Project Runway 12 – Episode 04 – Recap, Results, Discussion


INT. DAYTIME. A mustachioed MAN in ill-fitting leopard print suit bellows insults at ANOTHER MAN. A young WOMAN cries.

You’re wrong! You’re wrong!

Sit your ass down! You get out!


The first MAN storms off, in a fit of rage, comically knocking down mannequins and curtain rods on his way out.



36 hours earlier, when this was still just a silly little old lady of a reality show about crazed fashionistas cutting fabric into awesome/gruesome shapes, emotions were simple: Helen, having won last week’s challenge, was happy. Henry “Jeremy” Higgins, having just lost his grandmother, was sad. Sandro, being Sandro, was angry. But he’s always angry.

You wanna know who’s never  angry? This week’s special guest star, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who entered the workroom, teeth shining like an LED-powered lighthouses reflected off a mirror sprayed with glitter, doing his best Pee Wee Herman impression as he promoted his marriage-equality charity. (Curious? Here you go.) (I probably should have used a word other than “curious.”) (No I shouldn’t.) For those of you too lazy to click the link (shame on you!), Jesse’s charity sells bow-ties in order to raise funds to help promote the legalization of same-sex marriage – but on one of the most gay-friendly television programs of the last decade, where not a single soul opposes the cause, the bow-ties serve a different purpose: each designer must create a look inspired by one of Jesse’s hundreds of bow-ties, while also incorporating at least one tie in a non-traditional way. (“I veel make bow-tie maxi pad,” says Sandro. In his head. You know he thought it.) Once they’ve dug through the piles of pinstriped, polka-dotted, Doctor Who-esque fabrics, the designers head to Mood, where penny pincher Miranda does her frenemy of episodes past Timothy proud by underspending, while Sue nearly doubles the suggested budget simply because she can.

TIMSULTATIONS! One day, the world will pay Tim Gunn the same respect it pays Dr. Maya Angelou – because frankly, no one else on earth can say things like “for me, it’s sort of like a pot holder” (about Dom’s cluttered piping design) with such a delicate mix of snark and gravitas. He even sounds wise spouting old-as-time platitudes (“just be you,” he says to Sandro). This man is a future Nobel Laureate. Mark my words. (Also, be on the lookout for “Why The Caged Bird Stitches.”) “What am I looking at here? I’m looking at two garments,” Tim says of Sue’s double-budget creations. “That’s typically the way I work,” she replies. Repeatedly. Note to future clients of Sue’s: she typically does twice the work and charges twice as much for no discernible reason. You have been warned. Only poor Helen, who I’m beginning to suspect is highly bipolar, comes out of her Timsultation feeling dejected on the verge of another meltdown when Tim (correctly) points out that her garment – a literal interpretation of a bow-tie’s silhouette stitched onto a boring cream colored dress – didn’t convey the androgynous menswearness she had hoped.

PET PEEVE OF THE WEEK: Why do people in the fashion industry insist on referring to lower-body garments in the singular form? When Kate calls her equestrian-meets-leather trousers “a pant,” my first instinct is to throw my underwear at the television and scream “SPEAK LIKE A HUMAN PERSON, YOU PRETENTIOUS TOOT.” Which of course, I do. (Well, I don’t throw underpants. UnderpantSSSS. Plural.)

SOON-TO-BE-ALL-OVER-VINE MOMENT OF THE WEEK: When Dom called a triangular bow-tie creation “very vaginal,” Sandro emerges like a succubus out of the sea, from out of nowhere, bellowing “VAGINA! WHERE’S VAGINA? SHOW ME!” followed by “YUCKYY VAGINA FOREVER!” Don’t be surprised if that doesn’t become my text ringtone by this time tomorrow.

As expected, the runway show is a mixed bag: the few success stories (Kate’s smart, ready-to-wear pant(S) and Bradon’s beautifully crafted woven bow-tie top) serve only to disservice the more grotesque creations (Miranda’s Cruella DeVil crop-top mishmosh would have been turned down by a Lady Gaga fan looking for an outfit for Comic-Con). In what is becoming a beautiful, timeless running joke, poor model Nastassia (remember Timothy’s episode 1 disaster buddy?) is once again paired with a designer who produces something akin to fabric vomit (in this case, it’s Helen), and once again narrowly escapes elimination because someone else happened to be just a tiny bit worse.

The judges elect to see Kate, Dom, Bradon, Miranda, Jeremy and Sue, which prompts Sandro to ask for some direct feedback. Zac Posen, not one to miss an opportunity to offer biting criticism nowhere near as velvety as Tim Gunn’s, chimes in almost immediately and basically calls Sandro’s work terrible and derivative. Remember that argument from the top of the show? That’s this. Back in the sewing room, several of the safe designers try to calm a furious Sandro down, which is futile because he’s already prone to drama to begin with, and Helen’s psyche collapsing a few feet away demands too much of the room’s attention. It all escalates very quickly – kind of like when you pour lukewarm soda into a cup of ice – except when the soda spills everywhere it doesn’t taste like tears and desperation. In a matter of minutes, Helen is in the fetal position, being comforted by Drew Barrymore, while Ken and Sandro shout gibberish to each other while their fingers point involuntarily in various directions (“MAKE VOICE DOWN!”). Next minute, Sandro is out the door, literally ripping curtain rods out of the wall and smashing cameras in a futile attempt to express his anger  at the show, which is silly and counterproductive since reality TV producers dream of this kind of thing.

Except they expect the drama queens to come back and cause more drama – not actually leave forever. But in that sense, I guess Sandro never fit the mold. In a completely predictable but somewhat inevitable twist, Sandro ejects himself from the competition, meaning that one of the bottom three (Jeremy, Miranda, and Sue) was spared at his expense. It’s a double-edged sword: from the contestants’ perspective, it’s probably much more pleasant to live in a Sandro-free environment. But from a strictly entertainment standpoint, how will the show fare? Remember when Omarosa was fired on The Apprentice and then nobody cared anymore?

Regardless of the outcome, I have to applaud the editors’ choice in focusing on the positive – challenge winner Bradon’s touching proposal to longtime partner Josh – instead of dwelling on the negativity of Sandro. It’s a nice little reminder that nice people still exist, even if most of us are enormous tools.

Er…..wrong choice of words. Again. Argh.

NEXT WEEK: As the designers are forced to work in groups of three, Ken channels his inner Brittenum twin and does NOT. DO. GROUPS. See you then!

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