Thursday, October 12, 2006


The Gang's All Here

Previously on Project Runway: Heidi recaps the season so far and previews the show to come.

The auf'd designers are already seated on couches and chairs (with a front couch left empty for the finalists). So no drinking this year? Heidi and Tim sit across from them on tall directors chairs. Heidi welcomes the designers back to Parsons, their "home away from home." She announces that she's happy to see them all looking so good, and also good-looking is Tim Gunn. Tim lays out the structure of the show, including the forthcoming announcement of the fan favorite and the awarding of the $10,000 prize.

Heidi wants to hear about how fans have been reacting to the former competitors. She throws it to Bradley first, who demurs that no one recognizes him. The fact that he's shaved all the facial hair and gotten a very short haircut might have something to do with it. It looks nice, but not so spacy. Put some muscle on him and he's your basic jock. I prefer the original Bradley because he was more distinctive. Bonnie relates how a fan confirmed that she had been on the show, and then insulted her and ran away, much to Bonnie's consternation. Vincent uses his "turned on" voice to talk about how "beautiful" it is to know why your fans like you. Heidi asks if it turns him on, since so much does, and he protests that he can't help it. Try. Malan has gotten a great response. Tim points out that he had a show at Fashion Week and everyone claps for him. Angela claims that she gets mobbed on the streets of Los Angeles, especially after the Moms episode, and she loves "every second" of getting sympathy. Of course she does. The weird thing is, I'm not sure she realizes how much of an attention whore she is.

Heidi wonders who among the auf'd designers they expected to see in the finals. Katherine nominates Alison, who has a distinct but very wearable point of view. (I also thought she was a contender.) Alison looks like she's trying not to say, "I was totally robbed!" Vincent nominates Kayne for his presentation and quality. Stacey (who?) nominates Robert, who dryly agrees with her. Oh, how I've missed him.

The finalists come out. Michael gets the biggest applause, of course. Laura is last, and she's fabulously preggers in a tomato red dress. She and Heidi compliment each other on their magnificent girths. (Since Heidi has been sitting, it's hard to see her bump, but it's probably pretty substantial at this point.) Someone in Irvine wants to know if Laura owns a pair of jeans. She does not. She wears riding pants when she needs to be comfortable and busy. Heidi doesn't recall seeing Tim wear jeans (I do and he looked smashing, as usual) because he's always so James Bond-ish.

Tim reports that they have a final four instead of a final three, and introduces the clip of Heidi not aufing anyone. We've seen it, but it's new to the auf'd designers. Michael reports that he's sweating from seeing it again. He was expecting something other than a final four (perhaps a final two?). Tim is still "thrilled" about keeping them all. Uli thinks it's great because they're all so different. Heidi asks the other designers what they think of it. Bonnie is relieved that those nasty judges were finally nice for once. Kayne thinks it's "perfect" that they're the final four, because they all need to show their work. It's a hard spot for him, being fifth and just out of the showing, so I appreciate that he's being gracious about it. Jeffrey takes a turn at being gracious by saying any four of the group would have made an interesting final. That would have been more believable if he had retracted his complaint that everyone else was doing "remedial" work in the first challenge. But it's nice that he's trying.

Heidi refers to someone else they thought would make the finals. She's talking about Keith, of course. Robert and Jeffrey look like they're steeling themselves. Keith comes out to polite applause. I don't think I would have bothered clapping. Heidi asks if he has actually been a laughingstock, but he says he didn't give his friends enough credit. Alison pats him on the shoulder. Give it up, girl, he's just not into you. Tim introduces the clip of Keith getting booted. Look, I don't tune into a reunion to see stuff I've already seen. Not unless it's repackaged for humor. Alison looks sad as she watches. After the clip ends, Alison has her body angled toward Keith but everyone else tries to create physical distance. Kayne is practically sitting in Stacey's (who?) lap, he's that far down the couch, and Angela's chair is going to tip over if she leans any farther back. Heidi asks if all the others if they think Keith was treated fairly. Robert votes yes, because it was about the rules and nothing personal. Heidi calls on Alison, who was sad because Keith was someone she got along with. Kayne didn't come on the show intending to boot anyone (I suspect he's feeling a little sore about people calling him a tattletale) but everyone signed the same contract. Tim asks Keith if he thought it was fair. Obviously, he doesn't. Just look at his face, with that dead-eyed stare. He claims the contract didn't exclude books. The designers disagree. Keith doesn't remember reading that. So Keith signs contracts he doesn't read? Good to know. All the designers are sure that books are banned. Heidi is sure, too; they were just supposed to have their brains and their fingers and their talents. (And a good pair of shears.) Stacey (who?) gets her moment in the sun, describing how just reading about a technique inspires creative ideas.

