Friday, December 28, 2012

Project Runway All Stars Season Two, Episode Nine: More Miserables!

[Spoiler alert: everyone living in France in the nineteenth century is now dead. If this is news to you, please don't read any further. Everyone else, I would appreciate it if you would sing this week's post as loud as possible.]

The episode opens in New York two hundred and twenty three years after the start of the French revolution. The designers are working away in the Brother sewing room:

Designers: "Look down, look down, you'll always be a slave. Look down, look down, you're standing in your grave."
The designers in the Brother sewing room
The action moves out to the street:

Joshua: "How do you do? My name is Josh. These are my people, here's my patch. Not much to look at, nothing posh, nothing that you'd call up to scratch. This is my school, my high society, here in the slums of the Upper East Side. We live on crumbs of humble piety and 'moderate' dresses that cost seven hundred dollars. Think you're poor? Think you're free? Follow me. Follow me!"

Josh leads the designers up Fifth Avenue, where they meet Elie Tahari:

Elie Tahari: "Come in, designers, for you are weary and the day is cold out there. Though my beginnings were very humble, what I have I have to share. There are touchpads to excite you, there is fabric that is fine. A corner office you can work in. Work in peace and do not whine."

The designers steal all of Elie Tahari's fabric. Joanna enters the design room and is ready to arrest them and send them back to jail, but Elie tells her that he gave them the fabric:

Elie Tahari: "Now remember this, designers, see in this some higher plan. You must use this precious fabric to 'wow' as best you can."

Joanna is moved by this act of kindness, but she has some words of advice for the designers:

Joanna: "All Stars, in your multitudes, scarce to be counted, filling Lifetime with drama and light. You are the sentinels, loud and sure, making clothes in the night, making clothes in the night. You know your place on the show, you hold your course and your aim, and each in this season has returned and returned and is always the same. And so it has been, and so it is written on the doorway to the studio that those who falter and those who fall must be eliminated. This I swear by the All Stars!"

The designers go back to the hotel, where they talk about their day:

Anthony Ryan: "At the end of the day we're another day older. And that's all you can say for the life of an All Star. It's a struggle, it's a war, and the viewers they just keep complaining, and we just keep hanging around, what is it for?"

Uli: "One day less to be living."

They give a toast:

Emilio: "Everybody raise a glass!"

Joshua: "Raise it up Carolyn's [bleep]!"

Emilio: "Everybody raise a glass to the host of the show!"

And they remember their friends who are no longer there:

Ivy: "So my friends, my friends don't ask me what your sacrifice was for. Empty chairs at empty sewing machines, where my friends will sew no more."

The next day the models are sent to the L'Oreal hair and makeup studio, where they have their hair cut off, their teeth extracted, and are then turned into prostitutes. Just like every week. Time for the runway:

Uli made another white dress:

Uli: "There is a castle on a cloud. Everyone there is dressed in white. Colors at all are not allowed. Not in my castle on a cloud."

Emilio wanted to do color-blocking but ended up changing his design:

Emilio: "Orange: the color that I wanted. Purple: my world if it's not there. Yellow: the color I ended up with. Purple: the color of despair!"

The judges fall in love with Anthony Ryan, while Uli loses this week's prize:

Judges: "A heart full of love, a heart full of song. Anthony Ryan can do no wrong."

Anthony Ryan: "Do I dream?"

Judges: "We're awake. A heart full of love."

Uli: "It was never mine to lose."

Judges: "A heart full of song."

Uli: "Why regret what could not be?"

Judges: "A single look and then we knew."

Uli: "These are words I will not hear."

Anthony Ryan: "From today."

Judges: "Every day."

Uli: "Not today."

The bottom three are Emilio, Joshua, and Ivy. Isaac pleads with the other judges to spare Emilio:

Isaac: "He's like the son I might have known, if God had granted me a son. The seasons come one by one and I am old and will be gone. Bring him peace, bring him joy, he is young, he is only a boy. If I die, let me die. Let him live. Don't send him home. Don't send him home. Send Ivy home!"

Ivy is fading away and she skypes with the spirit of Casanova:

Ivy: "Casanova, you are here again beside me. Now I can be eliminated in peace for now my life is blessed."

Casanova: "You will stay, Ivy, you're going to stay. It's too soon, too soon for you to say goodbye!"

Ivy: "Yes, Casanova, forbid me now to die. I will obey. At least I will try."

Ivy fails and is out. She sings to the spirit of Casanova as she walks off the Runway:

Ivy: "Take my hand and lead me to salvation. Take my love for love is everlasting. And remember the truth that once was spoken: to love another person is to see the face of God."

Casanova: "huh?"

We leave with the designers singing about the finale:

Designers: "One more week to final challenge! We will see this season through! We will cry and we will panic. We will 'sew' our clothes with glue! Next week we will discover what the judges have in store! One more challenge! One more auf! One week more!"

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Holidays from Eric Three Thousand!

[I'm posting my annual holiday letter, which this year elicited concern from friends and family for my mental health. Regular readers, who are already aware that I am nuts, will recognize the text as a rehash of a previous Project Runway post, which was a parody of the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics.]

Burbank, City of Wonder, Christmas MMXII

Over these buildings, in these streets, on this page, in this city of wonder, Burbank, decades of holiday letters have defined the measure of our planet, and stubbornly propelled our progress toward enlightenment, toward lasting achievement. Here, the location of the Bob Hope International Airport and the only convenient Ikea in the greater Los Angeles area, we divide the hemispheres into the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys, set our clocks to rush hour, Greenwich Mean Time. but the laws of relativity, not Newton's, apply to a writer’s pursuit, an inescapable eternity of repetition, hours, days, years, from margins calculated by paragraphs, sentences, punctuation, for the promise of moments everlasting. Even when the words are all but frozen, we may still doubt what we see. Two and a half puns, an out of control simile, a metaphor slicing forty yards, to find a target two and a half inches in diameter. 

And as these letters return to your mailboxes for the umpteenth time in the modern era, the theater of my laptop will entertain you with a Shakespearean swoop, with effusive, fast emerging nonsense, a writer with soaring expectations, waiting for lightning to strike twice, but with no exotic holidays to report on, and no other news at all; on screen, on paper, in mid-air, we will be tracked by the lens of a media microscope, where advantage is defined by hundredths of a second. And in letter writing’s greatest rivalry, the ultimate competitor collides with raw commitment and Zen-like cool, and soon could be the most decorated writer in his own mind. 

Here, where monuments were built in an age of mythology, where for over five decades a ceremony of keys nightly locks the prisoners in the Tonight Show studio; here, where fairytales never end, and a writer, indomitable, sustains the flame of holiday letters. Here in this city of wonder we'll hear again the echoes of an ancient ethos: longer, slower, sillier. Diutius, stolidus, ridiculum. How long, how tedious, how absurd, can we extend the very measure of a letter? Mine is a pursuit of timeless achievement, be it astonishing ... magnificent ... everlasting.

