Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tim Gunn is Ashamed of Your Runway Performance

If you missed last week's episode of Project Runway, you missed what was easily the most-entertaining episode of a a series many have written off as yesterday's news in a long, long time.

Haven't been watching this season? For shame! Get yourself over to and catch yourself up. The challenges this season have been great, from the initial "make a garment out of another contestant's garment" challenge to the unconventional materials "party dress" challenge to last week's 6 vs. 6 mega-team challenge that inspired some of the best drama I've seen on television in years.

Luckily, all this seems to be paying off, as Lifetime is recording major ratings for the show, inspiring many to call it a return to the show's watercooler days of the first few seasons. Have you not been watching? Well then, let's catch you up.

Episode 1: And Sew It Begins
Corny pun episode titles! How I missed you. The season premiere's challenge was to pick one garment out of your suitcase, trade that with another designer, then use their garment to create a brand new garment. This isn't completely original, as they've had "use the clothes off your back" challenges before, but forcing them to trade was a nice twist. However, the designs were trash. None of them were too impressive, and yet the judges chose to only eliminate one designer, despite their power that week to eliminate multiple. Gretchen (who also answers to "That Bitch") won the challenge with a dress that wasn't anything special but then again, it was probably the best on the runway. McKell was sent home (completely undeservingly, honestly), and train wrecks like Casanova and Jason stayed for, you guessed it, their personalities. Love reality TV.

Shoulda Won: Gretchen
Shoulda Been Out: Casanova and Jason (an argument could be made for Ivy, too)

Episode 2: Larger Than Life
Also known as the moment everyone on this planet turned against Gretchen. In a Project Runway first, the designer who won the first challenge also won the second challenge, as Gretchen took this win for her jumpsuit (gag). The challenge was to create a look for the Marie Claire woman (Marie Claire, of course, referring to the sponsor publication of Project Runway) that would be featured on a billboard in Times Square in New York City. Personally, my win would have gone to either Mondo, who channelled Mary Tyler Moore in his look, or Valerie, though her exquisite look probably wouldn't have translated to a billboard. However, Gretchen won it again, somewhat undeservingly, and Jason, very deservingly went home. Nicholas also went home, which I would discuss more if I could remember who he was. I can't. Whoops.

Shoulda Won: Mondo
Shoulda Been Out: Jason

Episode 3: It's a Party
THANK YOU FOR SHOPPING AT PARTY GLITTERS! Tim Gunn prefers wooly balls! What a fun challenge, to make garments out of party favors, a challenge that seemed like a repeat but really wasn't. The challenge had a great spirit, which is unusual these days on Lifetime, and the drama was, of course, amped up. Gretchen appeared to be headed for yet another win, which, of course, would have been boring, only to have Andy earn the win for his absolutely fantastic black dress made out of ribbon that did not at all look made out of ribbon. As judge Michael Kors pointed out, it looked like a dress Rihanna or host Heidi Klum would wear. He rightfully won, though Michael Costello, soon to become a loathed contestant by the other cast members, produced a great red dress that went unnoticed. Casanova, however, produced an absolute train wreck that not even a drag queen would have loved. And that's saying a lot. However, he's a character, so he was saved again in favor of Sarah, a good designer having an off week.

Shoulda Won: Andy
Shoulda Been Out: Casanova

Episode 4: Hats Off to You
Fun hats + not fun garments + the wrong winner - much drama = a snoozer of an episode. Michael Drummond should have taken the win, but Michael Costello won it for a horribly weak entry. And Kristin went home for not being able to translate an orchid hat into a good dress. Not my favorite episode of the season.

Shoulda Won: Michael Drummond
Shoulda Been Out: Kristin

Episode 5: There IS An "I" in Team
This episode will be remembered as a masterpiece of reality television that hearkened back to this show's glory days. Stuck in a mega-team challenge, six versus six, Gretchen had a meltdown on the runway, one team all dogpiled on Michael Costello as being talentless (though he had immunity and couldn't be eliminated), and the underdogs won, with the underdoggiest of all, Casanova, taking home a completely deserving win. (And I would've eliminated him twice already! So surprising, and in a great way.) The key moment, however, was after A.J.'s undeserving elimination (sure, his garment was bad, but not worse than Ivy's), Tim Gunn scolded the losing team for their behavior on the runway and all but called Gretchen a bitch. To her face. It was a brilliant moment, and reminded the audience exactly why Tim Gunn is so beloved. He is the star of this show, and we should all be honored to get the chance to see him week after week. You think I'm kidding? Go watch that wooly balls segment again. Or the smackdown. Seriously, they're both on YouTube, and they're masterpiece moments.

Shoulda Won: Casanova
Shoulda Been Out: Ivy (but Gretchen made a good case for herself with that meltdown on the runway)

I haven't watched episode six yet, but it sounds like it was another deliciously dramatic episode featuring the bitch twins Ivy and Gretchen. If you haven't been watching, guys, seriously, catch up. Project Runway has transformed itself yet again into the best show on television. And that includes a great season of Top Chef and a brilliant one of Mad Men. It's just that good.

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