Tuesday, January 7, 2014


No, not to warmer climes (unfortunately) but to Word Press, because my friend Zosia said that blogger is "so 2007." Find me here at maxthegirl.com

Same great record of arbitrarily posting once every three to four months, with a snazzy new layout! (Just kidding, I'll endeavor to post more. For reals.)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Wolf Down: 6 Ways To Improve The Wolf of Wall Street

A funny thing happened after I filed my 3 star review of The Wolf of Wall Street. I found myself aligning more and more with the people who didn’t like the film. It’s not that I don’t think The Wolf of Wall Street is a piece of bravura filmmaking—in fact, that’s almost all I think it is: virtuoso technique serving an unworthy story. What’s more, I’m turned off by the film’s defenders, who seem to think that if you didn’t love The Wolf of Wall Street as much as they did, you’re either shallow, puritanical, missing the satire chip, or expect neat moral resolutions in all your art. I don’t expect neat moral resolutions, but I do think films need to have some sort of moral compass. And yes, I understand that The Wolf of Wall Street is unique because it’s told solely from the (unreliable) narration of a braggart and a sociopath. But…so what? As I’ve said many times on Twitter (@maxthegirl), what did we learn about the specific sociopathy of Jordan Belfort? What new thing did we learn about Wall Street, about greed, about excess? Nothing, as far as I saw. So, understanding the audacity of what I’m about to put forward (Scorsese is arguably our greatest living filmmaker—I can’t even get my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes), here are my suggestion for 6 ways The Wolf of Wall Street could’ve been better.

1.     Give Jordan a more interesting backstory (or, for that matter, any interior life at all). Was he bullied as a kid? Is he a closeted homosexual? Did his father tell him he’d amount to nothing? Did he witness his father’s humiliation at the hand of a wealthy neighbor or boss? Does he have a small penis? (Just kidding. Of course he has a small penis.) Give me something specific that tells me what made this character tick and why he made the choices he did. Then, if nothing else, The Wolf of Wall Street would work as a character study.

2.     Focus more on Kyle Chandler’s federal agent. This was a technique that Steven Spielberg employed, quite winningly, in Catch Me if You Can. The DiCaprio character (again!) in that film was fun, charming, rascally—we enjoyed being in his presence. Tom Hanks’ Carl Hanratty, on the other hand, was grinding his way through a joyless, bureaucratic life, committed to doing the right thing,  no matter how thankless it may have been. The contrast between the “dullness of decency,” if you will, and the charisma of DiCaprio’s glamorous conman created an interesting prism through which to view the film and assess our own moral judgments. Scorsese hints at that, especially in one of the later scenes, when we see Chandler’s agent riding home on the subway, but never really goes there.

3.     Have a dissenting character within Jordan’s ranks. I realize that The Wolf of Wall Street is based on Jordan’s memoirs and, by all accounts, there was no such character. But “based on a true story” leaves wiggle room. What if Jordan had an friend/employee who questioned the excess, the corruption, the greed? Anyone in his midst to serve as some sort of voice of humanity, to ask Jordan when will it ever be enough? Everyone in this movie blithely goes along with him. No one quits. Not one person says, “I can’t live like this.”

4.     Give Jordan himself some sort of existential crisis. I just finished watching Harmony Korine’s hypnotic Spring Breakers, so maybe I’m unduly influenced by it, but there were several moments in that film where, in the midst of the bacchanal, the camera gets in close on the revelers and we see their…dread. The parties in that film leave a sickening aftertaste and not just because we judge the characters harshly—rather because their own self-loathing is the ever-present but never mentioned party guest.

