Friday, October 10, 2014

Project Runway: S13 E12: "Who's In and Who's Out" here we all are. The last challenge before fashion week contestants are chosen. And I'm guessing it comes as little to no surprise that Sean, Kini, and Amanda are still here and are joined by Char and Emily. But who will make it the next step? Will there be three people showing or four? It's a kind of moot point since we all know that everyone here gets to show at Fashion Week, but for the sake of the drama, let's keep the facade up for a bit longer. If there's one thing to take away from this episode, it's actually just how unremarkable it is without some of our more dramatic designers there to stir things up. So how does the show manage to create the drama without the acidic presence of a Korina there to poison the workroom? Or without the divisive aesthetic of someone like Sandy? I guess we'll cross those bridges when we get there.

But until then, first things first: Tim comes to wake the designers up and invite them up to the roof. Anyone hoping that this would be the episode when the pressure finally got to Tim Gunn and he snapped and started pushing designers off the rooftop to rain down on the unsuspecting peons of New York was gravely disappointed. But on the other hand, is there any better way to be woken up than by the sight of Tim Gunn on your doorstep? (The answer is with a shirtless Chris Hemsworth on your doorstep, but for the sake of argument let's make that question rhetorical.) Tim's little "This is how you live?" comment had the best amounts of snarky condescension. It was like he couldn't believe someone could survive in such condition. Where are your servants? Do you not eat your dinner off of 24K gold plates? Peasants! Oh Tim, how I love thee.

On the roof, we meet somebody about something having to do with making the sponsors happy, and then we're informed about the challenge. Go out into the city and get inspired to make a Street Wear Chic look. The designers are given cameras and instructions to go take pictures of unsuspecting people without their permission. Because that's legal! No really, is that legal, because I was really uncomfortable with it all. To the designers' credit, most of the inspiration comes in the form of buildings and street art. Or as Amanda puts it "I'm reacting to bright colors and lines." I'm starting to think Amanda is just an animal, like a bird or something, disguised as a human being for the sake of the show.

It's off to Mood where Swatch is looking chubby and lazy and like the single cutest thing on the face of the earth!!!!! OMG did you see him just laying around there not even giving a damn about anything? Loves it! Also, Sean decides to make an all white look, but then sees this soft teal colored fabric that he can work into it in the event that the white gets too boring. And I was so happy with with because all white sounds like a kiss of death at this stage of things. The teal, I was sure, would be the saving grace of the outfit in the end. So we'll come back around to this point a bit later.

And then it's back to the workroom where everyone's so happy about having two days for this challenge and they all start working out how they want to distribute the pieces of their looks so as to maximize their time. I was left wondering if any of them had actually ever seen the show before. You're not getting two days to make one look at this stage in the competition. Who doesn't know that? Apparently these idiots because when they come into the workroom on the second day and find five losing looks stationed around, everyone looks so surprised.

Obviously the challenge will be to take the losing looks and redo them. Available to choose from are Korina's look from the last challenge, Sandy's look from the nightmare inducing doll challenge, Mitchell's Red Carpet look, Fade's Rainway look, and Samantha's boring something or other look. All of Samantha's looks bleed together for me at this point, and I'd honestly forgot she was even a contestant until just now.

Tim comes out with the button bag of doom. So here's the thing, I actually don't think (usually) that the button bag is as loaded with producer tampering as some of you guys do. There are times when things pan out in a manner that's just too dramatic to be true, but I generally think that the button bag is more random. Maybe not when it's choosing pairing of designers, but certainly on something like this. So I do think that the order the designers pick their redo looks is perfectly random, but I'm more than willing to listen to any theories on how this was crafted as an attempt to sabotage Sean.

That isn't to say, however, that I don't see the hand of producer tampering in this. Because you see, Char chooses Korina's look from the last challenge to redo. That I think is a purposeful decision on her part. Either because she wants to prove she could have done it better than Korina did and justify her continued place in the competition and Korina's ousting, or because, as she says, it has a lot of fabric to work with. And then the designers go back to Mood for supplemental fabric. It isn't until they get back that it's revealed that they'll be given helpers for these looks. And guess who those helpers are! And guess how you get paired with your helper! I'm not going to say it doesn't make a level of sense to pair the losing look's designer with the contestant who chose said look, but I will say that it's clearly a decision made (I think in the last minute during their trip to Mood) just so we can get a little bit more of Korina's bitch fit into the episode. Because without that moment, the episode is decidedly lacking in drama. Even bringing Sandy back doesn't add in any drama. She doesn't get a confessional sequence and she and Sean seem to work really well together. All of her defending that look on the runway before the judges sent her home for it seems to be gone. So that just leaves Korina and her attitude, and her body language, and her eventual walking out and refusal to help.

