by Andrew Osborne
We’re down to the Final Eight, and Gunnar says he’s just now realizing he wants to win. Which means I guess he was just flappin’ his gums all those other times he said he wanted to win…but now he really means it, ‘cuz he wants to buy a boob job for his mom. Which is…sweet?
And not only does he really want to win, but he really wants to win this week, because it’s the HP Intel Print challenge and he’s dying to have his very own Mondo Runway Moment (i.e., the mostly heartfelt, only somewhat calculated moment when the pint-sized shorts-enthusiast tearfully admitted the plus symbols he’d created for his custom fabric represented his HIV-positive status, which he was finally allowing himself to admit to the world).
As it turns out, La Mondo himself even introduces the challenge, telling the Final Eight that designing is about truth, and how they’ll really need to let go and…holy shit! No! Does he not realize Elena’s in the room, and she’s just barely holding on by a frayed thread as it is? Good Lord, man! If Elena lets go there won’t be a survivor within ten blocks of Fashion Avenue!
Anyway, so then the designers are sent to their HP Product Placement workstations to create patterns for their own custom fabrics. Hmm…I wonder what Ven’s gonna come up with? Kitties? Bunnies? Dodecahedrons? Little sad fat ladies? Or maybe…flowers?
Before the suspense can be resolved, however, Tim unleashes the designers’ loved ones into the workroom for inspiration, including Fabio’s supercute boyfriend, Elena’s mother and…wait, Elena has a mother?
Surprisingly enough, she does: a super-stylish silver fox in a tight white top (clearly revealing that magnificent tits must run in the Slivnyak family). Strangely, when the two women look at old family photos together, it seems that Elena grew up in the 1950s – which makes total sense if her “mother” was actually a scientist in the Ukrainian version of Area 51 who donated some of her own human DNA to create an ageless, dangerously unstable…uh…never mind, forget it. I’ve said too much already.
Ven’s loved one, meanwhile, turns out to be a charming plus-sized sister (who must have beaten the crap out of him as a kid to give the Guyanan Samoan such a bug in his bald bonnet about fat people).
Gunnar’s mother is cute (and totally doesn’t need a boob job, dude), while Dmitry’s loved one is a hot blonde…friend (providing no help whatsoever vis-à-vis the lingering question of whether the melancholy Belarusian is gay, straight or just a never-nude).
Elsewhere in the workroom, we find Melissa designing a print to salute her Polish heritage (as my Polish bride, Amy, suddenly finds herself with a brand new rooting interest).
And can you guess what Ven creates for his print? Did you say roses? Well, ha! You’re wrong. It’s actually a hibiscus, which has something to do with his religion or whatever.
Meanwhile, Gunnar continues building towards his Very Special Mondo Runway Moment by creating a (frankly kinda ugly) print to commemorate the bullying he endured as a flamboyant, incredibly annoying teenager. “Is he going to cry on the runway?” Amy asks. Survey says yes.
NOTE: Hi, this is Andrew. We like to joke around here on Project Runway: The Straight Guy Edition, but I just wanted to pause and say the previous paragraph in no way condones bullying. Even as a straight guy, I got called “fag” a lot in school ‘cuz I was weird, and it sucked. But you know what? It Gets Better! Again: bullying is bad, mm-kay? (Yes, even if it’s Gunnar.)
We now return to our regularly scheduled recap, where…huh? Elena is skipping through Mood with joy? (Amy theorizes the Terror of Kiev must be relapsing back into the happy, carefree girl she was before the PTSD from Chernobyl set in.)
But depression reigns elsewhere, as it turns out Christopher’s also revving up for a Mondo Runway Moment with a pattern commemorating his dead grandmother, and Dmitry’s sad, moist eyes are even sadder and moister than usual. For his part, Ven remains stoic: say what you will about the Big Man, but at least he never goes for cheap sentiment. Or any sentiment, really.
Back at the Atlas, the designers have dinner with their loved ones (including Elena’s super-handsy “mother”) – then it’s back to the workroom for the unveiling of the custom fabrics!
Elena’s pattern is some crazy snapshot of her Id…yet, weirdly enough, that only makes it the second most unnerving print, since Fabio’s pattern is all about “penises and vaginas copulating.”
Then seconds after the excitement of unwrapping their custom prints, most of the designers fall into a K-hole of panic and despair. Gunnar bums himself out with the back story of his own print and Christopher’s all, “I hear ya, guy that I still pretend to hate even though I’m obviously just a caffeine-free version of your own bad self.”
Then Tim shows up and makes Ven feel worst of all, saying that the way the Big Man’s fanned his red flower print over his white dress makes the whole thing seem like an homage to the menstrual cycle, constructed from used Maxi-Pads. And all the other designers are openly laughing as he says it! And then John Travolta dumps a bucket of pig’s blood on Ven’s head! It’s actually kinda horrible and awesome at the same time!