Bob Costas: "Burbank, five hundred years ago the home of Henry VIII. Now, on a Saturday in December of 2012 it's where Eric finally began the final leg in the journey of writing his holiday letter, a journey that started by tradition way too late, and today the journey continues along the 101 freeway to the 405, and I’m like Are you crazy? You can’t take the 101 at this time of day! You should take Moorpark. Whatever. Anyway, at the end of this journey the flame will be lit again and Queen Elizabeth will preside over the opening of the envelope this letter came in. Hi, everybody, I'm Bob Costas and I think you'll agree that my hair is almost a color that can be found in nature."

Meredith Vieira: "Your hair looks great, Bob. This year’s letter will be produced by famed director Danny Boyle. I asked my dear friend Danny about the challenge of producing this holiday letter. He knows he can't compete with last year’s over-the-top letter produced by the Chinese, so this year you are going to read something more cinematic, a mix of hyperbole and plagiarism. In other words, it's going to be cheap."

Bob Costas: “Thank you, Meredith. Now, before we start, I have to tell you that due to weather conditions, you have been provided with a poncho to wear while reading this letter. Please don't use an umbrella in your house; it will affect your reading experience and it is also bad luck.”

And now Bob Costas will try to make my year sound more interesting than it was by narrating the parade of months:

Bob Costas: "Just a reminder: these months will appear in order based on the Pig Latin form of their names."

Meredith Vieira: “Well, no kidding, Bob. We weren’t born yesterday.”

Bob Costas: "Oh, we’re starting! OK, nothing interesting ever happens in January, and yet it comes back every year. That’s dedication!"

"In February Eric attended the annual conference of the College Art Association. Then he had all his skin replaced with the finest Corinthian leather.” 

“In March Eric went to Palm Springs to attend the opening of a friend’s art exhibition. Eric has never won a medal in badminton”

“In April Eric went to Arizona for the weekend. You can always recognize Team Bermuda because of their shorts.”

“In May Eric attended his sister-in-law’s wedding. The king of his country offered him untold riches if he brought home a gold.”

“In June Eric visited family in Illinois. This tiny land-locked state usually excels in winter sports."

"In July Eric was suspended from competition for five years because he accidentally took cold medication. Fortunately, the verdict was overturned on appeal and here he is. I made up that story, but that doesn't make it any less inspiring."

"In August Eric attended a convention in San Diego. Hey, have I ever randomly mentioned that Kim Jong Il is supposed to have shot seven holes-in-one the very first time he played golf? I’m going to go out on a limb and say it isn’t true. I don’t care who knows it."

“In September Eric’s ophthalmologist told him to try wearing contacts to improve the vision in his left eye. But after enduring the film Hotel Transylvania, he decided that he really didn’t want to see that badly.”

“October was an exciting month for Eric; he got a flu shot and met the stars of the show Hot in Cleveland. Eric’s tears taste like Mountain Dew and contain even more caffeine.”

"In November Eric had root canal surgery. 97% of Americans do not know that the country of Belarus exists."

"In December Eric would like to wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy new year! Now stay tuned for Sir Paul McCartney!"

Friday, December 21, 2012

Project Runway All Stars Season Two, Episode Eight: Parsons Abbey!

The war is over, but intrigue, crisis, romance, and change still grip the beloved estate of Parsons Abbey in this thrilling new season of Project Runway All Stars.

But first a reminder of what happened last week: Casanova was accused of murdering his crazy wife and he left Parsons Abbey in order to prevent Ivy from being involved in the scandal:

Ivy: "I know you, Casanova. You're doing something gallant here, making a sacrifice for my honor, but I don't want you to. I don't care. Don't you understand? I don't care what people say. I'd live in sin with you. If they're threatening to ruin me, then let them. It's nothing to me. The only ruin that I recognize is to be without you!"

Casanova: "huh?"

Casanova is dragged off to prison, while Ivy sobs uncontrollably.

At the beginning of this challenge Carolyn enters with envelopes for the designers:

Emilio: "It's from Lord Grantham."

Joshua: "Really? What on earth does he want?"

Emilio: "He wants to change our lives."

Joshua: "He wants us to inherit Parson's Abbey?"

Emilio: "No, a Nine-West capsule boutique."

Lord Grantham: "If I'd made my own fortune and bought Parsons for myself it should be yours without question, but I did not. My fortune is the work of others over at Bravo who laboured to build this great dynasty. Do I have the right to destroy their work or impoverish that dynasty? I am a custodian, my dear, not an owner. I must strive to be worthy of the task I've been set. If I could take Project Runway out of the Lifetime schedule Parsons would have to be sold to pay for it. Is that what you want? To see Isaac Mizrahi a landless peer with a title, but no means to pay for it?"

Emilio: "You know what? We're happy with the capsule boutique thingy. Don't worry about it."

Carolyn: "Terrific. So, for this challenge you will be creating updated looks inspired by the 1920s, because the 1920s are so hot right now."

Lady Grantham: "But it's only 1919. The war just ended. We barely have enough servants to entertain properly as it is. I very nearly had to have a lady's maid serve wine at dinner the other night. I mean, really! This is just too much! How can we possibly be expected to create updated looks based on a decade that hasn't even started yet?"

Carolyn: "I believe season three of Project Runway All Stars will be set in the early 1920s. So you'll just have to do your best for now."

Lady Grantham: "I suppose that's all we can do in these trying times. Where's O'Brian?"

O'Brian: "I've prepared your bath, m'Lady. And I've left the soap right where you won't be able to miss it."

Lady Grantham: "Oh, thank you, O'Brian. What would I do without you?"

The women of Parsons Abbey engage in a fashion face off:

Uli: "This is totally my challenge."

Laura Kathleen: "Well, I don't need feathers to compensate for my design."

Anthony Ryan: "I'd give Ivy's dress a seven or eight."

Ivy: "I'd give Anthony Ryan's dress a five."

Lady Mary: "Edith, darling, your hat is hideous."

Lady Edith: "Oh, yeah? Well, you're a whore."

Then we survive a cholera epidemic, a floral competition, a political rally, and a surprise visit from someone we thought was gone:

Daniel Franco: "Hi, everyone!"

What are you doing here, Daniel? We thought you died on the Titanic!

Daniel Franco: "Oh, no, I just hit my head and completely forgot to audition again this season. By the way, I've been living in Canada, and that's why I talk funny. Anyway, I don't actually have any proof that I'm not dead, so I'll just leave now."

Bye! It's been great seeing you, Daniel!

Now it's time for the women of Parsons Abbey to model their new looks:

The Dowager Countess goes to an after-hours speakeasy:

The Dowager Countess: "Oh, I don't think so. I've heard those places have electricity. And Americans. No, I'll just stay here, thank you very much."

It's just as well, because she looks bad in the dress Ivy made for her. The fabric is nice but it makes the Dowager Countess look fat. And that is not a fat Dowager Countess:

The Dowager Countess: "You know that's right. I've won the title of Sexiest Dowager ten years in a row."

