Episode: Good Queen Fun (Or, Am SOOO Over The Top!)
August 20, 2008
Previously on Project Runway: Brooke Shields popped in in a desperate attempt to get people to watch her crappy NBC show. Keith won the challenge (but not immunity). But he did win the incredible privilege of getting his design seen by hundreds coast-to-coast on said gynocentric crapfest. Dear Kelli was saddled with Droopy Daniel and ended up making a dress that Michael Kors deemed "slutty, slutty, slutty" and, in the end, was sent packing.
Today's "phrase that pays" is: "over the top." So, whenever you hear someone say "over the top," if you're the 16th caller, you'll win free tickets to see Van Halen at the Hollywood Vomitorium this Friday!
Also paying today are the phrases "out of my comfort zone" and "under the bus." The third person to call in when they hear either one of those will get to go see Vicki Lawrence as "Mama" at the local Shriner's Hall. (Post-dinner showtime is at 5 p.m. and includes a free chicken dinner.)
We open at the Atlas with the remaining designers getting ready to go for the day. Designer Terri (Drag Name: Shigonna Cutcha) makes coffee while Designer Stella (Drag Name: Gloria Of The Grommets) shows us what she looks like first thing in the morning. (Hint: It's just as frightening as what she looks like with makeup, only with eye gunk in place of mascara.)
We also get a look at a new catchphrase which Designer Blayne (Drag Name: Mary Melanin) will be trying out today: "Too Much Drama!" He's written it on a Post-It like a daily affirmation.
The day-after da auf'ing discussion commences with Designer Korto (Drag Name: Jennifer Hudson) slamming the designers who have been trying to play it safe and Designer Joe (Drag Name: Hilda Het) saying that Designer Keith (Drag Name: India Inked) didn't deserve to win last time because he makes the same thing every time: a dress made of swinging swatches.
As they leave for the workroom, I brace myself for Blayne's tired "-icious"-ness routine as he walks out the door. (My finger is poised on my Anti-Blayne airhorn's trigger.) ... It doesn't come. Hmm. Well then! Maybe he's moving on! Huzzah!
Once at Parsons, the designers gather by the runway where Bagmistress Heidi emerges to give the gang their challenge. But first, there's a special guest ...
From behind the scrim, we see a XXL silhouette. It has horns. Yes, it's a viking! (Boy, Flava Flav has been eating for two lately!) ... No, it's ... it's ... it's Chris March from Season 4. And he's dolled up like a Wagnerian diva on E, complete with a bra made of the two halves of a disco ball.
"In case you haven't guessed yet, your next challenge is about designing an outfit for a drag queen!" utters the portly, goateed man with the Goldilocks braids.
"Too much drama," mutters Blayne, giving his new phrase a quick first run around the track.
And here come the "ladies" now. We meet a parade of princesses of every size and shape, from hefty and six feet tall to beefy and 18 feet tall. And each one almost seems specifically recruited for each designer's aesthetic. But will they be matched that way?
They are ...
- Farrah Moans: A Marilyn Monroe type.
- Miss Understood: A pink-haired, high-concept sequin queen with (you can quickly tell) a tongue so sharp it could cut glass.
- Sweetie: A plus-sized, more mature queen billed as "New York City's big titted honky soul mama."
- Luisa Verde: A Latina queen with a fab Liz Taylor-in-the-'60s look.
- Hedda Lettuce: Green's the word for this gammy gonaded gal.
- Sharon Needles: Bills herself as "dangerous," in keeping with her name. Stella's more put-together twin.
- LeMay: A queen with a surprisingly simple look. Hair up, vintage gown and, poof, we're out the door.
- Anita Greenkard: Our second Latina queen. This one has big Cher-in-the-'80s hair and a flamenco theme.
- Sherry Vine: Another queen of limited means in the costume department. Her thing is being a "Vegas showgirl."
- Acid Betty: 30 foot tall, high concept "hybrid" queen. A Talking Heads song on two legs. Fantastical in a drag-punk-goes-to-art-school-way.
- Varla Jean Merman: The pretty one. Bills herself as "a Ann-Margret on steroids." Note the voice dropping two octaves for the last two words.
Keith picks ... Sherry Vine, because he likes a "great pair of legs."