5.    Show us the victims! It’s actually stunning that we never really see the consequences of Jordan’s actions. We never see the poor patsies he robbed blind. We see his first wife, in one angry moment on the sidewalk, when he replaces her for a younger, prettier model. But we don’t stay with her. We see Jordan’s second wife, who is certainly a victim of his abuse (in one scene, he actually rapes her), but, like all the characters in the film, has virtually no interior life—and, in fact, is seen as a social grasper and clear-eyed accomplice. (If Scorsese really cares about her pain, he has a curious way of showing it.) We see the face of a woman who works for Jordan, when in a gleeful hazing ritual her head is shaved by her coworkers. That is one of the rare moments in the film where Scorsese focuses on the perspective of someone who is not having fun yet, who has been victimized by this misogynistic frathouse-on-steroids, and can’t escape. The horror on her face speaks volumes. And again, it’s gone in a flash.

6.    Tell us something about Wall Street we don’t already know. I’ve seen lots of movies about Wall Street and cold-call salesmen: Both of Oliver Stones films, The Boiler Room, Margin Call, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Company Men, Too Big To Fail (a documentary), etc. Each of those films told me something interesting and new either about the machinations of Wall Street or about the specific mentality/technique of a salesman. Jordan has a few clever ideas up his sleeve—creating a phony silk stocking firm is one of them—but beyond that, the film was much more interested in what he did with his fortune than how he made it.

I can already hear people reacting to this column with: Why not add puppies! There were no puppies in the film either! (Or some other equally snide thing. Trust me, this is how these The Wolf of Wall Street lovers talk.) What I’m saying, again, is that for me to find the film not just good, but great, I needed a moment to reflect over, that allowed me to lie in bed at night, chewing over the film’s content, thinking of the world (or art, for that matter) in a new way. The Wolf of Wall Street basically said: People are exactly as horrible as you think they are. Here, allow me to beat you over the head with that fact.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bad Review


So yesterday my hero Hugh Laurie besmirched my entire profession, how was your day? :(

Obviously now I’m feeling a little defensive.

So allow me to defend:

Let me start by saying, we film critics mostly use our powers for good.
Critics have directed people to all sorts of films—documentaries, indies, back of the rack stuff— that otherwise might go unwatched or unnoticed.
And while I can’t substantiate this with data, I feel quite strongly that negative reviews rarely deter a viewer (I wish!), but a passionately argued, rave review can encourage someone to see a film they might otherwise not see. 

Okay, now let’s get to the meat of his gripe: The fact that film critics generally only see a film once (or at least have usually only seen the film once before they post their review.)
I mean, that’s just logistics, right? It’s kind of the nature of the art/commerce intersection that film has always awkwardly rested on. A certain number of films are released on Friday, we watch them, we write reviews on deadline. It’s a living.

But here’s a non-logistical argument: Reviewing a film after seeing it just once is perfectly acceptable, because that’s how people watch films.
Yes, the film may have untold layers, a depth of meaning or purpose that only gradually reveals itself after multiple viewings, but on some basic level, it just has to work that first time around. With film, the initial impression is meaningful, because it’s the only impression most people will get.
(Same was true of Shakespeare, too, back in his day.)

That being said, some films, even great ones, really only do need to be watched once. They’re not trying to be anything but good, old-fashioned whiz-bang entertainment. They are meant to be digested, enjoyed, and tossed away with that empty bucket of popcorn, not painstakingly poured over and analyzed.

Have I been wrong about a film? Sure. Plenty of times. But I like to think that if a film is ambitious, I acknowledge that in my review, even if I didn't like the end result. I try not be dismissive. A lot of times an impassioned pan can actually encourage someone to watch a film. They might say, “Wow. That sounds horrible . . . in an intriguing way” or even “Max sure hated that film but it sounds right up my alley.” (Critics don’t mind when that happens; we actually encourage that kind of reader/critic engagement.)

And yes, great filmmakers (like Scorsese) deserve the benefit of the doubt. We give them that, but not to the point of being sycophants. Even great filmmakers make the occasional dud of a film. (See Coppola’s Jack, Levinson’s Toys, Spielberg’s The Terminal, and 1/3 of the films that Woody Allen cranks out.)
(My thoughts on Cape Fear, for what it’s worth: Brilliantly acted and directed, but I bristle at any film where sexual violence against women is brandished as a means to punish a male protagonist. . .But I suppose that's grist for a whole other blog post.)

