'Project Runway' 9 Recap: A Team Challenge Scarier Than 'Insidious'
Honestly, "Despicable Me" was scarier than "Insidious." But that's a discussion for another time. Right now it's all about "Project Runway." More importantly, it's all about Joshua and what he will or won't have.
At the top of last night's episode, Joshua wakes up on the wrong side of the bed. Or he's still pissed about Anthony beating him in last week's challenge. Or he realizes he's just run out of pomade. Or the wind is blowing towards the west when he wanted it to blow in a southeasterly direction. Who knows? Whatever's stuck in Josh's craw is making him über-bitchy.
Heidi's announcement that this week's challenge is another team-based one certainly does nothing to iron the wrinkles out of Joshua's cranky pants. And it isn't just your average team challenge. No, this one puts the designers in much-too-large-for-their-egos groups of FIVE and assigns NO leaders. The teams are picked in a semi-random fashion, with Anthony winning first pick for his team (a perk of being the reigning challenge champion) and Joshua going second (luck of the draw). Each new team member then picks the next one and so on and so forth until Bert is invariably the last kid standing on the dodgeball court. When the last pick is made and the last eye is rolled, Madame Klum slinks off to cackle maniacally at the hell she has wrought.
The teams head off to the workroom, where the always dapper Tim Gunn is on hand to give HP and Intel big-time plugs. Finally, there is a glimmer of excitement behind the designers' eyes when they realize that this is the custom textile challenge. Tim explains that each group will not only create their own prints to incorporate into a cohesive five-piece collection, but will also produce the fashion show, complete with video backdrop and runway-stomping music. And just to prove that the show's creators aren't completely evil, Tim breaks the good news that this is a two-day challenge.
Betsey Johnson stops by to give the designers some advice and tries to inspire them with a video of one of her own totally awesome runway shows. She also encourages everyone to forget about themselves and develop a team attitude. Ohhh, my sides! Who knew Betsey Johnson was a comedian, too?
Team Chaos (Anthony, Anya, Viktor, Olivier and Bryce) immediately starts bouncing ideas around and comes up with an "inkblot test" theme. As that ironically-named group works like a well-oiled machine, Team Nuts & Bolts (Joshua, Laura, Kimberly, Becky and Bert) threatens to break down almost immediately after starting. Joshua starts throwing out ideas for "circus" prints and an oh-so tasteful female version of the Village People. Whatever. Laura complains about the group's ultimate decision to go with a "clocks" theme, yet her idea was "sea amoebas." Okay, A) That's a terrible idea and B) Doesn't this chick know that amoebas are not just found in the sea? And that they're microorganisms that no one can see without a microscope?? Did she mean sea anemones? That would make more sense. They're kind of pretty and actually visible to the naked eye!
Laura continues to be annoying, Bert continues to hate everyone and Joshua continues to be a pain in the ass. Bert becomes angry when his pattern won't print (nice going, HP!) and lets an F-bomb fly, which is the beginning of the end. Joshua does not like swearing. He WILL. NOT. HAVE. IT. He demands to know if Bert is going to act like this for the next two days because he WILL. NOT. HAVE. IT. Bert tries to explain that his obscene mutterings are directed at the printer and not at the team (which, this time, they clearly are), but JOSHUA WILL. NOT. HAVE. IT. Easily within Josh's reach is an opportunity to grow the hell up but he WILL. NOT. HAVE. IT.
Both teams send three reps to Mood for additional fabric while the other two hit the town to film their videos. Josh just gets a bunch of shots of Laura jumping out of cabs while wearing different shoes, as Viktor and Bryce film the most chaotic place on earth—no, not Britney Spears' house—Times Square. Team Chaos' video already looks pretty good when Anya comes up with the brilliant idea to add a kaleidoscope/"When Doves Cry" effect, to further tie the visuals to their inkblots.
At the end of Day 1, Joshua suddenly makes a public apology for being grumpy to everyone in the workroom, especially Bert. He and Bert hug it out, but neither Bert nor I are convinced that Joshua is really sorry.
On Day 2, Tim returns to the workroom to check in on the teams' progress. Happy with Team Chaos' cohesion (both in their designs and team spirit), he moves on to Team Nuts & Bolts. Finding much to be troubled about, Tim questions many of the pieces, then chides the team members for their non-collaborative efforts. He forces them all to join hands and take a vow to work on communication. And I think he might have accidentally married Joshua and Bert. Shhh, don't tell them!
One bad critique from Tim sends Joshua back into super-nasty drama queen mode, so of course this is the best time to give him his Lifetime movie moment. Josh boo-hoos about how he doesn't want all his hard work to be for nothing. He's worked SO hard to make his fashion dreams come true that he could barely find time in his busy NYC bartending schedule to make regular trips home to visit his midwestern family. PLEASE. What I think he meant to say is that being a gay man in New York is like being Dorothy in Oz, so why keep taking hot air balloon rides back to Dullsville when he's busy kicking up his ruby slippers in the most exciting city in the country? But then the truth wouldn't have snagged him any sympathy, would it?