Yet instead of telekinetically sealing the doors and setting fire to the workroom with his mind, Ven…gets choked up? The hell?
Ven’s emotional, Elena’s giddy, Tim’s mean…at one point did we enter Bizzaro Runway? And shouldn’t Tim be wearing an evil Spock beard in this universe? I’m very confused.
(But then Heidi – our friend, not Klum – points out he’s wearing denim, which is apparently how you identify Bizarro Tim in lieu of sinister facial hair.)
The evaluation continues and Melissa says she’s working outside her box. (Heh-heh-heh-heh.) Elena tells Tim she knows her look seems like hospital scrubs, but she’s got plans to make it cute and kicky. Tim responds with a Marlo Thomas reference that completely baffles her (but not me, ‘cause I’m old).
Next up: fittings, where Dmitry says he likes Christopher’s pattern, but doesn’t understand why he’s covering it with organza (which I only mention because it’s kinda awesome when Dmitry says “orgaaanza”).
Tim announces the loved ones will get to see the Week Nine fashion show (which surely won’t make the designers extra nervous at all), and then it’s down to the…
Heidi – Klum, not our friend – seems to have been splashed with mud by a passing car on the way to the taping, but pretends she chose the ugly brown splatter dress on purpose as she introduces Michael, Nina, guest judge Mondo and…blecch…season 9’s “winner,” Anya No-Sew. (“I hate her and her ass face,” Friend Heidi says.)
Sonjia’s model is the first down the runway in pants that seem like they were designed for the infamous stilt challenge. “I like them,” Amy says, “on the model. I don’t know who else could wear them.”
Elena’s design is still ugly, and now just looks like hospital scrubs with a zipper.
My wife thinks Christopher’s look isn’t very flattering. “I don’t like any of that.”
Ven’s design (which generated an “uch!” from my wife in the workroom) doesn’t look quite as horrible on the runway, but it seems clear the Big Man will be in the bottom this week. (And, in fact, the judges wind up hating the look SO much, they actually bring Tim into the judging session to ask what the fuck is up with all the fucking flowers all the time? whereupon Tim gets to repeat his super mean menstruation joke…but I’m getting ahead of myself)!
Meanwhile, Fabio’s looks is surprisingly boring for something with penises and vaginas all over it.
My wife thinks Melissa’s bright red squiggy pattern dress is “really cute…and not just ‘cuz she’s Polish.”
Gunnar’s It Gets Better Jacket seems okay, but my wife’s unimpressed with the total look.
And Dmitry presents a jacket with a bunch of crazy cut-outs somewhere between cool and downright bizarre.
As the judging begins, Fabio middles and so does Elena, who scowls in disappointment. Yes, it seems Gleeful Elena is gone. How I’ll miss her!
At this point, my wife and I are rooting for Melissa, who once again announces she’s outside her box. (Heh-heh-heh-heh.) The judges think her dress is okay, but not great, and Anya says she thinks the designer should have gone further with the look. Shut up, Anya.
On the other hand, everybody flat-out hates Ven’s look, including Anya. Shut up, Anya.
The judges are way more enthusiastic about Dmitry’s crazy cut-outs, though Mondo (of all people) thinks it’s “over-designed”.
“Mondo should really look into pants,” my wife says, evaluating the hairy drumsticks poking out of the tiny designer’s tinier short-shorts. “Either that or waxing,” Friend Heidi confirms.
But then a hush falls over the room, because it’s time for Gunnar’s Very Special Mondo Runway Moment. Deathmuffin gets choked up as he explains the meaning of his pattern, and the bullying he endured, aaaaand…crickets. Nina thinks his pattern just looks sad, and Mondo hates the look so much he pretty much bullies it with a totally harsh critique. Irony!
Then it’s Sonjia’s turn. Heidi (Klum) says she loves the pants, but the crotch is nuts. (Heh-heh-heh-heh.)
And Christopher’s look…zzzzz.
In the end, Dmitry finally wins a challenge, and Gunnar goes home (though Heidi tells Ven if he sends one more fucking flower down the runway she’s gonna personally kill him dead).
Elena’s sad to see her “Gunnzie-poo” (!?!?!) go home, but Death Star is brave, saying his time on Project Runway was never really about winning anyway, and it was an honor just to be nominated, and…LIAR!
Also: shut up, Anya.
So that’s it for Week Nine…and, sadly, it’s the end of my PR recaps as well, since the wife and I will be watching the show on TiVo delay starting next week (thanks to real-time competition from the Office final season and Parks & Recreation), and nobody likes a day-late recap (though I may keep doing capsule recaplets).
On the other hand, Survivor also starts next week, so watch this space for my Filipino Box Spring recaps…starting next Thursday!