Friday, September 28, 2012

Yeah Baby! The Project Runway recap

Ryan Murphy's next sitcom

There should be a special corner of hell reserved for moms who want their toddlers to look “edgy.”
First of all, how the hell can a baby look edgy? I mean, do you really look at an 18-month-old and think, “Oh, she must have an awesome studio in the Village where she crafts her subversive finger paintings while smoking Gauloises”?
Second of all, edgy doesn’t sound comfortable, soft, or cute—all things a baby’s wardrobe is supposed to be.
Just stop it, moms.

Anyway, yes, we’re at Babies R Us (sadly, my Blogger font doesn’t include a backwards R with a star in it, so just use your imagination people) where—surprise, surprise—Heidi has a line of clothing called “Fuck You, I’m a Baby!” (Just kidding. It’s called Truly Scrumptious.)

The challenge is simple (at first): Design a cute getup for a 12-18 month old toddler. Since there are 3 boys and 3 girls, Heidi—who is always trying to milk as much free labor from her contestants as possible—will pick 2 winning looks.
The designers are randomly paired with their patooties. 

It’s Dmitry who gets edgy mom.
But Christopher’s mom (“Mary J. Blige,” Sonjia calls her) is no picnic. She describes her child as “fashion forward.” *Headdesk*
(Basically half the moms are like, “My little dumpling is fashion forward.” And the other half are like, “He needs snaps cause he pees himself.”)

Does this onesie make me look fat?

They’re about to head back to the studio when Heidi says, “I have a special surprise.”
And Tim, quite literally, says, “Mwah ha ha!”

The surprise comes in the form of baby dolls—but not the kind that sit there and do nothing.
“[They're the] screaming crying babies they give to teenagers before they have sex,” explains Elena.

Dmitry, for his part, is upset because he’s been given a black baby. Where’s Maury Povich when you really need him?

Then he decides to name his baby Brandon. (Didn’t see that coming.)
Elena names her baby Asshole. (Saw that coming.)

Fabio, as it turns out, is a great nurturer of his Baby-Screams-a-Lot.
“Fabio is obsessed with baby,” says Dmitry. “The baby is not real Fabio. Leave the baby alone. It wants to sleep.”

Oh, Dmitry. Marry me.

Meanwhile, Dmitry’s baby will totally have shaken baby syndrome. Dude, you’re supposed to gently rock the baby, not swing it around like a javelin.

Twist number two: Now, the designers have to make a complementary look for the moms, too!

This sends a few of them off the deep end.
Elena, in particular, starts drawing Dali-esque abstractions into her HP tablet, The Shining style. Never a good sign.

Then they have to bring their “babies” to Mood, so they basically look like 6 delusional schizophrenics with a day pass.

There’s a fitting and the only thing Christopher’s mom hates more than her look (“I feel like I have on my mom’s 1970s tablecloth”) is her baby’s look (“not under any circumstances.”).
Christopher, wisely, slaps on a conciliatory belt and sticks to his guns.

Runway Day!
New mom Hilary Duff is the guest judge. (But she can’t be a mom! Because she’s on the Disney Network and she’s, like, 12! Right? Right? La, la, la, I can’t hear you.)

What follows is the cutest runway show in the history of ever. And, in an ironic twist, many of these toddlers weigh more than the actual models. (Heh…)
But seriously? When Elena’s baby waddles behind the runway screen, my ovaries actually explode.

All 6 designers stay on stage for the judging.

First Sonjia
For starters, Sonjia totally lucked out with her little fellow, Jude, who is the cutest thing ever and a total flirt. (My friend Evan hates when people refer to babies as flirts. It grosses him out. But seriously, this little dude? Working the room.)

"You've been a wonderful audience"

Everyone loves her little man-suit with the elbow patches. (And you know a lot of guys at home are like, “Why can’t I have a comfy fleece onesie business suit?”)

Next Melissa, whose baby has the dreaded ED (in this case, Exposed Diaper.)
She saves herself with an awesome vest. 

To be honest, I think the exposed diaper works for her

Fabio’s modern take on nautical is a big hit.

Elena’s baby looks like she just came from a “baby sample sale” according to Michael Kors. It's all too much. (Elena? Overdesigning? Say it ain’t so!)

