Wow. Most eventful first 8 minutes of Project Runway ever, amirite?
It starts out with Bert having another senior moment (should we just officially make those a drinking game at this point?), as he stares in a stupor at the running-shoe boxes lined up in front of him on the kitchen counter—seeing them, but not actually noticing them.
“What are those?” asks Anthony.
“What?” says Bert, perhaps having a reverie that he’s a on a veranda somewhere on the Amalfi Coast, drinking limoncello, surrounded by people his own age.
Then we have Cecilia, practically looking like a PSA for depression (“Are you having a hard time getting out of bed?” “Do you feel no joy in tasks that used to give you pleasure?”), positively paralyzed with reality show ennui.
“I’m so hungry because the judges sent Julie home,” she moans. . . Huh? (*Rewinds DVR.* Ooooh. . .angry, not hungry. Nevermind.)
The contestants are ordered to put on their new running shoes and t-shirts and meet Heidi and Tim at the track. (In a completely out-of-character move for Project Runway, the t-shirts are emblazoned with New Balance logos so big they could be spotted from a space station on Mars.)
“Do you think it’s a weight loss challenge?” Kimberly asks. (Oooh, like a Biggest Loser meets Project Runway mashup? Me likey. Lose 50 pounds and then design a streetwear collection for the new emaciated you!)
But no, it’s just another “do Heidi’s job for her” challenge, where the designers—in teams of three (cue the dramah)—are instructed to make sportswear looks to go with Heidi’s seriously fugly denim and suede running shoes.
To determine team leaders, they must win a race! On a track! Ha, ha, seeing artsy people run is never not funny!
Meanwhile, Cecilia is so not into it, she’s practically falling over. She’s like a balloon running out of air, farting in the wind.
She pulls Heidi and Tim aside and says that she wants out.
“We can’t want you to succeed more than you do,” Tim says. (I love when he uses one of the phrases from my Tim Gunn bobblehead doll!)
“If this is too hard for you, you can leave anytime,” says Heidi. (As always, Heidi manages to turn an ostensibly compassionate moment into a slight dig.)
And Cecilia is all like, peace out, Project Runway. See you, wouldn’t want to be you. And with that, she exits, bleachers left. (Her 170 fans are apparently taking it hard.)
Time to sweat!
Surprise, surprise: Josh is like frickin Usain Bolt out there—the velocity must come from his eyebrows.*
Conversely, it’s clear that Olivier has never run on a track before in his life (apparently, every time he was required to run track at school, he just transferred to a school in a different country)—so he totally wipes out. And then he sees the medic and then he has a panic attack!
So we’ve had a drop out, a wipe out, a senior moment, a patented Tim catch phrase, and a panic attack all within the first 8 minutes of the show. My work here is done, people.
It shakes out like this:
The team leaders are Josh, Bryce, Anthony, and Viktor. (Who knew?)
Josh picks Anya and Becky.
Bryce picks Kimberly and Danielle.
Anthony picks Laura and—grudgingly, because they won’t let him pick Jojo, the one-eyed groundskeeper—Bert.
Viktor picks Olivier and . . . well, Cecilia’s abrupt exit, has left him with a vacancy. He’s told he can pick any of the auf’d contestants. “Gunnar Deatherage,” I mutter at the screen. “Gunnar Deatherage.” But my pleas fall on deaf ears. He picks Josh C. The stormin’ Mormon is back!
Anyway, back to 3 being the cruelest number. No matter what Chrissy, Jack, and Janet may’ve told you, it’s not company. It’s a goddamned crowd.
So, as Anthony and Laura huddle together, Bert sits apart, literally and metaphorically.
And as Josh and Anya have formed a mutual admiration society, Becky gets every single one of her ideas shot down. (It becomes clear that Josh has basically selected Becky for her sewing prowess and has no intentions of letting her design a stitch.)
Team Bryce seems pretty united, mostly because underdogs have to stick together. And Team Viktor is riding a wave of Josh C. “I’m the happiest boy alive!” good vibrations, so they’re pretty harmonious, too.
But Bert and Becky have it bad. And I actually feel sorry for them both.
Look, I understand that Bert is stubborn and a pain in the ass, but Anthony and Laura can’t have it both ways. You can’t mock his ideas, shut him out of brainstorming, treat him like some sort of musty design relic who needs to be rolled into storage, and then expect him to be an eager team member. Especially when he’s already demonstrated that he’s a bit prickly. (I said prickly. Prickly.)
“Is Andrew using leather?” Bert asks Laura at one point.
“Anthony?” she corrects.
“There are some names worth remembering because they’re not that significant,” Bert mutters, justifying his second senior moment of the episode as a kind of triumphant put-down.
Still, the thing with Bert, as we’ve already established, is that, like Honey Badger, he just doesn’t give a shit. He’s going to do what he wants to do. He’s got toenail clippings older than Anthony. He will not be deterred.
