Greeting and salutations, fashionistas! I'm Kevin Van Valkenburg, and I'm probably the only straight male who admits he's watching Lifetime.
The episode begins with Ra'mon telling us that he's kind of glad that Johnny is gone because it makes the challenges a little more serious for everyone else. That's fair, although if you're crossword puzzle guru Will Shortz, you have to be disappointed that serious crossword puzzle enthusiasts like Johnny are once again forced to live on the margins. Nicolas says, once again, that he's not here to make friends, he wants to go to Bryant Park. I don't see a lot of people eager to make friends with Nicolas either, by the way. It's a shame Jennifer Aniston isn't here. I bet they could be pals, considering Nicolas copied her haircut from the third season of Friends.
In the ladies apartment, Irina is slipping into what appears to be a fancy macaroni necklace while Gordana expresses shock over being in the bottom three last week. Gordana is growing on me, to be honest. She's like the aging villainess in a James Bond flick. If she happens to fire a poison dart into Nicolas' neck while he's at the sewing machine, I'm willing to look the other way.
Heidi strolls onto the runway in a skin-tight black dress, showing off what are, hands down, the greatest pair of calves on the face of the earth. Seriously people, the woman has had three children (as of this filming) and still looks like she could stop traffic at LAX. I'm not even sure she's human, to be honest. I bet if you opened her refrigerator, you'd discover she doesn't actually eat real food, she just ingests bottled sunshine through a straw.
Cut to a Hollywood film lot, where L'Oreal make-up maestro Collier Strong and Tim Gunn inform our intrepid designers that, this week, they'll be making outfits based on movie genres. Nicolas and Gordana both cringe when Tim rattles of the list of categories, which includes Westerns.
"Western would be little bit tough for me because ... I'm not really American," Gordana says.
Seriously, girl? Aside from the awkward syntax and the icy, Yugoslavian demeanor, you could have fooled me.
The designers come forward and pick their genres as their names are called. Irina goes with "film noir," while Logan and Carol Hannah select "action/adventure." Ra'mon boldly picks "science fiction," and tell us he used to be obsessed with Star Trek as a kid. I'm suddenly giddy with the possibility of seeing a Lt. Uhura-inspired pantsuit. Althea and Louise take "film noir," Gordana grabs "period piece" and Nicolas follows that up by also taking the second "science fiction." If Nicolas manages to pull off a Darth Vader-themed evening gown, seriously, all will be forgiven.
Christopher also goes with "period piece" meaning that, Epperson and Shirin are both stuck with "Western," which is apparently the kiss of death in the fashion world. I don't know why they're so upset, though. The women on "Little House on the Prairie" sure did some inspiring things with ankle-length prairie dresses and bonnets. Those never go out of style. Just ask the Mennonites.
Time to sketch. This is a one-day challenge, which are always great because the pressure usually reduces someone to tears. Epperson and Shirin are trying to talk themselves into making dresses for a "saloon girl," which I understand because every woman in a Western is either Annie Oakley or a prostitute, and since Shirin correctly pointed out that the Macy's accessory wall "has no cowboy hat!" -- seriously Macy's, WTH? -- it's going to have to be prostitute. Surprisingly, Epperson goes the other direction and starts sketching a sassy, widowed Annie Oakley.
Cut to a clip of Carol Hannah and Logan flirting a little. In her talking head, Carol Hannah confesses that it's "really distracting" to sit next to Logan because he's really hot. Seriously, I caught some of that Models of the Runway show last week (don't judge me, ok?), and all the models were practically fantasizing about sneaking into Logan's dorm and having a 12-some. It was like watching jungle cats lick their lips over a baby antelope. Logan is pretty handsome and all, but it's just a reminder that if you're a straight guy who works in the fashion world and you can't get laid, you might as well throw in the towel and join the priesthood.
Ra'mon has the world "BORG" written on his sketch pad, and in my notebook I write "BORG = Auf Wiedersehen." Bad idea, Ra'mon. I saw those Star Trek: Next Generation episodes, and even the Lady Borg looked like they covered themselves in glue and then fell into a bathtub full of paperclips and Legos.
Tim Gunn arrives, and it's time to go to Mood. Ever wonder how everyone gets to Mood? I suppose they take like three or four separate cars, but since they never show the method of transportation, I always like to pretend that Tim drives everyone in a tricked-out pink school bus. In my mind, he honks at rude drivers, rolls his eyes when people cut him off, and laughs at episodes of This American Life while his scarf billows out the window in the warm California breeze.
Nothing eventful happens at Mood, so we cut back to the workroom. Someone has stolen Gordana's scissors, and for a second, I'm certain she's about to say, "So that's how it's going to be, Mr. Bond." Irina makes an awkward joke with Louise about sabotage, and my crush on Irina only grows. Ra'mon is dyeing his fabric green and says that he's going to make a suit that calls to mind a "human/alien/reptile" hybrid. Seriously, is he crazy? Doesn't he remember the movie Predator, when the ugly green reptile alien attacked Arnold Schwarzenegger and killed Apollo Creed? I know Arnold was an Austrian, but they speak German in Austria, and you know Heidi is not going to like being reminded of the big green alien who attacked her German-speaking neighbors.
