I typically watch each episode like this: I watch the designers get their challenge and then I fast forward until I see Tim Gunn again. I listen to Tim critque each of the designs-in-progress hoping for him to say something witty and then I fast forward again until the runway show and judging, hoping for Michael Kors to say something witty. Then I roll my eyes and wait until next week.
Why do I keep watching it? I'm not sure. I DVR the show every week for my mother, but once it records I always inevitably end up watching it myself as well, even though I don't really care who wins or is 'in' or 'out'. I think I have some sick kind of loyalty to the show after all these years (it is now in its 8th season) but my patience is starting to wear thin.
Last night's episode (episode 5) was especially annoying... because it focused so heavily on Gretchen, who I absolutely hate. The only good part was when Tim slammed her in the final two minutes... they should've shown 88 minutes of that and two minutes of fashion. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The challenge was the ever-dreaded team challenge. Gretchen, who won the first two challenges (one deserved, one not so much) apparently now thinks that she is a fashion goddess and superior to everyone else on the show - and on the planet. She somehow convinced the rest of her team that it would be a good idea to do a really boring, ugly, ill-fitting collection.
In case you think I'm exaggerating, here are the six designs from their team:
(Note: I think the Lifetime website has the outfits incorrectly attributed. Although they all worked together and made various pieces of each other's outfits, the cowl neck blouse that they have listed as Gretchen's I believe was actually made by Michael C, as well as the grey blouse from Christopher's outfit. Coincidentally my two favorite pieces in the whole collection, despite the designers all throwing him under the bus as the weakest link.)
Just to contrast that, here is the winning team's collection and below it, the winning design (by Cassanova):
Anyway... Gretchen decided that their collection was the best because "it doesn't look like, really, any of us. And I think that's a Project Runway first."
Um... yeah, maybe... but with good reason. When has that ever been the point of Project Runway? One thing that the judges specifically praised about the winning team's designs was that they worked together as a cohesive collection, but you could still see each individual designer's personal aesthetic, attitude, and style.
The entire time that the losing team was up on the runway being grilled by the judges, I just wanted to reach into my TV set and flick Gretchen off screen. She was so fucking annoying...
GRETCHEN: It was really important for us to thoroughly and truly collaborate, rather than create designs individually. What we felt like that would allow us to do is enable everybody's strengths to come out and be supported where our weaknesses were. So rather than have six looks that maybe referenced the same thing come out, we can have six looks that were to us at least cohesive.
HEIDI KLUM: You were saying you didn't want to show some of the weaknesses. Who was the weakest designer in yoru group?
GRETCHEN: See that's the hard thing. We all have such different processes and I hope you can be mindful of that when you make the decision you have to make [voice cracks and starts to "cry"] because we worked really hard and I don't think there was a weak link. We all tried really hard and I know that you have a lot to tell us but I just really want you to think about that... that we all just really did the best we could for each other, for ourselves individually, and for you.
HEIDI KLUM: Six designers, one of you has immunity this week and that is Michael so one of you five will be out.
GRETCHEN: Can I say one last thing about that? I ask for you to be mindful of who you want to see more from. We think that's the fairest way for you to choose, because we're not going to choose. We stand united and we think that's the best way that you can walk away from this feeling as confident as we are, regardless of who has to go home, that that was the right person.
Then a few minutes later, Gretchen began the backpedaling and ass-covering and blame-throwing.
GRETCHEN: We very late in the game realized that Grandma had arrived and so...
MICHAEL KORS: That's not how you felt when you came out here.
GRETCHEN: Well, we were trying...
NINA GARCIA: So who styled each and every... I mean, I understand that you guys all had different hands...
GRETCHEN: I'll take responsibility for styling but I also feel like I had to style, maybe, a crappy collection, where I was like trying to save it...
HEIDI KLUM: What do you mean you're trying to save it? You said you loved it.
NINA GARCIA: I agree with Heidi, you said you loved it.
GRETCHEN: I think we loved... I mean...
MICHAEL KORS: Gretchen, you are a sportswear head, since this is so your world, then who had the hardest time where it isn't their world. Who do you think had the trickiest time dealing with this?
