Episode: Let's Start From The Beginning (Or, Let's Start From The Beginning)
July 16, 2008
First off, I have to say that it's going to be a massive challenge recapping both Runway and Shear Genius. But I'm willing to give it the old college try.
If there's one thing I can't stand it's people who repeat themselves.
Yeah, repeat themselves. They say the same thing over and over and over and ... uh, wait.
(I can't remember which old sitcom it was where I first heard that ... but it bears repeating.)
Yes, here we are again. Mere seconds since the end of last season. And the fine folks at Bravo and company seem to be making sure we lose interest in this show before it moves to Lifetime in, oh, another ten seconds. So, let's dust off the old catch phrases (make sure we say 'em at least three times per episode), cast some bitchy, gay guys with goofy hair, balance them with some talented women, toss in one straight guy (to comply with OSHA standards) and let simmer over a summer. Rinse and repeat as necessary.
Prince - "Joy In Repetition"
It is indeed time to "make it work." (Does that one count?)
Let's meet your designers!
Now arriving at the Atlas apartments ...
Jerell Scott, 28 (Los Angeles, CA): Sassy black guy. Designated wearer of silly hat. Former model who is "ready to take it to the next level." Obligatory bitchy/cocky comment: "(To) all these other designers, 'I'm so sorry, but you're gonna have to go home one by one.' "
Blayne Walsh, 23 (Yakima, WA): Blond elf who thinks Christian Siriano's magic potion of repeated mottos will guarantee a win. Is a shade pre-cancerously brown. Sort of a burnt umber. Apparently a fan of Pussycat Dolls reality show spinoffs on the CW. Will say "Girlicious" a lot.
Joe Faris, 41 (Troy, MI): Designated straight guy. Affirmative action hire. Will mention his kids, but, hopefully, not "my wife" ad infinitum. (See entry, Genius, Shear; subcategory Matt, Stylist.)
Stella B. Zotis, 42 (Queens, NY): Middle-aged rocker chick with scary eye makeup. Has Joan Jett and Debbie Harry on speed dial.
Jennifer Diederich, 27 (East Syracuse, NY): Totally normal girl. Must have wandered on set accidentally. Made elaborate "special-effects" laden video as part of elaborate cover scheme to evade detection.
Kelli Martin, 27 (Columbus, OH): "Go Bucks!" (Sorry 'bout that. Legal requirement here. They're very strict.) Designated tattooed lady. In-vitro daughter of famed lesbian couple Vivienne Westwood and Betsey Johnson. Oddly, doesn't look like the star of '90s CBS series Christy.
Terri Stevens, 39 (Columbus, OH): "... I - O!" (Again, they're quite firm about these things here.) She considers her style as "Aerosmith meets Lauryn Hill meets Michael Jackson." Which I read as next season's cast of Celebrity Rehab.
Jerry Tam, 32 (Butte, MT): Just one of the teeming hordes of Gaysian fashion designers which nowadays roam Big Sky Country like bison in days of yore. (Edit: OK, perhaps he's Native American. But how is that funny?)
Suede, 37 (Seven Hills, OH & Brooklyn, NY): Destined for a life in fashion once he came out of the womb with a blond and blue fauxhawk. Was given the moniker by mom's OB/GYN for his innate fondness for nappy leather. Will fulfill the requirement that at least one character always refer to him or herself in the third person.
Keith Bryce, 26 (Salt Lake City, UT): Official lust object of most of the show's male viewership. Will make straight women cry when they realize he's gay. Has been given a wardrobe consisting entirely of tank tops as part of production company contract. He will be sucking up to Heidi as much as possible.
Korto Momolu, 33 (Liberia & Little Rock, AR): Used to sing on Disney Cruise lines. Impressed Randy and Paula at auditions, though Simon found her "too gospel." Showed them all by winning Best Supporting Actress for Dreamgirls.
Leanne Marshall, 27 (Portland, OR): Calls herself the "Silent Fashion Assassin." Will either be forgotten in three episodes or will execute astonishing come-from-behind victories to get herself to the final three. This is known in the trade as "pulling a Jillian."
Emily Brandle, 27 (Sacramento, CA): Up and coming young actress who hit it big scoring the part of Christine in the film adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera which earned her a Golden Globe nomination. (No? Wait. ... Brandle? Are you sure her last name isn't Rossum? I mean, look at her!)
