on her head. It was a little weird. Then the models come out wearing more Philip Treacy hats. Some of them are amazing and some of them are, well, not so much.

Michael C. tells us this is the holy grail for designers, which makes me wonder if it's even more exciting than creating terrible digital designs to be printed onto stiff cotton fabric. It's not.

By the way, Michael C. will either win or lose this challenge, because he gets to talk to his son on the phone. How the hell does a 27-year-old gay guy have a six-year-old son? That just makes my ovaries hurt.

Anyway, the designers have the opportunity to work with the hat of their choice, which is really important, since that's the entire point of the challenge. But the designers completely ignore the challenge and just pick the same models they've been working with. Basically, they're saying the hats don't matter:

Philip Treacy: "You people can bite me."

Seriously, it's very disappointing that none of the designers wanted to take a chance and pick a hat that would inspire them. It should come as no surprise, then, that the designs themselves were uninspiring. After one of the best runways in several seasons last week, this week's runway was a big can of suck.

Gretchen, of course, has an opinion:

Gretchen: "Peach, Kristin, and April will be on the bottom. Also, I think Barack Obama might be a Muslim."

I'm just joking, of course. I don't think Gretchen is a member of the Tea Party. She just has a lot of annoying opinions.

Sarah Palin: "Gretchen: don't retreat ... reload. (Steps aside bc her 1st amend. rights ceased2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence isn't American, not fair.)"

That's an excellent point, Sarah!

Tim is still having trouble getting through to Casanova:

Tim: "Casanova, I just have one question for you: why?"

Casanova: "You think? No, I don't think so."

Tim: "This dress looks like old Donna Karan."

Casanova: "Yes, I like it, too."

Tim: "Why am I here?"

Casanova: "Thank you, Tim."

Peach squeezes her model into a dress that is way too small:

Model: "Aah, my spleen!"

She'll be fine. As they leave the design room, Ivy drops something and has to pick it up:

Tim: "That's a Project Runway first!"

Oh, Tim. Really.

On to the runway, where we finally figure out why the judging is so off this season: Nina can't actually see the runway because the light is shining in her eyes:

Nina: "The glare from Michael's gorgeous bronzed skin is blinding me!"

The top three are Valerie, Michael D., and Michael C.

Michael D. made a top that looked like cardboard and a crushed orange skirt. I was worried that the top would be too much of an imitation of the hat, but it ended up working pretty well. It was interesting and, even though it wasn't great, he probably should have won.

Valerie made a red dress and white jacket that didn't really seem to be inspired by her hat (actually a mask). I guess it was well made, but it shouldn't have been in the top three.

Michael C. made a pretty dress. It was totally boring but I guess it worked with the hat so he won. Congratulations for having one of the least terrible looks this week. Whatever. The real tragedy is that he will have immunity for whatever nightmare he creates next week.

The bottom three are April, Christopher, and Kristin.

April's shorts outfit had some fit problems but was much more interesting than almost anything else on the runway. I don't think she should have even been on the bottom. Fortunately, she's safe.

Christopher's outfit was really bad. The fabric could have been nice, but the silhouette was just awful. The fact that the other designers thought he could win the challenge makes me think they borrowed the judges' crack pipe this week. But he's safe.

Kristin screwed up again. I really like the way she works with draping, but this dress was just messy and the fabric was completely wrong. I was really looking forward to seeing some interesting work from her, but she's out of second chances this week. Sorry Kristin.

Ivy: "I can't believe I wasn't in the top three! Pass the crack pipe!"

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Project Runway Season Eight, Episode Three: Dazzles!

Before we get to this week's episode, let's answer a letter from a reader:

Dear Eric3000, you often mention your love for jumpsuits,
but do you think you would look good in one?

--Passionately Seeking Your Considered Humble Opinion

Thank you, PSYCHO. I think this recent photo of me with my mother and baby sister will answer your question:

(Easter 1971, courtesy EricImages)

That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you rock a jumpsuit. You're welcome.

I have to say I was really impressed with most of the garments this week. However, I think I missed much of the detail because I had to watch the show in its heavily pixilated online incarnation because our DVR, for some reason, didn't record the show last night.

Gretchen: "That's just an excuse."