Given the fact that this all exists for purely manufactured drama reason, do we really have to engage with them? Korina reacts exactly the way we and the producers knew she would, no one comes to blows (sadly), and then Alexander is brought in to help Char. It could be read as a way to sabotage her since she seems to spend a lot of time micromanaging Alexander's sewing, but I also think that that was pointless. As Alexander points out, "I know how to sew!" the implication of course being that he's the only one of this duo that can really make that claim. Nevertheless, it's off to the races and Tim's comments.

He compliment's Kini's coat, but points out that it isn't special or Kini enough for him. We could walk into any Michael Kors outlet and buy it. It's the manner in which he evokes Kors' name that makes me think Kini should burn it and start over, but that's just me. Over at Sean's table we see.....something. So remember when I said that the Teal would be the saving grace of Sean's otherwise boring all white outfit? Well you can feel free to beat me with sticks for that mistake, because the use of the teal here and the cut of the outfit is just horrible. It's boring and ugly and just totally wrong, and Tim tells him as much. So it's time to whip something together to save it. He's got very little to say to Emily one way or the other and I'm reminded of how much he really does believe in her aesthetic. It continues to be odd to me that the judges don't. He and Char have a disagreement about the placement of a pocket on her Street Wear Chic look and I'm left thinking that that damn pocket is honestly the lest of her worries on that fucking thing. But what do I know?

It's off to the Runway where Shay Mitchell is a very helpful and surprisingly insightful guest judge. I don't watch Pretty Little Liars, so I have no idea who this lovely lady is, but I would certainly like to see her back judging PR in the future, I loved her comments.

The Runway:

Amanda Chic: I actually do like it in spite of myself. I certainly think it’s her, and I could easily see someone wearing it out and about. It’s not a look that I think I would ever buy or than anyone of my personal friends would wear, but it’s really not bad at all.

Amanda Redo: I don’t know about the cuts of leather on this one. The top one looks almost like a bib, and the bottom just looked tacked on. Honestly, I think the best thing she does with this look is to make it a two piece. And I think if she had just sent it down that way, I would have liked it a lot more.

Emily Chic: hm…. Ok I like the fabric on the pants outfit a lot. I think it adds something interesting and visual to the entire look. The hoodie…not so much. I can see what she was going for, and I respect the attempt, but the hoodie just doesn’t work for me.

Emily Redo:  She mentions that this look is “really commercial” and God help me but that’s what I like about it to be honest. I find it to be a bit simple, but I also think it’s heads and shoulders ahead of what Samantha did the first time.

Sean Chic: I love this. I think the cut outs and the shape of the skirt make this look into something brilliant and formidable. I'm so deeply ashamed of my early thought that all white would be a disaster. This is s far from boring that it's scary, and I love it!

Sean Redo: This might go down as the season of fringe for Project Runway. I like it. I still hate the pink, I don’t think any grown woman should be wearing that kind of pink in that quantity, but I think it’s a nice way to update the original atrocity. It shouldn’t win any awards, but it’s cute.

Char Chic: Ok ladies, please tell me if you’d ever wear that skirt? I don’t think I know anyone that would be caught dead in that skirt. I think the top is cute, and happy she got the fit issues under control, but I also don’t really think that those two pieces even go together. This is just a big no-no for me.

Char Redo: What the hell is that? Ill-fitting, kind of boring, and no real element of the original look to it at all. She claims to have chosen Korina’s look because of the abundance of fabric, but then she doesn’t really seem to use any of that fabric. It’s officially time for Char to go home.

Kini Chic: I think this look is 100% beautiful and breath taking and I also think it’s 100% wrong for this challenge. I think there are times when that entire outfit would be worn, I just don’t know if those times are about randomly being out and about. A job interview would be an interesting place to wear it to, but other than that, I’m honestly not sure. There just seems to be a lot going on here and it doesn’t say Street Wear to me. But it is honestly beautiful. 

Kini Redo: Damn, look at dat ass! You know you were all thing it! This is beautiful. Slinky and elegant and showing off her best ASSets. Can't say one negative thing about it, it's just beautiful. 