Attention! Tim Gunn is back in the house, ready to crush your dreams. Gordana gets some advice from Tim while Irina disses Gordana in a talking head. (I now suspect Irina stole the scissors.) Christopher tells Tim he's making a dress for a "vampire bride," which sounds like a disaster to me, but all Tim says is that it needs sleeves. (Vampires don't want to be cold on their wedding night, apparently.) Ra'mon's alien skin dress could either be, according to Tim, "sublime or a big hot mess." Lastly, we come to Nicolas and I'm not kidding when I say that I think he's making a dress for Gozer the Gozarian in the final scene of Ghostbusters. It has the potential to be hideous.
Not as hideous as Ra'mon, however, because he decides during the model-fitting to scrap his entire design after it looks like Kermit the Frog raided Cher's closet. The day ends on an ominous note when Louise mows over her finger with the sewing machine and she drips blood all over the floor. Thank goodness Christopher's vampire bride isn't around, or we really would have a hot mess on our hands.
Morning arrives. Gordana says she wanted to make a cigarette holder for her model, but has run out of time. ("Guess I won't be needing that light after all, Mr. Bond.") Ra'mon says he thinks he'll be somewhere in the middle. Nicolas, while he's fluffing his bangs, says he'd give his first born for a hot glue gun. (First born? Who is he kidding?) But speaking of children, Logan says he knows the judges will love his design and want to have his babies.
(Ok, I might have made that last part up, but that doesn't mean it's not true. Seriously, watch your back, Seal.)
Models and make-up. Everyone is freaking out. Irina, who has immunity this week, looks like she might need the free pass because she's frantically sewing as Tim Gunn threatens to have her dragged from the workroom.
Runway show. Heidi seems to have picked an outfit from the yoga class/western/disco hybrid genre, but as usual, she looks luminous. I'm not even going to get my hopes up that we'll see Michael Kors and Nina Garcia this week because I know I'll just be disappointed when they don't show.
And of course, they don't. Seriously, they're quickly becoming the Brett Favre of Project Runway. If they think they can miss all the early stuff, then swoop in at the end start judging like nothing has changed, they're sadly mistaken. If Zoe Glassner wasn't so lame, I might fall out of love with them forever. Costume designer Arianne Phillips and designer John Varvatos are here to try to pick up the slack.
I don't know what's "film noir" about Irina's outfit, but it looks decent. In a strange turn of events, Carol Hannah actually has designed the perfect outfit for a James Bond villianess and now I'm hoping she'll win and get a celebratory make-out session with Logan. Shirin's prostitute dress seems like something you'd buy in a Halloween store. Christopher ignored Tim's advice and didn't give his vampire bride sleeves, but it looks, to me, like the front-runner anyway. Nicolas' Gozer dress isn't as bad as I feared, so he should survive. Once again, Althea can't seem to grasp the fact that her model is the one model whose breasts actually need more than scotch tape to hold them in place.
Ra'mon's dress looks like someone ran over a iguana with a lawnmower. Epperson and Louise might be in trouble, because her 1920s dress looks boring, and his looks like something Princess Leia would wear to the Ewok Sadie Hawkins Dance. I really like Gordana's gold, 1920s flapper dress. It's like what Marilyn Monroe would wear in a Croatian night club.
Logan, Carol Hannah, Shirin, Irina and Althea, are safe, if unspectacular. Phillips, Varvartos and Glassner give Gordana some lukewarm praise, but take digs at her originality. Glassner throws out some vague nonsense about "seeing Gordana's hands but not her eyes."
"What's different about this dress than my great grandmother's dress?" Glassner asks.
Gee, Zoe, you mean other than the fact that your great grandmother probably didn't make her dress in six hours with $150 of fabric? I guess nothing.
Nicolas feeds the judges some lines about how his model is an ice queen, contemplating overthrowing the universe, and sadly, they buy it completely. (What a joke. Barf.) Louise looks like she might cry after Heidi and Glassner thrash her French maid outfit. Christopher's vampire bride gets tons of praise, as I suspected. Glassner can't stop raving in particular. (Call it a hunch, but I'm betting Glassner is a huge Twilight fan, and will be imagining herself as Bella. and Logan as Edward, later tonight.) Ra'mon's dress is a disaster. It's like a lizard stepped on a landmine.
Decision time. Nicolas wins, which seems insane. (It's like Heidi been possessed by Zoul, the dog-like spirit from Ghostbusters who took over Sigourney Weaver's body. We need to get Peter Venkman on the phone.) Of course, my frustration might just have something to do with the fact that I hate Nicolas and now he has immunity for next week.
Elimination comes down to Ra'mon and Louise, and even though Ra'mon definitely deserves to go home based on this week, I'm still a little stunned when it actually happens. Usually the talented designers get saved when they put up awful, but ambitious, work up against boring work, but not this time. Louise still leaves the stage in tears.
Ra'mon's departure, however, is also a reminder of what makes Project Runway the greatest reality show on television. Unless your name is Wendy Pepper or Santino Rice, you can't sweet talk or fake your way through a challenge. You have to bring it every week. No excuses. (That means you, Nina and Michael!)
And so to Ra'mon, we reluctantly say:
Auf Wiedersehen, baby.