Cousin Isobel: "I believe you pay for that competition."

The Dowager Countess: "I will cut you, Isobel."

Lady Edith wears a dress by Emilio and attends the annual Parsons garden party. She's hoping to receive a proposal from Sir Whatshisface, at whom she's been shamelessly throwing herself. As usual, she ends up looking like a fool:

Isaac: "That fabric is terrible. And the silhouette is more 1930s than 1920s."

Emilio: "I was going for the late 1920s. The extremely late 1920s. Like 1935."

Isaac: "Oh, by the way, Edith, I just spoke to your suitor and he had to leave. Suddenly."


Lady Mary wears a feather capelet designed by Anthony Ryan. The capelet becomes a metaphor for her engagement to cousin Matthew:

Isaac Mizrahi: "I think it should be on. No, no, I've changed my mind; it should be off. Well ... let's try it with it back on again ..."

Lady Mary: "Oh, for the love of God, will you just tell me if I'm getting married?!"

It looks like it's back on again, and Anthony Ryan wins the challenge.

Finally, Lady Sybil attends the evening soiree wearing trousers designed by Laura Kathleen. Everyone is shocked. Lady Grantham faints:

Lord Grantham: "Sybil, look what you've done! Your mother, my darling Cora, has fallen face first into her soup! Your attire is shocking! Shocking, I say! How could you wear trousers?! . . . Again?! You wear the same damn giant palazzo pant for every evening soiree we have! Well, I won't stand for it! You are cut off from the family and no longer welcome at Parsons!"

Oh, no! Lady Sybil and her designer, Laura Kathleen, are out!

Shirley MacLaine: "Through war and peace, Parsons still stands, and ..."

You're too late; the episode is over.

The Dowager Countess has had enough of this bullshit

Friday, December 14, 2012

Project Runway All Stars Season Two, Episode Seven: The duchess, the singer, and the very big watch!

It's that time we've all been waiting for! Everyone will be celebrating and talking about shopping and decorating and fashion options!

Carolyn: "That's right! It's Christmas and time for everyone's favorite challenge: unconventional materials!"

Oh, nobody cares about that, Carolyn. I'm talking about the fetus that will one day be King or Queen!

Isaac: "The most famous couple on earth are expecting the world's most eagerly-anticipated child!"

Ivy: "It is the most wonderful news!"

Uli: "People are over the moon about this! It's like it's their baby!"

Emilio: "The royal baby that will become the future monarch of Britain!"

Laura Kathleen: "The biggest celebrity child on the planet!"

Anthony Ryan: "It's mind-blowing to think about just how famous this baby is going to be!"

Casanova: "And we can't wait to see it!"

Joshua: "There's no way this baby is not going to be good looking!"

Yes, the Duchess of Cambridge is over a week pregnant so it's time for a two-hour special with speculation about who the baby will be wearing and expert analysis explaining that this baby will be both bigger than and completely different from Suri Cruise!

Carolyn: "You're right! This is so much better than dumb old Christmas!"

Yeah, I don't think it's an exaggeration to say this is the most important pregnancy since Rachel Zoe gave birth to Skyer! So, thanks to forensic science and digital imaging, we will now be able to predict what Kate will look like when she is nine months pregnant and we will also be able to figure out exactly where she will be shopping for baby clothes and how she will decorate the nursery! And India Hicks will show us the good china:

Peach Carr: "WHAT?!!!"

Don't worry, Peach. That's not a euphemism.

India Hicks: "My godfather, Prince Charles, gave me this beautiful china one piece at a time, for Christmas and birthdays. It was confusing as a child to get a single piece of china as a gift, but now I have a full set."

Yeah, you do.

India Hicks: "Thank you. My godfather is Prince Charles."

Yes. You mentioned that. But what kind of amazing presents can we expect in honor of this royal baby?

Fawad Gruosi: "I have this very big watch I'm trying to unload?"

That will do. OK, so now that we have a fabulous prize let's go to the South Street Sea Port to learn about the challenge. Obviously, the challenge has something to do with the maritime industry and jewelry design will factor in, with Fawad Gruosi as the guest judge, right?

Carolyn: "You're so close. The designers will be shopping for Christmas decorations and the guest judge is Kylie Minogue."

That doesn't make any sense, Carolyn. What the hell does any of that have to do with a royal pregnancy?

Anyway, we do love us some Kylie, but this challenge was pretty mediocre.

Laura Kathleen, Uli, and Anthony Ryan basically made the same dress. Anthony Ryan's looked the most expensive and well-made. But Uli's looked the most comfortable and wearable. Uli won.

Uli tries on her new watch
Emilio made a dress out of ribbon, Joshua made a dress out of Christmas ornaments, Ivy made a dress out of twigs, and Casanova made a dress out of bullshit.

The designers argue about what the judges are looking for in an unconventional-materials challenge:

Casanova: "I just worry that my dress is too conventional."

Emilio: "Right. I think for an unconventional challenge you need to make something non-conventional."

Joshua: "Exactly. Unconventional means non-conventional. As in it shouldn't be conventional."

Casanova: "That's why I'm worried."

Joshua: "No, seriously. It shouldn't be conventional."

Great. Now we've clarified what 'unconventional' means, could someone explain to Anthony Ryan the meaning of the word 'infamous'?

Anthony Ryan: "You mean like my infamous birdseed dress?"

Never mind. Anyway, after an unexciting Project Runway first, in which three designers were named as possibly being safe, Ivy and Casanova were the bottom two.

Casanova is out.

Laura Kathleen: "What? Casanova? So why the hell am I hugging Ivy?"

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Project Runway All Stars Season Two, Episode Six: Going Green!

The year is 2022 and in an overpopulated and environmentally-ravaged New York City, the designers find themselves wandering down an abandoned train track. The city's residents are suffering from high unemployment and a lack of fresh water and the once great public transportation system is now covered in vegetation.

Carolyn: "Designers, since we ran out of fresh water, we are now reliant on AirDye fabrics. They are made from sea plankton and are a major improvement over EarthDye and FireDye fabrics. You will be using these new AirDye fabrics to create looks for a red carpet event, which is something you could read about in history books, whatever those are."

Meanwhile, Isaac Mizrahi investigates a crime at the luxurious Chelsea Towers, where he finds black-market fabrics and books linking the victim to the AirDye Corporation. He takes these books to the only person he knows who could interpret their significance, the president of the Supreme Exchange of Fashion Designers, which is an ancient association of scholars:

Diane Von Furstenberg: "Darling, did I ever tell you about when I was young and I was married to a handsome prince and we would go to shops in Italy where you could buy fabrics that had been dyed using water?"

Isaac: "Water-dyed fabric! Oh, Dianne, you and your crazy stories!"

The next day, Isaac is assigned to the weekly Accessory Distribution Center. A riot breaks out when the teeming hoards of designers learn there is a shortage of purple feathers. Isaac barely escapes with his life.

