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Project Runway Episode 7 Recap: Tool Time

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Hi everybody! So, last week Lifetime aired a rerun of episode six, in which a bunch of little girls harassed Anthony and were forced to wear ill-fitting rompers in a strange "mother/daughter" challenge that ended up sending Janeane packing. There was no new episode last week, so don't worry, I wasn't trapped under something heavy.

We begin, as always, in the Atlas apartments. Emilio is thrilled that they are halfway to Bryant Park and says that now, all the stops have to be pulled out. He then wakes up Jesse and Jonathan, and pssst, dude, if you want to win, let them oversleep! Have you learned nothing from the girls of ANTM?

Anthony and Jay are the cutest roommates ever. They remind me of the Munchkins who sleep inside flowers from The Wizard of Oz. Jay tells us that he's made it to the top ten and that he just has to knock down seven more people. "And then," he says, "top three, here I come."

In the ladies' quarters, Amy says that she just wants to get to the next challenge, which doesn't make much sense, seeing as she is already there. The only thing standing between her and the challenge is a few city blocks and maybe a cheese danish. Mila is sad that so many women have been kicked off but is glad that she, Amy and Maya are still there (and for real, I had no idea the ratio was so uneven. What is this, Congress?)

On the runway, Heidi is resplendent in a zebra print. She reminds Seth that he is immune (to being eliminated, but obviously not to guyliner) and says that she's sending the gang "on a little trip to meet Tim and one of America's favorite designers. They will give you all the tools you need to complete this challenge." Oh, there will be tools alright...

They arrive at the Michael Kors store, of course, because no American designers besides MK are allowed within 500 yards of this show. Mila says that she is really excited, and I can only assume that she means to see Michael's freakish belly button.

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Michael Kors' belly button takes itself WAY too literally.

MK reads cue cards saying says that he is very excited to talk to the designers about the challenge, and then tells them that they are going to go shopping at a hardware store. Why did they need Michael to introduce this challenge? They totally should have brought in Tim Allen as Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor and had Tim Gunn dress as Al. What is Tim Allen even doing these days, other than Wild Hogs 2? (I'm sorry to say that the aforementioned movie is not a joke; there really is a Wild Hogs 2 currently in production. Also, did you know that Tim Allen's real name is Timothy Allen Dick?)

Moving on. Amy says that she could not be more excited for the hardware challenge, while Emilio is ill-prepared ("I do not make crafty things," he says.) Tim announces that in addition to their apparel the designers will have to create an accessory to complement their look. Anthony's face, as always, if priceless. It should also be noted that he is dressed as a green screen throughout the entirety of this episode.

The gang arrives at Scheman & Grant, which Tim says is "a very inspiring place." Mmm hmmmm. It's a regular Getty, Tim. Everyone has $150 because, as Cap'n Jack Sparrow notes, "hardware is not cheap." Maya says she loves this challenge, as she has experience making things out of strange objects. Like vulvas!

Emilio notes that everyone is grabbing sheets of metal, but that he is just using washers and cord. Jay says that he is going to make garbage bags feel like leather, and Anthony grabs what look like butterfly nets or colanders (although I can't really see him, because, again, green screen. He's like a floating head.) Amy decides to work with sandpaper and Seth has a ton of sheet metal. At the cash register, Emilio realizes that he is way over budget and has to leave half of his washers and cord. Ruh-roh!

Back at Parsons, we get the requisite shots of people sketching dutifully on their HP netbooks while Seth begins hammering the shit out of his sheet metal. Jay says that a lot of designers will be taking the easy way out and making dresses, so he's going to make pants. (New ProjRun rule: Whenever any contestant says, "All the other designers are doing X, so I'm going to do the opposite of X," they will either win or totally screw the pooch. Let's keep in mind that both Jay and Emilio are guilty of this so far.)

Maya is making a necklace of keys, which seems novel. Seth is really hammering the everloving fuck out of his sheet metal. It hurts my ears, so I can't imagine what it was like at the time. Maybe too many rock shows and experimental drugs have rendered him partially deaf? Anthony is working with something that looks like fabric softener sheets and tells us that the innovative part of his garment is that he's taking something hard and industrial and making if feel soft and airy.

Jonathan, who is nipping at Anthony's heels as the resident wit, announces "Ladies and gentlemen, straight off the periodic table of elements... copper!" as he grapples with his material. Emilio notes once again that everyone is making things out of metal and that he is making a Paco Rabanne macrame dress using washers and cord. Jay observes that this means Emilio is making "a stripper dress." And it is pretty skimpy, y'all. Seth tells Emilio, "That's definitely creative!" and Emilio counters, "Shut your face!"