Becky, however, does give a shit. So when Josh tells her that she does “dowdy” dresses and that her demographic is “40 to death,” she takes it (understandably) hard.
She begins to sniffle just a bit, and Josh gets defensive.
“That wasn’t meant as a bad thing,” he says.
And I literally shout at my TV screen, “Shut up, Josh.”
Then suddenly, Josh is channeling Season 2’s Zulema: “I don’t care if you’ve got to cry and cut, but cry and cut” and telling Becky that she needs to stop her blubbering. (Which is sort of like telling someone you just stabbed to stop self-indulgently bleeding out.)
So Becky goes off to the bathroom to have a proper cry and Anya comes to comfort her, because Anya is actually a decent human being (3,000 Facebook fans can’t be wrong!). And then Josh either realizes that he’s being a dick, or realizes that he’s on the verge of a villain edit, or realizes that he needs Becky to be cutting, not crying, but he comes into the girl’s room and—once he gets over the icky “sanitary” girl things—apologizes and they all come together for a diffident group hug.
But Josh is just getting started. He’s now about to have a confrontation with more formidable competition: The Honey Badger, who is apparently using his favorite sewing machine.
“Talk to the eyebrows,” Josh says. (Well, it’s implied.)
“Drop dead!” Honey Badger says.
“You’re closer to death than I am,” Josh says. (Really Josh? Really?)
“That might be a blessing with you around.”
Round one: Honey Badger.
Runway time. The guest judge is model/designer Erin Wasson. She’ very pretty. . . and that’s all I got.
The collections come down the runway and I must say, Viktor’s outfit is boss. And I love Kimberly’s jacket. And Anya’s dress is pretty cool, but I could do without the racing stripe down the middle. And. . .uh. . .er. . .did I mention how pretty Erin Wasson is? (My mama taught me that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.)
Heidi and co. are also flummoxed. In fact, the hot messes are so equally spread out among the teams, they can’t pick a clear winner (or loser).
They bring out the teams, two at a time.
First, it’s Teams Dysfunction.
Anthony immediately starts dissing Bert for his grandpa outfit and how hard he is to work with and how he totally smells like mothballs and Heidi is all, “Check yourself before you wreck yourself, Anthony” because, you see, the judges kinda like Bert’s outfit (Lord knows why) and they think Anthony’s outfit is a train wreck. Which it is. It basically looks like a sumo wrestler diaper with a shirt from the “before” collection on Project Biggest Loser.
“You have achieved the impossible,” Michael Kors says. “The shorts are big and tight at the same time. She has camel toe on big shorts.” Heh.
Then Kors asks to see the back of Anthony’s shorts. Upon seeing the load-in-the-pants debacle, first he gasps, and then the entire judging panel sighs in unison. I need that as my ringtone, like, now.
In case you were wondering, they’re not particularly fond of Laura’s outfit, either.
“Bert’s outfit is the only good outfit standing on the runway from your team,” Heidi says.
Once again, Honey Badger has struck.
The drama with Team Josh is a little more lowkey, with the judges liking most of the outfits and secretly impressed with how Josh bullied Becky into being a glorified seamstress.
Then Team Viktor and Team Bryce are brought on stage. And Viktor’s team is really quite good, despite the fact that Olivier stuck with his Amish-style maxie skirt against Heidi’s wishes. (Never a prudent strategy.)
Team Bryce did okay, with Bryce sort of triumphing a bit with his snap-side dress. (To me, it looks a little too much like what people in 1956 might’ve imagined as the “dress of the future” but what do I know?)
So the judges have a “little chat” (and Heidi makes her “or a big chat” joke for the gazillionth time) and there’s some basic confusion about the rules of the show. (It’s good to know that after 9 seasons, they still haven’t gotten a handle on this.)
Should Anthony go home for his outfit, which is clearly the worst? Or should Danielle go home for her consistent mediocrity? Are we looking at body of work? Or what have you done for me lately?
“I don’t think it’s so cut and dried,” Michael Kors says hopefully.
“I thought it was one day you’re in, one day you’re out,” Heidi says. It’s hard to argue with her point, what with that being the catch phrase that made Project Runway famous and all. (That being said, I don’t want Anthony to go home. He might have been a little teste with Bert this week—still too soon?—but I like the little bugger.)
They bring them back on stage.
Viktor is the winner. (That’s his outfit, above. I'm so buying it.)
And Joshua is also the winner. . .except he wins for Anya’s dress. (Odd.)
And Anthony Ryan is. . .IN!
So Danielle is out.
Oh, the awkwardness of Josh C. now going farther in the competition than Danielle. Cecilia, what have you wrought?
*Any and all references to Josh’s magical eyebrows are in honor of my homie Spencer Cox.