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Three Words:
Nobody Goes Home

Three Words:
Nobody Goes Home


Psych! Heidi and the judges pull a fast one on the audience on this week's Project Runway.

It was nice having a week off from recapping this show. It gave me time to forget every opinion I had about the remaining designers--Laura, Jeffrey, Michael and Uli--and a chance to devote myself to the new season of Oprah. It also gave me the opportunity to study the Fashion Week collections from the final four. Technically we're not supposed to have seen them yet unless we were at the shows themselves. But they were online hours after the shows happened. Thanks, Internet. Better yet, my good friend Dennis was at the shows and he promised me some you-are-there bits of commentary. When the shows air on Bravo I'll get him to give y'all what he's got.

This week's episode is, I'll say right now, the most excruciatingly boring one of the season. I can see why they brought Vincent and Angela back for a second chance, because without them, there's no fighting or insanity. It's just a lot of sewing and nose-to-the-grindstoning. The producers knew what they were doing with that one. Good thing there's only, like, two--or three, I can't remember--episodes after this.

Jeffrey kicks off the episode promisingly, doing his best to insult the other three designers. Here is his complete quote: "Each of us does something very specific and very different. If you like peasant blouses, big and flowy, Uli's in. If you like run-of-the-mill, friendly fashion, then Michael's in. If you like mothballs and chicken soup, Laura's in." And if you want Pat Benatar's "Love Is a Battlefield" video meets Goth Day at Disneyland, Jeffrey's your man. He says he's about "[living] a little dangerously." Then they cut to a shot of Laura's preggers belly, just to remind you of what it really means to live dangerously. Because knocked-up at 42 trumps voluntary neck tattoos pretty much every time.

Meanwhile, Michael has suddenly gone loopy-spiritual, talking about how "words have power, so yes, I will be at Bryant Park." I don't know what he means. And I don't want to. Just make a dress, man.

The four gather for Heidi so she can lie to them about how this challenge will determine which three will be at Fashion Week. But I'm spoiling it right here and telling you that no one gets cut at the end of this episode. An hour of your life, given to Bravo for nothing in return, not even a "Ha-HA!" for your trouble. She tells them that the next morning they're meeting with Nina Garcia at Elle and she will tell them the details of the challenge.

Then Heidi brings out the models to continue the pointless model-competition subplot of the show. Uli steals Nazri away from Michael, and that's about all you need to know. Good move, Uli. Nazri is the best model left. Michael says, "I'm going to kill you." But he's so nice and lovable that that's as far as the threat goes.

It's the next day. They're meeting with Nina at Elle's offices. She explains the importance of "editorial" to them. It's the difference between getting your line into a few funky little boutiques and getting into The Show. And it means that a designer has to juggle personal vision, the needs of jaded magazine editors addicted to new-new-new, and the crushing normalcy of readers who buy clothes. That's why Undercover's Jun Takahashi and that label's rebellious, freaked-out battle gear gets paid rapturous lip service in the magazines, but only in a "can you believe how crazy this stuff is?" kind of way. Meanwhile the major houses take all the big spreads and end up in Barneys.

The designers are charged with creating an outfit that conveys their point of view. Everything is their choice, and they have complete creative freedom. Well, sort of. They have only two days and $250, and they have to select three words that will describe their point of view. The outfit has to convey those words. Tim Gunn's advice = "Wow. Those. Judges." Hey Project Runway, how about wowing the viewers? Could we get a little wowing happening before the hour runs out?

The answer is no.

Sketching = nothing happens.

Shopping at Mood = nothing happens.

The workroom = Michael is creatively blocked. None of his sketches look good enough to him. Jeffrey, in interview, badmouths Laura's limited range, but nothing comes of it in the workroom. If Angela were still here, they'd be setting fire to each other by now. Uli is having trouble. She wants Laura's advice. Laura says "It looks like every other dress you've done." This is true. I could have had my eyes closed since they left Nina's office and still imagined Uli's dress down to the stitching. In Uli's own words it's "Colorful! Flowy! Uli!" Because now "Uli" is an adjective to describe a beach party dress you'd get drunk in. Uli asks Jeffrey to try on her dress. "I'm not putting that thing on," he says. "It'll make me look fat."