Dmitry’s baby is sleeping.
“You never wake a sleeping baby,” Heidi says, mantra-like. Everyone nods solemnly.
People like Dmitry’s look, although Nina notes the all red get-up with the pointy hood resembles a crayon.

And if I may add my two cents here: I hate a pointy hood. I have this bitchin’ Mike and Chris leather jacket with a pointy hood that I can never put up. My sister calls it a “penis hood” but to me, pointy hoods evoke gnomes or members of the Ku Klux Klan. Ugh.

Anyway, Dmitry’s baby wakes up and is probably scarred for life seeing Michael Kors’ orange face looming over him like that so unexpectedly.

Finally, Christopher’s dress.
Adorable, but impractical they all agree.
“The mom would totally wear that dress,” says Michael Kors, with confidence.
And Christopher’s mom grits her teeth. 

Please someone remind Heidi that this is not actually one of her babies

The winners are Sonjia and Christopher! 

That looks NOTHING like Christopher's dress

And the Bottom 2 are Melissa and Elena.
And…Elena is out.
(I actually enjoyed Elena’s mordant personality and will kinda miss the little she-devil. But I literally didn’t like a SINGLE THING she designed in the entire competition. So it was her time.)

Backstage, in an unexpected twist, Dmitry gets down on one knee and says, “Make me happiest ballroom dancer on planet and marry me Elena so we can make beautiful Project Runway babies together and live happily ever after in the Motherland.”
Well, okay, he should’ve said that. In fact, they didn’t even hug goodbye. Dmelena is officially dead.

At least we'll always have this picture

Did anyone else notice smoldering glances between Tim Gunn and Fabio? Gabio anyone?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Kicked Out! The Project Runway recap

Do you ever get the sense that all the awesome stuff happens off camera?

This photo suggests that:

THIS photo confirms it:

Damn you, Project Runway editors!

Anyway, the Rockettes metaphor  is apt for this episode because we Project Runway viewers all clasped arms and formed a virtual kickline after the show was over to celebrate Ven’s departure. 

“Start spreading the news….Today was Ven’s episode to lose!”

Can I have a "Woo" followed by a "hoo"?

(By the way, I’ve never understood the appeal of a kickline. Why does a bunch of leggy women being able to kick in unison stir up such glee? I can’t dance a lick and even I could do a synchronized kick. I mean, why not  have all the Rockettes correctly identify Botswana on a map? Now THAT would be impressive. . .)

Also, wanna see some real enthusiasm over some line dancing? Please, let me refer you to this (slightly NSFW) link. (H/T, Princess Rainbow Puke.)

So this week’s challenge is simple: Design a dress for the Rockettes.

Dmitry is in Dmitry heaven. He’s been waiting all his life for this moment.

Elena has made a promise to herself that she’s not going to let the competition get to her and be so stressed out. This lasts for approximately 6 whole minutes as far as I can tell.

At Mood, Elena goes a little overbudget. And when I say a little over budget, I mean the U.S. Secretary of Treasury is looking at Elena and saying, “Girl, learn to balance a budget!” (Just a joke, people. Obama in 2012!!!)

Her budget was $300 and she spent $450. No big whoop.

For reasons not totally made clear, Tim tells the final 7 that they get to have a nice dinner on the town. (Now, if this was Top Chef, halfway through dinner Padma would inform them that they had to make the dinner, bus the tables, do the dishes, and redesign the restaurant. But no bait and switch here. An actual leisurely dinner.)

Elena takes this time to apologize to Dmitry.

“I’m sorry I was a bitch to you sometimes,” she says. “I’m usually really not like that.”

Can I say something to Elena, just between us girls? I’ve now watched approximately 810 minutes of  you on my television screen. In those 810 minutes, you’ve been a bitch for about 750 of them. It’s who you are. Own it.

That being said, Dmitry seems to accept her apology.

“It think it’s wine. Wine is working.”
(I love Dmitry’s complete lack of articles. “The” is such an over-rated word in the American language.)

Next day, Tim comes to check on their progress.

Sometimes, I think Tim just says catch phrases so they can put out the second edition of the talking Tim Gunn doll and/or turn it into a YouTube autotune sensation.

