Project Runway 6 - Episode 4 Preview

>> Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Burn Notice: better put some sun tan lotion on that programmer's tan, Tim.

It says a lot when pasty Tim Gunn at the beach is one of the least outlandish elements in a Project Runway episode. But that was how we felt last week, as we found ourselves scratching our Garnier Fructis-fortified heads at the weirdness that was "Rumble on the Runway."

First, we hope we can be forgiven for not predicting a surf wear/avant garde challenge. A what now? Surf wear is anything *but* avant garde, so yeah, pulling off surf wear and avant garde looks that compliment each other was a bizarre order for most of the teams--even, we have to say, the winning ones. But then, we should have known it was an avant garde challenge, since two or three of the outfits we could see in the previews had high, poofy collars. When in doubt, throw a tall, one-sided collar on your dress and it's avant garde.

Avant garde is fashionspeak for butt ugly.

There was also the weirdness of hauling the Garnier hair care specialist out to the beach for Tim to tell us he would be working with the designers to create the perfect look for their surf wear--and then promptly forgetting all about that part. Yes, the Garnier guy did the models' hair, but, um, doesn't he every episode? Big whoop.

We also had tasteless lace mermaids with insane crotches, blood-stained, shark-attacked neoprene-clad divers, macabre macrame, and the first first-to-worst teammates in Project Runway history. But weirdest of all? Tim Gunn in flip flops!

We're dubious.

In an episode of contradiction, juxtaposition, and paradox, it was perhaps only fitting that the winning team would also be the losing team. We predicted redemption last week for team Ra'Mitchell, and it turns out we were half right. Ra'mon was vindicated, but Mitchell was evicted.
Ra'mon-Lawrence: voted Most Likely to Design Avant Garde Surf Wear

The way the episode was edited, it sure seemed like Ra'mon did all the work for his team, so it made sense for him to get all the credit. Let's give props where props are due: we count at least three outfits Ra'mon created in a day and a half. And there were probably one or two more he made and threw out we didn't even see. Congratulations, Ra'mon. You won the oddest Project Runway challenge yet.
Mitchell Hall: voted Most Likely to Get the Crap Beaten Out of Him After School

Your partner, meanwhile, didn't do enough work to even be safe. You know, it took us half an episode to figure out Mitchell's spacey, grinning, Shaggy routine. He was stoned! He had to be. The man seemed completely unaware of where he was--or who he was, for that matter--and he was totally cool with that. We half expected him to ask somebody to do a Taco Bell run for him. Other contestants have said they didn't care what happened to them on the show (particularly after they've been aufed) but Mitchell was the first contestant we really believed. He just didn't seem to care one way or the other whether he was in or out. Really, why was he even there? Mitchell leaves Project Runway with perhaps the worst track record of any aufed contestant: two bottom two finishes and an auf. Ouch.

"So if you fall off your board, they also work as flotation devices?"

Our favorite moment of Models of the Runway though had to be the models crying over Mitchell's aufing backstage. "He was so talented!" one of them moaned. Um, honey? Have you been watching the same show we have?

Moving on.

The Tango Irin(a)

Though we didn't see the high/low finish of team Ra'Mitchell coming, we did call the other top team--Johnny and Irina--and the bottom two teams--Epperson and Qristyl, and Nicolas and Gordana. Johnny and Irina wove some magic with macrame, at least in the judges' eyes, while Nicolas and Gordana's macrame...not so magical.

"Look, I know it's butt ugly, but that's what makes it avant garde. That and the poofy shoulder."

To be fair, the judges did like the macrame from team Moose and Squirrel--what they didn't like so much was the skirt beneath it and the white lace pole dancer outfit they sent out as their avant garde look. Gordana's a hard one to read, but we like Nicolas's attitude, if not his outfits. He's going to have to step it up though, or he might start getting bitchy.

"Epperson was the Ike to my Tina Turner. Or for you young folks, the Chris Brown to my Rihanna."

Qristyl and Epperson, meanwhile, put on a passive aggressive / pushover show for the ages. Epperson threw the weight of his experience around like a sledge hammer, and Qristyl wasn't having any of it. Except...she was supposed to be the team leader, and not having any of it meant she let Epperson take over. Usually a decision like that--coupled with two dresses like those--are a recipe for an aufing. Mitchell Hall to the rescue! Let's hope Qristyl sent him a nice fruitcake for Christmas, because thanks to Mitchell, Qristyl and Epperson survive another week. (But bad news, Qristyl--we finally learned how to spell your name. The end is nigh.)

