Friday, August 26, 2011

Project Runway Season Nine, Episode 5: New Directions!

Heidi: "My product line is for New Balance, not New Directions."

I know. I just wanted to hear you say 'new directions.'

Heidi: "Look, I pay you a lot of money to promote my product line."

No, you don't.

Heidi: "Really? Well, would you mind doing it just because I'm pretty?"

Well, OK. Buy Heidi's New Balance product line, everyone! Like I've said in the past, her clothes are perfect for women who want to look like they might go to the gym.

Heidi: "Thank you."

Last week Kimberly won and Julie was out. Cecilia is really pissed off because she did absolutely everything she could think of to get kicked off the show and yet she's still there:

Cecilia: "I made a beige dress for Nina Garcia! It was a metaphor for stabbing her in the heart! Do I need to actually kill someone to get out of here?"

Anyway, over in the boy's apartment, even though it's a little early in the episode, it's time for our favorite segment of the show called...say it with me...Bert Gets Confused!:

Viktor: "Hey, Bert, what are those boxes there on the counter?"

Bert: "What boxes?"

Viktor: "The boxes right in front of you."

Bert: "I don't know what you're talking about, Sean. I can't see anything on the counter because it's covered with all these boxes."

So, apparently, while the designers dreamed of sugarplums, the elves brought them packages. And it is pretty magical because at this point the designers are still sleeping in the living room and yet they slept through this delivery. The designers are as exciting as kids on Christmas morning:

Laura: "I hope it's a miniature pony!"

Bryce: "I hope it's an easy-bake oven!"

Close. It's running shorts and sneakers. The designers head over to the New Balance Track and Field Center, where they all die.

Well, not quite. But those New Balance shoes are really dangerous. Olivier trips and nearly kills himself.

Heidi: "That has never happened before!"

Look, I'm sure Olivier is not your target demographic. In fact, it looked like running was a completely new concept for him. Poor thing. I seriously almost passed out watching this scene. I think this show may be too violent for me.

Oh, wait! I forgot! Before that happened, Cecilia decided to quit. Heidi makes a little speech that reflects either the fact that they have too much time to fill or there have been legal issues:

Heidi: "I want to make it very clear that the designers are not being kept here against their will. We are not, I repeat, NOT holding their family members hostage in exchange for their participation on this show. Do not believe those rumors. Cecilia is free to leave at any time. I will make sure she regrets it for the rest of her life."

Cecilia: "What?"

Heidi: "I said there are no hard feelings, and I wish you the best of luck in the rest of your life."

So, the team leaders are the first four runners who finished a lap and they pick from the other designers:

Josh picks Anya and Becky
Bryce picks Kimberly and Daniel
Anthony Ryan picks Laura and (reluctantly) Bert
Viktor picks Olivier and will get to choose a returning designer

OK, that is pretty crazy! Viktor gets to choose which eliminated designer actually gets to return to the show! For some strange reason, all the designers want Josh C. to return. Apparently, everyone loves him. It's very sweet. Either that, or they know he will be the weakest competition. No, that's just being cynical.

So, yes, we have two Joshes on the show again and I have to distinguish between them when I'm writing my recaps. What a pain in the ass. I don't have time to be typing in the first letter of their last names! I'm very busy! Doesn't anyone on this show consider my feelings?!

Anyway, the challenge is for the teams of three to create three casual looks to wear with sneakers and the winning look will be produced as part of Heidi's New Balance line.

Becky and Bert are not being allowed to participate in their teams. While the editing doesn't actually show Bert being such a terrible teammate, I think it isn't a coincidence that nobody likes working with him. Becky, on the other hand, seems cooperative, but Josh Not C. is just being an asshole. He is totally rude to her for hours and she finally goes and cries in the toilet and then he gives her a half-assed apology:

Josh Not C.: "Becky, I am really sorry that you design dowdy clothes. And I mean that sincerely. We are all just tired. I'm sure if we all weren't so tired, we would all just agree that you are untalented and there would be no problem. So, are we good?"

Becky: "Yeah, OK."

Time for the runway. Heidi is wearing a black sequined trash bag. There is a guest judge. That's all I can tell you about that.

Some of the garments were pretty good and others weren't. I don't have time to describe them, because it takes too much time typing in the first letters of the last names of the two Joshes.

Viktor wins with a wrinkly dress and a biker jacket. Then Josh Not C. also wins with Anya's maxi dress, which didn't make much sense, but whatever.

