10/20/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Project Runway Episode 3 Recap: Capital WTF

I watched Project Runway with my mother this week, and so will intersperse her comments throughout this recap (this year I also watched the Oscars with her and live-blogged her bitchy comments. Ah, family bonding). When the "previously on" scenes began and Malvin the Eggman appeared, my mom yelled, "He was robbed!" (In the interest of full disclosure, we had downed a few bottles of wine by this point -- why does PR start so late? The following recap may be somewhat affected.)

The day starts, as always, at the apartments on the morning after the previous elmination, "Anotha day, anotha dolla," says Ra'mon Lawrence, presumably referring to the money he has riding on Mitchell's imminent elimination. Logan lolls on a nearby bed. Is it just me, or does he always seem stoned? Perhaps it is just his straightness weighing him down. That and the ironic ponytail.

On the runway, Heidi struts out as per usual to present the designers with their challenge. It is something, she says, that no trip to California would be complete without. "Remember to bring your sunscreen," she advises. I don't know if it's clever editing or if the designers are just really dense, but it seems to take awhile for them to collectively figure out that they are going to a beach. Christopher, who has spent his life landlocked in Minnesota, is extra excited.

When they arrive oceanside, Tim Gunn is wearing flip flops and no tie, which normally would be a sign of the apocalypse but in this case is simply a tool to illustrate the challenge. Tim tells the designers that they are to create a "fun and fashionable surfwear look." It is also a Garnier challenge, which means that in addition to the outfits, the models' hairstyles will be judged. The Garnier goal is a "just off the beach look," which I am personally very familiar with. It involves a ratty Mets cap and at least three hair elastics, and is not easy to pull off. Good luck, designers.

This challenge is a team challenge, so Tim chooses seven captains, who then pick their teammates as follows:

Shirin/Carol Hannah (whom I shall christen Team Irksome)
Logan/Christopher (Team Cutiepants, or the Half Ambiguously Gay Duo)
Nic/Gordana (Team EuroFab)
Mitchell/Ra'mon Lawrence (Team of the Damned)
Althea/Louise (Team I Don't Really Care)
Qristyl/Epperson (The Elder Statesmen)
Johnny/Irina (I am running out of ideas, so how about Hall & Oates? I would pay big money to see them as a cover band, with Irina wearing a mustache.)

It's worth noting at this point that some women are standing around with surfboards. "Talk to them," Tim urges. "They have valuable information for you, I'm certain." Um, one of the women is wearing a neon argyle print bikini top with matching Bermuda shorts, so the valuable information she has may be that she is legally blind.

Back in the work room, Ra'mon Lawrence sagely notes that being paired with Mitchell is like having "a giant Bullseye painted on my face." (Mitchell, by the way, reveals that his strategy in picking Ra'mon was to find a good designer who could "carry him." Methinks the bullseye still falls squarely on Mitchell.) Carol Hannah and Shirin are crafting "a dress that turns into a swimsuit" the ghost of Ari advising them? Wasn't her goal in life to make, like, a gimme cap that turned into a camper? Nic declares that he is "bringing back the wraparound pant." The term "wraparound pant" confused and concerned me, so I did a Google search which revealed that wraparound pants (I refuse to use the word "pant" in the singular) are sort of like the enormous-legged rave pants favored by my college boyfriend in 1999, but also resemble parachute pants fitted with a cape for one's ass. This mental image was too much for my poor brain, which short-circuited and seized and made up the following song (apologies to Justin Timberlake):

I'm bringing ass capes back (Yeah!)
They're easy-fitting so don't talk no smack (Yeah!)
Adjust the size if saddlebags detract (Yeah!)
Shit, MC Hammer called--he wants them back.
(Make it work!)

Roomy, babe
I look like a genie, baby I'm your slave
Let's drop some acid and go to a rave
No other pant can make me feel this way...

[Awkward silence.] Moving on. Tim arrives with a message from Heidi: each team must create a second, avant garde look that should compliment their surfwear look. The teams will get more money and an extra trip to Mood. Ra'mon Lawrence, who is fast establishing himself as king of the one-liners, expresses his shock thusly: "Ladies and gentlemen, capital WTF."

After the second trip to Mood, Qristyl and Epperson are bickering over pretty much everything. Qristyl is the team captain but bitches that Epperson is taking over and making all the decisions. I'm sorry, but this complaint does not fly, and just makes Qristyle seem like kind of a bitch ("He's so much more mature than she is," Mom notes.) Over at the newly-named Team Bullseye headquarters, Ra'mon is making something brown and shiny that he says was inspired by a wetsuit. ("Oh, this is going to be awful," says Mom.) Mitchell, grinning from ear to ear, acknowledges yet again that he sucks. "I'm in big, big trouble!" he laughs. Oh, Mitchell. You so crazy.