Who says Amazons and Goths can't get along?

Perhaps the strongest team not in the top two was Louise and Althea. Their beach outfit was cute, and their avant garde dress looked great--which of course meant it wasn't ugly enough to be avant garde. But separately and now together, these two have put together some beautiful dresses. They're definitely two to watch. Which segues nicely into the Big Board of Shame™!

Team challenges always mess with our formula, but in the past here's what we've done: the winner, as usual, gets +4 points. The leader of the second place team gets +3 for second place. The assistant on the winning team gets +2 for riding the coat tails of his or her winning designer. The other designer of the four, the second-place winner's second, gets a +1 like the rest of the safe designers.

With the losers, it's a bit easier: the aufed designer gets -4 points, the person who squeaked by gets -3 points, and then usually the assistant on the aufed designer's team gets saddled with the -2 points. Again, the fourth designer, the one farthest away from the losing designer, gets a +1 pass like the rest of the safe designers.

But of course Mitchell screws all that to heck. Here's what we're going to have to do:

Ra'Mon: +4 points (1st place)
Johnny: +3 points (2nd place)
Irina: +2 points (3rd place)
Gordana: +1 (safe)
Epperson: +1 (safe)
Nicolas: -2 points (3rd worst)
Qristyl: -3 points (2nd worst)
Mitchell: -4 points (aufed)

It seems unfair not to saddle Epperson with negative points this round, seeing as his team's designs were really more his than Qristyl's, but she was the team leader, and if there's one thing a study of Project Runway history tells us, it's that team leaders almost always go down with the ship.

All right, let's add 'em up!

Johnny: 6 points (One 2nd place, One 3rd place, One safe)
Shirin: 6 points (One 1st place, Two safes)
Christopher: 6 points (One 1st place, Two safes)
Ra'mon: 5 points (One 1st place, One 2nd place, One 3rd worst)
Althea: 5 points (One 2nd place, Two safes)
Irina: 4 points (One 3rd place, Two safes)
Louise: 4 points (One 3rd place, Two safes)
Carol Hannah: 3 points (Three safes)
Epperson: 3 points (Three safes)
Gordana: 3 points (Three safes)
Logan: 3 points (Three safes)
Nicolas: 0 points (Two safes, One 3rd worst)
Qristyl: -4 points (One safe, One 3rd worst, One 2nd worst)


Malvin: -3 points (One safe, One Auf)
Ari: -4 points (One Auf)
Mitchell: -10 points (Two 2nd worsts, One Auf)

Scoring: 1st place (4 pts), 2nd place (3 pts), 3rd place (2 pts), Safe (1 pt), 3rd worst (-2 pts), 2nd worst (-3 pts), Aufed (-4 pts)

The Annotated Big Board:

- Ra'mon takes the award for riskiest designer, as he's the only one to place in the top three or the bottom three every week so far.

- Mitchell, as expected, drops like a rock to perhaps the worst score of any previous Project Runway contestant.

- Carol Hannah, Epperson, Gordana, and Logan form the Safety Patrol as the only four to never be in the top or the bottom in three straight episodes. (Though, again, Epperson squeaks out of a bottom three finish on a technicality...)

- Louise and Irina are statistically identical, and both have performed similarly to Althea, numbers-wise.

- Nicolas is not looking strong.

- Qristyl is not long for the show.

- Malvin is still the best of the aufed designers!? St. Gunn preserve us...

* * * * * * * * * * *

SPOILER ALERT: As we point out each week, we don't have any prior knowledge of what's to come, other than (usually) the guest judge, (sometimes) a vague idea about the competition, and (occasionally) whatever preview videos Lifetime chooses to air. Using all these sources of public information, we make guesses about who will be in and who will be out. Often bad guesses, but (we hope) fun ones. If you prefer to be surprised by this week's episode, we suggest you go watch the America's Next Top Model premiere you TiVo'ed last night...

* * * * * * * * * * *

Tim introduces two women in serious need of makeovers on "Queer Eye for the Straight Gal."

"Designers, meet your clients!" This week, the models take over, ordering what look like cocktail dresses (or outfits appropriate for a cocktail event) from the designers who selected them last episode on Models of the Runway. This would be when those decisions really come back to haunt them...

These girls just can't wait to start making their designers' lives hell.