The loser causes more problems. Anthony Ryan created one of the worst looks in history, but Danielle also made a terrible look and she hasn't demonstrated any ability to make anything other than terrible looks. Heidi and Nina argue over the rules of the competition. Nina thinks a designer's promise should be factored into the judging, while Heidi has a more strict German view about rules:

Heidi: "The Ten Commandments of Project Runway are very clear. The First Commandment states: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's ass, unless thy neighbor's ass is totally awesome, in which case nobody would blame thee. Oh, I'm sorry, that's the wrong one. It's the second one: One day thou art in and the next thou shalt be out."

Nina: "Don't be so uptight, man. You're totally harshing my buzz. You need to open your mind and experience the universe."

In general, I agree with Nina. We shouldn't be so uptight about rules. If two looks are almost equally bad, the judges should be free to take other things into consideration. But in this case, Anthony Ryan's look was far worse than Danielle's and I think Heidi is right.

Heidi is overruled and Danielle is sent home.

Heidi: "Please buy my clothes. But please do not go jogging in them or you will be severely injured."

Friday, August 19, 2011

Project Runway Season Nine, Episode 4: Nina, Nina, Nina!

This episode is all about Nina.

Michael: "I'm sick of it! All I ever hear is how great Nina is at this, or how wonderful Nina is at that! Nina, Nina, Nina!"

uh, anyway ...

Heidi: "So, Nina, why don't you tell us everything you don't like."

Nina: "Well, I don't like prints or colors or puffiness or pleats or ... you know what? I just realized something. I don't really like clothes."

Nina leaves the show to pursue her lifelong dream of operating her own gourmet food truck called NinaBites.

Nina, we'll miss you, but we wish you well in your new endeavor! Meanwhile, the designers still have to create looks that will go from day to evening:

Heidi: "I would be nervous if I were you. But, of course, I'm not you. I'm me and I have nothing to be nervous about. I hope that makes you feel better."

The designers look at past images of Nina. I never really noticed that she only wore black and white:

Tim: "Designers, we don't want to see a gray runway show. We only want to see black and white. Make sure the models walk slowly so the black and white doesn't blur together into gray."

Major drama at Mood:

Ryan Anthony and Becky pick the same print! DRAMA! Ryan Anthony is sure Becky did it on purpose, which totally makes sense (if you are an idiot).

We learn that Julie became a designer because she was tired of being a bartender:

Julie: "Those are the only two professions, right?"

Now for a new segment of the show called Why is He Telling Us This?:

Viktor: "This is muslin. You use it to make a test garment before you use your actual fabric. You're welcome."

And that's all you need to know to make your own clothes at home. Seriously, why is he telling us this? Oh, now I understand why that's the name of the segment.

Anthony Ryan calls his fiance, who I'm going to call Joaquin Dakota, just for the hell of it:

Anthony Ryan: "I just wanted to call and tell you that I'm being sent home because that's what happens when someone calls a loved one on this show."

Joaquin Dakota: "Oh, that's so three seasons ago. They don't do that anymore."

Anthony Ryan: "That's wonderful news! Bye now!"

Tim goes into the design room to deliver his "two-hours-for-hair-and-makeup" speech, but the room is empty:

Tim: "Oh, no. The Rapture must have happened. It's a Project Runway first!"

For once, that actually would have been a Project Runway first, but it turns out the designers are really just hiding in the sewing room. Tim tells them to hurry the hell up.

Cecilia stopped caring about her own garment long ago (and pretends that she can't find the dye), so she helps Julie glue her dress together. And Laura Kathleen has immunity so she helps Anya. Despite warnings to the contrary during her audition, Anya actually can get other people to do her sewing for her during the competition. Viktor thinks this is cheating, although there are no rules against designers helping each other.

The winner of this challenge will get a spread in Marie Claire and advertisements featured on New York City taxicabs. Joanna Coles, representing Marie Claire, is a guest judge. There is another guest judge, Kerry Washington, who I assume is representing the taxi companies, because that's the only explanation for the presence of a fifth judge.

Joshua made a red and gray color-blocked sheath. It's fine.
Bert made a little black dress. It's fine.
Olivier made pants with a weird vesty-top thingy. It's fine.
Anthony Ryan made a little puffy skirt and a print top. It's fine.
Becky made a print dress. You guessed it: it's fine.
Kimberly made a really nice look with a gold top and navy pants. It's not as earth-shatteringly amazing as the judges would have you believe, but it is really nice.
Cecilia made a tan and gray dress that is clearly the most retched thing on the runway this week.
Anya presented a cute jumpsuit. The judges are impressed with her sewing skills. Viktor almost pees himself.
Danielle made an awful apple-green chiffon blouse and black pants. Horrible.
Julie made what could have been a cute coat dress, had the execution not been such a disaster.
Bryce made a short gray jersey dress. It's not great.
Laura Kathleen made a green satin dress. She has immunity, so I won't go to all the trouble of having an opinion about it.
Viktor made a dramatic black suit/dress. I like it. The only complaint comes from Michael, who thinks it looks very current, and he wanted to see what Nina will be wearing next season.