And finally, Pauline Kael?!? Thems fighting words, bub. Sure she had her peccadilloes, but she was a trailblazer. One of the first to treat popular film as art. Her “I got it”  arrogance gave her writing energy, bravado, commitment and, yes, weirdness. Some critics are flat out fun/edifying/inspiring to read, no matter how wrong-headed their opinions might be. Kael was definitely one of them.

Okay, end rant.

p.s. Hugh's Twitter account is awesome. You should all go follow it.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Hugh Laurie's Joyful Noise

Courtesy Kelsey Rae via Release the Clackum

I witnessed a lovefest at the Birchmere club in Alexandria, VA the other night.
It took many forms.

First and foremost, it was a lovefest between Hugh Laurie and the blues. It's safe to say Hugh Laurie would take a bullet for the blues. Yes, he loves it that much.

Second, it was a lovefest between Hugh Laurie and his kick-ass band, The Copper Bottom Band. It's rare that you go to a concert and see such affection among bandmembers. They seem to bask not only in each other's talent but in the joy they share in their communal groove.

Finally, of course, it was a love affair between Hugh Laurie and his audience. That's no surprise, though. The man is just an insanely gifted showman/raconteur/wit. I always describe his public appearances as the detonation of charm bombs.

So can we get something out of the way here, once and for all? Hugh Laurie has every right to be up on that stage. In a world where no one blinks an eye over the latest autotuned pop tart, it works my last nerve that people suggest that just because Hugh is a famous actor he can't also be a talented and committed blues musician. His encyclopedic knowledge of blues alone, not to mention his abilities as a musical curator, should more than qualify him to be on stage. (The guy's taste in New Orleans and Louisiana blues is basically above reproach.) On top of that, he's a world class piano player and a more than serviceable guitar player, too.

(I won't defend Hugh's right as a wealthy British white guy to sing the blues, because he's more than effectively made that case himself: To suggest that only a certain portion of the population can play this great music is to marginalize it, which is the exact opposite of what Hugh is trying to do.)

As for his voice? Well, it's a bit too pure of tone for the blues. He's really more of a natural crooner. But he's musical as all get-out, plus as an actor, he has a natural ability to bring a wide range of emotions to the fore. I'll take someone who embodies and loves the music and sings it in tune over some melisma obsessed screecher any day. But hey, maybe that's just me.

I really can't say enough about the Copper Bottom Band. I saw Hugh in concert last year, in support of Let Them Talk and the band was amazingly tight then. With the addition of smoky-voiced singer Gaby Moreno (a perfect complement to the rip-roaring blues belter Sista Jean) and badass trombone player Elizabeth Lea (my new hero), they're even better now. Really, ever single member is so tight and so damn musical, they're a joy to watch.

My only objection: As mentioned, Hugh adores his band (and they adore him right back). As such, he gives them lots of room to show off. Some of the solo songs by Gaby Moreno ("The Weed Smoker's Dream") and Sista Jean ("I Hate a Man Like You"), not to mention their impossibly infectious duet "Didn't It Rain," are among the best of the night. And each band member gets his or her moment to shine. I only wish that he had given himself a few such moments. The guy has serious chops on the piano; it would be okay for him to strut his stuff from time to time. Just the man's natural modesty at play, I suppose.

