Previously on Project Runway: The gang put on a far-too literal production of Newsies, Tommy Hilfiger did a terrible Michael Kors impression, and poor recovering Meth addict Johnny was sent back to understudy for Jerry Ferrara.
"Here we go again," says the voice of Logan as the morning-in-LA establishing shots play, and this makes me think of Whitesnake's, Here I Go Again, which made me Google it, and you have to watch this video. Did you know it starts out with someone doing a backbend across the hoods of two cars?
Anyway, here we go again on our own... goin' down the only road we've ever known, which is the morning after scenes of people making idle conversation and maybe eating cereal.
Ra'mon-Lawrence notes (to a scantily-clad Logan... is there any better kind?) that there are two empty beds where Malvin and Johnny used to lie, dreaming of ethereal nests and runway walks, respectively. But then he says that their absence makes the competition more serious. Burn! (My husband Jeff counter-burns by remarking that Ra'mon has a "corn-row mullet.")
Nic interviews, apropos of nothing, that he is not here to make friends (a reality TV refrain so ubiquitous that there is going to be a segment on This American Life about it. For reals.). And, well, great job, asshole, you haven't.
Over in the women's compound, Irina says that the competition is "getting stiffer," which is technically accurate but which sounds dirty. Gordana was shocked to find herself in the bottom three last week, but she is so deadpan that her shock reads as boredom.
On the runway, Heidi dispenses with the rehashing (Irina has immunity) and segues into the challenge. "We are in LA," she says, "And it's time to get you out of the sewing room to see what this town is all about...." There are so many fantastic potential endings to this ellipsis... In N' Out Burger! Smog! Porcelain veneers! Sadly the end of Heidi's sentence turns out to be "Moviemaking." Tim is waiting at Stage 6 to tell the designers more. As they approach, we see that he is joined by Collier Strong, the L'Oreal spokesperson who shows up occasionally on the show for brand extension purposes, and to scare me with his bald head, piercing eyes, and craggy face. He kind of reminds me of Locke from Lost, if Locke was gay and spent his time taking Kate's look from tomboy to vamp instead of trying to, you know, kill Jacob and rule the island. Anyway.
Tim says that he is on "real Hollywood soundstage" which is cute because that's not exactly rare. But Tim is holding a velvet bag, and I LOVE it when things get picked out of bags on this show. Seriously, Tim could pick Scrabble tiles out of that thing one by one and I would still watch with bated breath. It turns out that for this challenge the designers will select a film genre and create a character, whom they will then outfit. The genres are: Action/Adventure, Film Noir, Science Fiction, Period Piece, and Western. For a minute I was bummed that there was no Musicals category, but I quickly realized that no good could ever come of that.
Immediately all of the designers interview that they will do anything but Western (What, guys, no Texas tuxedos?). Nic and Gordana are particularly horrified at the idea. Gordana says, "I don't know what to do with a Western. I'm not American." I know how she feels. I don't know what to do with those mini metric cans of Coke they have in Europe, not to mention the bidets.
Irina gets to go first since she won the challenge and picks Film Noir. Then Tim draws names from the velvet bag (yay!). Logan picks Action/Adventure, as does Carol Hannah, who is called right after him. Ra'mon picks Science Fiction -- apparently he is a closet Trekkie! Louise picks Film Noir, somewhat obviously, as does Althea. Gordana picks Period Piece, Nic chooses Sci Fi, and Christopher picks Period Piece, which leaves Epperson and Shirin with Western. Poor Epperson. He gets picked last every time there is a bag drawing. It almost takes away from my enjoyment of the bag ceremony. Almost.
Back at FIDM, Tim tells the designers that they have 30 minutes to sketch, $150 for Mood, and only one day to complete the challenge. People freak, understandably. Epperson is somewhat blocked, while Shirin settles on a saloon girl concept. Althea is going for a sexy assassin (which I totally didn't think of when I heard "Action/Adventure." I thought of Nicolas Cage in a crappy Hawaiian shirt trying to save the Declaration of Independence. And you know, I think I'm mixing up Raising Arizona with National Treasure.) Carol Hannah and Logan also both have Action/Adventure, and as they compare notes they interview that they are kind of BFFs. Who knew? Logan says that CH is the only "female" he connects with, which makes him sound creepy. CH, of course, thinks Logan is hot. Are they doing it? I totally would have thought Logan would go for an Althea or Irina type. But if it's true then good on you, Carol Hannah. Someone should be hitting that. The single straight man in the cast (who does not hail from "the Motor City" or make skorts) is a terrible thing to waste.
