Saturday, July 27, 2013

Project Runway Season Twelve, Episode 2: The Affair of the Necklaces!

We open the episode with two scary guys in uniform. The designers wonder what it could possibly mean:

Heidi will explain
Heidi: “You would probably like to know why these gendarmes are here. Well, they are here to escort Marie Antoinette to her execution. But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning. In 2001 The King of Excess, Baz Luhrmann, commissioned the jeweler Stefano Canturi to create the most spectacular necklace ever made so that he could give it as a gift to his mistress, Madame du Barry. Unfortunately, Luhrmann died shortly after filming Moulin Rouge and the thirty-million-dollar necklace was never paid for, which left Canturi in a terrible position. This is where the challenge comes in. The designers will need to create a dress that will trick Cardinal Rohan into thinking he is buying the necklace for Marie Antoinette."

Jesus Christ
Historical reenactment of what it would have looked
like if Madame du Barry had been given the necklace

Heidi: "As I always say, in fashion one day you’re in and the next day you are being guillotined.”

So true. Well, let’s find out what the designers think about having to work with this necklace:

Timothy: “You know, on the one hand I don’t really want to design around a necklace created for the king’s prostitute, but on the other hand if I don’t use the necklace it will just be thrown in the trash. I’m torn about it, but I guess used jewelry fits into my sustainable design aesthetic.”

Plus, I hear the diamonds are totally organic.

Tim Gunn: “OK, listen up, designers. This is how it will work: a criminal named Jeanne de la Motte-Valois is going to use forged letters to convince Cardinal Rohan to deposit $4,000 into your GoBank accounts, which you can then use to create dresses to showcase the necklace. Don’t go crazy. You need to save some of that money to pay an actress to impersonate the queen. And you’ll also need to bribe the judges, as usual.”

There was much drama in the workroom this week. There was a sword fight between Ken and Sandro, Sue got mad at everyone else because she doesn't know how to use the sewing equipment, and we were introduced to season twelve breakout star RJ Larese, who valiantly came to the aid of Sandro as he was being attacked by a violent mob peasants who were refusing to steam his garments for him:

Sandro: "You just can't get good help these days."

season twelve breakout star RJ Larese, a.k.a. Madame Deficit
Most of the dresses were boring. I understand that the designers didn't want to distract from the jewels, but I don't think it was necessary to go quite that bland:

Nina Garcia would like to make it clear
that this does not look like a foaming vagina
TImothy, Helen, and Kahindo are the bottom three:

Where's the design, Timothy?
Timothy: "Yeah, totally."

No, really. Where's the design?

Timothy: "I completely get where you're coming from."

It's not a rhetorical question, Timothy. Kate Winslet is completely naked, except for the necklace. What are you doing here?

Timothy: "That's such a deep philosophical point. What are any of us really doing here?"

OK, I give up. To be honest, I actually liked Timothy's weird racer-front dress. Yes, the dress looked like it was on backward. So what? Yes, it would be hard, if not impossible, to wear a bra with it. What's your point? That this is the first dress in Project Runway history that can't be worn with a bra? Really? Anyway, the dress did look like it was thrown together at the last minute, which it was, so I understand why it was on the bottom, but you all know I give extra points to any design that doesn't put me to sleep. He's safe.

Helen really bombed this week. I completely sympathize with her for trying to do something challenging. She had probably seen cups made many times and thought she could handle it. I won't punish her for that. And I accept that she ran out of time because of the cups and that's why the fit was so terrible. I'm on board with the "taking a risk" excuse up to a point. But the judges also hated the awful fraying detail on the hips, which is apparently her specialty. She can't even execute her own specialty? That's a problem. But she's safe.

Kahindo is out. Sorry, Kahindo. I thought the fabric she picked was beautiful, but the dress she made was completely wrong for the fabric and for the jewelry. Tim's idea to "mitigate" the pattern just made it worse, in my opinion, but it would have been bad either way.

The top three are Sandro, Dom, and Kate.

Sandro says too much of a good thing is wonderful
Sandro created another dramatically tacky garment. I'll give him credit for not being boring. If I must.

Dom was in contention for the win. I was impressed by how well her fun, casual dress worked with the formal, old-fashioned emerald necklace.

But Kate wins it with a beautiful dress made specifically for Marie Antoinette:

Kate: "I thought this dress would be perfect for Marie Antoinette to wear as she's being dragged through the streets of Paris."

A dress fit for a queen
Congratulations, Kate! I love the dress!