That being said, a night with the Copper Bottom Band is a musical gift to audiences wrapped in a bow and topped with a cherry (or a shot of 12-year-old Macallan, if you prefer). If you're not feeling the love, it's indeed time to check your pulse.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Her Totally Awesome Life

The Carrie Diaries, in case you didn’t know, is a “prequel” to Sex and the City. Young Carrie (played by the kewpie-eyed AnnaSophia Robb, sporting an unfortunate perm) is a teenager from Connecticut in the 80s. Her mother has recently died of cancer and she lives with her doting, if sometimes bumbling father (Matt Letscher) and her proto-goth kid sister Dorrit (adorable Stefania Owen.)
And since this is a teen drama, we think we know what to expect: Carrie won’t be popular, she’ll be tormented by a “mean girl” and suffer numerous indignities in the school cafeteria; she’ll pine for a popular boy who doesn’t love her back (or at least can’t risk losing social standing by being seen with her). She’ll feel misunderstood, awkward, and sometimes ignored.
Or, well, not.
Because teenage Carrie Bradshaw has to be the most well-adjusted kid on TV. She has a group of great friends, who are really smart and cool and supportive.  She is dating the best looking boy in school, Sebastian (played by the best-looking boy on TV, Austin Butler.)
She has fallen in love with New York City—as young Carrie Bradshaw would—and even got a job at the über-cool Interview magazine.
Many scenes of The Carrie Diaries are basically Carrie sitting at a booth at her favorite diner making out with Sebastian or bashing about New York City, marveling over her good fortune.
Yes, there is a “mean girl”, Donna (Chloe Bridges)—who briefly wins Sebastian away from Carrie (meanwhile, Carrie has her own hot new prepster boyfriend). But the mean girl isn’t even all that mean (she helps Carrie’s friend Walt deal with his closeted homosexuality) and Sebastian clearly loves Carrie, not her.
I started watching The Carrie Diaries because I’m totally infatuated with that period in New York. And while the show doesn’t get everything right—a lot of the fashion choices in particular seem like they come from the Urban Outfitters “Totally 80z” section—a lot is right: The Limelight! Bret Easton Ellis book release parties! The Smiths! Basquiat!
In a way, the show tracks consistently with Sex and the City, its own glossy, sugar-coated celebration of New York, girl power, and friendship. Yes, there were flare-ups of drama on Sex and the City—just as there are on The Carrie Diaries—but for the most part, that show was sunny and chipper. (That was why it briefly struggled to find its footing after 9/11.) But there was also all that great sex and all that great fashion—not to mention, the snarky, world-wise commentary by Samantha, Miranda, et al. It was fabulous, in a way that a show about teenagers simply can’t be.
I must confess that, charming as it can be, I sometimes find Carrie’s sunniness a little insipid. If the girl’s got the best friends, the hottest guy, and the coolest internship on the planet, what exactly is the source of the drama? (They show her grieving for her mother, but in a spunky, “I’m going to keep mom’s sprit alive!” kinda way.)
There is, however, one thing I absolutely adore about this show. There are hot guys on The Carrie Diaries, of course, but Carrie and her friends are not defined by them.
In fact, in the penultimate episode, Carrie breaks up with Sebastian—methinks not for long—because he doesn’t understand or support her ambition at Interview magazine.
Likewise, brainy Mouse (Ellen Wong) dumps her boyfriend because sex with him is taking away from her grade point average. (Another bonus! The Asian girl here might be a brain—cliché alert—but she also has lots of hot guys to choose from. Hooray!)
Next week is the season finale of the show (and possibly the series finale—ratings are middling at best.)
I’ll be watching—and expecting a totally warm and fuzzy ending. After all, cliffhangers are so. . . upsetting.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What if GIRLS was Created By a Guy?

Photo courtesy of TVLine.com

Just imagine for a second that, instead of being the show’s executive producer/den father/head cheerleader (or whatever he is), Judd Apatow was actually the creator of Girls

How would you feel then, about the Season 2 finale and the myriad humiliations heaped upon Lena Dunham’s character in general?

How would you feel about the ubiquitous nudity, the awkward and sometimes demeaning sex, the grotesque close-ups of Hannah picking at her wedgie or ramming a bloody Q-tip up her ear? How comfortable would you be with Hannah’s OCD, her narcissism, her disastrous haircuts and seemingly unlimited supply of unflattering outfits (neon mesh half-shirt anyone?). 

