Last night’s premiere of Project Runway, now in its ninth season, demonstrated that the show keeps becoming more sadistic than the season before. The opening featured 20 designers auditioning for the Fab Four: Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and her hair extensions, Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn. Seeing them in the daylight was slightly bizarre. In an industrial setting, each designer, quivering with terror, showed their garments to the panel. One poor designer’s creation caused Tim to cry out, “I AM HORRIFIED!” Who are you, and where's Tim??
Before we had a chance to find out their names, 4 unlucky contestants got the boot, with only a few seconds of embarrassing footage to show the folks at home. It was difficult to see the logic of the judges’ picks. To be perfectly honest, they were all terrible. This season, within the opening moments, Heidi attained a level of bitchiness she could only dream about in, say, Season 6. Perhaps the plastic surgeon tightened her vagina a bit too tightly after her 25th child was born.
When it came to the eliminations, your faithful correspondent knew that Testicular Cancer Guy, Black Guy and Old Guy* would not be let go. *Old Guy is 57-year-old Bert Keeter. I fell in love with him as soon as he came onscreen. And not because he bears an eerie resemblance to Martin Sheen.
One hoped Laura Kathleen, a self-described blonde Barbie with a screeching voice, would be eliminated, but no. One prays she gets auf’d soon so that we don’t have to listen to her each week.
The remaining 16 celebrated and fell into bed. Only to be rudely awakened at 5 AM (how can Tim manage to look so impeccable at that hour? Does he sleep in a hyperbaric chamber?) for the toughest first challenge one's seen on this show since we started watching. It was called “Come As You Are.” Each designer was brought to the work room in what they were wearing in bed, given a bedsheet, and told to create “a look” from those materials. There was the by-now standard gasp of horror from the designers. They were given hospital scrubs to spare the viewers the sight of their naked bodies. And, presumably, a great deal of caffeine.
Designer Julie Tierney looked at her garish patterned pink pajama bottoms and talked about “my vision.” Dahlings, my vision would have been blurred. Bert Keeter was using his checked boxers (how can you not love a man who wears checked boxers?). The best part was watching Tim tear into Rafael (an insufferable man) for making a boring outfit and refusing to use the colorful headscarf he was wearing. And this was the edited version. Tim walked away, saying that one had to use tough love at times. It was more like Tim cut a bitch, but whatever. Rafael earned it.
Laura asked about two other competitors, "Are they speaking foreign?" Enough about the personalities, on to the Runway!
Let me begin by saying that almost everything on the runway was so rampantly ugly one was fairly certain the judges and I would be in complete disagreement. Heidi and Michael wore their usual inscrutable expressions, Nina Garcia her usual non-expression (and a disinterested “hi” to the designers). The guest judge was Christina Ricci! I was delighted to see her, even though she seemed out of her element. And some in my viewing party thought her dress far too casual for the occasion. Heidi wore a beautiful green dress, one of the best runway show looks we’ve seen.
- Anthony Ryan – the gray and black lace trimmed top wasn’t so bad, but the enormous pubic patch on both sides of the skirt…there are no words. All right, perhaps bleeeccch. D
- Anya – the focus had been on her much of the episode, because of her pronounced lack of experience and confidence. Which meant she wouldn’t get auf’d. A pity, because her gray silk pants were abominable, with a pronounced bulge in front that would have made Milton Berle proud (look it up). C
- Becky - a little aqua dress that was really quite sweet. B-
- BERT! Yes, I am hopelessly biased. I love love loved his gray draped dress with one bodice panel and strap made from his checked boxers! (On another note, I hope he washed them first.) A
- Bryce – an off-kilter long-sleeved dress. C+
- Cecilia – cute outfit with a coral bubble skirt B
- Danielle – From nightwear to loungewear, with linebacker shoulders to boot C-
- Fallene – How can one not like a dress that features a clown vomiting rainbows? B
- Joshua 1, henceforth known as Crying Joshua – UGLY UGLY UGLY ill-fitting shorts, top and something that is supposed to be a bolero hoodie but fails miserably. F
- Joshua 2 – my notes for this creation read “AGfly”. Not sure if that was a strangled scream or bad penmanship D
- Julie – Uh-oh. Her “vision” needs glasses. Garish jammies slash across the bodice with yellow above and badly made gray pants below. D
- Kimberly – Yes, that is a bedsheet, all right. A billowy draped bedsheet around the collar. Reminds me of childhood sleepovers. C-
- Laura – DAMMIT! Decent flowing pants and top. B-
- Olivier – Ill-fitting gray top and skirt. What is it with these designers and gray? C
- Rafael – Oh.My.God. What’s wrong with this outfit? What’s right with this outfit? Gray leotard leggings with an ugly seam in the front, white trapeze top flaring open at the belly, and the scarf—the scarf—used as a clumsy neck trimming. F
- Viktor – A sweet sporty white dress with black inserts, well-made.B+
Heidi ADORED Bert's dress, which made me love her...until I have to go back to hating her again.
Best Three: Bert, Anthony Ryan (!), Anya (?)
Worst Three: Crying Joshua, Julie, Rafael
I simply could not believe it. The judges loved Anya's abominable pants, when the norm is if pants aren't perfection, the contestant gets auf'd almost before they get to the Final Six.
BERT WON THE CHALLENGE!
My guests jumped up and down, screamed, sprayed champagne (they’re paying the carpet cleaning bill) and there was merriment all ‘round. Laura K was NOT happy about Bert’s win.
I prayed that Crying Joshua would be auf’d, not Rafael. For one thing, Rafael’s hair would be fun to look at week to week. With Project Runway, these things matter. But Rafael was auf’d, while Crying Joshua wept his way into the waiting room.
Favorite line of the evening: “I haven’t gotten this pissed since I had cancer.” Interesting priorities.
That's it for this week's episode, dahlings. I look forward to seeing you all on Twitter.