Keith switches gears, saying that the books were taken away -- which would be an excellent indication that they weren't permitted -- and then returned a week later, just in time to get him dismissed from the show. "Uncomfortable, isn't it?" he prods. Well, yes, but not in the way he means. Heidi disbelieves. Tim stands up for the integrity of the producers. He overstates the case, but I'm quite sure they didn't connive at the booting of Keith. Why would they want him off the show? Keith disclaims saying he was set up. Technically true -- he just described being set up, rather than claiming it happened. He's not saying there was a conspiracy, but he doesn't know how the books wound up back in his room. I'm not too clear on how the books got in the room, either; there was some searching of luggage when the designers arrived, although it's not clear what, if anything, was taken at that time. But if your story is that the books just showed up in your room one day, your opening shot shouldn't be, "Hey, the books weren't actually illegal." You lead with your strongest, most convincing point. Tim asks Jeffrey if he thinks Keith's dismissal was fair, and Jeffrey agrees that it was, and Keith should have handled the situation better.

Tim brings up the other issue, which was Keith running away for several hours. Heidi asks where he went all that time. Keith reports how people were upset about the books. Heidi asks if it wouldn't have been smarter to stick around, especially if he was innocent; she compares it to fleeing the scene of an accident. Keith says he talked to a production assistant and told her that he was leaving since things were getting so heated, and she pointed to the door. Laura shakes her head, like "What a maroon." Heidi disbelieves again. Uli protests that they couldn't even go to the bathroom without someone tagging along. Heidi agrees. Kayne looks like he wants this all to be over. Keith says that they asked for the story, and he told them. He's not going to just "roll over like a puppy," he says pointedly; Tim apparently said that about him. Tim describes his comments: he was expecting Keith to put up a fight and there was nothing. And now it's time to move on, because they could go over this for hours. Heidi decides it's getting "too hot." Keith says, "I thought so," like he's made a point.

Okay, so you're a contestant on a reality show, and the producers have set you up with disappearing/reappearing books (that aren't actually illegal, even if they were confiscated), and now there's all this drama from people being upset and you need to get away from it all. Do you honestly expect anyone connected with the show to say, "Hey, sure, go off for a little while and collect yourself"? Why on earth do you even try telling anyone that you want to go off for a while? Especially if you're the center of all the drama happening. And do you honestly think that a production assistant can actually give anyone permission to do anything, let alone anything as major as leaving? This is really disappointing. I prefer my villains to be competent.

Sadly, they do not make Keith leave again now that they're done with him. Mean, yes, but appropriate. Fortunately, we move on to some fun stuff. Heidi introduces a clip show of Tim using big words. Michael starts off in an interview describing Tim as a "dictionary" who uses "the best words." I agree. But then I was once called "Big Word Mama" back in fifth grade, so I'm all for taking one's vocabulary out for some exercise. Tim gets a question from Portland: does he design clothes? No, he's an educator. His creative output is in the fine arts field -- sculpture and oil painting.

Tim turns it around with a segment on the designers' "idiosyncratic lexicons" -- Laura with "serious ugly," Robert with "boring," Vincent with "turns me on," Bradley with assorted sound effects. Cute, but it in no way compares with "Daniel Franco, where did you go?"

Heidi asks how they liked working with Tim. Uli thinks he's like a father figure and they'll remember him for always. Heidi calls out Vincent for his comments about Tim on, and how he didn't "bow down" to Tim as expected. Vincent says he'll stand by that, because he's been told that Tim has been mean to him on the "blog spots." Except Vincent's interview talked about how he interacted with Tim during the filming, so what do the "blog spots" have to do with that? Tim invites Vincent to read his blog (always a good step before making accusations) because his comments there are about Vincent's designs and not his character. Which is pretty much true, I think; he really unleashed his distaste for Vincent in his podcasts. But there are certainly indications in the blogs that he doesn't think too highly of Vincent, so Vincent has a little bit of a point, if only third hand, and it still doesn't excuse his whole "bow down" nonsense.

Heidi then brings up Vincent's interview comment of everyone else being amateurs. Michael says that he and Vincent both got on the show at the same time, so they must both be amateurs. Vincent clarifies that he meant "amateur" as in "not being up to that level" (what level would that be?), so he wasn't calling the others amateurs. Laura's opinion is, "Vincent's delusional." Vincent recalls hearing that before. She thinks it's fine that he "respects his own work" but she doesn't buy the amateur stuff. Vincent clarifies some more that he thinks "there's a certain prerequisite" that a designer "owns." What prerequisite would that be? Uli asks why he's on the show if he's not an amateur. Vincent does that lame "I'm entitled to my opinion" thing that people pull when their opinions are indefensible. It's not a question of whether he can have an opinion, it's a question of whether he can back it up. If you want to hold onto an opinion that you can't justify, that's certainly your right. Robert thinks "dogging other people's work" is what's "amateurish." Vincent once again attempts to clarify that he didn't call them amateurs and they're just not understanding him. That's probably because he's not making much sense. "It takes a certain level to be at a certain level of design, and I still stand by that," he explains. So, did he say his fellow designers had achieved that "certain level" or not? Nobody knows.