Tim is back, "The prophet of doom has returned!" he announces. It turns out that Carol Hannah's model Erika has landed her coveted Arby's commercial and will not be able to be there for the fitting. CH decides to jettison the Future Roastburger Queen of North America and chooses instead to bring back Valerie, best known as Malvin's ill-fated Mother Hen from the last challenge. Tim then peruses the designers' half-finished outfits. Nic is inspired by the sea, and interviews that his avant garde piece is made for "a seawoman, like in the movie Splash." In actuality it is made of white and blue lace, has a giant crotch hole, and resembles something that an 80s-era call girl might wear. (Also, and unrelated, I miss Darryl Hannah, don't you? Darryl Hannah and Carol Hannah should form a burlesque troop and perform all of the singles from Madonna's True Blue album wearing Nic's lace bodysuits. Again, Broadway, you are welcome.) Over at Qristyl and Epperson's table, Tim considers their surfwear garment, which is green and white and sort of detaches to become a bathing suit top and skirt. "I was thinking we were going to see panties," Tim says. "And then all that sophistication went away for me." You know you're in trouble when Tim says that your look lacks the sophistication of panties.

The morning of the runway show finds Ra'mon Lawrence scrambling to redo his team's avant garde look. The brown wetsuit has been scrapped and he's now putting the finishing touches on an ombre dress and a neoprene garment that he's dyeing by hand. Mitchell, meanwhile, is chattering away about how fucked they are. The models arrive, get fitted, Garnier'd, and L'Oreal'd, and then it's runway time!

Michael Kors is very disappointingly still AWOL and has been replaced this week by Max Azria, who I immediately confuse with Hank Azaria, the actor who voices Apu and Chief Wiggum on The Simpsons. (I wonder what a BCBG Hank Azaria dress would look like?) Nina Garcia still has nothing better to do than show up, and the celebrity guest judge this week is Rachel Bilson.

I don't know how these are supposed to relate to one another, plus the "surfwear" look is just sort of a bikini with a coverup, plus the "avant garde" look is not avant garde unless you define avant garde as "sparkly eveningwear"...but I guess both garments are well-made.

Now this is awesome. The first look says "badass surfer girl" and I kind of love--though would never wear--the pants. The avant garde look is simply amazing. It looks like what Sidney Bristow might wear if she had to attend a high fashion ball but then afterwards escape through an underground waterway (this scenario assumes that the skirt is detachable; otherwise she would drown).

Someone please explain to me why "brown" is an acceptable theme. The first look is cute enough, although its relation to surfwear--a macrame bathing suit--is completely hidden. The avant garde look is not so much boundary-pushing as just plain busted. Is the bodice made from one of those make-your-own-potholder looms we all used to own in like second grade? The model looks depressed.

I don't actually know which outfit is which here, but I'm going to go with the neoprene minidress as "surfwear." I appreciate that this was done last-minute, but I am not a fan of the dye job. This looks to me like someone tried to feed this model a Drano cocktail (a la Heathers) but a struggle ensued and the concoction ended up spilling all over her favorite chartreuse toga. Look at her face, too--bitch is pissed. I like the colors and the execution of the ombre thing, but as it strikes me as neither surfwear nor avant garde, it must have missed the mark.

(P.S. My mom remarked, awesomely, "Now, shorts would have made sense in this challenge." Damn, Mitchell, burned by my mom.)

LOVE the macrame one-piece, but the wraparound pants recall a towel wrapped jauntily around her waist. I see the appeal of being able to take the pants off easily and bound into the surf, but the function does not make up for the form in this case. The avant garde look is kind of mermaid-y, I'll give Nic that. Maybe if Madison from Splash had been forced to turn tricks on Liberty Island for cash she would have worn this.

OK, so I think I get this: By day, this woman is a kindly flower shop clerk who likes to discreetly flash people on the subway. By night, she is a superhero whose special power is crafting capes out of her own bedroom curtains and whose mission is to warn women the world over of the dangers of ill-fitting, fudge colored swimsuits with oversize buttons. Right?

I had to show the transformation of this first look because it is pretty fierce. I would totally wear this, plus it's the only outfit I can easily see someone wearing on an actual beach.
I also love the color of the avant garde look, and must give Team Irksom props for using a color that also shows up in the surfwear look, thus making the two outfits coordinate (ahem, Althea and Louise).

Now, as I mentioned I had a bit of wine last night, so my memory could be cloudy, but the judging for this episode was all kinds of fucked up. First of all, the judges didn't deliberate like they usually do. The designers were called out and immediately Althea and Louise, Christopher and Logan, and Shirin and Carol Hannah were all safe (which, by the way, WHAT? Shirin and Logan's teams made the best outfits and should have been in the running to win the challenge). Then somehow--it all happened so fast!--Mitchell and Ra'mon Lawrence are one of the top two teams and Ra'mon wins the challenge. By himself. Johnny and Irina are safe, as are the Eastern Europeans, and Qristyl and Epperson fight over why their outfits suck so hard. The judges send Epperson back safely to the green room and Mitchell and Qristyl are on the chopping block. The judges agree that Mitchell is once, twice, three times a lady failure and send him packing. Which is absolutely deserved, but seriously, the build-up to this elimination was bizarre. I wonder if the judges deliberated but it was boring or something and the producers cut it for time. I would also like to add that the hairstyles were not judged at all, so the Garnier challenge must have been left on the cutting room floor as well (except of course, for the beach scene in which Tim stressed its importance. Oops!)

Next week promises the utterances of phrases like "smurf prom dress" and "model dog years," which is encouraging.

I won't recap Models of the Runway this week because my mom summed up the drama of the entire show in one sentence: "If those women ate something they would all feel better."

See you next week!