Now for the segment of the show called Bert Gets Confused!:

Bert: "Well, I really think that gay Mormon kid has a shot of winning the whole thing."

I think Bert seems a little confused. Oh, right, now I understand why that's the name of the segment.

During the judging, the taxi woman is really unnecessary, but Joanna Coles manages to say some strange things. First, she complains about Julie's coat dress:

Joanna Coles: "Is it a coat? Is it a dress? Is it some sort of hybrid of the two?"

YES! IT'S A COAT DRESS! What is so confusing about that? Next, she complains about Danielle's top:

Joanna Coles: "That green chiffon top looks like something a housewife would wear in the kitchen to make acorn-squash puree for her children."

Other Eric: "What the hell is she talking about?"

Michael Kors: "I think what Joanna is trying to say is it looks like something Joan Crawford would wear to a Saint Patrick's Day party."

Other Eric: "Now, he knows his audience!"

Kimberly wins! I think that was the right choice.

Julie is out. OK, that was obviously the wrong choice.

Well, that's it. But before we go, we have an announcement from Lifetime Television:

Don't miss Kathy Griffin and Margaret Cho on the hit Lifetime show Drop Dead Diva:

Kathy Griffin: "You're a bitch!"

Margaret Cho: "No, you're a bitch!"

Have you ever heard anything so hilarious and outrageous in all your life?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Project Runway Season Nine, Episode 3: Plus-size challenge!

We start the episode with Josh spending an eternity doing completely mysterious things to his hair, all the while complaining about how Fallene seems more interested in hair than in designing clothes:

Josh: "All she talks about is hair. I bet she hasn't even had grain training."

Grain training, for those of you who don't know, is that thing where you learn how to cut fabric pieces with the grain of the fabric so they don't go all wonky. You have to go to school for at least four years to learn how to do this. The only way to test out of this training is to be voted Miss Trinidad and Tobago.

Heidi comes out on stage wearing stilts. Then she appears on the catwalk to explain that there will be special stilt-walking models this week.

Me: Why do they need special models? If Heidi can do it, it can't be that hard to walk in those stilts?

Other Eric: "You'll notice we did not see Heidi step down on to the catwalk."

Ah, I missed that! Obviously, she was lifted with a crane and set down on the catwalk. OK, they probably need special models to do the real walking.

So, this is the dreaded plus-size challenge.

Heidi: "Your regular models are very small and they don't represent 'real women.' Most women are closer to ten feet tall, so this week you will be designing for them!"

Well, it's nice to finally get a real-world challenge. Designers never think about designing for the ten-foot-tall woman. For additional excitement, the designers are paired off:

Bert and Ernie, the squabbling comedy duo from our childhood.

Anthony Ryan and Laura Kathleen, a team with four first names and one testicle.

Joshua and Julie, a team with an unspecified number of testicles.

Danielle and Cecilia, a team I totally don't care about.

Anya and Olivier, the apparent dream-team of the challenge.

Bryce and Fallene, the apparent nightmare-team of the challenge.

and Kimberly and Becky, two designers who wouldn't be able to pick the other out of a police line-up.

Bert and Ernie immediately start one of their hilarious arguments:

Bert: "I think we should do Old Hollywood."

Ernie: "Yeah, like Mae West. Let's do pants."

Bert: "Mae West never wore pants. You are a complete moron and I'm not speaking to you anymore. Also, if you don't get your rubber duckie out of the bathtub, I'm going to set it on fire and then watch you cry."

Oh, those two always make me laugh. Unfortunately, after such a good start, things go downhill:

Ernie: "I'm thinking an Elizabethan look, with a little shapeless dress and a coat and pillbox hat all in matching pastel fabric."

Bert: "That's not Elizabethan! You're describing Queen Elizabeth the second! I can't work with someone who doesn't know one queen from another!"

Ernie: "Being around you has taught me more than I want to know about queens."

Bert: "One of these days, Ernie ..."

The other teams are not faring much better. Josh thinks Julie doesn't understand couture like he does. Kimberly and Becky both think the other is being too costumey. Danielle and Cecilia are arguing about, oh, who gives a crap. Anya and Olivier are getting along really well, but maybe too well:

Olivier: "This challenge is really about working together with your teammate. And I think Anya and I are working together really well."

