"Project Accessory," guys! It's like "Project Runway" for slap bracelets. It's the "X-Factor" of chandelier earrings! First observations: "Accessory" looks weird in the singular, doesn't it? It's like seeing "datum" instead of "data," or computer "mice." Without its plural friends to party with, "accessory" sounds like it's sitting alone in its jewelry chest on Friday night, signing up for eHarmony.
Let's meet the contestants! They're moving into their dorm room, which is actually a swanky penthouse. Nina is from Miami, which means all of her jewelry will be overflowing with palm trees and baskets of fruits and iPods playing Shakira. It's ok, I can make Miami jokes because I used to live there. Adrian is from Baltimore and he's a church hat designer, because his dad is a pastor.
David used to play football and now all of his jewelry has tiny football charms on it. Ok, not really. Nicolina is a RAWK AND ROLL jewelry designer and she says that Steven Tyler wears her leather rose corsages ("That creepy guy from American Idol?" - the nation's teens). Rich was a diesel mechanic and shall heretofore be referred to as "Beard Guy," because he already has an epic accessory ON HIS FACE.
Diego is, I don't know, a guy. I love it on these fashion shows when you have the straight guys who are desperate to show America that they're rough and tough guys, who are like "YEAH SON! I design BROOCHES!" and then rips hunk of raw steak with their teeth and chug boiling water as a chaser. Shea designed her own necklace, which reads "Bitch" on one side and "Clunky Foreshadowing" on the other.
More contestants. Christina made a bunch of stuff for Patricia Field for "Sex and the City." I hope she trademarked those flower pins!
Envelopes materializes on everyone's bed, probably from the Shoe Fairy. Oh no, wait, everyone is speculating who the enigmatic "M" is on the signoff of the letter is. Muppet Babies? Heavy metal band Metallica? I cannot express to you how much I hope it's Marc Summers from "Family Double Dare." But spoiler alert! I Googled this show first and it's Molly Sims.
The crew then piles into vans, which dubiously start heading towards New Jersey. It's too late! Save yourselves!
The vans end up, in fact, in New Jersey. Molly Sims comes out wearing a leopard print pencil skirt that looks like heavenly angels descended from above and painted it on her cellulite-free thighs with God's rubber stamper. In other words, she looks amazing. Also there is lifestyle expert Eva Jeanbart-Lorenzotti, i.e. their Tim Gunn. The well-accessorized pair explains that the contestants will have to find materials for the challenge in a storage unit. The challenge itself is to create three accessories: a necklace, a belt and an accessory of your choice. Free idea: make Molly a Y-necklace!
"I'm sweating, it's absolutely crazy," Nina says as the group runs through the storage units like Heidi Klum is chasing them with an Ed Hardy hobo bag.
Adrian grabs some box springs. Shea goes for metal. Everyone starts gravitating towards this chandelier. Okay, listen up, SHOW. It is mega cheating to give these people a chandelier. It's like giving the "Top Chef" contestants a bunch of entrees from Per Se strung together with fishing line.
Everyone hauls their junk to the vans, and it's back to the city. The workspace is the usual butcher shop-cum-high-school-dissection lab stocked with metal tables upon which the Drama will be Wrought. The challenge is to make your pieces work with a white tee and jeans, obvi.
Bald Brian is making a belt of pieces of stuffed teddy bear, and we get to see him scooping out the polyfill viscera from a helpless teddy. It looks like a Build-a-Bear snuff film up in here.
Nicolina is crying because who knows. The accessories, it's too much!
Beard Guy is fretting over all the weird stuff he got. Kelly is doing something cool-looking with old vinyl records. James is lasciviously checking out Shea's shoes. "Look at you, you're not afraid to get dirty," he tells her, as she's wrangling with some old metal stuff, and I wait for him to follow up with, "I want you to project my accessory, if you know what I mean."
"I used to sleep in a storage unit," Brian says, then calmly goes back to sewing his Bear Bowel Belt of Weirdness. Wait, wtf.
Eva comes around do to the Gunn Inspection of Shame. James says he's never done jewelry before. Eva is like, seriously? She likes Cotrice's belt. She hates Brian's everything. Nicolina emotionally tells Eva she had a "meltdown." Womp womp.
Commercial time! I'll now share an accessory-related anecdote about me. I left my favorite Forever 21 ring in a bathroom at some point today. Ugh, why did I do that.
Judging time! Nina puts on her favorite outfit because she thinks she's going home.
Okay, the thing is, accessories are way harder to judge outside of an outfit, right? Like a chunky plastic choker could kick ass with a t-shirt, but otherwise look like my great-aunt Viola's trying to spiff up her muu-muu for mah jongg in Boca.
The judges are Molly and Eva; Ariel Foxman, who's an editor at In Style; and Kenneth Cole, who, yeah okay, you're reading this recap, aren't you? They're joined by guest judge Debra Messing, who's pretty and is a good comedic actress but she seems depressing to me. She seems like a person who might be crying an average of four hours every day.
The prize for the winner is the usual: $100K, a spread in InStyle and something about haircare.
Runway! Christina's stuff is all rope-y and nautical-y. Nina's looks like a flea market. David made a wonky gladiator cuff. Rich's stuff all resembles cat toys. Cotrice's is just odd. Nina also shredded an umbrella into neck spaghetti. James' whole collection looks like a cotton ball factory exploded. OH GOD BALD GUY WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH YOUR THINGS. Ugh, James's chest-heavy necklace looks like the seashells on it are budding plants and YOUR BOOBS are the sun.
it's also funny that everyone is standing so far away while judging these things you need to see in detail to really appreciate.
The judges like Nina's collection, especially Ariel who is like panting over it. Molly calls James' model a "luau princess" and not in a good way. Diego's stuff is actually simple and elegant, and everyone digs it. Bald Brian says his look is "post-apocalyptic," and wouldn't you know, Debra Messing is feeling it! You know what everyone hates, though? Nicolina's goth Raggedy Ann jewelry. I kind of like it though? Oh well.
DECISION TIME: Nina wins! But she put on her "I'm going home" outfit before. Irony! But it's cool, I like her.
Who's going home? It's poor Cotrice! Grrr, I can't believe James is safe after that trio of suck, and also his lame-o pickup lines.
Overall, this show has all the structure and rhythm of "Project Runway," but the subject matter is less accessible and the charisma level isn't quite the same. Still, I'm willing to give it a shot. Here are some challenges I hope they'll do for episode two:
Follow Jessica Misener on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jessmisener
Follow Jessica Misener on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jessmisener