Project Runway Recap: Deadline Hollywood Dowdy
The producers of Project Runway were, like us, considering suicide at the start of Episode Five. Their complicated reasons: 1) The season sucked; 2) Michael Kors and Nina Garcia were still M.I.A., with rumors circulating that they were just playing Skee Ball at Dave & Busters and watching Diane von Furstenberg win a toaster using only her free-throw skills; 3) No contestant stood out. No one was interesting. While not all of those problems were solved this week, at least two saw happy turnarounds. Polish your pinstripes, dandies! This episode was excellent!
We start the episode with a beautiful quote from Johnny, the reformed meth addict who has harvested a worse dependency on screen time. "Being in the bottom three was the most empty feeling I've ever felt," he opines. Besides the deadly meth addiction, right? Is anyone else worried that his entire backstory is a not-so-elaborate lie? I think he's actually a 15-year-old girl named Kallie who doesn't fit in at winter formal. The oversize pink polo is a clever gay ruse. Elsewhere in the apartments, the heretofore silent Irina says that Althea's win last week was not "well-earned," unlike her trip to Moscow, which she and her sisters Masha and Olga have anticipated in the parlor room for years. The claws are out! And so is the Louis Virtel stamp of fun times.
On the runway, Heidi emerges with a not-so-puzzling clue about the new challenge. "This challenge is black and white and read all over!" she says, or something. "Tim will care enough to explain." The designers trek out with the Smokin' Gunn to the headquarters for The Los Angeles Times. "Designers!" he exclaims. "Newspapers are one of the most glamorously bankrupt industries in the United States. This woman next to me, Times fashion critic Booth Moore? She makes $50,000 a year, tops. Can't afford to leave the house. But she's here to accept non-perishable food donations AND tell you about your new challenge!" Booth Moore dispenses with the inevitable "Make a dress out of these newspapers" prompt, and the designers race to grab thousands of fresh copies. It's going to be a newsprint-heavy day on the runway, kids. I just wish someone contributed 70 cents a day so that Booth Moore could live long enough to enjoy it.
When they all retreat to the newsroom, Tim Gunn imparts a lengthy monologue about the history of paper dresses. For real. There's a montage of paper dress sketches and everything. "You have to re-brand the paper dress for 2009!" he clamors. Irina starts painting her jagged newspaper creation a crimson red, while the chatty Shirin has decided to rip off Season Five champion Leanne Marshall's signature flap-heavy skirts. You hot chicks with glasses can't just all make the same dress! We get confused at home! Christopher gasps passionately about his plan for a rigid top with a long fluttery skirt, because that's the same dress he's wearing underneath his street clothes. The "sassy contestant" Nicolas, who keeps trying out these "jokes" during confessionals, is wrinkling newspaper wildly and dyeing it red. Also: This man looks exactly like squeaky NPR contributor Sarah Vowell. I figured it out and told all my friends, and now you, the home reader, are a friend.