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The September issues of Elle and Vogue are here! No other bathroom reading can be done for the rest of the month because they're a combined 8,500 pages long. I'll review the Vogue for you on my own blog, which you can link to at the end of this recap. But because this show is owned and operated by Elle, I think it's good to discuss that one here. Lindsay Lohan's on the cover, looking resolutely, defiantly empty inside. That's a good start. If I were the impatient sort, I'd jump right to her interview. But I want to check out the ads. Here are some:
1. Target kicks Wal-Mart's ass again by snagging a line by Paul & Joe.
2. I like the new Gap ads because I've had a thing for that firepluggy Jeremy Piven ever since he was on Ellen, even though I despise the Gap and their new policy of "fitted" shirts for all.
3. What's up with Shalom Harlow returning to modeling? There she is looking nine feet tall for Yves Saint Laurent.
4. Dolce & Gabbana are putting their eggs in the Marie Antoinette basket. Hope that works out for them.
5. They're wrapping sweaters around heads at Chloe like the Beales of Grey Gardens.
6. Madonna and her terrified employees shill for H&M. Do we think a stylist gave her choices, or do you think she went into the H&M headquarters and demanded something be designed just for her? I like to think she styled all the dancers and stage crew and posed them too. All of my Madonna fantasies are about her as Disco Mussolini.
OK, enough of that. On to the show...
We begin this episode with ablutions: Laura Glamour Mom smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles, Kayne the Flaming Lisp perfecting the Heat Miser look on top of his head, Jeffrey Christ preparing to defenestrate himself because he got robbed at the last challenge. He mourns the loss of Alison Supernice Supercute because he says she was his best friend of the bunch. He's such a weird dude to figure out. Maybe it's just editing, but he comes off like he put the m in misogyny most of the time. I'm not even going to try to ponder his shit anymore.
Cut to Michael Knight With No Talking Car. He's so happy to have won two challenges that he "grinned [himself] a headache." None of these grins were shown to us on-camera because the makers don't understand that Michael's busted-up grill is adorable and TV-ready even if they don't think so.
Heidi greets them all and tells them that this week's challenge will be to design something for the "everyday" woman. In the fashion dictionary, the word "everyday" is a euphemism for "fat." She brings out their models, who all turn out to be the designers' moms and sisters. And some of them are so "everyday" that when they sit around the house they sit around the house. That's a joke I'm allowed to make because I'm an "everyday" guy. Every day I eat a fresh new package of Ho-Hos.
The designers cry because they love their moms. Or maybe because they don't. Either way, Laura leans in to Jeffrey and says of his mom, "I thought she'd have a mohawk." I can't wait for the day one of Laura's prep-school babies gets a neck tattoo. I want Bravo to capture that for me and I want Tim Gunn to podcast about the stroke she has. Then it turns out that the designers each have to select someone else's mother or sister as their model. They go, "Awwwww." I go, "Haw haw hawwwww."
Michael gets first pick, and he goes for the hottest and skinniest of the bunch, Robert Gay Arms's sister. Laura chooses Jeffrey's mother, "just to torture [him]," she says gently. I like her delivery. She really is the cobra-woman. And on it goes until last-picked, poor Angela's mom--who calls her daughter "delightful" and has clearly never met the woman--gets saddled with Jeffrey.
Fix! I call fix!
She's going to end up looking like one of the Sleaze Sisters in Times Square. Jeffrey says he has Angela's mom because "God got drunk today." Because, you know, God's entire agenda revolves around his son Jeffrey H. Christ. Angela looks worried. And she should be.
Tim Gunn walks into the workroom, where everyone is hugging their respective family members, and announces that they're all going to a special event being given by this week's guest judge. We don't know who that is yet. Tim Gunn leads them to Tavern on the Green, where they're met by Michael Kors and his mother, Karl Lagerfeld. Then Kors opens a bottle of champagne. To do this he cocks out his hip and makes the least-poised, cork-terror, don't-get-it-in-my-eyes face I've ever witnessed on a human being outside of gay porn. It requires several TiVo rewind hits.
Poor Kayne suffers the indignity of his mother bringing along photos of his formerly "everyday" self. He's lost 110 pounds since then. That's 1 1/5 of a model. Then we see that all the family members have brought along embarrassing photos of the designers, including Jeffrey's mom, who cries with pride over her ex-drunk, ex-junkie son and-- Whoa! Laura's pregnant with Harvard grad number six! That's three sets of doubles for squash at the club now. Her mom, Kors, Karl, and the camera crew and cast all find out at once. See, Jeffrey? That's a horny knocked-up lady you're dealing with. Not so frigid after all. And it's hard to hear because she says it so fast and TiVo rewind isn't helping, but it sounds like Laura's saying that even her husband doesn't know yet. Surprise, Glamour Dad. Your fancy lady's got a croissant in the oven.
