Well, hyped and touted all week via a foreshadowing of Just Jack telling the cameras this is "the most difficult challenge that has ever been on Project Runway", my daughters and I spent the past seven days in serious conjecture...
Would they be flaying their own flesh? Shaving their heads and weaving cloth out of their tresses? (Leaves Rami at a disadvantage.) Painting clothing on their models a la Heidi in many a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue? Stealing clothing from Goodwill and refashioning it into something, well, fashionable? Oooo! Maybe they would be hunting down human beings and doing a little Silence of the Lambs dress making?
OK, ok – that last one was a little out there, and gross, but hey, it was a long seven days.
Well, whatever it was, we were sure it would be different, exciting, something that could stand proudly alongside previous season’s creations of produce dresses, garbage ensembles, and Postal uniforms. (I still have nightmares of Jay sweating through the crotch of his USPS shorts. At least he said it was sweat...)
Let’s find out...
This episode opened in the Gotham apartments as Just Jack and Joey Fatone stood around in the bathroom showing off their myriad tattoos. (Don’t know about you, but I wasn’t really looking at the skin art. I swear, Just Jack is just ripped.)
Did you catch the Kindergarten artwork shower curtain? Cats, owls, and what at first looked like turtles pooping – upon Tivo rewind and closer inspection it turned out to be rain clouds. Not as cool as turtles pooping, if you ask me.
Cut to Just Jack talking about being HIV positive for 17 years now, and a shot of him on the bed with his pharmacy of drugs. He says he, "has never been healthier", and if all one did was look, you’d be hard put to argue with him. He’s like Adonis come to life – I swear if this doesn’t provide hope and inspiration to other HIV patients, I don’t know what can.
This is a man who refuses to be defined by his medical circumstances, choosing instead to embrace his life and enjoy every moment. Methinks me loves me some Just Jack.
Out in the living room, Rami and Chris cut up about the recently auffed Barium the Librarian, joking loudly that perhaps Edward Scissorhair should have gone instead – of course he is within full earshot of the conversation.
To the camera he admits that his confidence was shaken by the last challenge – um yeah – being the second to last man standing will do that – but clings to the knowledge that he designs better clothes than most of them. (Most? What’s this? A true chink in Edward's ego?)
Fast forward to Parsons and Heidi explaining to the condresstants that they will not need their models for this challenge, hyping what’s to come as, "a first for Project Runway".
Again with the drama. What could it be?
The kids are then shuttled to 10 Rockefeller Plaza to meet with Tim for details. LOVE the contrast between Tim standing all groomed to within an inch of his life and Just Jack arriving in beach attire, although, I don’t want to see Tim in beach attire.
They follow Tim and emerge onto The Today Show set where they are greeted by someone they don’t know: Tiki Barber, former NY Giants running back and now GQ’d correspondent for the show.
Wait – sorry, I take that back. Joey F knows who he is, but then Joey is straight, something he again points out to America.
Tiki, a man with a waist sized neckline, and teeth like hospital floor tiles (perfect, white, no grout), lays out their challenge...
Here it comes! I was so excited. I just knew it was going to be some Where In The World Is Matt Lauer type challenge where they would be flown to Machu Pichu and forced to sew an evening gown out of moss and fog....
The challenge? Design and outfit for Tiki to wear on the Today Show.
That thud you just heard was my excitement hitting my shoes.
OK, maybe it was also the sound of the contestants jaws hitting their shoes – after all, most of them have not clue ONE about designing menswear, especially for a man who admits he has a neck that is "so big" a "skinny waist" and a "big butt".
He helps by supplying that he enjoys dark colors, light colors, textures, depth, comfort. Basically, clothes.
Back at Parsons the kids arrive at the workroom and we see Just Jack literally carrying Scissorhair in his bag like Paris Hilton carrying Tinkerbell. Methinks Christian is in luvst (lust + love = luvst)
They get 30 minutes to sketch, easy enough, they can all draw a suit and tie, then 30 minutes at MOOD where they sweat and fret over how to best spend their $100 budget. If it were me, it would be right about then that I would be deciding Tiki would look really good in a toga.
In the workroom they all begin wrestling with muslin, and attempting to draw patterns. Then Just Jack is hit with the bright idea to take off his shorts (I love this man) and tear them apart. He shares the Looms of his Fruit with Victorya and Carmen so they , too, can make a decent pair of pants.
Rami, however, whines at this completely legal shortcut they are taking, choosing instead to "drape" his pants – Rami is very big into "draping". I think he should have taken my toga idea...