Are you forgetting something?

Olivier: "I don't think so."

Are you supposed to be creating a garment for this challenge?

Olivier: "Oh, right. Well, we'll get to that, if we have time."

Meanwhile, the supposed nightmare team is managing to live up to all expectations:

Bryce: "You need to cut those pieces on the grain. Have you had grain training?"

Fallene: "No, I haven't had grain training."

Bryce: "O to the M to the G. I can't believe you haven't had grain training. Well, there's no way I can help you because it takes at least four years of training to cut a piece of fabric on the grain. So, you'll just have to cut out the pieces all wrong and then sew them up into a completely unusable garment. Seriously, I would totally show you how to do it but, obviously, I need to spend my time complaining about you to the other designers."

Fallene: "Of course. I completely understand."

Bryce: "Oh, my god, you guys! You are not going to believe this! Fallene has not had grain training!"

Josh: "You mean, like, she only had, like, two years of grain training?"

Bryce: "No! She didn't have ANY grain training at all!"

Josh: "That's impossible! You can't get your license to buy fabric until you've had at least some grain training. AND HOW DID SHE EVEN GET A PAIR OF SCISSORS?!!!"

Tim makes an announcement:

Tim: "Designers, please gather 'round. It has come to my attention that one of you has not had grain training."

Fallene: "I'm sorry. I didn't know it was such a big deal."

Tim: "Well, that's the point, Fallene. If you had had the training, you would understand. I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to clean up your workspace."

Fallene is out. Sorry, Fallene. We'll miss you.

The designers head over to the first outdoor public runway in Project Runway history! It's a huge event, with a crowd of literally tens of people!

Heidi: "Welcome, everybody! I see someone brought me flowers. Seriously? Only one person? Well, never mind. Let's start the show!"

Josh and Julie created a blinged out matador costume. It was dramatic and seemed well made. It was not until I saw the other looks that I realized how bad the proportions were on this one. I can see how in theory you might think the cape-inspired sleeve would help balance out the extended leg, but in reality it just made the model's arms look shorter.

Bert and Ernie created the worst Queen Elizabeth costume ever:

Queen Elizabeth II: "Hated it. I wouldn't even force Camilla to wear that piece of crap."

Bryce made a stupid black tutu. And I'm sorry, but the little maroon bustier top would not have helped. It still would have been crazy boring.

Becky and Kimberly created a really great look with a beautifully tailored pant and jacket. The proportions were perfect. Yes, the collar was a little "Star Trek," but I can understand Becky wanting to add some dramatic detail.

Anya and Olivier made a super-boring purple print dress with an ugly chopped-up top. I did not get this look at all.

Cecelia and Danielle made a chiffon pant and top in brown and teal. I loved that color combination ... about seven years ago. Now it looks really dated and the overall look was very matronly. The judges, of course, think this color palette is just as fresh and exciting as it was last season, when it was used in the winning collection of She Who Must Not Be Named. I have to admit that I might have liked this better if the hair weren't so awful. It's hard to say, because I just couldn't ignore it, as hard as I tried. And, although I didn't love the look, I have to admit that it was very well made and the proportions were perfect.

Anthony and Laura made a red dress that was very good. I wasn't as in love with it as the judges were, but I can't really find anything to criticize about it, so I guess that makes it the winner.

Heidi: "Which one of you is responsible for this winning look?"

Anthony: "Well, I decided that Laura should get the win, which is a not-so-subtle way of saying that I'm really responsible for the look."

Heidi: "Great! Laura, you win!"

Anthony: "son of a bitch, I mean, I am so happy for her."

Friday, August 05, 2011

Project Runway Season 9, Episode 2: Off the Leash!

Joshua: "Yay, my favorite! The S&M challenge!"

Speaking of leashes, I would like to take this opportunity to remind all my readers not to put your pet chimpanzee on a leash. Apparently, it really pisses them off. And when they get pissed off, they take over the planet and enslave the human race. And who can afford to be enslaved in this economy? Seriously, if there is one thing we have learned from this latest debt-ceiling debate it's this: do not piss off the chimpanzees! Thank you. Now back to the show:

Well, Bert, you had a good run. We all knew it wouldn't last forever. How could it? You lived your life like a candle in the wind. You won the first challenge, the judges loved you, the audience loved you, your fellow designers loved you, the universe loved you. Obviously, the only thing to do in that situation is to completely give up:

Bert: "Well, back when I worked for Halston, that's how it was done."