Later on in the workroom, everyone is busy and bloodied. "My hands look like I was attacked be a feral animal," says Ben, who is also working with copper. Mila sighs, "Colorblock, take me away!" and interviews that she hopes the judges aren't sick of her black and white Mod designs. Ha! At least she has a sense of humor about herself, unlike Paco Rabanne and his washer thong. Jay gets all emotional talking about how proud his parents will be if he wins. His tears flow, and the spirit of Janeane lives.

Tim arrives to check in, saying "It feels like I'm in the Arms & Armor wing of the Met!" He checks in with now-obvious top three/bottom three Mila ("Very exciting."), Jesse ("This is looking like a school play. And not even high school or college, like elementary school."), Emilio ("Do you have enough of the hardware?"), Anthony ("It's not pretty."), Jay ("How did you make a pair of leather pants?"), and Maya (He loves the key necklace, which kind of looks like Kermit the Frog's green collar.)

The models come in for a fitting. Jay is dismayed to find that his garbage bag pants have shrunk and do not fit his model. Emilio has nothing for his six-foot tall Amazon woman to try on, because he doesn't have enough material to cover even a normal-sized woman. "After the hardware incident," he muses in a fake announcer voice, "Emilio Sosa disappeared." OK, fine, he has a sense of humor. But what this man needs is a merkin, STAT.

It's now the day of the runway show. At the apartments, Mila says she's excited for the challenge to be over. Emilio jokes, "It's a Project Runway first--everyone is in the bottom ten!"

In workroom, it is final-day chaos as usual. Jesse eschews needle and thread for duct tape, Jay sews his model into her pants and tells her she can't pee, and Emilio is stricken when he discovers that the bottom of the string bikini he has crafted from washers and cord will not stay on.

Anthony says of Emilio's garment, "It is naked and also not in best taste." Anthony is also scared for Jesse and says that Seth's and Ben's outfits look tortured. Maya interviews that she wants hers to look like fashion, not arts and crafts, and Jesse swears that if he has to defend his look, he will. Emilio takes us to the runway with this fabulous quote: "The bikini is too short, the hair is too big, the makeup is too much. If I was going to jump off a cliff, I went full throttle."

Out on the runway, Heidi introduces us to the judges: MK, Nina, Isabel Toledo (who designed Michelle Obama's inauguration ensemble), and Stephen Webster, who is apparently a well-known jewelry designer and who is wearing a black jacket with white piping on the lapel. He looks like he just rolled out of a Bret Easton Ellis novel, for reals.

I shall call this collection "It's a Hardware Knock Life":

MILA

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Just when I thought she couldn't get any Beetlejuicier, Mila designs a prom dress for Lydia Deetz out of paint trays. It's not that I don't like it, I'm just surprised that the judges don't ever complain that every single outfit Mila makes is Mod-inspired and color blocked. I guess they don't care if people don't break out of their comfort zones as long as they're good?

JESSE

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Now, this is what a hooker named Jiffy Pop wears. I take back my entire recap from last season.

JONATHAN

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The juxtaposition of the varying shades of feces kind of offend my eyes, but I dig the scultptural thing he's going for. At least it didn't just look like a burrito wrapped in tinfoil like some other copper dresses (ahem, Ben).

ANTHONY

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This makes me wonder if I remembered to clean the lint tray in my dryer. Haha, just kidding, I don't have a dryer. I have to put my clothes on wet and hope for gale-force winds. But it makes me want to clean someone's lint tray. I like the aesthetic of the belt, although it looks about as comfortable as the Dolce & Gabbana torture corset of '07.

BEN

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I know that this is supposed to have an unfinished quality, but this just looks like crumpled tin foil. I mean, I have a block of cheese wearing this exact same dress right now in my fridge. Small world!

EMILIO

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So... many... jokes. Brain... seizing. Should I say this looks like a scene from the lesser-known Disney classic The Little Mermaid 2: Hookin' For Love? Say it's a lingerie fashion show put on each year for the Deep Sea Fishermen's Union? Tell Emilio that he missed his calling as the costume designer for Splash? I cannot imagine what this was supposed to look like as a dress. What a truly spectacular fail! I almost want to slow clap.

JAY

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I really appreciate the craftsmanship here. This entire look is made of garbage bags and does not in any way resemble Zoolander's fake collection Derelicte. That said, I'm not loving the top. The stripes, the weird folds... it's pretty enough but I must object to the muffin-top shape. The belt, though. THE BELT. IS MAGICAL.

