Project Runway Recap: What a Pillbox

january225.jpgSigh, girls. After a hot streak of almost shockingly entertaining episodes, Project Runway settled into a basic sportswear challenge that referenced Jackie Kennedy but packed the entertainment value of, say, Rosalynn Carter. Or Lou Hoover. Perhaps even Mirabelle Taft*. We did get to see the judges turn into Yeti and maul half the designers alive as they hyperventilated for gay mercy, so that was something. Let's make fun of them.

*Not Ms. Taft's real name. Not looking it up.

Michael Drummond, this year's stealth-hilarious cast member, begins the episode by noting how much "quieter" the apartment is without Casanova. He shouldn't talk like that, because I believe there's a Cheshire Cat quality to Casanova, and we may end up seeing his devious, disembodied eyebrows floating around the apartment. Careful, Drummond.

After Michael Costello kvetches about Ivy for two minutes and giggles through his tears, we watch the designers crowd the runway -- and Heidi's got news for everyone. "Hello!" she says. "Designers, today I don't feel like speaking, so Tim will take you out back and give you a passionate monologue about Jackie Kennedy. Bye."

Obliging, the designers find Tim and notice he's carrying 50 index cards, welling up, and standing in front of a massive screen projection of Jackie Kennedy's fashions.

"Designers," he begins, "I am standing in front of a magnificent collage of Ms. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Woman. Wife. Mother. First lady. Mythological empress. Vital fashion life force. Pillar of grace, sophistication, and cavalier ease who personifies taste. Renaissance sorceress. Sun owner. The prism through which we are given light. The real me. The --"

Tim bursts into tears and the other designers show concern.

"Just make some sportswear," he sniffles. "Leave me and Jackie alone. Get out of here."

Off to Mood! Mondo claims that bolts of fabric are "speaking to him," which is something Rachel Zoe would say if she ever went to a store. Andy claims that Jackie Kennedy -- who, apparently, the designers are supposed to reference in their designs -- "was a fashion risk-taker without even knowing it." That turns out to be code for, "I'm going to make my model wear big pants."

When the designers return to the workroom, Gretchen takes 0.0672 seconds to drop what she's doing and "consult" with the other designers about their materials.

"I'm worried for Mondo," she coos, with full-on Regina George faux-sympathy. "He might not be hitting this one on the head."

In fact, Mondo has chosen a striking black-white-and-magenta herringbone material for his skirt. At first glance it looks a little dated -- and not very Jackie, which, again, we care about or something -- but he doesn't seem daunted. Michael Drummond, on the other hand, describes what he's doing to his baggy gray fabric as something out of The Crucible. Gretchen, please aim your condescending flair his way. Call yourself "Goody Badass" and say you're on a hunt for b*tches.

Tim Gunn enters the workroom in a pearly white coat and apparently has gotten over the emotional exhaustion of discussing Jackie Kennedy. But that doesn't mean he's too tired to hate on every dress in sight.

"Christopher!" he says. "Bad job. Valerie! I'm an old fuddy-duddy, but this purple sh*t you made is vulgar. Michael C! You paired a primary blue dress with a gold neckerchief, so I have to ask you to clean up your workspace and kill yourself. Mondo! It's very -- you. It's very you. I'm sorry. Michael Drummond! The cartridge pleating on this godforsaken skirt belongs in Annie Get Your Gun. I bet you like that. Bye, everyone!"

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