As much as I would like to luxuriate in the world that is “Project Runway,” I’m afraid that this recap may be a little cursory. I’m in the throes of both Comic-Con madness and Emmy nominations glee, so I’m going to cut to the nitty gritty (vajayjay!) and hopefully dig a little deeper next week. Still, there was simply no way I was skipping over this season premiere. Not only does a hella lot happen, some of it is so crazy I’m not entirely sure I didn’t hallucinate it. So, be warned. If you haven’t watched the episode yet, you may want to before you read this lest you write, “YOU LIE, YOU CRAZY WOMAN!” in the comments section. It could happen.
The show starts out by giving the kids a hellish challenge (See those skydivers? See their parachutes? That’s what you have to work with! And you have to race for the crumpled-up parachute you want! Stop crying! Fight!) and revealing the past season contestant who is returning to play again based on your votes (if you’re reading aloud, and really, that’s the best way, say that part like Tim Gunn — yoooooooouuuuur votes!). And who is returning? Kate Pankoke from season 11! You remember her, don’t you? She was the haughty one who made old lady clothing for young women and looked a bit like Holly Hobbie. I’m not sure what she has to show us as a designer that we haven’t already seen (maybe she has a Bea Arthur collection we don’t know about), but she seems to have improved her mood. She’s really super sticky nice to the other contestants and offers lots of advice, which makes them want to kill her less, it seems.
So far, this group seems pretty friendly — perhaps too friendly. There’s no fighting over pinking shears, and when Sue Waller, a 45-year-old blonde who does not really know how to use a sewing machine, asks for help she actually gets help. It comes with a side of eye-rolling, but still, help.
There are a lot of designers, and some will go home before we care about them at all, so I’ll just stick to the interesting ones. Justin LeBlanc is deaf, which means everyone thinks he just has a Norwegian accent AND when people get bitchy he can just turn off his hearing aid. I think this is close to a super power, as when he doesn’t want to deal with stupid drama he has a LEGITIMATE excuse for ignoring it.
We also discovered our catty, bitter bitch for the season — Alexandria Von Bromssen, who is sure she’s going to win (and doesn’t make the top three), gets defensive when Sando Masmanidi (we’ll get to him) calls her out on it, and seems to be on the show solely to take pot shots at other designers. I’m so glad she’s here, because I will be even more excited when she leaves!
Speaking of Sandro, he is Russian, has horrific taste (Boas and chains and a wig and jewelry, oh my! It’s like he learned fashion from a mobster’s wife), and has no problem telling Alexandria she’s being rude, which is a good enough reason to keep him around. The problem, though, is that he sends a model down the runway with her vajayjay (look, there are only so many euphemisms for this that everyone knows; I borrowed the one from “Grey’s Anatomy”) hanging out.
This is not an exaggeration.
The show actually pixelates the model’s crotch as the poor girl walks down the runway. There’s that much skin showing. You can even get away with more on basic cable, but this was apparently necessary.
Still, Sandro’s faux pas, while scandalous, isn’t even close to the nightmare that is Timothy Westbrook. Timothy is a green designer, which means he is comfortable lighting nylon on fire and choking everyone with noxious fumes, but he won’t let his model get her hair done because it’s not “eco.” He won’t even let the girl slap on some lip gloss or wear shoes. You know who does get to wear teetering high heels, though? Timothy! Because he deserves it. Or something.
After lecturing everyone in the workroom about how he only works with dead stock and how he loves unicorns (I wish I could say I was being funny here, but I’m not — the guy says, and I quote, “We have to save the forest to keep the unicorns alive”), he decides to make a fashion statement with ridiculous women’s shoes. However, he’s quite angry with the model for not making the statement he wants her to make, which is to pretend she’s being yanked down the runway like she’s been tied behind a speeding 18-wheeler. Timothy is colorful, but he’s also insane, and I think he might hate women a little more than he realizes.
The good news is the judges verbally slap Timothy silly, though the bad news is they tear into Sandro for bad taste but think his sewing skills are exceptional. Really? Because I would think, if I can see private parts, not such exceptional tailoring.
Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Though both Timothy and Sandro end up in the bottom four (wait, I’ll get to that extra person in the bottom), they don’t get the boot. That unlucky fate goes to Angela Bacskocky, who made a fairly inoffensive minidress. Apparently, weird wins the day.
In the winners’ column is Sue (who, while incapable of sewing, does nice things with parachute material), Bradon McDonald (a former dancer who is sweet and humble and makes a nice, flowing dress) and Miranda. Miranda was in the military, hates Timothy (who also comes from Milwaukee) and decides to ignore the instructions. While she makes a cute ensemble, she ignores Tim’s directive to use mostly parachute, and include some black or white material in small amounts. Miranda hears blah blah blah blah pops of color blah blah BLACK BLACK BLACK.
When the judges learn that most of Miranda’s outfit is not parachute, she drops from top three to bottom four. The judges want to send A Message, which is fine. Lucky for her, they hate Angela’s outfit just a bit more than Miranda’s cluelessness.
Bradon takes the win, and all is well in the world. While I don’t think Angela’s outfit was really the worst, I have to think that the judges are going to make smarter decisions going forward for a few reasons. One, the runway is anonymous (which means they don’t know who designed what). This is awesome to me, because too often Nina Garcia (it always seemed to be Nina) would groan and sigh that so-and-so ALWAYS makes pants or NEVER makes pants. She now has to come up with new schtick, which is never a bad thing.
Two, after the top and bottom three are picked, Tim Gunn leads the models over to the judges, where they can inspect the clothing AND ask Tim about what happened in the boardroom. Oh, and if Zac Posen, Nina, Heidi Klum and some random guest (this week it was Kate Bosworth) still screw up, Tim gets a once-in-a-season save. And he does use it. Because the judges do tend to be stupid (rock on, Michelle Lesniak Franklin!).
Of course, the producers, I’m sure, get a veto whenever they want it — which means the weirdos are probably around for a while, kicking up drama and burning fabric and possibly exposing some other part of the female body on the runway that we may not want to see (next week, buttholes!). I’ll be glad when the cream finally rises, but until then, let the loons have their fun, I say. It gives the judges something to do.
Did you like the changes to the show? Are you happy to see more of Tim’s input? What do you think of Timothy?