Moving on, it's time to tease Kayne about his motormouth. We see his spiel to Miss USA, and then a "word count" graphic pops up in the corner. Marilyn Monroe dress, Kayne belt discussion on plane, Miss USA (over 600 in the Kayne column already), recycled dress, INC presentation. The Miss USA tally winds up at 932 to 7. Kayne wins! That was cute. Kayne looks a little embarrassed and thinks he should "shut up" along with his model (the loquacious Amanda). Heidi asks him to send them to commercial and he plays along.

Tim remarks that people ask him a lot about Malan, and asks what the reaction has been like for him. Malan claims to have received two million emails, and I'm thinking maybe math is not his strong suit. He thinks that without all the fan support, he wouldn't have had his show at Fashion Week. Heidi asks why he didn't get any support from his family. Malan surmises they were afraid that he was gay, and that parents worry about children growing up to be something "not socially acceptable." Cut to fellow gay designers Robert and Kayne listening attentively. Malan thinks parents have an opportunity to nurture their children, and who cares about gay or straight? Tim brings up a question from Ben: where did Malan's delectable accent come from? Malan (who has probably been asked this two million times) replies that he grew up in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia and the States. Tim defines it as "Malanese" and Malan laughs his signature, sinister chortle. Robert compliments his laugh as the best part. Heidi imitates him and introduces a clip show of Malan laughing. Robert nails it with his description of "Cary Grant meets Eddie Munster." Malan is a little embarrassed by all the attention, but it's cute. Uli appreciates hearing his laugh again.

Tim asks about their favorite challenge. Alison votes for the doggie challenge and Bonnie agrees. Me, too. I could watch that episode all day. Except for the end, with Katherine going and Angela staying. Otherwise, classic. Everyone agrees the Mom challenge was the hardest. Heidi asks why, and Robert remarks that they just have no experience with plus-sized clothes. Heidi brings up that the moms talked back more than the models. Robert agrees, and observes that most people (pointing at Jeffrey) didn't want to make someone's mom cry. Jeffrey chuckles like he knows what's coming. Angela looks kind of dismayed to be covering this ground again. But I thought she loved getting all the sympathy about it?

Tim brings up the "dramatic" interaction between Jeffrey and Darlene. We get to see it again. Couldn't we see more of Tim's big words or something fun? Heidi asks Angela and Jeffrey if they have a different perspective on the events. Jeffrey says no, because it still happened like it happened. Angela can't think of anything to say; it's an emotional subject. Jeffrey claims he didn't intend to make Darlene cry, which is mostly true. He behaved himself initially. But once he let loose, I think he was quite happy to upset her. "The thing that irked me the most is that Darlene was never planning to tell me that she didn't like the color or the dress. And if no one asked her, we would have gotten up on the runway, and she would have said, I hate this." Angela tells him not to paint it like her mom was going to sabotage him, because that's a reflection of what Jeffrey would do. Jeffrey claims that he asked Darlene why she didn't say anything, and she said she didn't want to hurt his feelings. Jeffrey was annoyed because they had four hours left and he couldn't do anything to change her opinion. Well, then, if there was nothing he could do with her opinion, why was it so critical to hear it? Why did he need to hear her opinion in the workroom and not on the runway? And if it was so critical to get her opinion, why didn't he ask for it? And if he was worried about her beating him up on the runway, why did he upset her instead of trying to win her over?

Robert thinks Jeffrey knows that he shouldn't have treated Darlene that way, because it's inappropriate to treat any client that way. Jeffrey doesn't look like he disagrees. Laura contributes that most of the other mothers were all "do whatever you want" and Darlene took the whole process more personally. Which means that Jeffrey should have had more information than the other designers, and he should have had a better idea of what she wanted -- except I don't think he's the best listener. Tim asks what Jeffrey would have done if it had been his mother being treated that way. Jeffrey would have intervened. Tim asks if he ever apologized. He never really had the chance. Angela calls him a liar; she asked him to apologize to her mom on the morning of the runway show, and Jeffrey wasn't feeling apologetic. He blames stress. Angela regrets that her mom had to get dragged into it. She ventures that, in different circumstances, she and Jeffrey might have been able to be friends or something. Jeffrey's like, yeah, whatever. Heidi jokes that if it weren't for this challenge, they would have run off "like love birds" and Robert agrees that "they would be dating." So that segment finishes up on a good laugh.