Kenley Colllins, 24 (Pompano Beach, FL): The contractually obligated Bettie Paige clone. Only this one is adorable and doesn't look like a roller derby winner.
Daniel Feld, 25 (Great Barrington, MA & Brooklyn, NY): Quiet and stylish. Amateur zoologist and bird lover. Hopefully does not run a roadside motel with "Mother."
Wesley Nault, 23 (Blackstone, MA): Hot, gay fashion nerd action in preppy hot pants. (See entry, Betty, Ugly; subcategory Henry.)
The designers head up to the roof to meet Heidi and Tim. And, of course, to be filled in on the always predictable first "ambush" challenge where they will have to base jump off the roof and make frocks out of their parachutes.
Tim congratulates the cast for being the most diverse in the show's history, by which he means that there is more than one African-American woman, in addition to there being a both an African-American and an Asian-American man. Oh, and did we mention that this season we found another straight male designer?
He commands them to "knock our socks off."
And the shocking twist on the roof is ... there is no twist! Ha!
Now they can get good and hammered so that when they get ambushed at 4 a.m., they'll be all hung over from the bubbly.
So at 4 a.m., here comes Tim to ostensibly roust the designers from sleep, but in actuality to give production an excuse to film the nipple-ringed Keith shirtless.
Everyone scrambles to get ready and we get our first shot of someone putting on deodorant of the season. Yea! (If you're playing at home, if you had "Stella" and "Episode One" as your pick, come down and claim your prize.)
Tim marches the designers to a spot across the street from Gristedes Mega Store, the Manhattan grocery store which was the scene of the very first challenge back in Season One. Everyone is very confused because there's no way this show would purposely repeat itself like this.
I said there's no way ...
And you know this exercise in Veja Don't wouldn't be complete without an appearance by ... you guessed it, folks. It's wispy gown designer and part-time Quentin Crisp impersonator Austin Scarlett!
Reading his cue cards with all the impromptu finesse of a John McCain, Austin reminds everyone how he won that first "innovation" challenge making a dress out of corn husks. The designers immediately forget that and run inside to grab every table cloth in the joint.
Standing out from the bunch, Korto tells us, "I'm a mommy. So I know what a supermarket when I see one." This skill set will also serve her well in the inevitable "find the Gymboree on the map" challenge.
Stella tells us she's employing the winning strategy of making crap out of trash bags, otherwise known as "doing the Franco."
Kelli, meanwhile, shows us that she had on her "listening ears," as she studiously avoids anything tablecloth-like.
Everyone gets back to the studio where Tim issues his first "make it work."
One of the designers declares that "awesome."
They get to work. Joe is making a fusilli dress, which may or may not involve actual fusilli. Dan is making a dress out of blue plastic cups. And Kelli is creating a garment using vacuum cleaner bags which have been stained with bleach and dye.
Blayne says "girlicious" a few times, which leads Jerell to tell us that he wishes Blayne would "put that in its case, close it up take it to the girl next door."
No, Jerell, how many times do we have to explain? You're on Project Runway. Blayne's on Girlicious. No one is on The Girls Next Door. Hugh Hefner has no use for gay fashion designers.
Leanne tells us that she's "here to win this."
About this time, Stella realizes her trash bags are, well, "actual trash" which could result in her design being "garbage." Tim tells her to "make it work."
Speaking of garbage, Mr. Girlicious Melanoma is creating, well, something. I don't know if it could be characterized as "clothing."
Jerry thinks he's being innovative by using a shower curtain and a tablecloth.
Tim arrives and scolds them into doing something that is, well, innovative, suggesting they "make it work."
They attempt to do so by gluing crap onto their tablecloths.
Stella continues her polyethylene freakout and finally decides to just sew the garbage bags together and be the first one eliminated. She fears that if she's the first one out, she'll be "the biggest jackass of the nation."
Now, Stella, fear not. As long as there is a Dubya, you're safe.
Flash to the next day and Tim sends in the models and Blayne complains that his model has "more curves" than he knew about. As retribution for this offense, he starts using a needle near her crotch. He mutters "girlicious" again.
Jerry's creation also looks homeless-ready, which is scaring most of the other designers.