Believe me, I get it. The 70s were crazy for me, too. I applied to grad school just to avoid being sent to Vietnam. I was only four years old, but I wasn't taking any chances. The point is, it's time to move on.

The designers head off to a pet store to pick out their S&M gear. This challenge is about using unconventional materials in creative ways, and not simply finding material that looks like fabric and making a normal dress. Tim reminds the designers not to be dumbasses:

Tim: "I can tell that some of you will be tempted to be dumbasses. So I'm going to be clear about this: don't be a dumbass!"

Bert: "Sorry, I wasn't paying attention. Did he say to be a dumbass or NOT to be a dumbass."

Does it really make a difference?

Bert: "Probably not. I have immunity either way."

Anthony Ryan, who has two first names but only one testicle, is trying to stand apart from the other designers:

Anthony Ryan: "Everyone else went straight to the chimpanzee section, so I went in the opposite direction and got bird seed. That's the kind of badass thing you can expect from someone who's rocking one, like I am."

So, yes, most of the other designers are filling their baskets with ape bedding and Purina chimp chow. Becky, however, somehow wandered into a Michael's and ended up with silk flowers and scrapbooking supplies. What the hell was up with that?

Joshua (not super-gay Mormon Joshua, but excessively-gay non-Mormon Joshua) tells us he was raised in a theater:

Excessively-Gay Joshua: "My parents abandoned me in a theater as a baby and I was raised backstage by the actors. That's why my skin looks like this."

Oh, I was wondering about that.

So, then we get a bunch of scenes of people gluing crap onto muslin, and then a bunch of clips of the designers telling us how insane it is that everyone is gluing crap onto muslin, and then we're done.

The designers invade the Miss Clairol Hair and Makeup Studio, or whatever it's called, and make their usual demands: "glossy and flowy," "bendy and bouncy," "flowery and flaccid," "sophisticated yet outdated," "modern elderly chic," "Make her look like Courtney Love, but not as classy," etc.

Then it's on to the runway. The guest judge is someone I've never heard of, so she's obviously nobody important. I really don't think most of the designers brought it this week. Most of the looks were just OK. There was one clear loser:

Bert: "Does my garment meet the challenge? Not even close. How much effort did I put into it? None. Is it a horrible, tacky mess? You bet. But the important thing is that I have immunity."

Julie's woven paper dress is not good. Bryce's handkerchief dress is terrible. The two dresses with woven material stuck onto them are not great. Becky's dress is fine, but it's made out of silk flowers and doesn't have anything to do with a pet store. Fallene's skirt fabric, made out of orange fish-tank plants, is pretty, but the overall look is not good. Laura's cardboard skirt was dreadful, but at least she knew enough not to send her model out naked.

Josh, however, just makes Nina sigh. Nina's sighs are like when doves cry; you have no idea what it means, but you know it's not good. He's out.

Still, all those horrible looks were better than the suggestion from the guest judge:

Unknown Guest Judge: "You should have made a ball gown covered with stuffed cat toys."

OK, I understand her desire for a little drama, after seeing that dull group of dresses, but that was a very tacky and unoriginal idea.

The judges just barely keep Bryce, complaining about having to see so many terrible napkin dresses over the years:

Michael: "I have been sitting in this chair for such a long time. My butt cheeks are completely numb. Seriously, I don't know if I can even stand up anymore. I'm sorry, I forgot what we were talking about."

There were a few looks that didn't completely suck. Victor at least did a good job transforming his pee-pads, although the design was boring. Danielle's look was nice, but I don't know if it was a very creative use of materials (and it also looked really familiar).

Two looks were actually really good! Olivier made a dog-bed top that looked like it came right off a Paris runway. However, we have to deduct a few points because it is basically fabric. The skirt, made out of hamster bedding, was good. The overall silhouette was definitely the most fashionable look of the evening. I can understand why he won.

Nina: "It's very EDITORIAL! You could photograph it and put it in a MAGAZINE!"

Whatever, Nina. But making a great look was only part of the challenge. The main part of the challenge was finding the most creative use of pet-store materials. And for that, you have to give it up for Anthony Ryan, who, despite coming very close to being a complete douchebag, was still able to make a beautiful little dress from birdseed. Yes, the design of the dress was not exciting, but the birdseed looked beautiful! It was my favorite, and Heidi agrees:

Heidi: "It comes down the age-old question: hamster bedding or birdseed?"

Michael: "Exactly. It reminds me of what my grandmother used to say: 'Get that goat out of my bedroom!'"