Tim wants to "segue to another dramatic moment." This has never been aired before. Tim explains that production does the laundry. Vincent recognizes where this is going and comments, "This is good." Vincent starts ranting about his laundry. Kayne and Michael sneak out the back to the balcony. Vincent rants some more. Kayne comments, "He crazy" and Michael concurs. A producer shows up and Vincent cranks up the expletives to complain that his $125 shirt was "rooned" by getting put in the laundry, even though he put a note in the bag telling "them" not to fluff-and-fold the shirts. I'm thinking maybe putting the note on the bag might have been more effective. He gripes some more about the lack of respect and starts whining "Why?" I'm getting Nancy Kerrigan flashbacks, and it ain't pretty. Michael and Kayne imitate Vincent cussing up a storm. Vincent storms out of the apartment, demanding a plane ticket. Out on the balcony, Michael and Kayne hear swearing down on the sidewalk and lean over to confirm that it's Vincent. Okay, who the hell runs out into the middle of the sidewalk to have a tantrum? Vincent is hugely entertained by his own infantile behavior. Heidi observes that they've never had to bleep so much before. I had had far too much of Vincent about five episodes before he got booted, so this is not my idea of fun. Can we have some fun?

Heidi is going to bring out "two special guests" just as soon as she announces the fan favorite: Michael Knight. The guests have his check. Laura laughs that "it's one of those big, obnoxious poster checks." Carried out by Michael Kors and Nina Garcia, like there's any surprise to that. Nathaniel Hawkins and Collier Strong (the hair and makeup honchos) -- those would have been some surprise guests. Heidi prompts Michael to marvel about his fan support.

Tim has the judges to talk about the scoring and judging. Heidi explains that they all score from 1 to 5 (5 being good), and then add all the scores together. Sometimes they adjust the scores after the question-and-answer session. Nina says she judges the outfits based on how they respond to the challenge, and whether they're credible and inventive. Michael Kors tries to judge challenge-by-challenge, rather than by body of work, and looks for the best the designers can do within their own styles. Tim offers the contestants a chance to ask the judges about their opinions. Angela asks, would it have made a difference if she had come up with a different story for the Jubilee Jumbles outfit? Well, we wouldn't have the Jubilee Jumbles award. But no, all the judges are like, that outfit sucked too bad for any story to rescue. Kayne asks about his couture dress. He wanted to do it in a solid color, but he couldn't find fabrics. Was it just the blend of fabrics that the judges didn't like? What if he had done it in red? Michael Kors says it would have been a different dress. He thinks glamour and over-the-top is fine; Kayne needed to be Kayne, but the best possible Kayne. Tim asks Alison about the recycling challenge. Alison says she has moved on. She had a specific idea in mind as she was working on the mannequin, but it didn't work on the model. Michael Kors says she needed to step back and make changes based on the model she had. Laura asks if they ever reconsidered a decision. Michael Kors records his gut decision first, and then reviews his scores based on what he's thinking, so he doesn't change his mind after the episode.

Heidi is surprised they were able to reach a decision sometimes, with all the distractions. Clip show of goofs. Fire alarm goes off during the black-and-white judging. Marilinda needs to sit down during the final four judging. Michael laughs about the "fainting models." Marilinda is a first-timer, so he forgives her, but Amanda is a repeat offender. Kayne reports that she would have a big fainting spell whenever they wound up in the bottom. "You have that a lot, no?" Heidi wonders. Then, in a stage whisper, "Why do you have that a lot?" Jeffrey farts before the designers come back out on the runway. When in doubt, break out the gastric humor.

The final four have been shooed away. Heidi asks everyone to pick a winner. Bonnie tends toward Uli (teammate loyalty!) but anticipates good shows from everyone. Robert chooses Laura as the "dark horse." Katherine picks Michael as the front runner. Alison likes Jeffrey and Michael. Kayne goes for Michael and Laura -- Laura for her fit and patternmaking, Michael for his fresh designs. Keith likes Jeffrey's innovation, but Uli is also good. Angela thinks it could go any which way. Vincent can't pick a winner, but he expects good shows. Heidi introduces clips of previous contestants offering their picks. Jay votes for Michael, because he just naturally follows the gay white guy and the Asian immigrant. Chloe picks Michael because he's just like her, only male and black. Kara Janx likes Uli, and Daniel Vosovic agrees. Daniel Franco votes for Laura; she'd make a great CEO after running her huge family. Robert Plotkin's thoughts: he should have won Season 1, Daniel Franco should have won season 2 and Daniel Franco will win season 3.

Heidi thanks everyone for playing and we're done.

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