“Bitchslap that bitch” (said to Fabio about his fabric NOT about Elena, BTW) is one of those moments.

Like everyone else, Tim falls in love with Christopher’s New York skyline dress but wishes it had stars.
Christopher agrees, but unfortunately, doesn’t have the sequins to create a star effect.

And then Tim does something I didn’t even know Tim was authorized to do:
He tells the designers they have $100 extra to go back to Mood.

He claims it’s for the sake of all the designers, but I have to say I think it was killing Tim that Christopher couldn’t do the twinkle effect and he basically made up a new rule on the spot.
Wonder if that $400 (3 designers stayed behind) came out of his pocket.

(Speaking of designers staying behind: You’ll NEVER guess which designer stayed behind because his dress was already perfect,  his fabric choice exactly right, his quantity of fabric impeccable, and his dress a surefire winner?) (Oh Ven... don't ever change.)

Anyway, runway time!

Debra Messing is the guest judge, somewhat curious in light of her historically hideous wardrobe on Smash, brilliantly documented in this Vulture investigative report.

The most hilarious moment on the runway comes when Melissa realizes that a giant number one is emblazoned across her dress. How she could’ve possibly missed this is beyond me. That thing wasn’t the least bit subliminal. It was totally liminal.

Numbers 2-16 would follow

(When Melissa laughed over her numerical monstrosity it made me love her a little more, tho.)

The second most hilarious moment was the Debra Messing Is Not Amused Face that she wore when Elena’s dress came marching down the runway. Hopefully somebody screenshot that look of complete and utter disgust.

So Fabio is safe. I thought his dress looked like something a Rockette robot would wear, but whatevs.

So…in brief:
Sonjia’s dress was a “disco turkey.”
Dmitry’s dress was a “exciting, polished, impeccably made.”
Ven’s dress needed more drama, but Debra Messing kinda sorta liked it. (She, however, would wear it as a cape.)
Melissa’s dress was more cigarette girl than Rockette and, uh, nice try with the giant subliminal number one there, missy.
Christopher’s dress was stunning,  “a Bob Mackie moment.”
Elena’s dress is so busy it wants to “sing and dance on its own.”

Backstage, Ven puts his arm around Elena, consoling her for her inevitable loss to him.

And the winner is ….Christopher!

Everyone else is declared safe.

It comes down to Ven against Elena and Ven is clearly thinking how insulting it is that he even has to be subjected to this bottom 2 ritual and can they just eliminate Elena already so he can move onto his next Origami Rose creation?

And then—start spreading the news!—Ven is OUT.

And Elena looks like this:

And all of America looks like this:


Friday, September 14, 2012

There Will Be Blood: The Project Runway recap


Poor Gunnar’s mom.

Not moments after Gunnar said that if he won Project Runway he’d use the money to buy himself a pair of new boots and his mom a pair of new boobs (high concept new boutique alert!), did Tim Gunn announce that special guests would be helping the designers with their textile challenge. And yep, those special guests were none other than family and loved ones, including . . . Gunnar’s mom. All of America immediately stared at her rack. (It's true. She really DOES need a boob job.) (JK, they looked perfectly fine.)

It’s always surreal to see the families, isn’t it? Project Runway is such a strange little self-contained ecosystem—it’s hard to imagine the designers living outside of Parsons and the Atlas Apartments, let alone having parents and loved ones.

Elena's mom is pretty. (But soooo skinny. Maybe she should mix in a pierogi from time to time?)

Ukrainian tourism photo

Dmitry’s BFF: Secretly in love with him? (Discuss among yourselves.)

Makes up reasons to touch him

This episode is also notable for the return of Mondo!
His first outfit is alarmingly subdued on the Mondo’s Awesomely Mondolicious Look of the Day ™ scale—a kind of Johnny Cash meets Pee Wee Herman situation, but not to worry… things will pick up.

A few things about Mondo:
I love the fact that they had to create an entire season (Project Runway All-Stars) just to eradicate the mistake of picking Gretchen over him in Season 8.

Also, am I the only one who feels strangely proud and protective of Mondo? I feel like he’s come so far since his season. He seems so poised now, so self-possessed. It’s like he’s finally owning his own fabulousness. 