Kate: "Thank you. It feels so good to know that everyone in the world loves me!"

Dom was so close to that necklace she could almost reach out and touch it:

Careful, Dom, it's a trick!
Eventually, Jeanne de la Motte-Valois escaped to London, where she fell out a window. And that's the story of the French Revolution.

Sandro: "Eric Three Thousand, can I give you some advice?"


Sandro: "You should really just shut up."

Sandro makes Julia Roberts laugh

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Project Runway Season Whatever, Episode Blah, Blah, Blah: So You Think You Can Design!

Cat Deeley: “Hi! I’m Cat Deeley and welcome to the new season of So You Think You Can Design! Before we meet this season’s contestants, I have an announcement. As you know, we decided to bring back a previously eliminated contestant and give him or her another chance. You, the audience, got to pick. As expected, America chose Daniel Franco. So we brought Daniel back and he performed an amazing Sonya Tayeh contemporary routine that had the crowd on its feet and Mary Murphy sobbing so uncontrollably she had to be put on suicide watch. It was truly spectacular. And then, at the climax of the performance, tragedy struck!”

Daniel Franco just before the accident
Did he get hit in the nuts?

Cat Deeley: “I think we’re officially referring to it as a groin injury, but, yes, he got hit in the nuts. How did you know that?”

It happens every season, Cat. Well, I hope he’ll be OK.

Cat Deeley: “Don’t you worry. That Daniel Franco is one resilient contestant. The doctors say he’ll make a full recovery and I'm sure he'll be back to entertain us next season.”

He’d better be. My blog wouldn’t be the same without him. Filling in for Daniel will be America’s second choice, Kate from last season. America chose her because last season is about as far back as our collective memory goes. And she’s very eager to offer help to the other designers. One of the contestants this season, Justin, is deaf and Kate knows sign language:

Justin: “It’s really not necessary. I have a cochlear implant now so you can just talk to me.”

Kate: “Jus’ hang, blood. She’ll get back to you on the rebound wit’ the medicide.”

um, that’s not sign language, Kate.

Kate: “Cut me some slack, Jack! Chump don’t want no help, chump don’t get no help!”

Yes, Kate is always trying to convince us that she is either the nicest person on earth or the most horrible scheming psycho who ever lived. I strongly suspect she is neither. So let’s meet the other contestants:

First up we have our contestants from Milwaukee. Timothy loves unicorns almost as much as Miranda hates Timothy. At first it seems like he’s so nice and she’s so contemptuous there must be something seriously wrong with one of them and then you realize that no, there is something seriously wrong with both of them.

Nigel Lythgoe: “It’s a yes to choreography for me.”

Timothy: “Yay! I love choreography! This is a new move I invented where I go directly from a Mournful Virgin Mary right into an Awkward Armpit Sniff.”

Mary Murphy: “In all my years of ballroom dancing, I have never seen that particular combination. I’m speechless.”

Next up we have all our models:

Alex runs a model couture camp, Sandro is from Russia, and ... oh, I really thought there was one other former model this season. Oh, well. The important thing is that these two former models are really going to get on each other’s nerves.

Next, SYTYCD visits Birmingham:

Ken has a bow-tie tattoo and lived in his car and Jeremy is the father of twins and has a roof deck.

Ken: “You know we aren’t from the same city, right?”

No, my notes clearly say you are both from Birmingham. I don’t make mistakes.

Bradon used to be a modern dancer, but he’s going in a new direction and will be krumping for us this evening. 

Angela doesn’t accept anything other than perfection. Failure is not an option. Unless she's attempting to become a lesbian.

Karen has a fabulous avocado green sewing machine and Sue has never seen a sewing machine before in her life.

Helen is from New Jersey. Enough said. 

Sorry, but I have to rush through these final three contestants:

Dom is from Philadelphia, Alexander makes costumes, and Kahindo is from Uganda but went to boarding school in Kenya. They will be performing an Argentine tango, which is super hard to do with three people.
The designers meet Tim and Heidi on the runway of a small airfield:

Heidi: “It’s a runway! Get it?”

We know what a runway is.

Heidi: “No, it’s a runway for airplanes! Did you know that’s what they call the thing that airplanes land on?”

Why are we here?

Heidi: “This is the popular unconventional weather challenge! We expect some unconventional weather to happen any minute now, so just keep looking up at the sky!”

Bradon: “Hey, look! Something is up there!”

Jeremy: “What are those things?”


Kahindo: “IT’S A SHARK STORM!!!”

