Broject Runway: Puppies falling from the sky

Jul 19, 2013
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It’s back.

The blood hasn’t even fully run out of Michelle’s heart sweater from Season 11 and “Project Runway” (henceforth, “PR”) is already back on the telly. Lifetime couldn’t wait to get their greatest non-Meredith Baxter Birney-led product back on the airwaves and I can’t blame them. After dipping my toe into some of the “PR” commercials, I wondered what the hell is “Supermarket Superstar” and why would anyone care? This is the only time that channel 228 is on in my house.

These first few episodes are a feeling-out period. For the contestants and the viewer. There are quite a few changes this time around. I was relatively excited about most of them. A rundown.

CH-CH-CH-CHANGES

We’ve gone back to the individual challenges–thank Jeebus. The group challenges only kept some of the weaker contestants around.

Kate from Season 11 is back due to the mighty viewer vote — WHY? She got rid of my Tu-Bear last season and was very cavalier about it and . . . and . . . she’s turned out to be semi-tolerable. She’s obviously learned from her previous domineering mistakes. So be it. It’ll be fun to dance on her grave again. I bought new tap shoes I need to break in anyway.

A new runway, literally — Different lighting, color palate, and a video board adorn the new set. OK, I’m fine either way. This along with the 500K giveaway, seems like there has been a monster influx of cashola for the show. Look for more in-show infomercials to fund said windfall. Whoever invented DVR, I love, love, love you.

The judges don’t know who sent what down the runway — YES. Love this. Gone are the days of the lifetime achievement award saving someone when obviously they should pack their kit. No one is safe. No offweeks. No new friends. This will add some wonderful drama as the season goes on. But if they have the same models, won’t it be easy to figure it out? We’ll see how they handle this next week.

Tim Gunn sits on the panel as a non-judge but with a use-once designer save — Sounds good. I’ll have to see how this goes. Does he have input or does he just answer judge questions, etc. I’m fine with the save, although it takes a bit of the “don’t ever fall on your face” aspect of the aforementioned change. Seems very “American Idol”-esque.

The judges get a second up close look of the top and bottom dresses — I like it. This will help the judges eliminate/adulate the right pieces. Plus it opens it up for a second round of cattiness. Plus the models can get in on the snark.

The contestants monitor their own budget via a new phone app — Is this for the whole season? They didn’t explain this well enough for me, or maybe I missed something. Do they get a stipend for the whole season? Can they run out of money? Can they go all in on a random challenge? Details, people, details! Seems sort of tacked on for a new sponsor. I’d hate to see someone go home for bad money management. It’s “PR,” not a Suze Orman class.

Gone is the Lord and Taylor accessory wall — Nooooooooooo. What’s a Belk?

Michael Kors is back! — No he’s not. A man can dream can’t he?

On to . . .

THE CHALLENGE: CREATE A LOOK FROM A PARACHUTE

AND THE CHALLENGERS

Jeremy, European father of twins a.k.a. “Eurodad” — Designed two-tone parachute pants out of a parachute. Seemed logical. I think this guy comes off as a smart one who could go far if he has the chops. His family meetings will be particularly heartbreaking and intense because of the children. Get that Kleenex on deck.

Kahindo, The African-American with the Björk haircut. So, Blörk — Typical two-tone top and bottom pieces. Didn’t really learn much about her. With 16 contestants and about 40 minutes of air time, we don’t get to learn about all of them. I look forward to her many hairstyles.

Helen, Self proclaimed badass. If you have to tell people you bad, then you ain’t bad. — Overcame an extremely unfortunate scissors tattoo and disobeying the Gunn to churn out a killer piece. Her white baby doll included more of the parachute than the other disobedients did. I feel like I’m going to loathe her. We’ll see.

Alexandria, A foreigner from San Diego? Kinda reminded me of the girl from “Hanna” if she grew up and designed clothes — After dripping confidence all over the place and crossing another former KGB agent Sandro in an epic lunch room mushmouth spat, she put together a solid blue pencil dress. Seems like there is some bite to go with the bark.

Karen, Redhead – Dumpy print dress. I forgot she was on the show until I looked at my notes.

Justin, Deaf One Man Wolfpack — Really liked his pink babydoll. Had a really funny line about unplugging his ears to avoid the snark. I’m rooting for him. Hopefully he is talented and goes far. He made something I liked out of the color pink, which for me is almost impossible to do.

Kate, Tu Slayer — Put together a junior little Miss Debbie snack yellow cake thing. She thought she was robbed. I thought it looked good for a 10-year-old or a leading lady of pornography. I already feel more comfortable critiquing her design because I’ve seen her more than the others. She is playing it nice, but a leopard print bag can’t change its spots, so I plan on seeing her boss some shit around and keep sending down junior wear.