On to the runway. It was all about the fabric this week. My favorite was Casanova, who made a really beautiful plaid gown; I think it would have been stunning on the red carpet. If red carpets were a thing that still existed. Uli's purple feather dress was cute enough. Emilio's red chiffon dress was a beautiful color, but there was nothing interesting about the design. Anthony Ryan was in the top, but I thought his model looked like she was wearing a blue parachute; I could see what he was trying to go for, but I thought he failed. Laura Kathleen won the challenge, with a palazzo pantsuit; I thought it was nice, but I didn't think it was quite dramatic enough.

The bottom two were Ivy and Althea. Both dresses were unspeakably horrible and either one of them could have been out. Althea will be "going home," which is a euphemism for assisted suicide:

Althea: "No, it isn't. It just means I'm leaving the competition."

Potato, potahto. The point is, Althea is sent to the former Madison Square Garden, where she watches Imax films of amazing things that don't exist anymore, such as glaciers and whales and Imax films. Also, classical music is playing, and you know what that means:

Althea: "Wow! This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen!"

Isaac rushes to try to save her, but he gets there too late. She's gone.

Althea: "I'm not dead!"

Whatever. Isaac is distraught. And he learns a terrible secret from Diane Von Furstenberg:

Diane Von Furstenberg: "Darling, I read those books you gave me and I discovered that AirDye fabric is not really made from plankton, as they claim. The ocean stopped producing plankton decades ago. You have to let people know the truth."


Friday, November 30, 2012

Project Runway All Stars Season Two, Episode Five: What a drag!

On this very special episode of All Stars, the designers will be making an androgynous Thanksgiving dinner for their mothers, who are visiting from out of state.

Carolyn: "The hottest taste for moms this Thanksgiving is androgyny! So you'll be making unisex food for your moms!"

Oh, OK. So the designers get started on dinner and then Georgina comes in:

Georgina: "Wait, there's a twist! Your dads are also here!"

NO! The designers' moms and dads haven't spoken since the divorce! They can't be in the same room together!

Georgina: "Oops. The dads weren't supposed to show up until next week. I wonder how this happened."

You did it on purpose! You're trying to get their moms and dads back together!

Georgina: "Why would we do that? We don't want a bunch of unnecessary drama on this show. No, it's just a scheduling mistake. Well, I guess we'll have to make the best of it."

You are pure evil.

Joanna: "Yeah, she's like a crow on a carcass, that one. OK, designers, here's how it's going to work: you will make coordinating androgynous garments for your parents. If you do it right, we won't be able to tell which one is your mom and which one is your dad. This should confuse them so much they forget why they hate each other and they will fall in love again. If your parents get remarried you will win the challenge. If your parents still hate each other but have mad, passionate sex in the sewing room anyway, you will be safe this week. If you fail so miserably that your parents actually kill each other you will be out. Good luck!"

Well, this usually works exactly as planned in sitcoms. Anyway, I don't blame the designers for the disasters they created this week. As usual, the producers took what could have been a good challenge and explained it so poorly the designers didn't know what to do. Why did the looks have to be androgynous AND avant garde? Were they supposed to be making two versions of the same look? Do the designers know the difference between androgyny and drag? These and many other questions will not be answered on this episode of All Stars.

I thought most of the looks were too costumey. And Kayne just put women's clothes on a man. Ivy finally fulfilled her lifelong dream of making a pair of grandpa panties.

There were some good ones, though. Uli did well. But Anthony Ryan's looks were the best. He made a dress for a man, but it didn't look like drag -- it didn't look like a man in a woman's dress -- it looked like a dress that was made for a man. His looks were coordinated without looking like two versions of the same look and they were interesting without looking like costumes. He should have won the challenge.

Instead, Emilio won. Don't get me wrong; I thought Emilio's looks were really dramatic and cool. I just didn't think they were as successful as Anthony Ryan's. My problem with Emilio's was that instead of being coordinated looks they were really just two versions of the same look. And they looked like costumes for a Broadway musical, which would make sense coming from Emilio, but didn't really work for me in this challenge. His parents loved their looks, though, and that was the real test:

Emilio's mom and dad (turning so Carolyn can get a better view)
Emilio's Dad: "Damn, we look good together! I can hardly tell where I stop and you begin."

Emilio's Mom: "Yeah, I can't even remember what we were fighting about."

Carolyn: "He is super hot!"

Emilio's Mom: "You stay away from my man, bitch!"

The bad looks were pretty bad. Casanova created gold leather costumes for backup dancers. Not a success. Laura Kathleen was the worst and should have been out. But somehow she was saved. Maybe it had something to do with Kayne's quips:

Kayne: "Jean-Luc Picard called. He wants his lightsaber back."

Yes, Kayne is sent home for his egregious confusion of cultural references.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Project Runway All Stars Season Two, Episode Four: Project Powww!

Last week someone won and Pleather was sent home for being too creative (that'll teach him). This week we are promised the very first "interactive" challenge! Exciting! I'm assuming it will be similar to the very first interactive televised video game from the early 1980s:

This is how it will work. The fans will call in to the show and scream "Pow!" over and over while the designers shoot flying saucers out of the sky.

Joanna: "What does that have to do with fashion?"

Well, when you put it that way I can see that it doesn't make much sense. OK, why don't you explain the challenge?

Joanna: "This interactive challenge is sponsored by USA Today, the newspaper for people who don't read so good. I'd like to introduce you to USA Today's Senior VP of Marketing, Sandra Micek. Sandra, tell us about the USA Today philosophy."

Sandra Micek: "Pictures good. Words bad."

Joanna: "Could you elaborate on that, please?"

Sandra Micek: "Some newspapers provide information, but we were like, This is hard. So we invented infographics, which are similar to information, but prettier."

Joanna: "They sure are! I think what Sandra is trying to say is that every picture tells a story. So you are going to be skyping with fans who will tell you their stories and you have to turn their stories into headlines. Also, we have a saying in the publishing industry: Every pair of granny panties is worth a thousand words."

Great. So the designers start interacting with the fans:

Julie from Peoria: "Hi, Laura Kathleen, I'm a farmer and I need a new gown that is fashion forward."

Laura Kathleen: "I'm sorry, Julie, but if you expect me to talk to you like we have the same background, that's just not going to happen."

Julie from Peoria: "Why do we have to have the same background in order to talk to each other."

Laura Kathleen: "I'm tired of being judged by people like you, Julie!"

OK, so that's not going well. Let's check in with the other designers:

Cassanova: "Look! My fan looks just like Emilio! Because he's wearing a hat!"

Anthony Ryan: "My fan is Diane, from New York, which immediately reminded me of surviving cancer."

Emilio: "My fan is an adorable little girl named Sophie Schindler, from Seattle. She loves writing things down and keeping everything organized."

Joanna: "Oh, she's so cute! What's your headline, Emilio?"