You’d think that Apatow either hated Hannah or possibly hated women. And you’d feel protective of the young actress who was put in these compromising situations. 

But of course, Apatow isn’t the creator of Girls—Dunham is. In that sense, Girls is the anti-vanity project; a weekly exercise in a kind of strangely mesmerizing masochism. 

 (Have we ever seen a mainstream artist depict themselves in such an unflattering light? Woody Allen would be the obvious corollary—but his alleged self-loathing is strictly amateur compare to Dunham's. It's Self Loathing Lite)

Ironically, with her willingness to lay herself completely bare, Dunham may actually be protecting herself. Women who direct themselves are invariably accused of raging egomania. (I still bristle when I think about the criticism that was leveled at Barbra Streisand for directing and starring in Yentl and The Mirror Has Two Faces: She's too old! She bathes  herself in a beautiful golden light!) Needless to say, male auteurs are rarely subjected to such scrutiny. But, intentionally or not, Dunham has managed to sidestep this criticism entirely. How could anyone EVER accuse her of self-aggrandizement? Tellingly, the one episode—the brilliant, standalone “One Man’s Trash”— where she dared to give herself satisfying sex and a dishy co-star, the Internet positively slammed her for her vanity.

Okay, so now let’s move on to the problematic Season 2 finale —again, acting  under the premise “what if it was created by a guy?”

 Let’s start with Marnie, as I found her character arc perhaps even more troubling than Hannah’s. 

In Season 1, she’s the most accomplished of the “Girls.” She has a solid job at a gallery and a boyfriend, Charlie, who adores her. Problem is, she finds the boyfriend too clingy and effete—she seems to think she wants a man with a bit more machismo. So she breaks up with Charlie and, in short order, her life falls apart. 

By Season 2, she’s been fired from her job and forced to work as a cocktail waitress at an upscale men’s club. Charlie, meanwhile, starts dating a sexy sprite-like hipster—and seems quite happy with her. Then Marnie finally hooks up with the man she’d been fantasizing about—a cocky artist who depicts himself as some sort of stud in the bedroom. Turns out, the artist is a mediocre lay and, what’s more, not interested in being Marnie’s boyfriend. Now she’s single, heartbroken, and stuck in a demeaning dead end job. Let’s check back in with Charlie, shall we? He’s got a cool new haircut and a dream job—he created a successful app and is working (as the boss!) at the kind of edgy Internet company featured in Samsung ads.
In the season finale, he agrees to take Marnie back—essentially “saving her.”

Again, imagine if Apatow had created this episode. (Not picking on Apatow, by the way. He’s just a convenient male figure in the Girls orbit).  What a cautionary tale for women this would appear to be: Break up with the nice guy and you WILL PAY.  Your  life will be ruined, while he will prosper and only once you have been sufficiently cut down to size—the nadir being her humiliating cry for help (oy, that Kanye song!) at Charlie’s office party— will the nice guy condescend to take you back and save you. And he’s rich now, too, so your money troubles will be behind you!
How weirdly regressive is that?

And what about the fate of Hannah—crippled by her OCD and hypochondria, unable to complete (or even start) her manuscript, and, by all reasonable measures, totally falling apart. 

We’ve seen Adam, her recovering alcoholic hulk of a man-child ex, trying to establish a normal relationship with a new girl. But there’s one problem: The new girl has healthy self-esteem and therefore is not turned on by his sexual debasement. “I didn’t like that all,” she says, when Adam tells her to crawl on all fours.

Hannah, on the other end, had willingly submitted herself to all of his debasing fantasies. 

Now remember, Hannah broke up with Adam because she found his energy too intense, his commitment to her bordering on obsessive. She was afraid of him—even called the cops on him once. He's not a bad guy, but he certainly has a lot of demons. On what planet is it a happy ending for Hannah to end up with him?

