Previously on: Did you guys know that the East Village looks like saggy testicle pants? Or that the Upper East Side is like a cheap melon-colored tunic from Target? Yeah, apparently Manhattan neighborhoods don't make very good outfits.
At the Atlas apartments, Jonathan has the first talking head of the episode, which, I've learned over many years of reality TV watching, generally means you should start packing your things. He talks about missing Amy and cries, as the world's tiniest and most pretentious violin begins to play. In happier news, Anthony is wearing a pocket square! Over in the ladies' bunker, Maya (in cut-off jean shorts and tights, OMG is this a thing?) says she wants to win a challenge already.
On the runway at Parson's, "Heidi looks so good pregnant I'm going to kill myself." At least that's what my notes say. She gives the designers their most cryptic challenge intro to date, saying that they'll be doing more "than just choosing fabric." Seth observes -- in a rare focused moment (perhaps he's finally filled that Adderall prescription?) -- that this doesn't make any sense. As usual Tim is waiting for them "with a special guest," who turns out to be designer Vivienne Tam. And no sooner do they introduce Vivienne than we see a shot of an HP Netbook. Yes, folks, this is the HP challenge. We knew in our hearts this was coming, but three sponsored challenges in a row? Really, now. As a college roommate of mine used to say, that is lowercase.
Even she has no idea what the fuck she has to do with the HP desktop.
Tim explains that they will be creating their own textile, which in this case simply means drawing a pattern using a tricked-out version of Microsoft Paint that will get printed onto fabric. If they were really creating their own textiles, like, technically, they would be harvesting and ginning cotton. I'm just saying.
Anyway, here's an overview of the designers' "textiles":
Seth draws what looks like a Picasso rendering of Janice from Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. Mila paints colorful lines side by side, like Mark Rothko riffing on the Jamaican flag. Jonathan is doing something he calls "subtractive," which means it's a bunch of tiny dots. Maya and Anthony seem to be inspired by laser tag or, more awesomely, school picture laser backgrounds. Jay paints a tableau featuring what looks like neon grass or glowing green sticks of uranium. Emilio uses crude lettering to spell out SAES next to a heart. Does Emilio love the Saudi Aramco Engineering Standard or St. Andrew's Episcopal School? Oh, the heart is supposed to be an 'O,' so it's ESOSA. That's disappointing. I wanted there to FINALLY be a textile that takes a stand, one way or another, on Scanning Auger Electron Spectroscopy.
Jay and Anthony hate Mila's fabric. Jonathan's "subtractive" pattern is so artsy it doesn't even show up on test paper. And then we are treated to a little stand-up routine from our favorite little sass bucket. "Lord, I'm going to pray now for this jacket," Anthony says, before launching into riffs on Beyonce ("I blame Beyonce for everything that's going wrong in my life. Does Beyonce have a song for people who can't find jobs?") and Oprah ("Oprah, my husband has a porn addiction.") Oh, Anthony! Writing this now, I should have known that all that screen time was too good to be true.
Back at Atlas that night, Seth is shown on the phone, which as we all know is a proven harbinger of auf wiedersehen. This cannot be! Yes, he may be a teen goth punk with ADD and guyliner trapped in the body of a 40 year-old man, but he's one of the season's best designers. As Tim might say, this troubles me.
When the designers get back to Parsons to start on Day 2, their fabrics are waiting for them. "I love you and I don't even know you yet!" Anthony coos to his bolt, which, when unrolled, seriously looks like one of those abstract computer screen savers that seem tailor-made for people who are high. Everyone is thrilled with their "textiles," even though most are underwhelming: Mila's stripes continue to look flag-like, while Emilio's lettering is crude and childlike, sort of like a poor man's Dooney & Bourke print.
SAAE? SAEES? SAESS? SOS!
Tim comes to check in. He is troubled by Mila's Jamaican teepee and questions Jonathan's overdesigned details. At this point, he clearly loathes Emilio (my friend Owen, who you'll remember from his help with my recap a few weeks back, says that in Tim Gunn's video blogs he is constantly bashing Emilio, and that there is no love lost between the two) and makes a point of mocking his print. Emilio then cements his status as the Judas Iscariot of the season by saying that you shouldn't listen to Tim (who is, of course, the Jesus figure, for our purposes. Jesus in pinstripes.) Sacrilege! Sacrilisp! Seth is doing great as usual (making the phone episode appear to be a red herring--good one, editors, you finally managed to throw us off, if only for a matter of minutes), but Maya is having trouble with the challenge. "Unblock!" Tim cries by way of encouragement. Tim should totally be the spokesperson for Metamucil. As for Anthony, Tim is concerned that his relatively simple cocktail dress is not ambitious enough.
As we exit Day 2, Jonathan is confident, Maya is not confident but still wants to win, Emilio is making fun of Mila's rasta tarp and Mila questions Anthony's taste. But no one can deny his charm--as the day winds down Anthony is on a roll, making everyone laugh. Stop trying to make me enjoy this swan song, editors! I do not appreciate being toyed with! Beyonce never made a song for this!