Tim is proud, too

So yeah, it’s the textile challenge, which is probably the most effective of any of the PR product placement. Like, I’ve never once thought, “Oh, I gotta get me to Lord & Taylor to buy accessories!” or “I sooo need that L’Oreal volumizing hair spray!” but when I seem them doodling away on that HP Tablet, I get a little pang.

Awkwardly, they have to design with their mothers peering over their shoulders.
Just for the record: If my mother was peering over my shoulder as I wrote this recap, this recap would suck.

Universal "mom does not approve" face

The textile is supposed to express their heritage or background in some way.

Sonjia actually says, “Maybe black [should be my] prominent color. Because I’m black.” (Note to first time viewers: Usually, she’s a little more creative than that.)

Gunnar is doing a pattern based on the fact he was bullied as a child. (It is sad beyond belief to me that when he looks at pictures of his childhood, all he can think about is the bullying he endured. Fuck you, bullies!).
That being said, his dying bird/hand pattern is a tad. . .bewildering.

I must mishear Fabio, whose cute BF is his special loved one, because it sounds like he’s making his textile out of a series of penises and vaginas. Wouldn’t that be funny if it were really true? *Headdesk*

Ven is doing something that will BLOW YOUR COLLECTIVE MINDS: He’s making a flower pattern! A flower! I know, crazy, right?

Anyway, off they go to Mood for notions and whatnots and hoozits.
Elena is in a mom-powered good mood.
“My mom brought happiness back to me. I’m not a bitch, usually,” she says.
And to prove her point she FROLICS down the aisles of Mood.
(Well, I’m convinced.)
(Just a show of hands: Her runaway victory as the Fan Favorite is the result of some sort of Ukrainian mob effort, right? Yeah, that’s what I thought, too.)

Then the Most Wonderful Thing in the World happens in the studio.
Tim Gunn approaches Ven’s hibiscus flower dress and says, “I’ll be blunt. I see an homage to a menstrual cycle.”

(If sales of paper towels go up today it’s because every fan of Project Runway just did a spit take.)

And BTW, he’s not done yet:

“It looks like it soaked up blood,” he says. “I just hope no one’s offended by it. Because they look like Maxi Pads.”

Then he pats Ven on the arm and says, “Otherwise, great job!” (Not really.)
Ha! Burn, Ven! *Points and laughs* *Saves episode to DVR*

So what else?
Tim goes all Tim Gunn, Natty Psychiatrist on Gunnar and says his jacket looks like a “Don’t bully me suit of armor.”

He’s not able to accuse Elena’s jacket of looking like nursing scrubs, because she does it herself.

He helps mopey!Christopher pick between his two meh looks.

Finally, it's runway time.
The guest judges are Mondo and Anya!
Love me some Anya. . .but every time I see her the side of her head is shaved a little bit more. Next time I see her, she’ll be sporting the “Full Savalas.” (Look it up, young readers.)

Anyway, Mondo let me down with his earlier outfit, but not today, my friends. Not today.

At first it seems relatively tame: A leopard-spotted shirt, fuchsia tie, baby blue linen jacket. Bold for some, but Mondo calls that a Tuesday.
Then the camera pulls back to reveal….baby blue linen short shorts to go with the jacket!
Oh, Mondo! You have given me a Mondo’s Awesomely Mondolicious Look of the Day ™ after all.

Her head is shaved; his legs are not

So Elena—who actually managed to make something halfway decent with her scrubs fabric and Fabio, who made the most boring penis and vagina outfit in the history of penises and vaginas, are both safe.

Melissa, Dmitry, Gunnar, Christopher, Sonjia, and Ven remain on stage.

Melissa is first.
The judges all dig how she broke from her comfort zone with this “Park Avenue girl.”
Mondo wishes she had pushed herself even further. 

True fact: Melissa would not hang out with the girl who wears this dress

Then Ven, who has jettisoned the Menstrual Dress but now has the same dress he always makes—complete with fanning detail and 3D flower—gets totally whacked by the judges.
“She looks like a Hawaiian airline hostess,” says Michael Kors.