Thirty minutes to sketch and consult with the clientele:
Robert takes Corky's [Vincent's] sister and says he's going to battle the perception that he's boring by putting her in head-to-toe zebra print and a sign that says "Stop picking on Robert." And if he did that, I think they'd still hate him for it. Heidi in particular seems to find Robert tedious. Heidi's weird.
Laura's mother works with Angela, the Headmistress of Jubilee Jumbles (I just decided that she's no longer and never was an Yves Saint Laurent copier, in spite of her claims to the contrary), and says that she'd like Laura to win but would never hinder Angela from winning. I love that that went through her head. Now I want to know who's going to actually have the cast-iron ones to conduct private sabotage on the outfit they end up wearing.
Kayne is all for dressing Michael's mother in loony rhinestone-covered Miss America costumes. He goes on to say that he was once 310 pounds and despaired at how little there was to fit him that he could feel good about. That explains the typical, gaytarded outfits he prances around in now.
Corky says that the mother of Uli, Heidi's German Pet, has a "European air about her." How do you say "No shit, Sherlock" auf Deutsch?
Jeffrey and Angela's mom are already at loggerheads. She automatically thinks he's a freak because, she says, "He stands out in a crowd." That's Mom Code for a guy you want nowhere near your daughter. Cut to Jeffrey, who's at a loss about how to design something for a fat person. He doesn't ever do that and doesn't know how.
And I just decided something.
Any designer who can't or won't make a plus-size person look decent isn't a good designer. Pardon me while I go on a rant: I was just in six different men's stores two days ago and not one of them had a shirt that fit me. All these stupid designers are so frigging pleased with themselves that their neck sizes go up to 18 1/2 (and even 19 if you order online! Wow!) and their jackets go all the way to 48. Oh yeah? Well, make my 20-inch neck look awesome with a tie wrapped around it, gaywads. And fix me up a 50 regular in a jacket while you're at it, and gimme a color other than black. Because I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore. And slapping an XL on a shirt that's actually a medium--Marc Jacobs--doesn't make it so. It's a big plus-size lie. So fuck all you designers out there who aren't talented enough to attractively clothe the "everyday" people, the us of this world. Someday we will destroy you and eat you for dinner. There. That felt good to get off my chest.
Shopping for fabric:
No drama here. The best they can give us is Uli selecting a print and, as usual, finding the perfect needle in the Moodstack.
Cut to Robert commiserating with Jeffrey about not "understand[ing] proportion on this kind of body." Yeah, well, boo-hoo. This is where you learn about the rest of humanity, Barbie boy. I LOVE THIS CHALLENGE NOW. I have a renewed zeal for this show, and I want to be a guest judge of fatness, sending home any dolt who can't transform these women to look like the hottest turned-out sluts of all time. Cut to Michael, who already has immunity, who stole the skinniest model, who's got the big idea to make a reversible dress because, you know, that's no sweat off his two-time-challenge-winning brow, and he's as smoothed-out as a Kenny G lite-jazz jam.
Tim Gunn comes back to tell everyone that he's sending in the models to check on their progress. This is good. It never happens. The skinny pro models don't see shit until it's going over their heads. These women get to come in and start fighting and laying down their ill-informed opinions. And you know this is about to happen because of the sound effects and blasty music after Tim says, "I'm sending them in!"
Cut to Corky talking about how he and Uli's non-English-speaking mother are so comfortable together. "In spirit," he says. Does this have something to do with his dumb crystal pendants? The ones he wears under his Tom Ford button-free shirts? Or is this just more nonsensical babble? Oh, fashion demigods, hear my cry. Isis, Shazam, all y'all, please do something about this guy. He's hurting me every moment I see him on-camera.
Tim Gunn consults with Angela's mom, who's concerned that Jeffrey's dress is going to make her look matronly. She says this wearing the non-matronly ensemble of short, tousled, late-middle-aged-lady hair, way-out-of-style glasses, and V-neck sweater over striped button-down blouse. In other words, she looks like the lesbian science teacher I had in high school. That she does this with half of the time gone is exactly the kind of sabotage I was hoping for. Aggressive passive-aggressiveness. Well played, Angela's mom.