At Mood, everyone is haggling over yards of cheap fabric and Shirin is too short to reach anything by herself. I wish the Mood outings were more fraught with tension. I want people coming to blows over bolts of brocade.
In the workroom, Epperson explains that he wanted Period Piece but has figured out how to make a Western period outfit. His character is a woman whose husband is off to war and she has to take care of cattle and carry a gun and stuff. Gordana, who does have Period Piece, has settled on the twenties (after, hilariously, briefly considering the eighties) because, as she says "that was when women became more emancipated." Nic is designing for one of "three queens who watch over the universe." I could not even make up something that good. And, forgive me for blaspheming here, but it makes me imagine the Father, Son and Holy Ghost as characters in Paris is Burning. They could even have a Biblical song! We three queens of Orient are... Ahem. Ra'mon-Lawrence is crafting a jumpsuit that, he says, is for a "human-alien hybrid."
There is some transient drama in the sewing room when Louise loses her bobbin, and then she pretty much admits that she has no story, no character, and no idea what she's doing. Nic then actually has an interview in which he makes some decent points about how Louise does not have her shit together without seeming like a total dick.
When Tim comes to assess the designers' progress, Chris has his hands all up in his mannequin's prairie skirt, Nic is hanging spangles on a white costume like ornaments on a tree, and Ra'mon-Lawrence is working on what looks like leisure wear for the Green Lantern. Gordana tells Tim that her flapper character "discovers oil" and is "coming out in society." Aw. I kind of love Gordana. Then Irina bitches that she can't see Gordana competing at Bryant Park and that the other designers are "on a different level." I think she should spend more time keeping up with the Kardashians and less time being a giant beyotch.
Chris is making a Victorian period piece for what he calls a "vampire bride." Tim loves the look but balks at the bare arms, saying that they are not very Victorian. Of Epperson's Tim cries "Annie Get Your Gun!" (Which reminds me of yet another great Broadway muscial waiting to happen -- Annie Get Your Gunn. Starring Tim and Aileen Quinn. What ever happened to her?) Tim is seduced by Epperson's ruffles. I am also seduced by Ruffles, of the potato variety.
Ra'mon-Lawrence's jumpsuit is made of scaly leather that looks almost skin-like. Tim says it could either be great or a big hot mess. Louise gets a thumbs down, as her relatively simple black dress is all about details and nuance that won't really read on the runway, especially for such a costumey challenge. Nic's sci-fi white Ice Queen gets the Gunn seal of approval. Nic says he is worried about Ra'mon and I kind of am, too. I am even more worried when, moments later, R-L fits his model into the green jumpsuit and admits that he is having second thoughts. "This is looking very Kermit the Frog gone wrong," he says. (And I must disagree that this is actually Kermit the Frog gone wrong). He decides to start from scratch with two hours to go.
Everyone is going bananas as the clock ticks down to midnight. Nic shrieks like a girl and runs from the workroom. Shirin furrows her brow amidst a sea of taffeta. Louise cuts herself on the sewing machine, and we are treated to a far too-long close-up of her bloody finger.
The next morning, the workroom is still crazy. All of the designers are doing last-minute work on their garments. R-L, who has crafted some sort of dress out of his lizard-skin fabric, thinks he'll rank in middle. Gordana needs lots of accessories, because without them her dress is kind of simple. Irina's dress looks whorey on the mannequin, and I wonder if she'll be told that without the immunity she'd be in the bottom two, as punishment for her bravado. Tim pops in with the models and advises the designers to "Work like there's no tomorrow, because for one of you there wont be!" Sad!
Runway time! Heidi is rocking some sequined leggings, but of course she pulls them off. She is sartorially superhuman. The judges this week (don't worry, I won't yell; I'm all done with the rage stage and now I'm in denial) are John Varvatos, Zoe Glassner from Marie Claire, and a costume designer named Arianne Phillips, whose onscreen credit tells us she was nominated for an Oscar for Walk the Line. Here we go, y'all. Hold on to your butts.
Since we saw basically nothing of Irina's process this episode, we left to decide for ourselves who this film noir character is. I'm thinking a dark re-imagining of Snow White set in a Spanish bordello. Which still doesn't explain the shower curtain liner cape.
Very Mrs. Smith., and I like that the trench comes off to reveal....
A badass patent leather bustier and a harness! The overall effect of this is very costume, but then I guess that was the point.
Seeing as the saloon girl is kind of a cliche, I'm pleasantly surprised by what Shirin did with the skirt, with that poof of shocking pink. The bodice and styling aren't very original, though, and Bitchface always gets ten points off in my book for her, well, Bitchface. Maybe she should try SMIZE-ing.