They all love Dmitry’s jacket and its phenomenal slit detail, but Anya wishes he had used more of the textile. (I actually disagree with her on this: Dmitry’s use of the textile was pretty ingenious.)

Gunnar’s outfit, alas, is “not cool, not edgy, not modern” and looks like a “sheet of bird postage stamp.”

All together now: He put a bird on it!

Surprisingly intimidating for a man with two-tone hair and a woman in a bird jacket

Everyone loves Sonjia’s flare pants, especially Anya, who praises her attention to detail.
Squee! I knew my two favorite girls were going to love each other.
They totally need their own sitcom: 2 Dope Girls. (Are you listening, CBS?)

Finally, everyone agrees that this is not Christopher’s best effort.

Deliberation time.
Heidi is confused about Ven’s continued use of the flower pattern.
“Can someone get Tim Gunn!” she says, in a royal declaration sort of way.
Indeed, Tim Gunn emerges. (If I had one super power it would be the ability to summon Tim Gunn at will.)

Tim explains that he was too overcome by Ven’s menstrual blood to warn him about using flowers again.

Anyhow, Dmitry wins!
Vodka for everyone!

And. . .sigh. . .sweetie-pie Gunnar goes home.
Oh well. At least he and Christopher are on good terms at the end. They even hug.

And don’t feel too bad for Gunnar, as his name is still GUNNAR DEATHERAGE.  So he basically wins at life.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Let’s Call the Whole Thing Meh: The Project Runway recap

From Russia, With Hate

Well, darn.

If Project Runway was a scripted show, there would have been a dramatic moment last night where Dmitry and Elena, in the midst of sniping at each other, would’ve locked eyes, hurled aside their fabric and glitter, and passionately hate-kissed.

Or…or…better still. Cut to a scene of Dmitry alone in the studio.
Elena: What’s wrong?
Dmitry: I am missing my tango. I am ballroom dancer first, designer second.
Elena: I will tango with you, Dmitry.

The lights dim and we see Elena and Dmitry doing the forbidden dance (or is that the Lambada? I always forget). Their eyes lock again.

Dmitry (smolderingly): I hate you!
Elena (smolderingly): I hate you more!

And then…they (smolderingly) kiss!!! And...scene.

Yeah. That would’ve been much better. Instead, all they do is complain about each other for 90 minutes. Oh wells.

So the show starts with Heidi asking the designers, “Who’s good at negotiating?”
Turns out, and contrary to all evidence in previous shows, they’re all good at negotiating.

And it’s a good thing, too, because they will have to earn their keep this week.
No Mood freebies for them.
The studio is filled with glitter, paint, stickers—arts and crafts type materials.
“I don’t like sparkle, I don’t like glitter. I don’t like any of that stuff,” says Elena.
Color me shocked.

“This is a very exciting day,” says Tim Gunn, in his best Mr. Gunn’s Neighborhood voice.

Tim explains that they can make tee-shirts, jewelry, scarves, etc.—anything to sell on the streets of New York.
And it doesn’t stop there: They can give fashion advice, offer to do alterations. “Whatever you need to do to make money,” Tim Gunn emphasizes. He’s basically selling them into sex trade at this point.

But first, the teams! That are totally random and not the result of producer manipulation AT ALL!!

Team one is Christopher, Gunnar, and Sonjia, aka Team Max’s Favorites Except for Melissa, She’s Cool, Too. (Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, though.)

Sassy, adorable, better than your faves, etc.

Team 2 starts with Dmitry. Then Elena is chosen.
In a private interview, Dmitry groans loudly and slumps his shoulders.
OH NOT WAIT. That wasn’t a private interview. That was right in front of Elena!!!
“What did I do in a past life to deserve this?” he moans in a private interview.
OH NOT WAIT. That wasn’t a private interview either!!!

Alicia is also on that team, for what it’s worth. 

Alicia stuck in a Dmelena sandwich

Team 3 is Ven, Fabio, and Melissa. (“A room full of aren’t we fabulous? We’re so fabulous,” as Michael Kors perfectly put it.)

"Our collective awesomeness is almost unfair"

So they all start making stuff and, in truth, the tee-shirts that Dmitry, Elena, and Alicia made are godawful.