Then Angela's mom gets into a verbal battle with Jeffrey. He's not having it and tells her to beat it. He says she's afraid of his outfit because she's insecure. He walks off to do some sewing. She's feeling victim-ish. He chalks it up to her being Angela's mother. He may be right. She goes off to whine to her wacky daughter, saying stuff like "I'm so insulted" and "Nobody talks to me that way" and "There's just so much hate in his voice." She cries some fashion-disrupting crocodile tears. Angela cries some too for effect. They're diabolical, both of them. I know I've hated a whole bunch of Angela till now, but I'm beginning to see them as a well-oiled machine of manipulation and other-designer destruction. And who can't respect that kind of game plan? It's not like this show's about the best designer anyway. It's a game show, and the rules are: Win by any means necessary. I bet they called Malan for some tips on how to really throw down. (And how mind-shatteringly awesome would it have been to see Malan's mom on this episode? Maybe she would have thrown his designs on the floor again.) With luck, their scheme will result in Jeffrey being booted at the end. Now Jeffrey's mom tries to comfort Angela's mom but does it without admitting that her son can be a tool. Robert's hot sister sits on the couch and looks annoyed, wondering why she bothered with all this bullshit.
Two hours till deadline:
Jeffrey is pleased with himself. As usual.
Robert is not exactly pleased with himself. Also as usual. Why so down on your skills, Gay Arms? We all like you even though sometimes your clothes don't make us want to go ape-crazy. Don't you live in, like, West Hollywood? Where's your sense of entitlement?
Deadline come and gone. It's midnight and we're back at Atlas:
Uli: I need some wine. Laura: You're drinking wine now? I'm going to bed. Uli: You're pregnant. Laura: Oh, shut up.
Dear Writers of All Sitcoms Everywhere,
Please begin writing shit like this little exchange above because it made me laugh and laugh and laugh. Much more than anything I've ever seen on Yes, Dear. I mean it. Learn from these women. Or hire them. Whatever it takes.
Cut to Laura talking about her new fetus. "I don't think anybody's really ready for their sixth child, but five, six, seven, it doesn't make that big of a difference. I'll just throw it on the pile with the other ones." Oh, Glamour Mom, how do I love you and your bitch-ass self? Let me count the ways.
Tim Gunn sends in the models. Jeffrey gives Angela's mom her dress and she goes behind a screen with Angela to conspire on the next step of their Kill Jeffrey Now plan. The microphone picks up Angela saying, "Tell the judges exactly how you feel. You have the right to be honest." Translation: "Get him."
I'd be fully on-board with Nike's "I Feel Pretty" ad if it weren't for the fact that Nike employs child slaves to make their shit. Let the Nike empire burn itself into a hole in the dark demonic ground.
Back to the runway. The outfits:
1. Laura/Jeffrey's mom = Time to frump it up on a Carnival Cruise. Only Laura would get this dressed to hang out at the buffet table. And she forgot to give the poor woman a waist.
2. Uli/Kayne's mom = Yow! It's an "everyday" butterfly! And she strikes poses, which is what you want. Someone's been watching Mo'Nique do stand-up on BET late at night. And speaking of Mo'Nique, why isn't she the guest judge? I mean no disrespect to Kors's mother, Karl Lagerfeld, but shouldn't a famously "everyday" lady have a voice in what looks good on the other "everyday" ladies?
3. Corky/Uli's mom = boring black sheath with stupid wings for a collar. And it's all bunched up in front and in back because the fit sucks. Can we please get rid of him now?
4. Kayne/Michael's mom = She may like her potatoes smothered in gravy, but why you gotta smother the woman in two layers of the same color? She looks like she's wearing a coral bib. And the short pants chop her in half so that now she's 3 1/2 feet tall. Good going, Okie.
5. Angela/Laura's mom = Angela has designed a funeral frock for the Headmistress of Jubilee Jumbles. It's both hippie and sack-like, fringy and tame. How does she accomplish so much ugly with so little time and fabric? Angela says, "She really embodied the spirit of casual elegance." This is because Angela has no idea what casual elegance is.
6. Robert/Corky's sister = As expected, no one can do right by the most "everyday" woman on the runway. It's a red and black tent from TJ Maxx, like Robert snuck out in the night and broke into one, stole it, and just threw it on her. Please, Gay Arms, for the sake of all that is beautiful in this life, why are you throwing away your chance? For her part, Corky's sister looks genuinely upset to be here. Like clinically depressed upset. It's wrong to laugh. But...