Emilio: "Schindler's List."

uh . . . OK, so what happened to Andrae? Well, he finally crashed and burned, unfortunately:

Andrae: "So tell me, Debra from Alabama, why do you look so sad? Are you a tortured soul just trying to get your art out there in the world?"

Debra from Alabama: "No, I'm just bummed that I won't be able to buy Twinkies anymore."

Andrae: "I completely understand where you're coming from. Would a zippered knit top with interchangeable panels help at all?"

Debra from Alabama: "Not really."

Andrae: "Oh, dear. I'm just hoping one of these days I'm going to get through to you, Debra from Alabama."

On to the runway, with guest judge super cool fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson, who is young enough to be my slightly younger sister. She is a dropped-crotch apologist and I love her all the more for it.

Not a good night on the runway, folks. The designers either made the same garment they make every week -- Uli, Laura Kathleen, Ivy, Anthony Ryan -- or they were inspired by a garment to make a similar garment -- Cassanova, Emilio.

Kayne was one of the few exceptions. He made a red dress that was so boring it was almost intriguing. It made me wonder if it would be possible to create a dress that is more boring than the one he made. I don't think it could be done. That's something of an accomplishment. He was inspired by a picture of costume jewelry:

Kayne: "I was drawn to this image because the subject matter is presented in a classical pyramid arrangement reminiscent of Gericault. The colors are very well balanced and pleasing and the emotions are honest. Also, it was shiny."

Uli made another beige cloud dress.

Laura Kathleen created her usual silhouette but her hand-dyed fabric was pretty.

Ivy made an outfit inspired by a butterfly. I kind of liked it, though I'm getting tired of her granny panties.

Cassanova made an ivory suit inspired by an ivory suit.

Althea made what could have been a nice suit, but the color was dull and the crotch was just unflattering.

Joshua's look was fairly horrifying. The top and skirt looked really bad together, but, as Tavi pointed out, they would also not look good with anything else.

Emilio made an almost interesting dress that was an exaggerated version of the dress worn by his fan. I wasn't completely convinced by this dress, but it still probably should have won:

Carolyn Murphy: "I would look like a Chinese lantern in that dress."

Says the woman actually wearing a Chinese lantern.

The winner was Anthony Ryan, with his typical little tight dress, known as "bodycon" dresses to cool fashion bloggers like Tavi and me. He wins an infographic in USA Today.

And our dear sweet Andrae is out. I actually thought Joshua's look was worse, but I understand that the judges were tired of Andrae.

Before we go, Isaac needs to pay the bills:

Isaac: "I don't design MRI machines but I know great design when I see it, and when I was introduced to the all new re-designed 2012 MRI machine from Siemens, everything about it said purposeful design -- sophisticated styling, refined interior, sleek lines -- it's smart in so many ways. And for me when design makes someone's day simpler and easier, it just leads to a more beautiful life."

Friday, November 09, 2012

Project Runway All Stars Season Two, Episode Three: Up your chlorofluorocarbons!

Julie Chen: "Welcome to Project Runway All Stars. I'm Julie Chen and I'm a serious journalist. This week Kayne won the coveted Head of Household position and he is trying to form an important alliance with Ivy so he can convince her to vote Laura Kathleen off the show. Or maybe he's trying to form an alliance with Laura Kathleen so he can convince her to vote Ivy off the show. I really can't tell."

Kayne invites Ivy into his private Head of Household bedroom:

Kayne: "Hey, Ivy, why don't you come into my private Head of Household bedroom so we can gossip. So, can you believe what a bitch that Laura Kathleen is? Everyone hates her."

Ivy: "I don't have a problem with her."

Kayne: "Don't worry, I'll fix that."

And he does! That was some clever strategery, Kayne! They hate each other now! Mission accomplished!

OK, so that's it for the Big Brother theme, I'm afraid. I've never seen more than a few blissfully brief moments of the show, so I really don't know anything about it.

I do, however, know a lot about aerosol art. I don't want to brag, but I went to the "Art in the Streets" exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art last year. So I'm an expert.

Unfortunately, I didn't love that exhibition. But that's probably because I went on the wrong day. I went on a day when the museum was free to the general public, so it was completely filled with all these regular people. Obviously, I'm only accustomed to being in the company of other members of the liberal media elite, so this was a new experience for me. I was standing in that gallery for over an hour and not once was I offered a glass of champagne. Is that what life is like for most people?

Laura Kathleen: "I know, right?"

Anyway, as everyone knows, graffiti art was invented by the Romans in 126 B.C. but then Rudy Giuliani cleaned all that up and put in a Toys R Us so we didn't see it again until the 1970s. Now there is a building in New York dedicated to it and it's completely legal to paint that building and if it's legal it isn't graffiti and that's why they had to come up with a new name for it and that's why they call it aerosol art. True story. Well, it could be true. I bet it's close.

So the designers use spray paint on fabric and then create "wearable art." I'm just going to say it: I did not hate everything. Can you believe it? Mr. Grumpy Pants actually didn't hate everything.

The bottom three were Laura Kathleen (spoiler alert: she's safe), Kayne (the judges can't decide whether everything he makes is major tacky or Four Star General Tacky), and Pleather, who made yet another craft project. And the never ending question of What happened to Andrae? I actually liked his dress. I think. Anyway, he's safe.

The top three, and I agree with the judges on this, were Ivy, Anthony Ryan, and Emilio. Anthony Ryan's dress was very cute, but the print actually reminded me more of Jasper Johns than graffiti art:

not really graffiti art

Ivy was inspired by comic book art (by way of pop art) and her look was at least a bit edgy. Emilio, on the other hand, really nailed it. His look really gave you the feel of graffiti art, without looking too obvious. And considering how bad his last self-designed fabric was, I was very impressed.

Our guest judge this week is People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive 2013, Nate Silver:

Oh, yes, crunch those numbers the way I like it!
Nate Silver: "Conventional wisdom has Ivy winning this thing. And she made a late play for Isaac's vote. But is that confidence or desperation? It appears she has momentum coming out of the previous challenges, but if we dig a bit deeper the data is telling another story. There seems to be a disconnect between the comments from the judging panel as a whole and the tastes of the individual judges, with internal polling suggesting that Emilio is actually in the lead. We've projected that Georgina will be the tipping point judge, bringing him past the number of votes he needs. Now, it's always possible that there is a bias in the polling. But it would have to be a consistent bias in one direction, and if you look at the previous seasons of the show, while individual polls might have a margin of error, the aggregate of the polls is remarkably accurate. So Ivy really is going to have a hard time pulling this off. We currently have the odds of Emilio winning at 137%."

Some Old Guy: "That's ridiculous! Anyone who says he is that sure about the outcome of this challenge shouldn't be allowed near a typewriter!"

A typewriter?

Some Old Guy: "Have I mentioned I'm old?"