On to the runway! Heidi introduces the judges: fashionable Oompa Loompa Michael Kors, the now "at large" Nina Garcia and the aforementioned skinny fop from Season One.
Emily's Dress: Tablecloth mini-dress avec Christmas wreath made of bouncy balls.
Jerell's Dress: A cute tablecloth. With a lawn chair and paper umbrellas.
Leanne's Dress: A tablecloth with candy and cookies glued on it.
Korto's Dress: A wondrous, yellow paper dress (which, yes, was a tablecloth), but one with a rather stunning neck piece made of an actual garden salad.
Jennifer's Dress: A really cute cocktail dress made of paper napkins. (Well, it wasn't a tablecloth. And it wasn't coffee filters. So there's that.)
Daniel's Dress: Blue molded plastic cups become a party dress. Perfect for any night out at the SuperFriends ball. Fascinating.
Terri's Dress: Mopheads become a crocheted halter top. Lovely. The bottom wasn't quite as innovative, though.
Suede's Dress: A tablecloth with sewn-on doggie poo bag squares. Poo.
Stella's Dress: Glad and the Glad Family of Products. Makers of losing Project Runway designs since 2004.
Joe's Dress: Pasta and oven mitts become sexy daywear.
Kenley's Dress: Dodgeball and lawn chairs turn into funky cocktail attire.
Jerry's Dress: Sister Bertrille as demented the star of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The Playtex Living Gloves complete the ensemble with just the right touch of CSI-inspired paranoia.
Wesley's Dress: Yellow. Yellow. Yellow. Plastic cups and flyswatters make a darling mini-dress.
Blayne's Dress: Drawer liners, jump rope and other assorted flotsam and jetsam are thrown on the poor model willy-nilly. And how would be public humiliation be complete without his scrawling "girlicious" on the model's thigh.
Kelli's Dress: Wow. Wow. Wow. The purposefully stained vacuum cleaner bags make a skirt. Carefully singed coffee filters make a top and it's all carefully crafted together with the clasps from a spiral notebook. Now that's innovation. ... (Sorry folks, but ... "Go Bucks!")
Keith's Dress: Yet another tablecloth. Whoopie.
Afterwards, Heidi sends away everyone but Jerry, Daniel, Kato, Stella, Kelli and Blayne, the three worst and the three best. (And it takes no great imagination to know which were which.)
Over the ensuing questioning and judges' deliberations, we learn ...
Of the tops: They enjoyed the surprise of Daniel's plastic cup creation, the completed look of Korto's yellow paper-and-produce gown and the innovation and detail of Kelli's complex design.
Of the bottoms:
- The judges observed the obvious "psycho killer" vibe of Jerry's, er, dress (?) with Austin advising him to "step it up."
- They considered Stella's "I give up" can-liner thing to be a yawn which didn't make Michael bi-curious.
- And they didn't know what to make of that "girlicious" thing. The judges thought that the ugly white crotch portion looked like "an old diaper" pushed between his model's legs. That's where they were wrong. Not a diaper. More an oversized maxi-pad with fringe.
After the deliberations, it's time to name the winner, who gets immunity next time. And the winner is ... Kelli!
"O! H!" shouts the neighborhood.
"I! O?" I reluctantly reply.
As for the losers ...
Blayne gets a pass for his catchphrased monstrosity, which leaves Stella O'Plastica and Jerry McMadhouse.
Jerry is ... out, leaving Stella to stitch another day.
In his final words, Jerry says that his experience was going "from a high to a low to a high to a low and then the ride just ended."
Yep, and just like a roller coaster ride, it was over in less than five minutes.
Tim sends him off, saying "we barely got to know you," and adding that they will miss him. We'll all miss him. Right up until we see him on the reunion special and wonder who that guy was.
This season on Project Runway: "It's a Project Runway first." "Oooh!" "I am freaking out!" "Oooh." "Oh my god." "The stress was getting to everybody!" "You kinda didn't really help me out?" "Whatever." "It's a Pterodactyl out of a gay Jurassic Park." "I don't have anything." "She didn't do it!" "I just need to know what you want." "Shut the fuck up." "Holla atcha boy!" "It looks like a school project to me." "Slutty slutty slutty!" "I'm just really puzzled that you would go this direction." "I'm freaking out like I'm about to have a breakdown."