Friday, August 27, 2010

Project Runway, or, Where's Donald Trump When You Need Him?

Did anybody watch Project Runway last night? Weird episode! I kept wondering if I was watching an (early) episode of The Apprentice. Team challenge, big personalities, bigger egos, and a team leader who needs a lot of therapy.

Oh, Gretchen. She's a good designer, won the first two challenges, but she's also a subtle bully. Her "help" during the party store challenge killed Sarah's design and ousted her from the show.

Last night, the challenge involved the designers being broken up into two teams, each charged with the task of coming up with a 6-piece collection.

Team "Luxe" contained several challenge winners, and they knew it. They (meaning Gretchen) came up with the convoluted plan of having everyone make several pieces. Every look they put together was the result of two or three people's efforts. They were so pleased with themselves, their teamwork, their love, their slightly pinko-plan, and their own talent. A lot of hand-holding and back-patting. Not a lot of critical thinking.

Team "Military and Lace" contained several people who had been in the bottom two. Their plan of attack was to assign each person to a look. They bickered a lot in the process, there was a lot of manic running around, but they also worked hard. And because each person had a specific look to be responsible for, everyone owned his/her work because they had control over their own vision, within certain perimeters.

Casanova had a meltdown when Tim didn't love his blouse. Now, I love Tim, but there are times when his advice needs to be taken with a grain of salt. On its own, the black lace blouse could look dated. But styled with white military-style pants and modern hair, it was very chic.

Long story short - Gretchen bullied her team (which was not, technically, to have a team leader) into doing a collection with her design aesthetic. Except, it came out baggy. Oversized. Oddly zippered. Cheap looking.

It was bad. It was really bad.

Team Military and Lace, though, gave Casanova and Peach (I love Peach!) a chance to really shine. Casanova was declared the ultimate winner, having redeemed himself from the dresses termed "pole-dancer in Dubai" and "transvestite flamenco dancer going to a funeral" by Michael Kors (Oh, my goodness. Does he work on these ahead of time, ready to pull out when appropriate, a la Mr. Collins? Really? And how is he not British? Aren't the difficult to please judges all supposed to be British?)

And then the weirdness started. Gretchen gave a speech in the back room (very long speech) about how they were going to stand together and be united and not point fingers link arms and sing "Kum-bay-yah" and "We Shall Overcome." They tried this, and Gretchen gave another speech to the judges with painful, awkward earnestness. Scant seconds later, the tune changed to "Michael done us wrong," which was problematic because Michael had immunity.

A word about Michael: He don't get no respect. He won last week by starting over at the last minute and creating a lovely dress. The rest of the cast sniped behind his back, though, about how he wasn't a visionary and the dress wasn't all that. And maybe he doesn't have the best technical skills, but he really impressed the judges, and on a judged competition, that's kind of all that matters.

Anyway. The finger-pointing started, and Gretchen gave it a good kick-off. Back and forth and back and was painful. I wanted Trump to come in with his pink firing tie and make the whole thing stop.

In the end, Gretchen and AJ were in the bottom two. AJ left, and it was a good call. But before Tim gave AJ his send off in the back, he (Tim) gave Gretchen what-for. I've never seen him do it before, but he called her to the carpet for bullying her teammates, and scolded the rest of them for letting themselves be bullied.

Curious to see what happens next week, and the episode trailer didn't illuminate anything at all, other than the fact that the challenge would be difficult, the designers wouldn't be happy about it, there would be a surprise twist they'd be even less happy about it, followed by a dressing-down by the judges.

So, pretty much, business as usual.

Did you see the episode? What did you think?


  1. Really? NO one has commented on this? That was an amazing summary of everything. I was sort-of pulling for Gretchen in the beginning, being that she's from Portland and all, but come on! Seriously? Shut up. During her speech, she just needed to shut up. AND even though I wasn't all about AJ's design aesthetic, he did get sent home because he was a team player . . . or just a good follower. The truth is that Gretchen should have gone home because the whole idea was hers. I think she is a pretty good designer, but she doesn't do well trying to have other people implement her ideas. Poor Sarah. I think she would have been able to pull something together if she hadn't have listened to Gretchen. Okay, yeah, and Tim . . . he often had things wrong last season when critiquing Emilio's designs. And poor McKell at the beginning of the season. He loved her look. When it all comes down to it, contestants on PR really need to go with their gut and do what they want because then they can really be behind what they make.

  2. So true. Gretchen...with the needs to stop.


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