Right. So Emilio wins the challenge. Congratulations, Emilio! And it turned out he didn't even need Carolyn's vote, which is a good thing, because she's still trying to add up her scores. She could be at it for weeks, with recounts and court challenges. Pleather is out. I'm sure he will be missed, but not by me.

Carolyn: "I just have to say that I think internal polling sounds really painful!"

Friday, November 02, 2012

Project Runway All Stars Season Two Episode Two: BOGO!

For this challenge the designers need to create nightlife looks inspired by the new Seventies collection by Christian Siriano for Payless Shoes:

Buy One Get One half off!
Ah, yes, the 1870s, I remember them well. The war was over, spirits were high, and women everywhere were ready to do a line of blow and get out on the dance floor:

This woman is ready to party like it's 1899
Before we get to the clothes, I should mention the two moments of "fun" in this episode. First, the designers get a letter from Carolyn Murphy informing them that she has been hanging out with Karl Lagerfeld and he taped a message for them:

Karl Lagerfeld: "Hello, Project Runway designers. My very dear friend - what does this say? - Oh, right - Caroline Murphries, has asked me to give you some advice. To be a great designer you need to follow your heart and also pay someone to do push-ups for you every day. It's how I stay so young. Good luck."

This inspiring message had all the designers in tears. The other bit of "fun" we had this week involved Kayne taking responsibility for designer entertainment this season, forcing everyone to form a conga line and play shuffleboard:

Kayne Gillaspie, your cruise director: "Did someone mention a line of blow?"
On to the challenge. So, I was totally wrong about Anthony Ryan not winning anything last week. His huge prize is that he gets to pick the first shoe. Of course, he picks the ugliest shoe. Whatever.

Joanna makes her rounds:

Joanna: "As the only one here who actually remembers the 1870s, let me just say that you all suck."

Well, that's not very helpful. Here's the thing: I think designers should have an understanding of fashion history, but when you are trying to draw inspiration from a specific period you need more to go on than just a shoe. They needed some pictures to help them out. Otherwise you end up with what we ended up with: ugly clothes that had nothing to do with the seventies.

Joanna: "Kayne, those stripes look terrible. Uli, you must have been asleep during the seventies. Joshua, there's a difference between 'show-stopper' and 'total-shit.' Laura Kathleen, your blazer is making my lady parts dry up. Ivy, you're crazy. Andrae, nobody wants a stupid organza coat. Althea, you make me sick. Wendy, it's too Halloweeny. Emilio, I think of the seventies as the decade when fashion died, and your dress fits that perfectly. Anthony Ryan, you're making my eyes bleed. Casanova, your dress is perfect. And Pleather, that's putting me in the mind of a white man's overbite, if you know what I'm saying."

Pleather: "I do not."

Joanna: "It's a British saying that basically means bite me."

Wow, Joanna is in a bad mood this week. And I don't blame her. These garments are unusually hideous. Half of them have nothing to do with the seventies and the other half have nothing to do with nightlife.

Laura Kathleen's was, once again, pretty good. It was attractive and looked inspired by the seventies (like all her clothes), but it wasn't much of a nightlife look.

Casanova, shockingly, made something tasteful and pretty. It was sexy without being trashy and it was retro without looking like a costume. I agree with Georgina that it was a dress we've seen before, but that's kind of a dumb complaint when they are supposed to be inspired by another decade. He should have won. No one is more shocked than I am that I actually liked something he made:

Casanova: "When we were told we were supposed to make super slutty dresses this week I was so happy!"

Well, that isn't at all what you were told to do, but if that's what it takes for you to make tasteful clothes, then go for it.

The top two were Uli and Ivy. The more I look at Ivy's the more I like it. She made a green romper with a weird organza skirt. The proportions were off, but I think if the skirt had been a different length it could have been nice. It had a seventies vibe and it was sort of appropriate for a club. But Uli won with her little white sequined dress. It was a cute dress, but it was maybe more sixties than seventies. But, of course, the sixties didn't get to Eastern Europe until 2003, when Paul McCartney finally made it to Moscow. Anyway, congratulations, Uli!

Some of the worst looks - Joshua's, Althea's, and Pleather's - got a free pass this week. Althea says she knows the seventies, but I just talked to the seventies and they deny any relationship with her. 

Kayne, Wendy, and Andrae are the bottom three. Kayne's giant pants look seventies, but nobody would wear them to a club. He's safe.

Apparently the question every week is going to be What happened to Andrae? Seriously, I wonder how many weeks this can go on. I really hope he gets his act together. Anyway, he's safe again.

Wendy originally had a giant button on her garment that Joanna hated:

Joanna: "You know when you are cooking and you are stirring the food? You are stirring it with a spoon, possibly a wooden spoon, though it doesn't have to be wooden? Actually, yes it does have to be wooden. What else would it be made out of? Metal? Plastic? Yuck. Anyway, you know when you are stirring the food in the pot - maybe you're making soup or sauce or something else that you would be cooking in a pot - and you need to take the spoon out of the pot for some reason? I don't know why. Maybe you want to put the lid on the pot. It doesn't really matter. The point is you want to take the spoon out of the pot and you need to set the spoon down somewhere. And you don't want to put the spoon right on the countertop because it's covered in sauce, assuming you are making sauce, though you might be making something else. And obviously I mean the spoon is covered in sauce, and not the countertop. If your countertop is already covered in sauce then you don't really need to worry about setting down a sauce-covered spoon. But let's say your countertop is clean and you need someplace to set down your spoon. They have these things that you can buy at a store and I'm assuming you can get them online - I'm not sure because I inherited the one I have from my mother - and you can put them next to your stove and they are the perfect size and shape to set down your spoon. Do you know what I'm talking about?"

Wendy: "You mean a spoon rest?"

Joanna: "I don't know. I'm not a cooking expert. I don't know all the fancy terminology. The point is I hate that button and you have to get rid of it."

Wendy's outfit was pretty tacky. Look, I was never a Wendy hater. We understand how reality competition shows work now, but when she was on the first season of Project Runway her only frame of reference was Survivor and Big Brother, so I don't blame her for thinking the show was all about strategy and alliances and psyching out your competition. I always liked Wendy. However, I never liked her designs. So, while it was exciting to have her back on the show, she was going to need to make decent garments to stay on. Wendy is out this week

Carolyn Murphy: "Wendy, you are such an inspiration. I remember watching you on television when I was a little girl."

Wendy: "bitch."

Before I go, I'll give a shout out to an actual pair of Christian Siriano for Payless shoes:

we think these shoes are hot

These shoes are $39.95 and, according to a Payless customer, the reason they are so expensive is that they are designer. So it's totally worth spending twice as much as you usually spend on shoes, you cheapskate!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Project Runway All Stars Season Two, Episode One: I won't call it the premiere because apparently I always spell it wrong!