By midnight, not much has been accomplished, so they head off for some sleep, quickly returning at sunrise for 15 hours of work at Parsons.
Scissorhair is like the Speedy Gonzales of the sewing machine – you would think that would have been Ricky...never mind...
Chris explains that pants aren't really hard – they are "just two big sleeves sewn together". Yeah, Chris, with pockets, a zipper, the matter of a place to put your ass...
Tim eventually comes in with the male models – lookers all – and Joey F takes the opportunity to AGAIN remind us all that he is "the only straight guy in the room". OK, Joey, OK - we get it. You don’t like the dick, now stop being one and just sew.
As each designer meets their model, Enya is seen explaining to hers that she must turn around while he undresses and gets dressed – she cannot watch him disrobe. She tells the cameras that she is "a bit shy" and that "I have a boyfriend. He is the only one I have fitted intimately."
What does that mean? Spit marked with her tongue? I guess spit marking is a monogamous thing?
She goes on to explain that "He is the only male I choose to touch."
After America sees much more of you, Enya, he will quite possibly be the only male who chooses to touch you. Like Joey – just STFU and sew.
With seven hours left to go, Tim reappears with Kimora Lee Barber – actually it is Tiki’s wife, Ginny, but I swore when she walked in she was Kimora – just shorter.
She does a quick critique of everyone - some good, like Just Jack who is designing the right direction; and some not so good, like Carmen, who reconfirms that she really has never let go of the 80’s – her jacket is compared to a Members Only by Ginny.
Carmen no happy.
As the 1am deadline draws closer, she and Ricky begin to fing in the sewing room. Finging is the art of sing fighting. Neither of them is Pavarotti. Pavarotten? Yes. Pavarotti, no.
As the evening ends, Serial Killer gives his "Titanic sized panic" line. Again, all this week long hype is failing to live up to the challenge at hand. I get that menswear is not their genre, that it involves many seams, details, legs (face it, even the most glamorous dress is simply a glorified sack), but come on. I want to see someone tear a blister off and make it into a pocket! I want to see a sunburned person peel off their dead flesh and make a vest! I want to watch Enya pop a zit and imbue Tiki’s outfit with her white blood cells!
Where was I...
Dawn breaks and into the workroom tromp the designers. Again, Scissorhair has managed to snag a ride from Just Jack, this time literally being carried in by him – like a bride across a threshold.
Something tells me Just Jack is Just humoring little Christian. He really is like one of those yip yip dogs you see Jessica Simpson, Britney and Paris dragging around.
As the models appear for the runway show, time is almost up and Ricky has to resort to having his model sew on the buttons to the shirt. And you can see the tears are just brimming behind the dam of his eyes...any minute now that little Dutch boy is going to pull his finger and we’re all in trouble.
Sweet P is "horrified" by her dress shirt; Carmen has to sew her model into his pants, and then with zero time left to make a shirt, she opts to grab some fabric and give him a Pashmina.
Oh Carmen. Those are so two years ago. But then you hair is like, so, twenty-three years ago.
Out on the runway, Heidi greets the gang in flowing cleavage – I swear she is Paula Abdul with more brains and without the medicine cabinet.
A quick howdy-do to the judges:
Michael "I’m so fab I only wear black" Kors; Nina "I hate you all" Garcia; and Tiki "Someone Tell Me Again How I Got Roped Into This? Barber.
First out on the runway was Jillian-I’m-Going-To-Fly-Under-The-Radar-For-At-Least-Three-More-Episodes’s model in dress pants, shirt, vest, and jacket. The shirt pattern was a nice shot of contrast – seemed like a well sewn outfit, but nothing remarkable.
Next out, Carmen’s model – George Costanza, working his too tight pants, Members Only jacket, cap, and powder blue pashmina. Nuff said.
Just Jack’s lapdog, Scissorhair sent out a model in tan slacks, a tan casual pullover, and a jacket that seemed to be a cross between a pea coat and pee. It was just fugly, but then I’m starting to think that will be the name of his line if he makes it to Fashion Week. Fugly by Edward Scissorhair – when you don’t give a shit what other people think about you.
Kit sent out some nicely fitted trousers, a dress shirt, and a pretty great blazer made of fleece. Yes, fleece, the stuff of snuggy hoodies and winter pajamas. But somehow, in navy, it worked.
Rami dressed George’s nemesis, Lloyd Braun, in a very retro looking I-want-in-the-club jacket too, but his pants fit well. Nice draping, Rami.