Saleswoman of the month Elena is all too quick to point this out to potential customers.

“We’re trying to sell these crappy tees!” she chirps.
(Just once, I’d like an employee at The Gap to say that to me.)

Dmitry is horrified: “Elena iz walking depression,” he says, in that fabulously droll, adenoidal way of his.

Back at the studio the challenge is to make two complete fall looks, at least one with outerwear.

Gunnar and Christopher are getting along adorably well (squee!) but Elena thinks Christopher’s camel hair trench coat looks like a Snuggie. Heh. 

I must be shopping at the wrong Snuggie store

Tim Gunn can’t wrap his brain around Dmitry’s exposed darts. He just stares, slack-jawed, at Dmitry’s exposed darts as if Dmitry himself just sprouted an exposed dart.

The biggest bit of drama comes when Tim assesses the collection of Team Ven, Melissa, and Fabio and decides that Ven’s highly constructed (go figure) skirt doesn’t fit with the rest.
But since compromise is Ven’s middle name, this poses no problem at all!
(Actually in fairness, after a bit of grousing, Ven is fairly flexible on this—but does anyone else think he made the most lame, generic replacement skirt to SPITE his team?)

Really, Ven?

Elena keeps mocking the way Dmitry talks: Apparently, the way he says “sporty” (“spahwty”) is just hilarious to her.
To me, this is the equivalent of an identical twin calling her twin sister ugly. Girl, you sound EXACTLY LIKE HIM.

The other bit of Elenadrama: She wants her coat to be buttoned as it goes down the runway.
This, we find out later, is not because she’s trying to save Alicia from herself, as she claims, but because her coat looks like shit when open.
Alicia, understandably, doesn’t think covering up her only two small contributions to the collection is in her best interest (in hindsight, maybe she was wrong about that, but I digress…).
She insists the coat stays open.

“It’s her ass on the line, not mine” Elena says. Which makes sense cause Elena has immunity. Oh no, wait. . .

Runway Time!
Guest judge is Anna Sui, who has lots to say about teamwork, much of it contradictory.

The looks come down the runway and Team Christopher, Sonjia, and Gunnar are the “clear winners,” says Heidi. Sweet!

Then the dreaded “who should win?” moment (only slightly less dreaded than the “who should go home?” moment.)

Christopher votes for Gunnar. (And somewhere, an angel just got his wings.)
Gunnar says” “I think that I would be a contender. But I don’t want that to sound pugnacious.”
No fear of that, Gunnar!
Sonjia picks herself.

Now time to discuss two-thirds of the contestants, aka the losers.

Elena is already glowering and squirming as the judging begins.

She’s upset because Dmitry created an entire outfit on his own, trying to hog the spotlight.
Then she says, “The whole collection had to be built around your dress because you don’t know how to do anything else!”
(The phrase “oh snap” was actually created for moments like this.)

The judges, however, weren’t wild for Dmitry’s shawl/scarf, or Elena’s hideous “can’t be worn open” coat.
Briefly, like the rest of us, they forgot Alicia existed. Then they finally said, “Wait. Alicia. What did you do?”
And she explained that she “designed” the plain pants and plainer top that went under Elena’s coat.

If Alicia ever starts her own label, it should be called “Meh.”

Onto team Fabio, Melissa, and Ven.
The following words are used to describe their collection: Droopy, lumpy, sloppy, sad. (Four of the dwarves in an existential production of Snow White).
The only thing the judges like is Melissa’s white leather jacket.
They hate Fabio’s coat, as do I. Michael Kors says “it’s grandma’s house coat. She should have Kleenex in her pocket.”
(MC Metaphor strikes again!)

They notice that Ven’s pieces don’t have a whole lot of “Ven” in them.

Decision time.

The winner is Sonjia! She’s got her groove back! (Might her power come from her ginormous headscarves? God, I hope not.)


And Alicia is ….OUT.

After, she turns to the camera and says, in the most diffident, unconvincing way possible: “You haven’t seen the last of me, for sure.”
I swear, it was like she was reading it off a cue card.
But hey, who knows? The “Meh” label might actually take off. I’ll even give her a tagline: “For Days When You Just Can’t Be Bothered.”