OK, so picking up from last week's post, with people competing in the Saddest Music in the World contest, I have my own entry. I've been having vision problems in my left eye and no doctors could figure out what was wrong, so it was recommended that I try hard contacts, but those were too painful, so I switched to soft contacts and I was giving them a try, but I'm so used to wearing glasses that I had to go out and buy a pair of fake glasses to wear when I have the contacts in and then, oh yeah, with the contacts I also suddenly need reading glasses so I had to go get reading glasses, except now it turns out my eyes are so dry the contacts have fused to my eyeballs and my vision isn't any better anyway, so, after months of medical appointments I finally found a solution: I'm just going to wear my regular old goddam glasses! If I really need to see something I'll just close my left eye. It could be worse.

Ivy: "I had to volunteer at a soup kitchen because I couldn't afford food."

See? That puts things in perspective. Thank you, Ivy. But I do wonder if she understands the point of a soup kitchen. If she thinks she has to volunteer there to get food, what does she think the clients are doing there?

Ivy: "Ewww! Those are poor people!"

uh-huh. OK, so here we are again. All of our favorite designers are back. Uh, some of our favorite designers are back? Well, Uli and Andrae are back. And Wendy is absolutely a Project Runway star. And Kayne did have his own show, so that kind of makes him a star. And Anthony Ryan only has one testicle. So there's that.

First, we meet the new host, Carolyn Murphy, who is about as exciting as last season's host. Why can't they get Alexa Chung from 24 Hour Catwalk? She's freaking adorable. Next we meet our wonderful mentor and the only reason to watch this show, Joanna Coles.

Now, to say that Joanna explained the challenge to the designers would be a gross understatement. She explained the crap out of that challenge. That challenge couldn't be any more explained. When Joanna explains a challenge it stays explained. I have never felt as completely satisfied with a challenge explanation. Normally we get the dollar amount and the time-frame but we're left with questions like, "Is that the dollar amount for the whole team?" or "Are they creating the looks together or are they being judged individually?" or "Can they glue the candy onto muslin?" or "Does this mole look funny to you?" But not this time. Joanna Coles will explain it all.

Joanna: "Listen up, designers. I'm only going to repeat this three times, so pay attention. You will be split into two teams and I will start by picking two of you, who are NOT the team leaders, but will simply be the ones starting the selection process. You will each be creating one look, but the looks have to form cohesive collections. There will be a winning team and a losing team. The winning look will come from the winning team and the losing look will come from the losing team. Now, let me explain how the votes will be counted. The founding fathers of Project Runway developed an electoral system based on the concept of separation of powers. What this means is that the mentor is not a part of the judging panel, unlike the system in England. Theoretically, this should prevent the development of a two-party system. Well, as Tyra Banks famously said, Good luck with that."

See, this is where I think you might be over-explaining.

Joanna: "I haven't even gotten to the electoral college yet."

Oh, god, we don't have time for that, Joanna.

Joanna: "OK, if I can just bring your attention to section four, paragraph two, which clarifies the selection of team names. Just randomly pick a word off this board. It really doesn't matter what the word is."

Team Confident is: Kayne, Uli, Casanova, Ivy, Althea, Anthony Ryan, and Wendy

Team Bald is: Joshua, Peach, Laura Kathleen, Emilio, Andrae, and Pleather

Peach: "Boy am I glad I'm not on Team Confident. Because that would be totally ironic."

The designers get to work ...

Peach: "Because I am not confident at all."

Yes, we get it. Anyway, now it's time for the runway, with judges Carolyn Murphy, Isaac Mizrahi, Georgina Chapman, and guest judges Rachel Roy and Mondo:

First up is Team Bald, who decided that cohesive meant each look had to use the same two fabrics. I've never been less upset about the fact that I'm going blind.

Laura Kathleen's look is actually not bad, considering who designed it, but Team Bald is the losing team. Andrae's hilarious garment, Pleather's eye-gaugingly horrible dress, and Peach's tennis-to-suicide look are the bottom three:

Peach: "Well, I ..."

Isaac: "No, stop talking. The more you talk, the uglier it gets."

Peach: "I did the best I could in the situation I was in."

Isaac: "You mean the situation of having to make a decent garment?"

Peach: "Yes. And the best I could do in that situation was to not make a decent garment. Would it help to name-drop my fourth-grade sewing teacher?"

Obviously the question on everyone's mind is, What happened to Andrae? Well, Carolyn Murphy has a question:

Carolyn: "Am I missing something?"

Yes. A personality. But that's not important right now. The important thing is that Andrae is safe and Peach is going home. They had better keep Andrae as long as possible. Because his description of his garment to the judges was the only entertaining part of the show.

Team Confident is the winning team. They go with cream and black, which is no more creative than the other team's blue and black, but each look didn't use the exact same fabric combination so it didn't look as matchy-matchy. Other than Kayne's fabulous train-wreck, most of the collection was nice, if uninspiring. Ivy and Anthony Ryan created the best looks and Anthony Ryan wins:

Anthony Ryan: "Don't misunderestimate me."

We won't. It kind of sucks that he doesn't win anything at all. Usually when there is no immunity there is some other prize, no?

Before I go, I would like to formally apologize to Lindsay Lohan for ever doubting her. She IS Elizabeth Taylor.

Linday Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Project Runway Season Ten Finale: My life is an episode of My Life is a Lifetime Movie on Lifetime!

I know you've seen Lifetime movies with stories about women in bad situations, sex scandals, and shocking revelations. And you can't get enough of them, but you wouldn't want to live one.

My name is Eric3000 and my life is as boring and poorly-acted as a Lifetime movie.

The date was October 18th, 2012. I remember the day like it was yesterday, even though it was actually the day before yesterday. My husband told me he was going on a business trip to New York for a week. That's the last time I ever saw him.

Obviously, my first thought was that he was a Cuban spy. But the truth turned out to be even more shocking. It turns out he has another family in New York! All these years, when I thought he was using business trips as an excuse to see Broadway shows and go shopping at UNIQLO, he was actually visiting his brother and sister-in-law and their children. I feel like such a fool. How could I have ignored all the warning signs?

Anyway, after two days, I'm finally starting to put my life back together again. I'm just hoping my inspiring true story can help others.

The role of Eric3000 will be played by James Franco, due to a complete lack of physical resemblance.
So, speaking of things that were apparently written and produced by illiterate teenagers, lets get on with the Project Runway finale.

We start the episode with Christofur complaining about the fact that the judges don't love him any more:

Christofur: "I don't understand why I even have to compete in the finale. Why don't they just make me the winner? It's complete madness!"

His x-ray fabric was nice, if not as amazing as he thought, and he knows how to make some great leather shorts, but the gown was awful and he missed the opportunity to go further with his use of manipulated and shredded fabric, which was his signature. The competition really was his to lose. And he did.

Styling by Modigliani

Nick Verrios: "His different take on that raw edge stuff, I thought that was very chic."


Melissa's collection was fine. The jacket was much better with the cuffs cut off, but I don't understand the point of a leather bathing suit and the hobble skirt was not cool. The red dress was great, but I think I mostly loved the amazing pattern piece she used to make it.

Melissa: "What red dress? Do you mean the blood-orange dress?"

