Project Runway is all about vision and delusion. The vision to send a chic New Yorker to rural locations. The delusion to put him in an apron. The vision to have a suspenseful finale. The delusion that we care.
But there isn't really any suspense during the preparations for Bryant Park because hardly anyone watching the show cares about who the winner is. It's going to be one of three bland and visionless designers. The only interest we have in the final runway shows is that it will mark the end of our torture, and like a reality TV POW, we will take our first tentative steps from the cage of this season, blinking in the light and viciously stumbling toward the next season hoping that it has a warm bowl of soup and a phone call from home. Being the "finale" there was no challenge, it was just a lot of Tim Gunn, which was great, and designer whining, which was not.
Things We Hated:
- Two Part "Finales": This does not really exist. It's sort of like having a two-part execution. Either the thing is over or it's not. In this case, it is sadly not over. Instead of knowing who the winner is and putting this behind us, we had all the wind up and none of the pitch last night. It was not part one of the finale. It was the second to last show. Don't even try your marketing mojo on the angry villiagers that are PR fans. We are sitting outside Lifetimes offices with torches and pitchforks and just hurtling this Frankenstein monster of an ending to come lurching toward us is not going to calm us down.
- Tim Meets the Family: This was originally a great feature, when Tim would go visit the designers at home and learn a bit about them and where they came from. Now it's a stunt for Tim to engage in some fake shenanigans for the camera. You made Tim Gunn utter the phrase, "I love a kitchen!" and for that, we will never forgive you.
- The Lilac Buttplug: Did anyone else notice that Carol Hannah is constructing a dress that looks exactly like a purple buttplug? And shame on Tim Gunn as the only gay standing not to mention it, because you know Ms. Kors has been waiting six seasons just to screech, "That thing looks like a lilac buttplug" from his judges chair.
- Self-Taught Designers: Sure, there must be some out there who do some good, but they're never on Runway. Whenever someone is self taught, they just don't have the goods to make it all the way through until the end. Hear that, Carol Hannah. It can't be that hard to go to fashion school. You don't have to get an MFA at Parsons, but if Christopher had gone to design school, he would probably be a working fashion designer right now, not some kid with a bad beard who cries alot and still lives in Minnesota.
- Irina's Yippie Dog, Princess: There is nothing worse than a bitch with a tiny little dog. We doubly hate Irina's dog because as soon as that little ball of dryer lint attacked Tim Gunn it was just so obvious that she would have one. Way to break the mold, Irina.
- Coney Island Design Gate: OK, so Irina can't use designs of Coney Island landmarks in her collection because they are trademarked designs, but Lifetime can clearly show them on the air? Did they call up whoever made that sketch and get him to sign a waiver or was that some lame last-ditch effort to try to work some scandal into the proceedings (a la Kara Saun not paying for her shoes or Jeffrey Sebelia maybe not doing all his own sewing).
- No Tension: There is just no tension in the work room at all. The surprise twist to make a 13th look was utterly predictable, as was bringing back the old designers to "help." No one has any serious problems with their clothing or is under serious time constraints and there are no model casting mishaps. There is just nothing compelling about this whole situation.
- Judges in the Work Room: Last night Ms. Kors and Nina Garcia Fashion Director of Marie Claire Magazine were behaving like parents who have joint custody of the kids but keep skipping their weekends and so they show up with a really elaborate gift to make the kids love them again. Guys, showing up to give the designers crappy "advice" before their runway show isn't going to make us like you, and it's not going to make you remember their names since you've been gone all season! Also, MK and NGFDMCM should not be slumming with no talent hacks like these. Their job is to talk trash about their cockamamie couture, not to nuture them.
Things We Loved:
- A Stitch in Time Saves Nine: The most enjoyable part of the whole hour was during the commercials when an extended trailer for the upcoming movie musical Nine completely transfixed us for two minutes. This is what Runway used to do, transport us to a world where we could see very fabulous and glamorous people doing miraculous things. We could peek behind the scenes and see how fashion was made, and by doing so, we were a part of it, like the magic of the runway was some somehow oozing out the television set and we were all little Carol Annes—our hands tingling with static next to the screen waiting to be sucked into the light and delivered from mundane existence for good. They did this with a fucking commercial!
- Being Back in New York: Just knowing the final three were back in the Big Apple made us feel happy and safe. Yes, we're Manhattan snobs. So what?
- Irina's Mom: She looks just like her daughter, but she seems fun and exciting, and was beautiful when she was young. And she didn't try to make Tim do something goofy. We like this lady.
- Althea's Boyfriend: He's cute. And keeps his mouth shut. What's not to love!
- Tim Gunn Drinking Champagne: He holds the flute by the stem with both hands very daintily, like a raccoon handling a half-eaten corn cob. It was just a moment of cute, unmanufactured beauty and quirkiness that reminded us why we love Tim Gunn. After the travesty of the home visits, we needed this.
- Swatch the Dog: The New York branch of the fabric store Mood has a dog that lives there named Swatch. He is the opposite of Irina's annoying ball of cliche. When we saw him on screen, all we could say was, "Aww." While that is a bit annoying, it's still cute.
So, in the end, we're left waiting until next week to see the final runway shows and see who wins. That means this week we're going straight to the videos! More designer stupidity ahoy!
Tim Gunn in an Apron
Context: Tim Gunn goes to Carol Hannah's friend's house in Huntington, NY ("the suburbs of New York City," ha!) and finds there her family has flown in to help them cook a southern meal. Tim Gunn has to make biscuits and they give him an apron.
Vision: To put Tim Gunn in an apron.
Delusion: To put Tim Gunn in an apron!
What Would Tim Gunn Say: "I don't know if I'm comfortable with this. I wouldn't want to look matronly."
Context: After Tim notices that both Althea and Irina are doing huge knits, Irina accuses Althea of copying her.
Vision: Irina has the vision that she invented the oversized sweater.
Delusion: She's just wrong. She's not that original and people don't want to copy her. Also, she's using other people's prints for her T-shirt, so she should just be quiet.
What Would Tim Gunn Say: "This looks like something I've seen before."
Under the Gunn
Context: Irina explains how she changed her design after the producers told her she couldn't use a print of The Cyclone roller coaster because someone else designed it.
Vision: To write about the reasons why she loves New York on a T-shirt instead.
Delusion: That referencing Madonna will make all the queens in the audience love it.
What Would Tim Gunn Say: "I went back stage during the Sticky and Sweet tour. Let me tell you, it was both sticky and sweet!"
Context: To help with the surprise 13th look the designers have to make, they brought back the last three designers to be their helpers. This has never ever happened ever in the history of Runway ever. We're shocked.
Vision: That bringing back the eliminated will create some kind of drama.
Delusion: These guys were bland and boring the first time around, nothing is going to change. Also, the "help" that they could give anyone in a sewing competition is negligible.
What Would Tim Gunn Say: "Isn't it great to have everyone gather round again?"
Carol Hannah Puking
Context: Carol Hannah was late to the festivities because she had the stomach flu. After rallying all day, she's fallen ill again.
Vision: As one of the commenters on the live blog pointed out last night, that when Bunim/Murray—the company that now makes Runway and still makes The Real World—needs to create something interesting to watch, they show footage of two blondes crouched over a toilet.
Delusion: This really needs to be preceded by a hot tub scene to be effective.
What Would Tim Gunn Say: "This isn't very lady-like!"
The Cruelty of Life as Illustrated by Models of the Runway