Daniel picks ... Anita Greenkard, because she looks like a good spokesmodel for Cocktaillandia.
Blayne picks ... Miss Understood, because her look reminds him of the people on his home planet.
Designer Kenley (Drag Name: Diva Diabolica) picks ... Farrah Moans, because Marilyn existed in the 1940s.
Joe picks ... Varla Jean Merman, probably because he used to have sexy pictures of Ann-Margret in Kitten With A Whip stashed under his mattress as a kid.
Korto picks ... Sweetie, er, because she likes curves?
Designer Suede (Drag Name: Naugahyde DiVinyl) picks ... Hedda Lettuce, because Suede has a "head of ocean"? Stumped you too, eh?
Designer Leanne (Drag Name: Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman) picks ... Sharon Needles, um, because she secretly dreams of giving Stella a makeover?
Designer Jerell (Drag Name: Jerell) picks ... LeMay, because the others were taken.
Terri picks ... Acid Betty, because facing down a scary-faced tranny as tall as the Chrysler Building is just another Wednesday for our gal.
Stella picks ... Luisa Verde. Because she was the last queen standing. If the queen doesn't love tanned cowhide, she will once this is over.
Back to Parsons for our stitchers meet bitches consultations. Tim arrives to tell the designers that the winner of this challenge will get immunity in the next round. (Sorry Keith, the rewards of seeing your designg on hulu.com should be reward enough for your win last week.) Tim tells them that their designs should showcase their queen's persona and reminds them that they are to both be "theatrical" and go "over the top."
You'd never guess from its use that the term "over the top" came out of the trench warfare in Europe during World War I, now would you? "Hessians, meet drag queens. Drag queens, meet Hessians. Discuss."
During the consult, we learn ...
- Jerell's queen, LeMay (the one with the plain, vintage dress), is not "costumey."
- Blayne's queen, Miss Understood, seems to have a jokey rivalry with Hedda Lettuce.
- Hedda Lettuce, Sude's muse, is keeping in character and asking for "everything."
- Joe (big surprise) is "so far out of (his) comfort zone" that he's just thinking of his eight-foot queen as just a taller, hairier version of one of his little daughters who needs a costume for trick-or-treating.
- Daniel is still operating under the impression that he is very high-end and "couture."
Everyone gets back to the workroom and Keith is still miffed he didn't win immunity last time. (Someone doesn't have a complete appreciation of the magic of Brooke Shields!) And here is where Joe finally fulfills his dream of auditioning for the role of Edna Turnbladt in Hairspray when he dons his queen's bra and fake boobies for a quick Funky Chicken across the workroom floor.
I get flashbacks of when the coaches in high school would all don tacky drag for the school's pep rally.
Seeing this triggers Daniel latent mammary envy which causes him to ask his fruitfly Kenley for her bra. Obviously, not wanting everyone to see the crazy floral print of her brassiere, Kenley denies this request.
Elsewhere, Korto discusses her design with Stella and tells us that she is "way out of (her) comfort zone."
While they sew, Joe, once again, displays his overwhelming straightness by trotting out the 15-year-old "You betta work!" since RuPaul's 1993 music video was probably the last time he saw a drag queen.
We cue the comedic theme and, after seeing Stella predict her dress will be "awesome," and Joe pointing out the obvious ("It looks like people are making clothes for drag queens!"), we have the Montage Of Blayne-i-licious.
The Sprite From The Year 3000 tosses some pink fabric over his head, ditches the not-fully-baked "Too much drama!" and goes, full-tilt boogie into an orgie of "-icious." Out comes my airhorn.
"If I was a drag queen, my name would be NeonliBLAAAAALovali-AAAAAGirlyli-AAAAAAnnoyedli-AAAABoyli-AAAAAABootylo-AAAAAAAAAAALiciousli-AAAAAAAAABarflic-AAAAABlaynelic-AAAAST!!!"
"Shut the hell up!" Jerell says for all of America.
Great. Now I need to go buy a new airhorn. This one's lost all air pressure.
Work continues the next day and Jerell is ready to tell us that, unlike every other contestant in the history of reality TV, he "doesn't want to go home." Doubtlessly, he lives in a gulag.