No, really, I'm not making excuses. I'm just saying my recap would be much better if I had seen the show in HD, but I couldn't because Lifetime doesn't do an encore broadcast (that would cut into the Reba reruns), our stupid DVR hates me, and Other Eric insisted on watching the season finale of So You Think You Can Dance. That's all I'm saying.

Gretchen: "You're just blaming everyone else. Take responsibility for your own recap."

Oh, mind your own business.

Anyway, we start the episode with Gretchen convinced that everyone loves her:

Gretchen: "It's so refreshing that the other designers can set aside their completely understandable jealousy of my superior talent and give me all the love and support I deserve."

Sure, let's go with that.

Then two models we never met go home. Boo hoo.

Then the designers visit Dazzles, that store in the mall that sells wigs on one side and dresses on the other. They have to make garments out of whatever crap they can find.

Tim reminds the designers (because some of them act like they've never seen the show) that the judges don't respond well to garments that look like they were just made out of fabric substitutes, such as plastic tablecloths. Casanova immediately decides to make a garment out of plastic tablecloths.

Despite the other designers' suggestions otherwise, I do think Casanova is having trouble understanding English. I don't know why Nina Garcia can't just follow him around and translate everything for him. It's not like she has anything else to do.

Nina Garcia: "Excuse me, but I am the fashion director for Marie Claire magazine!"

Yeah, that's not a real job.

Back in the design room, everyone tells AJ that this is totally his challenge, and then everyone complains that he won't shut up about it. If they didn't want to hear about it, they shouldn't have brought it up.

AJ: "Thank you. So, you see, this is totally my aesthetic, but I'm usually the only person doing it, so now that everyone is doing it, it makes it so much harder for me to do it, because then it won't really stand out, and I'm all about standing out, and the materials are supposed to actually look like the materials, but I feel like this challenge is about transforming the materials, and so maybe this really isn't my challenge."


Kristin is using a product called "Animal Wooly Balls" for a belt. Tim is fascinated:

Tim: "Kristin, I just love your Wooly Balls! They're so warm. Ooh, and a little salty!"

OK, that's enough of that.

This season's anonymous models bring the designers gift bags filled with junk, which the designers have to use to make accessories.

Then Gretchen, for some reason, tells the designers to clean up their work spaces:

Gretchen: "And my feet ache. Someone bring me a pig!"

Andy and Ivy are creating really time-consuming dresses. Ivy gets help from her model and Andy gets help from some of the other designers. I think it's nice that the other designers can see what a beautiful piece he's making and they don't want it to go out unfinished:

Gretchen: "I have an opinion about that!"

What a surprise.

On to the runway with guest judge Betsey Johnson, who knows what makes a good cocktail dress:

Betsey Johnson: "I think you should be able to use a cocktail dress to wipe cocktail sauce off your hands. Otherwise, what's the point?"

Exactly! So, there are several terrific garments to choose from this week and the top three are Valerie, Andy, and Gretchen. Andy wins! Congratulations, Andy! His dress was beautiful! However, Gretchen's look was fantastic and I think she easily could have won again. Fortunately, the judges don't go for a "Project Runway First" (I think that would have been a first, right?), even though they had every right to and it would have been dramatic:

Heidi: "Wow, can you imagine how big a bitch she would be if she'd won three challenges in a row?"

I think it would have been an unprecedented level of bitchiness. I guess we'll never know.

The bottom three are AJ, Casanova, and Sarah:

Heidi: "AJ, your garment really sucks."

AJ: "Thank you. My model has very small breasts. I've completely lost my mind."

Yeah, this challenge really unhinged him. But he's safe and hopefully can do better next week.

Casanova squeaks by again.

Sarah is out. I'm sad because I really liked her, but her dress was awful. It was so boring.

Anyway, it's time for the Ivy show!

Ivy: "I was so shocked that I wasn't in the top three, I fainted!"

Seriously, she'll be fine! Tim didn't even know anything happened to her. Maybe she's pregnant! You have to be so careful around Casanova!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Project Runway Season Eight, episode two: Infinity season!

Jason: "I'm making an 'infinity dress,' inspired by season eight of Project Runway. See, because each episode of season eight seems to go on forever."

Seriously. Anyway, the challenge this week is to make dresses for the wedding of Adam Shankman and Nigel Lythgoe:

Nigel: "I told you I'm not marrying Adam! I could never live with someone that inconsiderate. I worked all day on that shepherd's pie and he didn't even appreciate it. It was my mother's recipe and that really hurt my feelings. Plus, he totally hogs all the covers."

