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

by Andrew Osborne

The morning after the de-Blake-ening, Couc Chocula crows about making it to the Top Ten (seeming to forget there were only 16 designers to start with, so she and the others haven’t even made it halfway through the competition yet).

But all that’s about to change — rather abruptly, in fact — as the designers head down to the set of Krush Groove, where charming ColecoVision graphics (and a borderline tasteless title) clarify that this week’s “Dumpster Dive” unconventional materials challenge is all about old technology.  (Although I’m not quite sure what Merline means when she says just knowing about floppy disks makes you old, ’cause that would mean that I’m…uh…never mind.)

Back at the workroom, the ’80s vibe continues as the editors compile all the bang-thump-slice sound snippets of designers shredding mouse pads and smashing VHS tapes into an Art of Noise-esque sound collage — and I suddenly feel very sad that Pistachio’s not still in the mix, making some kind of insanely shapeless, unwearable muumuu for robots.

Then, with no warning, things suddenly get much, much sadder as Jake pulls Tim aside for a private conversation.  “I was informed this morning that my dog…” he murmurs — and, really, nothing good ever comes after an opening statement like that.

Long story short, it turns out Jake has to go put his dog to sleep — and not just any dog, but the beloved canine companion who was there for him when his mother died.  And then they show footage of Jake and his four-legged friend frolicking in happier timesand THEN, Tim gets all misty as he reminisces about saying goodbye to HIS own fabulous pooches, and…what the FUCK, Project Runway?  You can’t just spring Old Yeller on us like that with no warning!  Can we please go back to snippy comments and kaslopis jokes?

Anyway, after much hugging and drying of eyes, Jake tells the other designers that he’s dropping out of the competition to…y’know…take care of that thing we’re not gonna talk about anymore, followed by another round of hugging and weeping…

…and then it’s right back to shredding, hammering, stitching, and wire stripping as the designers bravely carry on without him.  A Dramatic Squirrel music sting plays as Merline reveals her outfit’s batshit crazy bat wing shoulders, Kelly talks about aluminum pipin’ in the most adorably Boston chick way imaginable, and Swapnil…

…well, Swapnil’s just phoning it in this week, literally, as he sticks a bunch of phone wires and other cords on muslin as part of his brilliant scheme to stay safely in the middle and then win every challenge (and the entire competition) at the end.  And then he shares his strategy — out loud — with Cuoco the Impaler, who practically bears her fangs in gleeful anticipation of the eventual runway bloodbath his dumb plan seems to foreshadow.

Speaking of which…let’s get to the judging!

So, yes…Swapnil’s half-assed outfit looks like the tangle of wires behind my TV (which Heidi somehow knows about, ’cause she says basically says the same thing to him).  In other words, maybe go easy on the smoke breaks next time, Swapnil (though, I’ll admit, if I looked as cool as he does huffing on cigarettes, I’d probably have a pretty bad nicotine habit, too).

Edmond sends a fringey thing down the runway that seems cool at first but then shoddier and shoddier the longer you look at it.

Lindsey’s dress features a top made of keyboard keys and a shimmery bottom made of CD sleeves, which isn’t a showstopper but probably doesn’t deserve all the scorn that’s heaped on it by the judges.

The Cuoco Lestat’s look seems like a stiff Dr. Who costume with weird silver boobs.

Laurie’s’s outfit is okay, I guess, except for some odd mouse pad boob flaps.

Boston Kelly’s metallic flapper dress is a knockout (and, seriously, the way she keeps referring to the aluminum tubin’ is so inexplicably soothing to me, I could listen to that phrase on a continuous loop in the white noise machine by my bed all night).

Merline channels Chris March channeling Alexander McQueen with her aforementioned bat wing dress.  It’s bonkers and impractical and I totally dig it.

Joseph’s dress is a clear death knell for his time on the show, in that it’s exactly, exactly what you’d expect a “too mumsy” guy’s super bland, super mumsy attempt at being interesting and avant-garde to look like.  Even without the weird “dangling vagina wires” hanging off the hem, the whole thing seems like rejected concept art for a space cocktail waitress outfit on Quark.

And finally, Ashley wraps things up with a showstopper ’50s style dress ideal for a sock hop in Whoville comprised entirely of Polaroids.

It totally rocks — but it’s actually kinda heartwarming (and totally deserved) when the judges pick Boston Kelly’s aluminum tubin’ for her first win of the season.

As for Joseph, he accepts his inevitable Auf! with poise and equanimity.  “I don’t think that I deserved to go,” he says, “but I don’t think that I necessarily deserved to stay, either.”




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