Then Suede has his long-foreseen acid flashback and is seeing visions of his dead grandfather tossing lettuce seeds around the workroom. This specter inspires him to put flourishes of "lettuce" all over his garment. Suede attributes this inspiration to mystical powers from beyond and not the more likely fact that his poppers have started to kick in.
Over at Keith's station, we see that the personality-deprived designer is petting his latest collection of swatches which, again, he will be calling a dress. This time, he says he's doing it because his client likes "bling bling." Because nothing says "flashy jewelry" quite like a used mop-head.
Tim pops back in and tells the gang that the clients will be coming back in for a fitting. This time the queens are out of drag and, wow, a lot of them are hot. (Maybe it's just the city where I interacted with drag queens a lot years ago, but none of them ever looked that good as men. Maybe it's a New York thing.)
Tim commands them to "make it work" and sends in the hunks/queens. Blayne is confused that his drag queen is actually a male, but proceeds onward anyway. Terri says she loves "a titty hanging out" (on her model, presumedly), while Korto's client is concerned with his/her nougat-y center being exposed. When Blayne pipes up about the Korto/client conversation, the client, the hefty Sweetie, smacks him down. I sorta wished she'd have sat on him, but you can't have everthing.
But when Sweetie makes a dig at Kenley's design, the Designer From The Truman Administration take offense. "She's not a sweetie at all!" she moans, mad that someone else is using her humor-as-weapon tactic.
Elsewhere, Jerell is busy trying to "make it work" with his seemingly drama-averse queen and the massive hotness that is Varla Jean out of drag is totally wasted on Straight Joe. Damn the wicked irony!
Suddenly, drama actually occurs when, in the midst of trying on Suede's design, his client, Hedda Lettuce, critiques the creation and gets in a few "in character" digs at the expense of the blue-mohawked one. Something about his having made gloves because he was "too lazy" to make sleeves. This hurts Suede's feelings terribly and everyone chimes in with a hearty, "Oh no, she di'n't!" led by resident "Oh no, she di'n't!" specialist, Terri.
The clients leave and Suede replays the interaction for everyone several times (sort of like Lucy retelling the story about Mrs. Trumbell until Ethel has had it). Suede wants to be sure that he doesn't get thrown "under the bus."
He says that he's not going to let his drag queen dick-tate what he does, a comment which I feel is a little bit "on the penis."
Tim returns with Chris "Cackle" March for his final review of the designs. Chris is very impressed with Korto's "woman in heat" design, which suddenly becomes two looks in one. Tim feels that Blayne's neon-colored design (with wings!) looks like a "Pterodactyl out of a gay Jurrasic Park," which I gather, in this context, is a good thing. Or at least he thinks that's a good thing. I mean, where else can you get away with shocking pink Buzz Lightyear wings on a garment?
"My outfit's going to be dragli-BLAAAAST!"
Whew. It had one more blast in it. Mental note: stop by the Ace Hardware on the way home tomorrow.
Chris is amazed with how perfectly Joe matched Varla Jean with an outfit, in this case, a spangly, hot-pink skin-tight "lady sailor" suit. He predicts Varla will run off to California and marry it after the show. (Joking! I kid!)
When Tim and Chris arrive at Suede's station, Suede has to tell the tale one more time. Tim responds with his take on "Joan Crawford's" famous "don't fuck with me, fellas" line from Mommie Dearest. It doesn't come out right, but we get it. He means to tell Suede to stand up to the queen and not just collapse like a wet Chamois.
The "wow" Chris gives to Keith's stringy, "definitely different" mess does not mean he likes it. Keith, clueless as he is, doesn't get it. Equally clueless is Daniel who has made a rather plain banana-and-peach dress with a bottom like the flamenco dress his client entered with and a top looking like he doesn't give a shit. Tim tells him he's concerned that it's not "exuberant." Daniel says he doesn't give a shit.
Next, it's the day of the runway show and time for us to look in on our sleepy designers as an excuse to see more of Keith's ever-growing-in-number torso tats. (Curiously, Keith's torso has the week off. So instead we enjoy Jerell and Blayne discussing Keith's chia-dress as a "Wookie onesie" and Blayne busting out his Chewbacca impression.)
