Project Runway: The Straight Guy Perspective (S14, Episode Two)

by Andrew Osborne

It’s time for the always entertaining, random-contestant-eliminating unconventional materials challenge…and the clue is “it’s important that you play your cards right.”  But don’t worry, Vampire Candice…you won’t have to play some card game, as you fear.  Instead, the contestants are all sent to a giant Hallmark store, which Swapnil finds VERY exciting (because, apparently, Swapnil really needs to get out more).

Edmond decides to use Ashley’s strategy from last week by hanging back while all the other designers go tearing through the store like crazy people. Why? Because, Edmond informs us, he’s here to WIN! He knows this is a COMPETITION! In fact, he’s so competitive he’s even suspicious of the Project Runway video crew when they ask him about his design!  (No, seriously…that actually happened.)

Meanwhile, back in the workroom, Swapnil makes some kind of (admittedly confusing) announcement about the sewing machines in the back and Blake the Twink snippily replies, “I don’t know how to speak Indian…”  But don’t worry:  Blake reassures us in a one-on-one interview that he’s not racist…he’s adorable.  Adorably racist!

Then Tim comes in for some GunnValuations and adorably imitates the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz to communicate his concerns about overly stiff greeting card dresses.

But will Edmond reveal his super secret design plan to Tim?  After all, Edmond’s here to WIN…and Tim might be a spy!

Apparently, the editors agree, so we barely see Edmond’s project, which can’t be any more bizarre than Pistachio’s crazy quilt of envelopes which, she says, will allow the models to take things out!  “Well…it’s very conceptual,” says Tim, tactfully.  She’s a happy nut!

Elsewhere in the workroom, we catch a glimpse of Gabby’s dress, which consists of lots of strips of red, and will probably look very cool if she manages to finish it sometime before the end of Season 14.

And Amanda has no idea what to do with her look! I wonder what Tim’s advice will be? I sure hope it’s snappy…and, like, maybe three words!

After the consultations, David goes to the break room to call his husband…but, unfortunately, I can’t quite remember who David is.  Is he one of the guys from Mood?

Oh!  It turns out he’s one of the contestants, and he’s making a dress with conventional materials and sticking some letters from Hallmark cards on the front.  Merline warns him that he’s got too much fabric and not enough card (because it seems Merline’s actually seen the show before and knows what happens to designers who try to skip over the “unconventional” part of the unconventional challenge).

Then it’s time for the usual race against time as the designers sew and sew and glue and glue….and glue…and glue…AND GLUE!  In fact, there’s so much glue holding the looks together this week, I”m surprised the challenge wasn’t sponsored by Elmer’s.

By the next day, all the designers are running on fumes, and even Merline’s too tired for her usual relentless workroom singing (which I’m guessing will prompt the other designers to request nothing but 24 hour unconventional materials challenges for the rest of the season).

But wait!  What’s that?  The camera pans over to Edmond’s work table and…holy crap!  His project turns out to be the most amazingly chic white wedding gown this side of Sex & The City!  Out of Hallmark cards!!!  Was his secret strategy a time machine that allowed him to finish all that work?  No wonder he didn’t tell the video crew!

And as Edmond and the designers and their models prepare to face the judges, I suddenly find myself hoping that they’ll resurrect the “Rainway” for the paper dress challenge…

…but instead, it’s just the regular old runway, featuring:

Swapnil, whose sproingy dress all covered in flowers and whatnot makes me think of kooky sound effects.

Ashley presents…a case for a boxy 1950s robot?  A costume for a Dr. Who villain?  Whatever it is, I’m just glad she has immunity.

Joseph‘s dress is also bizarre, with a square front that looks like it’s meant to dispense chips and dip.

David‘s dress…is a dress with barely any unconventional materials.  Boston Kelly interviews that he’s doomed, because it seems she’s also seen Project Runway before.  (Ever heard of it, David?  Y’know, the show you’re actually ON?)

Jake and Candice make nice party dresses, heading straight for the middle.

Pistachio‘s look is…well, uh, conceptual, but my wife gives the happy nut kudos because, “Oh!  She made a purse!  Cute!”

I can’t tell if I love or hate Gabby‘s strippy red kinda papier-mâché dress, but I suspect it looks better from afar.

Laurie‘s dress is so gold and shiny it looks like an award for her own dress.  Cute, but probably a middler.

Unsurprisingly, Swapnil’s not a big fan of Blake‘s glittery, Vegas-y dress, and neither am I.  But it sure is sparkly!

Lindsey‘s dress looks way sophisticated for card couture, and my wife dubs Boston Kelly‘s look Josephine Baker-y.

Amanda Perna‘s design is overworked, but it’s better than Merline‘s (which, according to Perna, looks like it has a silver manatee penis hanging off the front).

And finally, Edmond‘s amazing wedding gown is…totally gonna win, right?  (“He even made a freakin’ BOUQUET!” my wife gasps.)

Heidi announces that, this week, there are FOUR designers with high scores and TWO with low scores (because, of course, Project Runway makes up their rules as they go along.)  Der Klum also says Ashley was very lucky to have immunity this week, mainly because the judges have eyes.

The top scores are Blake (which my wife is okay with after taking a closer look at his dress), Swapnil (whose look I’ve already forgotten, but I’m sure it was fine), Boston Kelly (who gets extra points from my wife for actually making a Hallmark card hoodie for her look), and Edmond…

…and I suddenly realize I’m a big dope, ‘cuz I didn’t even notice Edmond’s tuxedo t-shirt until Heidi pointed out how it matches up with his wedding gown.  D’oh!

As for the bottom, to the surprise of no one but David, David gets penalized for not actually doing the challenge.

Perna also winds up in the bottom, and she cries with anger because far shittier looks than hers made it through the challenge unscathed, and you know what?  Perna ain’t wrong.

As the judges consult, we see a brief, inexplicable (yet adorable) outtake about Boston Kelly’s fanny pack and the fact that she loves Heidi Klum so much she wants to put her in her pocket (while I want to put Kelly WITH Heidi in her pocket in MY pocket).

Returning to the judging, we hear Nina exclaim, “Edmond’s Hallmark wedding gown is about celebration, it’s about special moments…it’s about BRANDING! I mean FASHION…yeah, fashion!”

And so, the obvious winner WINS!  And the one who didn’t do the challenge and apparently never watched the show before…well, you know.

So, auf Wiedersehen, David (it’s David…right?), and I’ll see y’all next week for more Runway!

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