Well, it looks like the wedding is off, so we'll have to come up with another challenge. Fortunately, Joanna Coles, editor of Marie Claire magazine, is here to tell us the designers will be creating looks that define the Marie Claire woman. But who exactly is the Marie Claire woman?

Joanna Coles: "The Marie Claire woman is ambidextrous, hypoglycemic, semi-illiterate, and recently deceased."

Fantastic. Oh, and the winning design will get a billboard in Times Square!

Ivy: "Wow! Do you know how many millions of people go through Times Square every day?!"

Yes, I do, because I just looked it up. And as I suspected, millions of people don't go through Times Square every day. According to the Times Square Alliance, which promotes advertising in Times Square, the number is closer to 500,000.

Ivy: "Jeez! Don't get your panties in a bunch. I just meant lots of people go through Times Square."

After a trip to the real Mood, the designers start annoying each other in the work room:

Casanova: "AJ, should this pattern piece extend over the shoulder?"


Yeah, so it seems at first that AJ was overreacting just a tiny bit. But Casanova does seem to require advice from the other designers on every little decision he makes. I can see how it would get on your nerves. Gretchen, however, loves the attention. Apparently, people with questionable taste find Casanova charming.

Tim makes his rounds:

Tim: "I know I'm going to regret asking this, Jason, but what the hell are you making?"

Jason: "Well, Tim, you know how straight men are from Mars and the fashion industry is from Venus?"

Tim: "Sure."

Jason: "I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm from outer space and that's why I don't understand how gravity works."

Tim: "It's all making sense now."

Gretchen thinks Nicholas stole her ideas for the outfit he's making. Only someone with her questionable taste would claim credit for that disaster:

Gretchen: "Will you please stop saying I have questionable taste?"

Sorry. I thought it was a nicer word than "pedestrian."

Tim comes in to announce this week's twist:

Tim: "Please hand your partially-finished garments to the designer on your left."

OK, he actually tells them they will be doing a photo shoot.

Back in the apartment, Mondo is lonely. He's not connecting with the other designers. I honestly feel for him. But, Mondo, there is a remedy. And it's right there in the kitchen. It's called alcohol. drink two glasses of wine and call me in the morning.

The next day, the designers are getting ready for the photo shoot and Tim gives his last words of advice:

Tim: "Please remember to use the . . . what the hell is the wall called now?"

The Piperlime Accessory Wall

Tim: "sigh . . . ok, use that. whatever."

Remember how everything on the runway was just mediocre last week? Well, that wasn't a problem this week. This week everything was outright tragic. Which, I guess, is refreshing.

OK, there were a few exceptions. The judges pick Valerie, Gretchen, and Mondo as the top three. I think that's a good selection.

Valerie's red dress was pretty great; it had a clean silhouette, but had really cool details that were part of the design, as opposed to being stuck onto it.

Mondo's cute little outfit with a tiered tweed skirt was perfectly proportioned and styled. It was very fun and young. He also had the best photo shoot and I think he should have won just for that.

Gretchen made a navy jumpsuit just to try to get my attention. Fine. I like it. Happy now? Honestly, I didn't think it was so flattering on the runway, but once I saw the billboard in Times Square, I could see why the judges picked this as the winner. You can really do some major dance moves in that garment. Most Marie Claire readers are acrobats, right?

Congratulations, Gretchen! I just hope this doesn't go to your head. (breaking news: it will)

While almost any of the other looks could have ended up on the bottom, the judges pick a pretty good bottom three: Jason, Nicholas, and Peach.

Peach is just completely lost. She seems to only know how to make one dress. I'm not hopeful she will last long. But she's made it through one more week.

Jason's dress is absolutely as awful as you would expect it to be. But is it awful enough to keep him in the competition? Thankfully, no.

Nicholas's outfit is a total mess. He made three busy pieces that clashed with each other. The cape made no sense for this challenge. But after Jason was eliminated, he probably felt a sense of relief and assumed he was safe. Which made it even worse when he was also eliminated. Poor guy. Looking on the bright side, have I mentioned Jason is gone?

Gee, I wonder why they would need to get rid of two designers right away. Could it be because they started out with one too many designers and last week was really the first episode of the show and not an "audition," as we were told?

Heidi: "Are you calling me a liar?"