The day of the runway show starts with Anthony telling Jay that he looks "like a gay Christmas ornament." (I think he looks more like a New Wave Filipino Keebler elf.) At Parsons, Seth has pushed everything to the last minute, which he keeps saying isn't normal for him even though it keeps happening. My guess? He's up until 6 am playing Rock Band and carefully chipping away at his black nail polish. Anthony observes that Jonathan's look is pale as hell (in Anthony's twang, that's "pail as hail"). Tim comes in wearing a tie with a jarring stripe pattern (no doubt made on the HP desktop) and summons them to the runway, where Heidi is wearing what looks like an actual bike lock as a necklace. Michael and Nina are joined by--who else?--Vivienne Tam, unwitting HP spokesperson.
You guys can tell I'm tired, right? Well, it's only going to get crankier...
I get that this is well-made, but it offends my every sensibility. It looks like the guys from Devo got ahold of Wyatt's computer from Weird Science and made their ideal woman. That, or Max Headroom procreated with a Goodyear tire.
Michael Kors called this jacket a "disco straight-jacket." I might go with Belle Epoque straight-jacket, with a stole made out of melted C3P0. Still, none of it hides the fact that this skirt has a mean case of the measles.
I think this is pretty fierce, even if her hips and neck are engaged in a brutal game of laser tag. But the fabric works with the design and the hair just tops it all off. A little drag-queeny? Sure. But also super fun.
I will grant that the pattern works better from far away and that the sleek silhouette of the dress beneath the Mickey Mouse jacket is lovely. But I just can't get behind it 100%. I think it's Emilio's cockiness. He has cocky-blocked his own design.
I can't tell if this woman is a butcher Olympiad or one of those dreaded Muslins like Obama. Or could she be... a bride?
THAT IS A REAL WEDDING DRESS. I need a drink. But... similar, no? This is a big pooch-screw for Mila, and she knows it. Her model couldn't even walk in this.
Oof. I didn't like the textile and I don't like the dress. It's just... in poor taste. There I said it. I'm sorry, Anthony! Forgive me! You don't need much taste to design for Miss USA, anyway, so you're good.
My friend Jess cried out "It's the Matrix!" when this hit the runway. Hahaha. So true. The torso and neck are kind of Yertle the Turtle-y, but this is fine. Neither awesome nor awful. which is why it makes sense that...
When the designers come back onto the runway, and only the gay Christmas ornament is safe.
The judges want to make sweet, sweet love to Emilio, whose print they do NOT, surprisingly, compare to a poor handwriting sample from an epileptic child. They also love Seth's look for being so "true to himself," which means, I guess, that it's sufficiently spastic and immature. Finally they love--well, they like--Maya's, comparing the print to electricity.
They shit all over poor Jonathan, who makes it worse by talking back and acting all snooty about his look (Nina says it makes her feel sad, to which he sniffs, "Is sad not an emotion?"). They feel like Anthony has too many excuses and made something ordinary and underwhelming. And the best quote of the night--which was rewinded and replayed many a time--was Michael calling Mila's dress "a Mexican sarape gay flag."
After some deliberation, they bring the designers back out and declare Emilio the winner, which prompts approximately a dozen self-satisfied fist pumps. I am unsatisfied with this win, even though I'll admit he deserves it about as much as Maya does based on this challenge alone. Seth and Maya are of course safe, followed by Mila (no huge shock, as she's been consistently good so far this season, and needs at least one more strike before she's auf. See what I did there? Is this recap over yet?)
So Jonathan and Anthony are in the bottom two. I thought that Jonathan's sassing back would be the final nail in his coffin (the one that was being prepared for him from the very first moments of the show), but it is beloved Anthony who is out, prompting many jaw drops around the room (at least where I watched). Yes, Anthony was an unlikely contender for the final three, but he was also the fan favorite in a pretty joyless batch of contestants. I fear that the epsiodes from here on out will droop without his humor and energy. "Greatness awaits," he promises us as he packs up his things. And yeah, I'm pretty sure he'll land on his feet.
Next week: The gang is designing for a celebrity and something super stunning happens. Can you stand the suspense?! Yeah, me too.
So last week I asked you guys to help me think of a new contest that's not caption based. And the winners of that unofficial contest were Kian, Melanie, and Kirsten, who sent me the following email:
During last week's episode we all noticed that Emilio was particularly obnoxious since the challenge was based on his "hometown" of NYC. A few minutes into the show he stated that he absolutely had to win the challenge or else he would be letting "his people" down. This got us all pondering who exactly Emilio's people are. After a discussion, we decided a Venn diagram was necessary to accurately portray "Emilio's people." Long story short, we thought that you might find the attached diagram funny as well and that a contest might be even funnier.
Congratulations, guys, you have won the contest to name the next contest! I'll send you something. So for next week, send me a Project Runway-inspired Venn Diagram. I don't care what it diagrams. Be creative. And have fun.
OK, see you next week. If you like these recaps, check out my blog, The Sassy Curmudgeon--on Monday I will be posting a Project Runway Haggadah in honor of Passover (Yes, God probably hates me.) Have a great weekend!