Everyone hustles in advance of the runway show and Suede has been stressing over his client's comments the day before. And when she comes in, he tensely faces her down. Hedda seems to sense that Suede's feelings have been hurt and the two kiss and make up. Four designers stretch to zip Sweetie into her frock, Tim avoids getting poked in the eye by Blayne's Sister Bertrille-worthy wings and it's off to the runway show!
There, Heidi delivers her usual speech and introduces the usual judges, The One Who Says "Hey, Guys" and The One Who Says "Hi, Everyone." She also introduces this week's guest judge, the only drag queen Joe's ever seen, RuPaul.
On with the show!
- Kenley/Farrah Moans: Silver sheath with black and white feathers. Kenley thinks it's "old Hollywood." I think it's too Norma Shearer, not enough Marilyn.
- Blayne/Miss Understood: Electric neon and spangles. Perfect for Wigstock. But the wings look like the Cialis wore off.
- Joe/Varla Jean Merman: Spectacular. All pink, sparkly, skin-tight sailor suit, complete with tiny pink hat, nautical brooch and belt. Who knew Joe had it in him?
- Stella/Luisa Verde: Gown. Black leatha-ish with pink and black center panel. Feh. Next.
- Suede/Hedda Lettuce: Cute. Very produce aisle at Whole Foods. The queen speeds up and down the runway faster than you can say "iceberg wedge."
- Daniel/Anita Greenkard: Just as I thought. Another tired attempt at something special from someone who is allergic to special.
- Terri/Acid Betty: As the previously-referenced Flava Flav would put it, it's "dramatical." One-hundred yards of kimono and assorted whimsical details (including platform boots)) make me stand up and cheer. Terri has a "you go girl!" moment. She has lots of those.
- Jerell/LeMay: Hmmm. Oddly plain. The "surprise" collar makes it interesting. Ish. I can't help but wonder if it's so normal because of the non-flashy aesthetic of the model. In any case, it causes Jerell do do a little dance in his chair.
- Korto/Sweetie: Flaming. Think Ursula from The Little Mermaid on fire. It's convertible, which makes it really dramatic.
- Keith/Sherry Vine: Keith thinks it's "very Tina Turner," I think it's very wet piñata.
- Leanne/Sharon Needles: Curious and futuristic. It does look like orgami-with-fabric. Unfortunately, however, it doesn't really stand out.
This leaves our tops and bottoms as ... Keith, Daniel and Jerell (the bottoms, at least in this context) and Terri, Joe and Korto (the tops, the Coliseum. It's a song! Look it up!).
During the questioning, we learn that ...
- Michael Kors wants to swipe Acid Betty's platform boots.
- RuPaul thinks Keith is either the Mayor Of Excuses Village or Meryl Streep in Cry In The Dark.
- Michael Kors thinks the piñata looks like a "sad chicken."
- Varla Jean has a hot ass.
- Heidi wants his/her ass.
- Jerell's queen does a mean Charleston.
- Michael Kors had an uncle who went to bar mitzvahs in drag.
- RuPaul says that the drag in him is just now coming out.
- Daniel didn't want to make a dress for a drag queen which was "too gaudy," not "Circle du Soliel."
- Daniel is as clueless as always.
The designers are called back in.
Terri is sent off to safety. (Damn! What's the freakin' deal?! What does my girl have to do to win a challenge? Holy fuckballs!)
And the winner is ... Joe.
Yeah, it was fantabulous. Also, the irony of the uptight straight guy winning the drag challenge was irresistible, no?
Korto is sent to safety.
Now for the losers.
Jerell is sent away. He is relieved that he'll get to wear his traditional Cambodian wedding dress during the judging next week.
As for the losers ...
After complaining that they didn't go "over the top," Daniel ... is out.
Droopy Dawg goes down. And he'll get to go off and do that with Wesley now.
Keith is safe and goes off to make more fringe.
Danny Downer is emotional and goes back to say goodbye to his colleagues. He says his final words and again insists he had a good "taste level."
Sadly, it's only in boyfriends and not fashion.
Next time on Project Runway: A mystery location. Stella hopes it's a biker challenge. As if. Some unusual materials. And Laura Bennett!