Alexander, Rick Astley — Sent down a good looking cool color bulls-eye dress. I thought he was robbed when he wasn’t in the top three. I liked this dress. Side note: There is so much Ginger this season. I feel like any outdoor challenge will involve a ton of SPF 600.

Dom, Philly Earring Lady — This was my least favorite of the acceptable pieces. It was a hoodie and hotpants with a bit of flair. Honestly it looked like something the Knick City Dancers would wear at halftime.

Ken, Ain’t no Ham like Birmingham — I love this guy. Thought he was robbed of a top spot too. His orange high-neck dreamsicle look was the most elegant. It seems like every year one of my favorite contestant comes from Birmingham, Ala. Seems like the party is going on in Dr. James Andrews‘ hometown.

TOPS

Sue, Dee Snider — Very solid piece of a hot color transition dress with excellent ruching up the sides. She frightened us early with her hair and lack of skills on the sewing machine, but she cranked out a top notch garment. I look forward to her middle-aged discomfort going forward.

Zac Posen — Dude, welcome aboard. After meandering to find your niche all last season, you finished strong and carried it over into this season. Between “Tinkerbell at Burning Man,” “Mocktopus,” and “Slutty Cat Toy,” Zac was in the best form I’ve seen him. Keep up the stellar work. You made me almost forget Kors. Almost.

BOTTOMS

Miranda — Lt. Parker Posey — I didn’t get her in the top to begin with and once the material was deemed too conventional for the judge’s taste, she was banished to the bottoms. It looked a bit ’90s Salt ‘n’ Pepa to me, but what I do I know? She seems like the Lenny of the Milwaukee duo on the show.

Sandro, Freddie Mercuryovsky — I won’t lie. I love this guy. I’m a sucker for foreigners. Plus he made some sort of well-constructed WWII pants that somehow weren’t eliminated. A-plus effort to his model too. I’ve never seen anyone smile so much and guessing from the fashion don’t bar on her nethers, she apparently was beaming from both ends. So much good here. His see-through black shirt on the runway, coupled with the earlier black shirt open to his belt, I mean, what’s not to like? He hits a camera (we find out later), talks like Yakov Smirnov, and shows more chest hair than is legal in the Midwest. This guy. This is my guy. Fucking Mocktopus.

Timothy, Sustainable Douchebaggery — Then there’s this guy. Makes his model feel a foot tall by parading her around like some poltergeist. He started so strong with the puppies and the unicorns, and then he turned into my worst nightmare. He looked like a dinner theater actor standing on the runway with his sparkling black tie and idiotic vest. When this guy starts talking, my eyes are constantly rolling. He’s definitely the Squiggy of the Milwaukee duo. I’m glad Zac called him out for the burning of the plastic. This guy is all gimmick. The heels on the runway? The least annoying aspect of this guy. The least.

DID TIM GUNN WEAR A SUIT THAT MADE ME WANT TO BUY A USED CAR?

Yes, yes he did.

THE WINNA

Bradon, The Ginger Swan — Totally deserved to win. A spectacular dress that incorporated the flowing aspect of the fabric (why didn’t more people go this route?). Frankly this was one of the better dresses I’ve seen on this show regardless of challenge. The fact it was an unconventional material makes it all the more impressive. Look out for this “Modern Family” doppelganger. So humble and talented with a background in hard work. Watch out bitches.

PACK YOUR GODDAMN SEWING KIT

Angela, Twiggy Stardust — Seemed a bit out of her league. Lots of talent this year, so that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. She seems like a swell human so I’m sure she’ll be fine. Her high-hem, hooded, shapeless dress was garbage. There was, however, a nice pop of color in the back, so, you know, she’s got that going for her.

And they’re off

There’s a lot to take in in these first few episodes until we get to know the designer’s aesthetics. First impressions are proven wrong. Anakins become Vaders. The squeaky personalities get the air time as the producers try to lure us in. There was plenty here to get excited about, be it show changes or talent level. Plus, if you like redheads and people from the Midwest, this is your jam. I’m pumped.

Power Rankings

Stealth Bombers

1.     Bradon
2.      Ken
3.      Jeremy
4.      Justin

Blue Angels

5.      Sue
6.      Alexandria
7.      Alexander
8.      Kate
9.      Helen

Unidentified Flying Objects

10.   Miranda
11.   Kahindo
12.   Karen
13.   Dom

Hindenburgs

14.   Timothy
15.   Sandro

Um, let's see, I don't know, maybe about six feet tall and two hundred pounds? I've been doing theater and improv in Chicago for a while now. Like fifteen years or so. O, yeah, I have a full day, day job for insurance and monetary purposes (no more half days with a big nap in the afternoon). I work as a project manager for a metal manufacturing plant. Huh? O, ah, two kids a wife. Yeah, they're great. I mean, not all the time great, like Brady Bunch shit, but no one has burned the house down yet. So, yeah, I guess that's it. I didn't get the job, did I?