This is one of my favorite looks of the episode. It's period, but also looks like it could be on a 2009 runway. There are so many different pieces but they all come together beautifully. The back, too is gorgeous. Check it:
Chris must be in the top three, or I will fucking lose my tulle.
This reminds me of two things: One, the snowflakes in The Nutcracker, which I have seen at Lincoln Center approximately 25 times because my mother is a Balanchineaholic. Two, the White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia, who scared me silly as a child and even more when she was played by Pringle spokeswoman Tilda Swinton in the recent movie. So I guess Nic makes a good villian (imagine me sarcastically slow-clapping right now).
As always, pretty and polished, and, in keeping with the genre, very femme fatale. I think Althea will make it to Bryant Park with Chris. Bets on the third?
Eek. I know Ra'mon made this in two hours, and if you gave ME two hours and a handful of acid green leather I would probably make a place mat and order in Chinese... but this really does look a mess. I suspect that the original jumpsuit would have been better, and you know how I feel about jumpsuits. The model looks like she could be one of Audrey Two's singing buds in the final scene of Little Shop of Horrors. Don't feed the plants!
Boring, black and beaded: The Louise Black Story. I know Louise is a talented designer, but this isn't even her best work, and in this challenge it just doesn't cut it. This model wouldn't get hired as an extra in Clue! The Musical's Saskatchewan tour.
Do not step to this woman's cattle. Seriously, she will scalp you. I'm so glad Epperson finally found his mojo. And I want that leather belt/holster thing, if only to hold my remote control.
Gordana's model looks supercute and very period, but I feel like without the accessories this would be really bland. I mean, if she wasn't wearing a wig, headband, gloves, necklaces... it would just be a dress, not a character.
OMG, this garment has bloody rips built into the leather! And the model is wearing bloody knuckle rags. The title of this episode should be Blood, Sweat, and... well, I want to say Queers, but that's not very sensitive.
Show's over. Heidi calls the following designers forward: Logan, CH, Shirin, Irina, and Althea. They are safe (oh, come on, Irina should have gotten publicly shamed for that cape). That leaves Nic, Chris, Ra'mon-Lawrence, Louise, Epperson, and Gordana on the chopping block.
In fairly obvious news, the top three this week are Chris, Nic, and Epperson. The judges love the wow factor of Chris's modern take on Victorian wear and no one brings up the bare arms. They like that Epperson has displayed an as-yet-unseen bravado, and they think Nic worked really well with Gay Locke to make up his
drag ice queen.
Gordana, on the other hand, has no point of view, they say. They even "question her specialness." Ouch! Louise also gets a swift kick to the crotch as the judges call her garment "cheap" and "a snoozefest." And then there is Ra'mon, who created what they call a "hot green mess" and "Swamp Thing."
Gordana is the first one to be sent safely backstage. Epperson (who I thought might finally win one) is also safe. And now for the winner of this challenge. You'd think, duh, it's Chris, but you'd be wrong. It's NIC. And now he can't be eliminated next week either. Damn. I'll get you yet, Euro-Hodgman. Chris is, of course, safe, which leaves Ra'mon and Louise in the bottom two.
Now, call me naive, but I thought that this was an obvious choice. You have Louise, a boring, bland, non-entity character who no one will miss, and Ra'mon-Lawrence, a fan favorite who takes risks and has a vision and who is responsible for the only quotable lines from the show this season. I had actually already written "Louise is OUT" in my notes when I heard Heidi say, as if from some bizarro alternate universe (where, naturally, Michael Kors does not exist) "Ra'mon... you are out."
CAPITAL WTF, Lifetime! Really??? It's like I don't even know you anymore.
I mean, thanks for the twist ending, I guess, but I'm actually really bummed that Ra'mon is gone. I thought he might win! And he was the only watchable character who wasn't an asshat. I like Epperson, but he's not exactly dynamic. And Christopher is a total doll but he's so nice. That just won't do! (Prolonged sigh).
Like Brett Michaels sort of said, or would have said if he was dyslexic, every thorn has its rose, and that rose is that next week Michael Kors is in the house. The challenge (in teams) will have something to do with color and Irina and Gordana may come to fisticuffs (I would love to see that fight. I predict KO in 60 seconds by the Hard G.)
Models of the Runway tried to get interesting this week by making all of the designers switch models. It was generally anti-climactic, and Fatma, who modeled for Louise this week, got auf'ed. Bitchface now has a home with Carol Hannah, and Ra'mon's model was saved by Shirin.
Ok, kids, see you next week! Oh, and, I know I'm late to the game on this but if you like these recaps check out my take on Emmy fashion.