Tim Gunn: “Actually, the correct meteorological term is a sharknado. They’re pretty rare. And this is a big one. I don’t think I’ve seen a level four sharknado since season two of Project Runway.”

And just like in that famous challenge in season two, the contestants will have to fight off vicious great white sharks while performing a demanding routine by choreographer Tyce Diorio.

Tim Gunn: “And let me just point out that Tyce Diorio is a friggin’ nutjob.”

Exactly. That’s what makes the challenge interesting. Anyway, to refresh your memory, in season two Santino had made Kara Janx a jumpsuit and Kara was hanging out of a helicopter trying to drop explosives into a terrifying swarm of great white sharks and she was crying and Zulima was screaming at her that she didn’t care if she was crying as long as she was crying and blowing up sharks at the same time and then Kara slipped and fell into the sharknado and surely would have died if it hadn’t been for Santino’s amazing jumpsuit. There were complaints about the fact that the jumpsuit was kind of a mess and the sleeves were falling off, but come on, people, she had been attacked by sharks!

Santino bandaging Kara's shark bites
Timothy: “Unfortunately, these types of extreme weather events will only become more common in the future, due to global warming. We could prevent many tragic flying-shark attacks if people would just stop using L’Oreal hair products.”

Tim Gunn: “Timothy, I need you to come over here for just a moment so I can slap you upside the head.”

The prize package this season is supposedly worth half a million dollars, which sounds really impressive until you learn that it’s on a Belk department store gift card. Belk is apparently the Macy’s of North Carolina and specializes in “modern southern style,” a phrase that doesn’t actually mean anything and even if it did, I don’t want it. But that’s not the only bizarre new sponsor. There is also some new credit card called GoDaddyBank that you can use to buy things on your smart phone ... just like a regular credit card. I’m sure it’s totally revolutionary and in a few years I’ll wonder how I ever lived without it. And, as if that weren’t enough, they are also promoting some new laptop computer that comes apart so you can leave the keyboard somewhere and never find it again. You know you can already get a keyboard that attaches to your iPad, right? Oh, I just got the memo reminding me to tell you to rush right out and buy all these stupid products.

Now, I do have to say they are promoting the credit card in an interesting way. The contestants are apparently going to be able to manage their own budgets for the entire season, instead of one challenge at a time. We don’t quite know how this will work yet because they didn’t go shopping in the first episode. I suspect they will be given a certain amount of money for each challenge and if they don’t spend all of it they’ll be able to use it in future challenges, which is how they do it on the Amazing Race. It’s possible, though, that they will get the entire budget up front and have to figure out how much to spend each week, but that seems like it would be a complete disaster. And yes, as I wrote that I realized “complete disaster” is clearly the option the Project Runway producers will take.

Cat Deeley: “Let’s meet your judges! Of course we have the extraordinary Heidi Klum! Next is the beautiful and talented Sir Zac Posen! Joining them, as usual, is the amazing and glamorous Miss Nina Garcia! And our guest judge this evening, ladies and gentlemen, is actress Tara Reid, who was tragically not killed by sharks during this challenge!”

Zac, Nina, and Tara Reid
Yes, that’s unfortunate. But there are some exciting changes this season: The judges will get to inspect the garments after the contestants perform their routines, Tim will be able to give his input, though he won’t be judging, and the runway will be anonymous. Tim will also have the opportunity to save one contestant at some point in the competition.

Bradon wins with a Nappytabs hip hop routine that blows the judges away!

Heidi: “I was really impressed that a contemporary dancer was able to do so well outside his comfort zone!”

Nina: “I think I hear something!”

Zac: “Please don’t do it, Nina.”

Nina: “Ooh, yeah, I think that’s the train coming!”

Zac: “oh, god, no.”

Nina: “WOOOHOOO!!!”

Zac: “Ow! I don’t think I can handle another season of Nina and her damn hot tamale train.”

The bottom four contestants are forced to dance for their lives.

Timothy barely escapes with his life. Miranda was originally in the top three, but then the judges learned that she broke the rules. Will she be held accountable?

No. Miranda is safe. The judges break the news to Angela:

Heidi: "Angela, come get your ticket to Vegas!"

Angela: "Oh, my god! I made it through to Vegas! I'm so excited ... wait a minute ... oh, I get it."

Heidi: "Yeah. Auf wiedersehen, Angela."

Sorry, Angela. I don’t like the fact that Miranda ignored the parameters of the challenge, but the unfair thing is that Helen also ignored the instructions and she seems to think she can do whatever she wants:

Helen: “I’m from New Jersey.”