Project Runway 12 – Episode 05 – Discussion & Recap


Remember when Mike Skupin fell in the firepit on Survivor way back in 2001, and it was HUGE HEADLINE NEWS and AN UNPRECEDENTED EVENT and the Internet still has vivacious discussions about it to this day? Sandro’s expulsion will not have that same clout. In fact, I’ll be surprised if any of us remember it by this time next season, when a new set of designeeeerrrsss is busy making fashion out of gently used maxipad liners.

I say this because Sandro’s elimination – be it by the judges or by his own refusal to accept the harsh really that his shit sometimes does, in fact, stink – was an inevitability. It was coming – soon – and now that it’s happened, we can all move on from it and pretend that we didn’t just watch this very insecure man dive into a mild psychosis for our entertainment.

SO LET’S FORGET HE EXISTED AND HEAD TO THE MEAT PACKING DISTRICT FOR TODAY’S CHALLENGE, K? (Never mind that “Meat Packing District” actually somehow reminds me more of Sandro. Which begs the question – do mind erasers actually erase minds? Because if so, I’d like one.) Tim Gunn is already there, waiting to introduce our designers to the CEOs of some large company that paid for product placement, but everyone is too busy looking at the SHINY AWESOME EXPENSIVE sports cars parks strategically behind them – which is of course the most opportune time for Tim to announce that they’ll be working in teams of three.

“I am highly upset,” says the very gif-able Ken of being paired with Alexandria and Sue, “Alexandria talks entirely too much, and Sue – she don’t know how to make patterns. She don’t know how to do anything.” Kate, who has seemingly made the transformation from Regina George to Cady Heron without ever passing through Gretchen Wieners, is thrilled to be paired with Jeremy and Drew Barrymore. Dom celebrates being paired with Justin and Helen by claiming “it could have been a lot worse,” which is a nice way of saying “we don’t suck the least” – and that leaves Alexander and Bradon to deal with fixing whatever pencil-skirt shaped atrocity Miranda manages to construct. As for the actual challenge – each team must create a high-fashion mini collection, wherein each designer is responsible for one look, inspired by expensive sports cars, made from materials found in either a wallpaper store, a whole foods market, or at Party City. It all makes so little sense that I suspect production just threw a newspaper in the air and based this challenge on whatever random pages landed facing up. 

Not surprisingly, every team decides to go for a monochromatic motif – with Dom/Helen/Justin opting for red (complete with berries and peppers), Alexander/Bradon/Miranda tackling a white collection with notoriously little color, and Ken/Alexandria/Sue arguing about whether to do black out of fruit or wallpaper and eventually settling on insulting each other rather than doing any work. (FUTURE KEN GIF: “I don’t design for 40-year old women! *Z-snap*”)

As everyone gets busy doing normal things like stitching chili peppers onto vinyl wallpaper, Tim returns for a visit – accompanied by a remorseful Sandro. “I am acting crazy,” he says regretfully, “this is my minus.” (You know – being that he was only a contestant for four episodes, Sandro’s quote legacy is surprisingly rich. Let us never forget “FOOTOOREESTEEC GAGA SHEET.”) This prompts dastardly cartoon villain Ken to turn human long enough for an apology hug, but doesn’t contain a miserable Helen – who I suspect would make a great Moaning Myrtle if this cast ever decided to remake Harry Potter (FYI: Timothy would be Harry, Kate would be Hermione, Jeremy would be Professor McGonnagal, and no one would like it.) Then it’s goodbye to Sandro forever – which in reality TV terms simply means “until the reunion or until he gets recast in a future season that’s skimping on the drama.”)

TIMSULTATIONS! Wherein Tim Gunn (totally Dumbledore) displays fascination and disgust with the same face. With Sandro not present to create our weekly this-is-not-so-much-a-dress-as-it-is-a-hideous-Christmas-tree look, Tim takes it upon himself to coerce otherwise competent designers (such as Kate) into taking their sleek , modern looks and covering them with bling (or what passes with bling in an unconventional materials challenge – in this case, roasted almonds). The real juice comes, however, when he calls out Sue for choosing a shower curtain – essentially fabric – instead of opening her mind to the possibilities of the task, which leads Ken to casually point out that Sue doesn’t actually know how to do anything. Oops.

Here’s an existential question: are we still allowed to think Ken is a festering zit of a human if he happened to be right all along? Because Sue’s ineptitude came to a boil, fast and furious, to the point where she sent her model out unfinished, with a dress that wasn’t sewn, and left Alexandria of all people in tears of embarrassment. It’s really quite a scary development in the context of my psyche, because I really, really, really can’t stand Ken, but when he wonders how it’s possible Sue was even cast for this show, my gut instinct is to….high five him? (Slightly unrelated: it makes me want to see Sue cast in several other shows where she’d be terrible. Sue on Hell’s Kitchen. Sue on American Idol. Sue on American Ninja Warrior. They could call it Ineptisue.) (Oh God. I just re-read the last few sentences. Please forgive me.)


This week’s looks are – quite literally – a mixed bag. Some collections – such as Bradon/Alexander/Miranda’s striking white creations – stun (particularly Bradon’s flowing Ibiza wedding gown that looked like it was made of shaving cream), while others predictably fail. To no one’s surprise, Ken, Alexandria and Sue‘s unfinished collection of tatters ends up in the bottom, while Kate, Jeremy, and Drew Barrymore‘s is crowned the winner for being futuristic without being Gaga sheet. (I’ll stop quoting Sandro now.)

Here’s what we learned from the lengthy, uncomfortable conversation between the judges and the losing team: Alexandria is about as good at putting together a full sentence as Sue is at sewing, which would have a bearing on what happens here if it weren’t for the fact that Ken was too busy defending his obnoxious behavior to defend his actual clothes (though how anyone can try to pass a belt made out of duct tape as “chic” is beyond me. Then again, this is a country that watches Duck Dynasty. I try not to question America.)

In a cruel fakeout, Heidi informs us that “one or more” people will be out, briefly leading us all to believe that beligerent Ken might have worked his sudden morph into an unbearable villain into a quick elimination, but no luck – it’s Sue‘s time to go, and even Tim can’t pretend it wasn’t about damn time.

NEXT WEEK: We take a lesson from the Real Housewives of Orange County book of Ideas That Seem Good But Are Actually Terrible and go “glamping”. See you then!

PS. The biggest disappointment of the episode was that Nastasia was not Sue’s model this week. I think she might have quit. 

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