But then he does. Finally, some entertainment.

Tim Gunn shows up to look around. Tim Gunn is nonplussed by everyone. Me too, Tim Gunn. "Don't. Bore. Nina," he says. The best advice ever. It should be written above the door of the workroom. Uli rips up her dress and starts over. Leading into a commercial she says, "Coming up, Uli doesn't finish her dress, but watch vat happens on Project Runway."

Day Two:

"Maybe magic will have finished my dress," says Uli, as the four walk into Parsons.

"Maybe magic will have started it," says Laura. I'm hoping magic comes in and picks a fight with someone, spills coffee on a dress, rips a zipper, anything.

Then Tim Gunn enters and says that the winning design will be on Elle's "First Look" page--but that they have a new deadline of 5 p.m. that day. This fucks up Uli, who now has five hours to think of a dress and make it.

Time-out so Jeffrey can take a Samsung/Spring moment and get a video-text from his girlfriend and toddler son.

And now it's five hours later. The models show up, get the gear on, and go outside to have their pictures taken by the designers on the streets of New York. Magic did come in and make Uli's dress, because Nazri looks like a one-woman party commando in it. Uli's going to take this one hands down.

Laura has wacky trouble photographing her model in an elevator. The doors won't stay closed! Where's that doorman? Fire him! Everyone else has a very nice time taking very nice pictures of the very nice models on the very nice streets of Manhattan.

Back at the workroom, it's time to choose three words to tell the story of the garment. I can't believe that this is part of the dramatic arc of this episode. But here they are, brought to you by the awesome Olympus thing that spits out photos you take with your Olympus digital camera after you shoot your model joining an impromptu street jam with a team of musicians seemingly flown in from the coolest American Apparel factory ever:

Laura = glamour, confidence, elegance

Jeffrey = romance, irreverence, provocation

Uli = fun, life, adventure

Michael = sexiness, sensuality, sultry

Mine = dullest, episode, ever

It's the next day. The models come in. Hair and makeup. Michael's dress looks busted up and unfinished. The golden boy could go home for this, and if it were all based on one outfit, he would. But no one goes home this week. I spoiled that one for you already. Wake me when Top Chef debuts, please.

They gather at the runway and Heidi walks out in a gorgeous black dress that makes her look like she's already showing off her latest Seal-sponsored baby. Her boobs are in a different ZIP Code. The judges are here: Kors, Nina, and Some Woman From The Wall Street Journal.

The outfits:

Jeffrey: The exact opposite of everything he's done to date. Blue plunging neckline, wide red belty middle, and poofy white skirt. It's weird and unflattering, but I can see it on the right weird, unflatter-resistant woman.

Laura: A Laura special. Plunging scalloped neckline descending to beaded mid-thigh hemline. It's great, but I don't feel anyone being wowed. It's a cocktail party dress for a cocktail party at Laura's house. Wow. Awesome. Why do you hate Nina, Laura? Don't you realize Nina feeds on the fresh and new? She must have it or her heart will stop like that guy in Crank.

Uli: Knocks it out. Not so flowy, not to the floor, strong blue pattern with a sliver of skin visible all the way down the "bikini area." Just naughty enough to be sexy but not ho-bagish. And if one of the models is a breakout star this season, it's Nazri. She has just the right Elvis sneer at all times.

Michael: Purple crisscrossy thing. Giant gaping hole in front that any woman with breasts will fall out of. Captain Save-a-Ho is now Captain Dress-a-Ho.

Uli wins, obviously. They wouldn't have focused so much on her troubles if she hadn't. But magic stepped in and saved her.

And no one goes home, even though I guarantee you every one of them except Uli bored Nina. I don't know why they decided to do this, and nothing in this episode was exciting enough to make me question why. I was asleep by the time it was over, and my bore threshold is way higher than Nina's. But that's what Elle interns are for, to stand off-camera and pinch you awake between takes.

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Dave White