Oh yes. This one will be worse than designing prom dresses for teenagers (Season 4, Episode 7), but not quite so awful as designing wedding dresses for models (Season 1, Episode 5). That puts it somewhere around an 8 out of 10 on the Project Runway designer nightmare scale--enough to make even the strongest designers cry in their crinoline. Will the producers make it even worse, and send the designers and the models to a cocktail party together, with the winning look selected by a guest judge at the party, ala Season One's "Making a Splash" challenge? For their sakes, we hope not, but given the existence of the new Models of the Runway show, we suspect so. It's a Fantasy Island/Love Boat crossover event!

There was some speculation over at Blogging Project Runway that the models got to re-pick their designers, but the preview videos don't bear that out. Yes, Fatma can be seen hovering over Logan, but that's just her schoolgirl crush shining through. Here she is, later, wearing an interesting-looking cocktail dress and hovering over Louise, the designer who picked her in MotR:

Really. Fatma. Not helping.

We love the dress. What we don't understand is why Louise is still sewing. A shrug? A bolero jacket? Hrm. Stop while you're ahead, Louise!

Valerie, Valerie, Valerie! Enough with the destructive relationships!

Our favorite model Valerie, meanwhile, barely squeaks through--but gets saddled with Qristyl, who has really yet to show us anything worth keeping her around.

Logan's got Kojii in a corset...

Epperson's putting Matar in orange...

And Johnny's telling Emarie, "Don't tell me what to do." Ah ah ah, Johnny--Emarie may have said she'd do anything for you when she skipped off the runway last week, but it's going to be a different story on the runway if she doesn't get what she wants.

But wait, the models will be cool, right? This is a competition for them as well, Heidi always tells us, and this time she really means it. There's $25,000 on the line this year, in addition to the photo shoot with the winning designer. So of course the models won't be all silly and start making crazy demands of their designers, and they certainly won't badmouth them on the runway. Right? If their designer gets aufed for something they said, chances are they're going to go home with them. And even if their designer isn't aufed, chances are he or she will never want to work with that model again--nor will anyone else.

So the models will be level-headed and reasonable about all this, won't they?

Ha-ha. It is to laugh.

Because what happens when you tell a bunch of models that the designers will make whatever they want? You get a bunch of pretty girls who wouldn't know high fashion if they were wearing it, asking for the most awful, tawdry stuff you can imagine. (Remember: somebody in this group thought Mitchell was talented.)

Shirin's model has a few helpful suggestions...

...which are not exactly met with enthusiasm.

Meanwhile, Irina's model Kalyn is skeptical. BECAUSE GETTING THE COCKTAIL DRESS YOU ALWAYS DREAMED OF AS A LITTLE GIRL IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN WINNING PROJECT RUNWAY AND MODELS OF THE RUNWAY. Idiots. Which models will sink their designers, and thus their own chances of winning? We can't wait to find out.

We were going to make some guesses as to which of the models will have the worst taste, using age as a predictor. It made a lot of sense to us--our seven-year-old daughter thinks anything with lots of colors and lots of glitter and lots of lace is pretty. As she gets older, we trust (nay, pray) she'll begin to develop better taste, but we know it will take a while. We figure the same is true of the models--some of whom may still be teenagers. (Heaven forfend.) In one of the previews, Shirin tells us her model asked for "a royal blue, satin jumpsuit." Yeah. Good luck with that.

Unfortunately, unlike the designers, the models do not list their ages. What a surprise. So no clues there to help us predict the troublemakers.

The eyes of Carol Hannah are upon you!

So who's in and who's out? The Magic Eight Ball says the answer is unclear, but we're willing to shake it again. From the videos, it looks like Epperson, Althea, Johnny, and Carol Hannah are singled out on the runway, which leaves us two mystery contestants in the final six, and no real hint where the others fall. Based on some of the other clips from the previews though, we're going to put Epperson, Althea, and Carol Hannah in the top three from that list, and Johnny in the bottom three, joined by Qristyl and Logan, who will struggle to reconcile his vision with his client's.

Carol Hannah will move out of the Safety Patrol with a win, edging second place Althea and third place Epperson.

Among the bottom three, Logan, who struggled with his model's wishes, will be sent off first, safe for another week. Qristyl and Johnny will stand together in the spotlights of shame, and Qristyl will be out (through no fault of Valerie!), leaving an argumentative Johnny to sew again another day.

The Oracle sees nothing more! See you in seven, model students--


Laura K September 10, 2009 at 11:16 AM  

I'm getting a strong Veruschka vibe from Valerie. She's fabulous.

I also love Kojii.

Tom,  September 10, 2009 at 4:00 PM  

PR 6 blew my theory out of the water: If you don't make good TV, you're going home. I am still very much looking foward to how they bring Malvin back!

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