Season 2 ended like a classic rom-com, with Adam running shirtless through the street to literally scoop up Hannah in his arms and save her from herself. Like Marnie, turns out Hannah didn’t know how good she had it with Adam. Like Marnie, her life effectively fell apart when she jettisoned her man. Like Marnie, her ex got the satisfaction of essentially seeing her hit rock bottom until he had no choice but to swoop in and save her. 


If a man had directed this season, I would’ve truly cried foul.

Look, I love Lena Dunham. I think she’s a genius—a word I don’t toss around lightly. And I certainly don’t think she has to be my kind of feminist. What she’s doing—running her own show (at 26, no less!)—is certainly more than feminist enough. As an artist, she’s well within her right to expose herself, humiliate herself, lay herself completely and utterly bare. But it does bug me that she, the only young female showrunner in the game, has chosen this path—particularly this new wrinkle where her female characters are saved by unworthy men. 

It’s okay to have some self-esteem for you and fellow Girls, Lena. Last I checked, you guys were ruling the world.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Coming to America: The Project Runway recap

Did I win?
Not gonna lie. I never saw that coming.
I had seen Christopher as a frontrunner the whole time (he, modestly enough, had also seen himself as the frontrunner the whole time). But in the end, his collection did disappoint.
Making pretty garments is one thing. And Christopher’s got that down cold. But assembling a strong collection, with a clear point of view that announces to the world who you are as a designer? That’s a whole other can of notions. Melissa, Fabio, and Dmitry all did that a lot better.
But Christopher wins cutest hair and most adorable pout, so there's that.

But Dmitry? Certainly he had been coming on strong in the final weeks: But did he ever actually win a challenge? (Okay, guess he won the print challenge with that clever peek-a-boo print.) But for most of the show he was the bridesmaid, the wingman, the Garfunkel. I always saw him being the “guy who made really impeccable clothing that—shhhh—nobody actually loved.” Boy did I get that wrong. 

The other big surprise of the show? I’ll say it: Fabio’s collection. Talk about going from Drabio to Fabio. He really pumped up the luxe, as Nina and co. told him to do. And suddenly his collection, which had previously seemed like the costumes for a production of Jesus Christ Superstar on Mars! suddenly seemed sort of fresh and innovative and chic. (Still not saying  I’d wear it. But at least I get it.)
(But I was chatting with my friend R2 about this: Why oh why do the judges keep insisting that Fabio is, himself, a good dresser? He looks like the only hipster in the shtetl, a Hari Krishna gone clubbing, an Amish art student during Rumpspringa. NOT a great dresser. And the mystery of the beard still torments me: Who’s got their money on weak chin?)

Would you let this man dress you?

Melissa’s collection was fabulous and very her (that one straightjacket dress with the binded shoes notwithstanding). I would definitely wear every single one of her pieces, except for this, cause really, who the hell could pull this off?

Besides this model, that is

(Also probably wouldn’t wear the leather bathing suit either. In public at least. )

But back to Dmitry’s collection. I’m sorry I’d never wear it. I feel like those garments would be sold in a boutique with Russian house music on the speakers and salespeople who smell like bad cologne. (I did sort of like that one dress with the geometrical pattern and the frills, tho. Not gonna hate.)

Frills gone right

Frills gone wrong

 (Where did Michael Kors get the idea that ALL women want this jacket? Not this gal.)

Anyhoo, let’s look back the show, which was, let’s face it All Filler, Not Much Killer.

It starts out with all the designers being, quite literally, haunted by the voices of Nina, Heidi, and MK—sort of the way Dorothy was haunted by the Wicked Witch.
“More expensive looking!” the voices tell Fabio.
“Younger!” the voices tell Dmitry.
“Turn up the volume!” the voices tell Christopher.
“Use color!” the voices tell Melissa.

More luxe!!!!

This is driving them all a little batty, particularly Christopher, who has bags under his eyes and is borderline delirious.

There is so much nervous energy in the room that they woke up Earl, the lone Lifetime FX guy, to illustrate it.
“My nerves are traveling through the screen right now,” Fabio says. And damned if they don’t do some sort of undulating wave effect on my TV screen. Mind. Blown. (Now Earl can go back to his cave).