7. Michael/Robert's hot sister = the reversible black-and-white dress is rad, he's got immunity, and she's almost as skinny as one of the regular models. It's really fair to no one.
8. Jeffrey/Angela's mom = She galumphs down the runway to spite him, smile on her face, bizarre deep purple and periwinkle dress hanging horribly on her like an asymmetrical parachute, the lady warden in a Bauhaus prison.
Time for Heidi, Kors, Nina, and Karl to pull out the forks and knives:
They like Michael's smart shirtdress. Heidi loves that it's completely reversible. I like the big bow. It looks like a gift you can wear.
They love Uli's drapey, printy winged victory top. Kayne's mom says, "I would wear this when I go out to eat or sumpin' like that with my husband." Red Lobster, cast this awesome lady in a commercial right now. Get her crackin' open one of them claws with Tim Gunn and Andrae.
They're not down with Kayne's stuff. Nina hates "matchy-matchy." Me too. Dumb Kayne.
Heidi speaks to Uli's mom in German. She responds with something long and guttural. Heidi says that means she likes it. I need to call my German friend Thilo and get a real translation on this. If I can get him to do it, I'll spell it out next week. Because Heidi's version sounds like a subtitle on a martial arts film. Five minutes of talking and then the word "Wow!" at the bottom of the screen. Kors likes it. Even Nina likes it. And OK, now that I'm seeing it again, I will concede that the belted bit in the middle is pretty good. But it's still nothing you want to be caught walking in. And I think a big prank is being played on me.
No one likes Robert's big red and black monument to sadness. And they're right. He could go home for the crime of being dull, and he'd deserve it right now.
Next up is Angela's Casual Elegance. "To be honest with you, Angela," says Nina, "I feel it's almost too young. It seems age-inappropriate." Kors calls it "Stevie Nicks in black," which sounds like a diss of Stevie's shawl-conscious glamour. Ms. Nicks would never wear crud like this.
They wave away Laura's first major mistake, not counting the over-reliance on fur-trimmed collars.
Big finish! Jeffrey explains that Angela's mom expressed body-consciousness and that she wanted to be covered. So he mummified her. Now she can be the world's oldest extra in an Evanescence video. "If I were in an exclusive department store and saw this," says Angela's mom, "I would walk right by." Kors calls it a "confused outfit." Angela gets to pipe up and call it "embarrassing." Why does Angela get to comment on this? Why doesn't Jeffrey get to talk shit about her fringe-gasm?
Heidi's thing is to say, "Who do we love?" and "Who do we hate?" You can tell she especially likes to say, "Who do we hate?" But, you know, who wouldn't like that one more, really?
They love Uli, Michael, and--barf--Corky.
They hate Angela, Kayne, Robert--Kors begins snoring, Nina says, "There was no effort seen in this."---and, as expected, Laura and Jeffrey. Kors says of Jeffrey's piece, "It looks like Commes des Garcon goes to the Amish country." Somewhere in Japan, Rei Kawakubo just got the idea for her Fall 2007 collection.
Designers line back up on runway:
Michael = Has immunity. He's In.
Laura = In.
The winner = Corky. I can't even begin to explain this. But it's becoming a tradition this season that the best design is robbed of its rightful win, so sorry Uli. You can fuck off with your artful, expert eye for pattern, proportion, silhouette, and color. This guy with a screw loose is the clear Bizarro World champion. Everyone am ecstatic forever! I hope Laura rips into him again like she did last week.
Uli = In. Oh, thanks for that. What an honor.
Kayne = In.
Angela = In.
Jeffrey = In.
And it's a farewell to Gay Arms. Sorry, dude, but you were too nice and normal. Cut to backstage with everyone crying over his departure, including Jeffrey. Gay Arms is thoughtful about his "limits," which is the kind of self-deprecation that decent people always default to. He should shut up about that kind of thing. Tim Gunn says, "We're going to miss you terribly. We really are." When you get that kind of goodbye from Tim Gunn, then you really were beloved. Like Andrae-level love. I expect Nina to come backstage and put her tongue down Robert's throat. Kors's mom, Karl Lagerfeld, just pulled out her Sidekick and got online to order a sterling silver Hermes tear-catcher that doubles as an evening bag. Everyone wants in on the weepy moment. Until next week, when weeping will be declared "five minutes ago" and bold cruelty will be back in style. Angela waits patiently, honing her plan of attack.
"Stop Picking on