AMY

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I love the sandpaper bodice; it's so pretty in a hip, Art Deco kind of way. The skirt just looks like a big sheet of black paper, but I can deal.

MAYA

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Hmmmm. The key necklace, which you can't really see here, is gorgeous (and practical, if you are a building superintendent or locksmith!), but the dress and the fishnet jacket give me pause. The three pieces don't seem like they're part of the same outfit, unless this girl is a demure office drone by day, lady locksmith on the weekends, and starring in a community theater production of Kiss of the Spider Woman by night.

SETH

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This makes me feel awkward, like I'm watching a scene from C-3P0's porn stash. Also, I wish the judges would put the immune contestants in the bottom sometimes. I know it robs us of some drama, but you can't let shit like this slide and still act like you're discerning. That's right, judges, I AM QUESTIONING YOUR TASTE LEVEL.

The show ends and the designers file out onto the gangplank. Heidi calls the following people forward: Ben, Jonathan, Amy, and Seth. Which leaves our top three/bottom three (as determined by Tim's check-in).

MILA: Nina says it is "extraordinary" and Stephen Webster says she "made it flow." The judges like.

EMILIO: You can tell he knows he totally blew this challenge. He sputters, trying to explain the "sexy" look he was going for. Nina says, awesomely and genuinely, "Why did you choose not to do any clothing?" MK says it looks "cheesy." Heidi says it looks thrown-on.

ANTHONY: MK thinks it looks like a bad prom dress. Stephen Webster jokes that Anthony went to the software store, not the hardware store. Oh, you. You with your white piping and your punny quips. Why are you even here?

MAYA: MK says that it's truly a head-to-toe look. Nina likes that she showed restraint on the dress and focused on the accessories.

JESSE: Someone calls this a dirty laundry bag. Nina Garcia calls it "the Tin Man" (um, Nina, did you even see Seth's dress?) MK says it looks like a Hershey's Kiss. I've seen a Hershey's Kiss costume, though, and my sister did it way better in 1991:

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Brownface isn't offensive if it's meant to be chocolate, right?

JAY: Heidi says it is "amazing." MK admits that "in a million years I would not think this was bias-cut trash bags." They all obsess over the belt.

Deliberations. Yawn. I want them to cut the deliberations and let us see Tim's critiques of all of the designers so we don't know who's going to get singled out at the end.

The designers come back out. Maya is the first one in, and Jay wins the challenge, as he should. Mila is congratulated on her good work and is safe. Anthony is the next one in, which leaves Jesse and Emilio. Owen, my snarky friend and fellow ProjRun addict who you'll remember from two recaps ago, texted me "If Emilio isn't eliminated... I mean, honestly." Still, Emilio has a decent body of work behind him, while Jesse's work has only earned him the nickname "Shitty LeNoir" (well, from me, anyway). I tell Owen I suspect this is Cap'n Jack's last stand, and... I'm right! LeNoir, out. Macrame fishnet hooker bikini, IN.

I know a lot of you will disagree with me, but I think this decision was just. Emilio's past work was strong enough that the judges could let this admittedly egregious error in judgment slide, whereas Jesse's work has been kind of meh all along.

Next week, "anyone could go at anytime," like Arnie in What's Eating Gilbert Grape! Heidi says that something looks like a cat in a baby sling. Ooh! I hope this is some kind of Anne Geddes-themed challenge! There is a guest judge who looks like Hitler crossed with Willy Loman. Good times.

And now, to unveil the winner of the last caption contest! It's.... [drumroll, please]....

DEBRA!

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"Oh! So you that girl Esther from that movie Orphan--now I see why you're such a pain in the ass!"

Congratulations, Debra, and thanks to everyone for playing. (If you haven't seen the movie Orphan--and neither have I, not that I didn't pass judgment on it anyway--just know that its main character is a 33 year-old prostitute posing as a latchkey child.)

Anyway, as I was dicking around on the Lifetime site looking for photos for this recap, I discovered that they now have a dress-up game in which you can give this season's designers different hair, makeup and accessories, like so:

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Obviously this is the best thing ever, so in lieu of a caption contest this week, I challenge you to create the best Project Runway contestant makeover. Tart them up and send me screen grabs or image files. You can add comments but you will be judged on the images alone. Make it work!

As always, if you like these recaps, check out my blog, The Sassy Curmudgeon.

OH! And check back Sunday night, when I'll be live-blogging the Oscars starting at 6pm EST or as soon as Ryan Seacrest starts chasing celebrities down the red carpet, whichever comes first.