Oh, there must be something wrong with the color on my television. It looked red to me."

Christofur: "It was just red. She has to call it blood-orange to sound more Goth."

Fabio's collection was by far the most interesting. I almost wish I could have seen it. Unfortunately, the lighting was so bad it completely washed everything out and all I saw was a blur of blinding white clothing walking down the runway. From what I can tell, he successfully managed to make his collection not look cheap. I have to credit the show with managing to fool me into thinking Fabio had a chance at an upset win. Of course, that made it that much more disappointing when he didn't. Yes, I really am that gullible.

It's not that I disliked Dmitry's collection. It's that I hated it. The only part of his show that worked for me was the models' eyebrows. I found them kind of mesmerizing, but not enough to prevent me from seeing the clothes.

Althea Harper: "I'm glad I'm not a judge."

So are we.

On to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, voted four years in a row by the London Times as the world capital of sorrow.

The guest judge is the beautiful Baroness Helen Port-Huntley, the owner of the largest beer company in Winnipeg and host of the annual Saddest Music in the World contest.

Sing to me! Make me cry!
Christofur: "My work is a study in deconstruction and reconstruction."

Lady Port-Huntley: "Not sad enough!"

Melissa: "I'm exploring death to life. It's appropriate for spring."

Lady Port-Huntley: "I like the death part. The life part not so much. Next!"

Fabio: "Now it's my time to invest in what I want to do. There are clothing tags that need my name on them."

Lady Port-Huntley: "I've heard sadder stories from Mitt Romney's dressage horse."

Dmitry: "Winning this contest will give me wings to fly."

Lady Port-Huntley: "OK, that's probably the saddest thing I have ever heard anyone say. You win."

Congratulations to Dmitry. He wins Lady Port-Huntley's glass prosthetic legs filled with beer.

"If you're sad, and like beer, I'm your lady."

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Project Runway Season Ten Finale, Part One: Host Hunters!

Heidi Klum, a reality television host and recent divorcee, is looking for a new home. But will her budget match her lofty expectations?

Heidi: "Moving back in with my mom has been really hard. It's time to get a place of my own."

Helping her in her search is real estate mentor Tim Gunn. He knows he has his work cut out for him.

Tim: "So, Heidi, tell me what you're looking for in a home."

Heidi: "Well, I have twelve children, so I'd really like a place that's out in the country so they have plenty of space to run around. But I also need to be right in the middle of the city so that I can walk to shops and restaurants."

Tim: "right."

Heidi: "Also, with sixteen children, I need at least two bathrooms. That's a deal breaker for me."

Tim: "of course."

Heidi: "The kitchen is really important. I never cook but I do occasionally look at it, so it needs to be amazing. And I have twenty three children, so I need a walk-in closet."

Tim: "You have a lot on your wish list. What's your budget?"

Heidi: "Thirty million dollars."

Tim: "Well, I'm going to be blunt: you may need to compromise on either space or location. But I have a few places in mind and I'm confident we can find you something you're going to love."

Heidi: "Great, I'm excited to get started!"

House One:

The first house they visit is in Massapequa, New York. It's a four-bedroom split-level with a one-car garage. It's on the market for $430,000.

Tim: "This one is not in the middle of the city, but it is a little under your thirty million dollar budget, which will leave you enough money to buy a private jet."

Heidi: "Why would you choose to show me this?"

Tim: "I would have loved to have shown you something else, but I ran out of time. Shall we head inside and take a look? You'll notice it has wall to wall floors."

Heidi: "I love that it has windows in the living room! And you can look through them into the yard!"

Tim: "Isn't that nice? Now, if you'll come through here, this room is the kitchen. You can tell because it's the room with the stove and refrigerator in it."

Heidi: "I've never seen so many desserts in all my life!"

Tim: "Yes, the current owners are Italian."

Heidi: "I see."

Tim: "So, what did you think of this first place?"

Heidi: "Well, there were definitely some nice details, but the overall look was really boring and it was pretty skimpy."

House Two:

Working mom Heidi is ready for a change and is looking for a new home. The first house she saw was under budget but the location wasn't ideal and it lacked some of the drama she was craving. So her real estate mentor, Tim, is trying something different with a unique house in New York City:

Joining Heidi on the search today are the members of the Duck Dynasty:

Willie is the CEO and resident prankster
Phil is the patriarch of the family and a living legend in Louisiana
Jase is Willie's brother and his polar opposite
Si is Phil's brother, best friend, and partner in crime
Fabio is still trying to fit in, but he sure loves making handcrafted duck calls
House two is a one-room duck blind that comes in right on budget at thirty million dollars.

Tim: "It's a bit of a fixer-upper, but it's really priced to sell."

Heidi: "It's definitely unique. I haven't seen anything else like it. I just wish it were more luxurious."

Tim: "I think you might have to adjust your expectations."

Heidi: "Well, it's something to think about. I'll keep it on the list."

House Three:

Mentor Tim has shown Heidi two houses so far. House one was under budget but was too far away. House two was right in the city but needed some work. Today Tim is taking Heidi to Jersey City to try to find the best of both worlds.

House three is inspired by organic architecture. It's a bit over budget at one hundred million dollars.

Tim: "I know it's over budget, but that's what you have to spend to live in Jersey City. Besides, it comes with its own shopping mall. And it has those granite countertops you won't shut up about!"

Heidi: "It does tick a lot of boxes. I love the cut-outs and it's obviously very well constructed. I just worry about the styling. Is there maybe too much going on with this design?"

Tim: "Something to think about."

Heidi: "Yep, something to think about."

So, which of these three houses will she choose? Will it be house number one, with ...

Tim: "WAIT! There's one more!"

I'm sorry, that's not possible. There are always three.

Tim: "No, they are all so good we couldn't narrow it down to three. There's a fourth."

Very well, we have a fourth. So, Heidi is a single mom anxious to find a new home for her growing family ...

Tim: "Stop telling us that and just get on with it!"

But I can't introduce the next house without telling you all the ridiculous problems with the previous houses!

Tim: "Well, make it quick."

OK, so house one was under budget, but a microscopic crack on one wall indicated severe structural problems and obviously we were all hoping for a stainless steel refrigerator. House two had a perfect location but the lack of windows and a roof could be an issue. House three had all the space Heidi needs, but it's just plain tacky. For house four Tim is thinking outside the box and taking Heidi to San Francisco to see an under budget charmer that could meet all her needs.

Melissa's sister and dentist
Heidi: "There's no doubt who designed this! I just wish it had a little more impact."

So, will she pick the skimpy bargain, the quirky fixer-upper, the tacky townhouse, or the Gothic charmer?

Heidi: "Ooh, this is going to be such a tough decision!"

Why don't you start by eliminating one?

Heidi: "OK, let's see ... I can't do it! I'll take them all!"

Well, as we know, she's already picked the house and gone through escrow, but whatever. We'll play along.
"What a load of crap"