The producers must’ve promised L’Oreal extra screen time in the finale—as if the whole season hasn’t been one big fat infomercial already—so we have to watch all the designers get extended consultations in hair and makeup.

Lots of product name dropping like, “Oooh, Coral Seduction!” and “I’m just going to go in the Everystyle Curl Mousse.” Etc. Etc.


And because of Christopher’s nervous breakdown, he can’t figure out what to do with his models’ hair.
He takes one poor girl from Bride of Frankenstein to Janelle Monae to Marge Simpson and back again.
Not good.

It’s always cute to see how awed and humbled and nervous the designers are when they get to fashion week. It really is a big deal—and this was a particularly nice, non-catty group of designers. (But note to Christopher: Blood orange really is a thing. And it’s not the same thing as red.)

Actually nervous, even though it looks like they're faking it

They pan the audience as the show is about to begin.
Mondo seems to have taken the Internet’s fake mustache meme to a literal degree and is sporting one that looks exactly like THIS.

Harvey Weinstein is also in the house, which means the winner will not just take home the Project Runway trophy, he will be guaranteed the Best Picture Oscar next year. (My film critic friends are ROFL right now. Trust me.)

Dmitry is talking about his journey to Project Runway: “I left my home when I was 18 with one backpack, a coupla hundred bucks and a huge dream,” he says. The man is good at self-mythologizing. (Later he actually says, unironically, “Winning Project Runway will give me the wings to fly.”)

Fabio is also talking about his emotions. “My whole body is vibrating with positivity right now,” he says.
(Earl looks up for a second, considers it, then goes back to sleep.)

And the show begins. JHud is the guest judge. I agree with the judges. Everyone really did great. And it’s cute to see all their families and loved ones kvelling in the audience.

Afterwards, design insiders pick their favorites. We’ve got fashion editors, the buyer from Lord & Taylor, Joanna Coles, and . . .*record scratching sound*. . .Stephanie Meyers, author of Twilight??? Seriously, the most random people show up at these things.
She’s on Team Dmitry, BTW. (Team Edward is PISSED.)

So Christopher is the first to be eliminated. He’s great, but just not ready.
Then Melissa. Her collection, while young, funky and fresh, was too predictable.
So it comes down to Fabio and Dmitry.

There’s some brief talk of who needs the win more—they all agree that it’s Fabio, whose aesthetic is much more offbeat. That’s a pretty bullshit reason to make someone the winner. (Just sayin’).
So even though Christopher  “demands a recount” (heh) I’m glad Dmitry won over Fabio. I never even expected Fabio to make the finale, to be honest. He definitely exceeded my expectations (and his own: He thought he was going to be the first to be eliminated.) In the end, say what you will about Dmitry, he was much more consistent all season long.

Heidi will now take him back to the dungeon where she keeps all the past winners

Once Dmitry won, I kept waiting for the big reveal where his family from the Motherland was flown in to see him. (Get the feeling that Mama and Papa Sholokhov are none too thrilled that young Dmitry didn’t join the family distillery?) (I made that up. I have no idea what Dmitry’s family does.)
Instead, he has three bleached blonde besties (all future employees in his boutique, no doubt) and then “someone else who’s very excited to see you.” 
Have Mama and Papa Sholokhov forgiven him?
Is it Elena, finally willing to admit her true feelings for him?
Nope. It’s Tim Gunn!
And damned if Tim isn’t all choked up.
“I’m losing it,” he says. Oh, Tim.

So congrats Dmitry: You came to this country with a backpack (unofficial contents of said backpack: tap shoes, a bottle of Drakkar Noir, a pair of leather skinny pants, and a thimble), a charmingly monotone voice, and a dream that you made come true.

I bet you’re feelin’ a whole lot like THIS guy right now.

p.s. Reading my Nashville recaps on Vulture yet? What are you waiting for?