GRETCHEN: Um, I think Michael did, so I helped him a lot [...] I do have to say that out of the group Michael's technical skills, I feel, were the weakest, so I had to work with him so much that I had no time to focus on what makes me strong. So like, the things I made, I had to make at the last minute all the way around and I'm not proud of them.
HEIDI KLUM: It's amazing how your tune has changed from when we started this conversation.
GRETCHEN: I think we all just tried our hardest and we don't know who to pick cause nobody was on their game. There's not like you were the worst on your game, it's like everybody sucked.
Then Ivy went ahead and joined in on the "Throw-Michael-Under-The-Bus" game.
HEIDI KLUM: Ivy who do you think is the weakest designer on your team?
IVY: Objectively speaking, I think probably each and every one of us took a lot of our time to help Michael out.
HEIDI KLUM: Michael has immunity for this week. There are five designers standing here. Out of these five designers who is the weakest designer?
IVY: I would say no one.
And then everyone else followed suit, except for A.J...
CHRISTOPHER: I would agree with Ivy and Gretchen that in this challenge Michael had not the strongest skills.
AJ: I think that all I can speak for is myself. The place where I personally was weak was not bringing my fun and unusual style into this collection.
ANDY: I agree with my team members. I did think that Michael had the least amount of skill sets.
HEIDI KLUM: It's always easy to point the finger at the one who can't go home. Meanwhile he was the one that won the last challenge, and he was really really good and really really talented.
Blah blah blah...
GRETCHEN: I feel like you're asking for a martyr. I don't want to leave just because I say 'pick me' because I guess I failed too..
MICHAEL KORS: Gretchen, someone's going down.
GRETCHEN: I don't want to go home. I don't think it's my time. I've shown you what I can do and the direction that I'd like to show you more. I really feel like Michael was our weakest link.
IVY: The thing is, I don't konw if it's laziness or just ignorance.
HEIDI KLUM: But, Michael has immunity for this week, so this is all a waste of time. We're talking about the five of you over here.
Now they may be right in that maybe Michael doesn't have the same level of techncial skills that say, Gretchen, has... but it's pretty easy to blame the guy with immunity. (Who happened to design really nice stuff this episode and last.) The fact that Michael allegedly took up so much of their time, really doesn't have much of an effect on the final collection in my opinion. It wasn' ta bad collection because it was poorly made because they didn't have time... it was a bad collectio nbecause the whole fucking aesthetic was lousy. Period. It has nothing to do with Michael's sewing skills.
And Ivy's outfit was god awful hideous (it truly was "Golden Girls" like Michael Kors said) but she had the nerve to call Michael lazy and/or ignorant? What.The.Fuck? It broke my heart to see him break down afterwards, off stage, about how much it hurts and feels like shit to be dissed so hard by all his teammates (especially after they decided that they wouldn't throw anyone under the bus).
Ultimately A.J. went home and I won't say it wasn't deserved, although personally I hated Ivy's outfit more. I really wanted to see Gretchen go home, even though I knew that wasn't going to happen. But it was definitely nice to see her in the bottom for a change. I'd like to think that this will kick her ego down a few notches, but I don't think it will.
As she went backstage after not being eliminated, she said "I take responsibility for the things that they called me out" but then later in her video blog she took it all back and claimed a whole other story. Whatever.
A.J.: I don't think I deserved to go yet. I would've felt better going if had left for something that was my point of view and it's a really hard and big pill to swallow to know that you're going home for something that doesn't have a trace of you in it. [...]
A.J.: The only regret that I have is that there's not any of me in what I went out for.
TIM GUNN: Sit for a minute A.J., I have a few words for 'Team Luxe'. I fundamentally do not understand your behavior and demeanor and affect on the runway. I don't get it. I don't know why you allowed Gretchen to manipulate, control and bully you. I don't understand it. And A.J. you've taken the bullet and I now have to send you to the workroom to clean up your space.Yeah, fuck you Ivy. Where was your aha moment, when you were a) saying how much you loved your ugly baby of a collection and b) calling Michael unskilled, lazy and ignorant? And fuck you Gretchen... just because.
IVY: Woah, Tim's kind of right in what he says and I don't think Tim just says things just to say. I think it kind of made all of us have an 'aha' moment.