Sweet P? Well, to start with, her model walked like he ran on Duracells – very robolike. The pants came out well, but his shirt looked like it had just given birth to his head – all stretched out, the collar flopping like labored labia (ok, even I admit, that’s a pretty colorful image - ICK), and around his neck hung a tie that must have been 7 feet long (a striped umbilical cord?). Sweet P must have gotten Shaquille O’Neal and Tiki Barber mixed up.
Serial Killer showed a pullover sweater, trousers, and a cravat? What, are we dressing Warren Beatty?
Victorya dared to go different with a white jacket and nicely fitted pants. Again, nothing too daring, and nothing that would get her auffed.
Joey Fatone created a purple dress shirt, fitted vest, dress pants, and a deep purple tie and pocket square. It was the most daring, in terms of color, and actually looked the most Tiki-ish. (God help my Spellcheck on that one – I sense a seizure coming on.)
Just Jack was just daring with striped dress pants and a contrasting striped shirt. Stripes and stripes? Not usually, but somehow this worked, and it looked clean and sharp.
Oh Ricky you’re so fine, but your outfit – not so much. The lining was interesting, but the rest of the outfit was boring and poorly made. I sense the Dutchboy getting ready to pull out...put on your hip waders.
Finally, Enya. Dammit, she did it again. Out comes an outfit I couldn’t hate. It was casual, comfortable, earthtones – very low key, but it fit well, and looked great on the model.
With all the designers assembled, the following were pulled forward:
Jillian, Scissorhair, Whiney, sorry, I mean Rami, Serial Killer, Victorya, Chris, and Enya – all were deemed safe and asked to get the hell off the runway.
The remaining designers were joined by their models and critiqued...
Kit: Tiki liked the look, texture and said that it "fit his nature" (must be code for "butt" – she did do that double vent in the rear); Michael lauded her choice of fleece for the blazer.
Sweet P and her vagina shirt did not fare so well. Tiki called it "messy" yet "conservative"; and the best Michael could offer was that he liked the 7 foot tie.
Just Jack was praised by everyone but Nina who bitched that he only made two pieces. Heidi auffed her with a look and stated she’d rather see two well made pieces than a bunch of poorly made items. Nine glowered – she’s good at glowering.
Ricky got nailed by Nina for using safety pins to hold his garment together. Tiki called it "sloppy" and said "I would look like a fool." Oh dear. Tiki, you don’t say things like that to a man teetering on the brink of an emotional Niagra. Ricky started to cry. I swear that boy bawls more than an Amsterdam whore. (OK, ok, different "balls")
Joey F got good feedback, but Heidi made it clear that she never wants to see her boy Seal in purple, saying it’s more "David Beckham than Tiki Barber." Um, Heidi – That’s ok with roughly fifty million of us out here...
Finally it was Carmen’s turn. Tiki stated about the jacket, "If it’s short like that all you’re going to do is look at my butt."
Heidi loved that Teeks has the same body issues as a woman, but then, Tiki does got back.
Michael called the crotch on the pants "insane"; and Nina the Executioner made Carmen take the pashmina off her model, leaving him standing there naked under the jacket. I think Nina just wanted a look, if you ask me.
The judges debated, giving high marks to Joey F, Just Jack, and Kit, while dissing Sweet P’s as "intentionally ugly?", Carmen’s as an outfit a Boogie Nights star would wear (sorry Michael, but Dirk Diggler ain’t fittin’ in those pants. Not by half.); and Tiki said Ricky’s outfit looked like his five year old made it.
With the contestants back out, Heidi quickly sent Joey F to safety. Tiki gave the win to Just Jack and promised to wear the outfit on The Today Show. Kit and Sweet P were also sent to safety, leaving Carmen and Ricky on pins and needles (sorry, I have been wanting to work that in).
Heidi told Carmen her model was "half naked", but come on, in all fairness that was only because Nina insisted on de-pashminaing the poor boy. Ricky was spanked for bad "construction" and "unacceptable presentation".
In the end though, it was Carmen who received the official auffing and Ricky who cried tears of relief. (Someone get that boy a bottle of water – surely he’s getting dehydrated.)
Carmen stated that she was ok leaving on a menswear challenge since it’s just not her thing. She gathered up her belongings and hailed a DeLorean back to the 80’s.
And that’s it for this week. Are you still happy with the remaining designers? Were you a bit let down at this highly hyped challenge? Do you think Ricky’s mental seams are beginning to come apart? And what do you possibly think is in store next week? They showed Serial Killer saying, "America, start praying for us now." And it was apparent there’s a team challenge in the offing.
Hmmm, design new wardrobes for The Muppets perhaps? I’m not holding my breath.
Oh, and for the record, I still think my idea for Tiki is the best...