 With only five designers left, there's no designated top or bottom. Add to that the fact that the judges are just about split on everyone's looks and you've got just a lot of talking. They think Kini's Chic look just has way too much going on and if he had streamlined the skirt it would have been much better. But they can't say enough good things about his Redo look. Likewise, Amanda's Chic look is praised in so many ways, while her redo look is rightfully questioned. I love Heidi's point about Emily's Chic look reminding her of PJs, because I got that impression too. I also agree with Zac's point about it looking a little homeless. But when the hoodie is taken off and we're just left with that great print and the fascinating cut of the outfit, it's really interesting and beautiful. I wonder what the reaction would have been had she just divorced herself from having to do the hoodie? The judges comments to Char all feel like people trying their best to find compliments where there really aren't any. Nina mentions her enjoyment of Char's eye for color, but that's about it. Zac likes her ideas but thinks they're never executed well. And then there's Sean's critique. Nina thinks his Chic look might be the best thing on the PR runway ever and Heidi thinks he's a genius. Is this the not the second time she's said so? I feel like she had similar praise for his Rainway look too, but I could be remembering that wrong. Not so glowing is the reception given to his Redo look, which can't be surprising. I mean how was he going save that hideous thing to begin with? 

Afterwards, everyone is asked why they should go to Fashion Week, and it's Sean's response that I find to be the most interesting: He's shown them things they haven't seen before and he knows he'll be able to do even more of that when the constraints of the challenges are lifted and he's given more time. It's a a reasoning free of ego. It's a simple statement of fact, and I can't help but to agree with him.

And so the judges look at the clothes a little closer and state outright that the question before them is whether or not to take three or four designers to the end. Do they get rid of Char or Emily or both of them? In truth, my vote was for both of them. I like it more when there are only three people showing at Fashion Week, and I think it's been clear that this has been between Amanda, Kini, and Sean for quite some time now. Any fourth designer would just be dead weight. But if I had to choose who I would like to see an entire collection from between Char and Emily, the choice is Emily hands down. 

But Emily goes home and Char, Sean, Kini, and Amanda all move on. So what do I know? The judges say it's because they believe in Char enough to want to see more from her, but I call bullshit on that. Tim might believe in her enough for it, and even I question if that's true at this point, but I don't think that the judges have nearly the level of confidence that they claim. Even Tim states that if he had another save, he'd use it on Emily now and the whole thing just feels weird. The pall of the save has loomed over this season a lot more than it did last time. There was a question about why he saved Justin last year, but I don't think we kept bringing it up challenge after challenge like we have with Char. And the collection that Justin sent down at Fashion Week put any doubts to rest. I don't think that even with the added time we'll be saying that for Char. And now we have Emily going home on the last week before Fashion Week, but do we blame the wasted save for that? If he still had the save, would he be allowed to use it this late in the competition? And if so, should he? Does Emily, or any of the others really, have anything to be upset about having made it this far? I can't say that I think so, and Emily's peace with being sent home suggests that she isn't upset by it either. And in a lot of ways, her emotionless response caps what would have been a totally emotion and dramaless episode had it not been for the Korina thing. And I have to tell you, Runaways, I don't think that that would have been a bad thing at all. 

Streetwise Thoughts:

--I actually think I perfectly incorporated most of my thoughts into the writeup this week, so I don't know what to really put here. 

--I will point out that the product placement of the episode is about Lexus and the designers are driven around to collect their inspiration. I get it that the show has to makes its sponsors happy, but the random way those sponsors have been worked into the challenges this season just seems awkward.

--I don't think any of us had Char making it to Fashion Week in our predictions of who'd be there. And rightfully so. But at which point do you think the Tim Gunn save just becomes the Tim Gunn pick for Fashion Week? He's 2/2 on it thus far. 

--The interesting thing about Korina's added drama is that I think it might have been even more dramatic to bring the designers back and do a school yard pick for who you wanted to assist you. Korina would have been more likely (I assume) to actually want to stick around and help out someone other than Char, but what if none of the designers wanted to work with her? What if Emily was the last person to pick and Korina was the last designer standing, and Emily was just like "After yesterday and how it went when I helped her with her last look, I think I'd rather work alone."? I don't think that that's the way it would have gone for sure, but still; sometimes you don't have to try so hard, Producers.

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