Obviously, I do feel badly for Josh when he talks about losing his mother two years ago, and how he apparently hadn't seen her for a while before she died. I feel badly for anyone who's lost a loved one. But that's pretty much everyone, isn't it? I'm just so done with these reality show contestant backstories. Everyone has tragedy and sadness in their lives. Josh losing his mother has nothing to do with whether he is a good designer. And it certainly doesn't excuse him for being downright mean to the designers he's deemed as beneath him (namely, Bert and Becky). My mom died when I was a little kid but that doesn't mean I get to treat people like garbage. Clearly, the backstory is there to try to explain away some of Joshua's actions, but let's not buy into that nonsense. The simple fact is that when he's in control and things are going his way, Joshua is Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky. When things aren't going his way? He morphs into Regina George.
Anyhoo...after Josh calls his dad and the models have their final fittings, Team Nuts & Bolts seem to get along a little better. And Team Chaos finally has a problem: Olivier is taking too darn long to make his jacket and may not have any pants for his model to wear. But, gosh, golly, gee whiz, there's so much love on this team that I'm sure they'll all pull together and MAKE IT WORK!
Team Chaos' designs
(L-R): Olivier, Anthony, Bryce, Anya and Viktor
At the runway show, designer Rachel Roy and actress Rose Byrne sit in as guest judges. Wait...WHAT? Rose has an Aussie accent? I had no idea! Why does she seem to always play Americans? And why didn't she say no to "Insidious?" She's lucky she had a pretty funny turn in "Bridesmaids" right after that.
Unsurprisingly, Chaos prevails as the panel has little positive to say about the mess of Nuts & Bolts that litters the catwalk. Heidi banishes Team Nuts (let's shorten it, shall we?) to the waiting room while the judges talk to Team Chaos. While backstage, Becky says that Josh probably wants her and Bert to go home so that he can "have fun" with everyone else, prompting Josh to go from zero to bitch in less than two seconds. Because he WILL. NOT. HAVE. IT. He knows what product he wants to deliver to his clients and Becky DOES NOT. He deserves to be in the competition and Becky DOES NOT. Josh realizes that he is the center of the universe and Becky DOES NOT. Becky WILL have it and he clearly WILL NOT.
For Team Chaos, things go from good to even better, as the judges find it hard to come up with negative comments about their collection. There are a few, most of which center around Bryce's "too-casual" shorts and tee-shirt look, and Nina's minor complaint about the hair and makeup, but overall the panel is exceptionally pleased. Heidi thinks this is one of the best runway shows ever, and loves everything in the Chaos collection. When she asks Olivier who among the group should be the winner, he sheepishly replies, "me" before erupting with giggles. (Kors then makes a joke about how most designers have huge egos, at which the editing team blows a perfect opportunity to cut to a shot of Joshua.) All of the other designers stick with the trend of voting for themselves, except for Bryce, who knows he has the weakest look and casts a vote for Anya. And while one man's vote may not count in an election, it might count on "Project Runway," because Anya is eventually named the challenge winner. (Personally, I thought Anya's dress was cute, but Viktor's evening gown was the standout piece.)
Team Nuts faces the panel's barrage of insults: the collection is too busy, the theme is too literal, the video is lame, etc. Nina sums up the collection as "a lot of mistakes and missed opportunities." The only bone any of the judges is willing to throw the Nuts is Kors' appreciation for the models' hair and makeup. When Heidi asks the team who the weakest link is, Bert brings up Josh's diva tirade and Becky backs him up by telling the panel that Josh's attitude doomed the team from the beginning. When Heidi points out that arguing seems to be a pattern with Josh, he snappishly starts singing his own praises until Nina shuts him down with a simple, "ALL OF THE PRINTS ARE HORRIBLE!"
Team Nuts & Bolts' designs
(L-R): Joshua, Kimberly, Laura, Becky and Bert
While Becky and Bert say Joshua should be auf'd, Laura claims it's Bert and both Joshua and Kimberly vote for Becky. In the end, "bully" Josh and "boring" Becky find themselves on the chopping block. The judges decide that Becky is the better seamstress but Josh is the better designer, and send the Beckster home. Poor Becky. Sure, she may not have been the most exciting designer to ever grace this show, but as a fellow 38-year-old Becky, I have a soft spot for her!
On the next episode, the contestants get to ride solo again...but don't think it will be a complete joyride. It's a client challenge, but the designers have to rely on a bunch of dudes to tell them what kind of garments their wives and girlfriends want. Sounds wonderfully train-wrecky, doesn't it?
Auf wiedersehen - see you next week!