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Never play to the judges. That's the hard lesson Keith learns in this week's super-sobby ProjectRunway.

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Yes, yes. I know. All you "LEAVE KEITH ALONE" people and your needs. Look, I tried. And I think I even somewhat succeeded, as you'll see if you keep reading. Because in the first episode I thought, OK, not an unattractive man... and then, later, But I hate his clothes.

And then came the revelation of the Rat Tail. I defy anyone to tell me that that moment didn't scorch us all inside. And then came more clothes I didn't like. And I moved from casual interest to gentle -- GENTLE -- chiding to a moment of actual disdain to indifference. But now, see, the show is effing with me somehow because, and I guess it's all in the editing, I feel sorry for him. You can see that his nerves are frayed and his confidence is shaken and that, given enough time, he might be able to make a dress that's both interestingly raggedy, the way he likes, and that also fits his model better than a bath towel from Dollar Tree. You can see that he's lost in a confusional haze and can't decide whether to follow his inner shredded-issue-of-Elle-in-a-puddle muse or to tailor the balls off of something and shoehorn the model into it. I get his somewhat dipshitty agony. I have feelings.

But the show doesn't. The show has decided that it hates Keith way more than I'd ever consider mustering the energy to spend equivalently, and now it's out for blood. He gets not one flattering camera angle, no shirtless moments, and every word out of his mouth is petulant or enraged or whiny. And that is the beauty of reality television. They can make even a reasonable person seem like a tool and vice versa. Remember last season when Rami was mean to Sweet Pea? I do. Because, really, how dare he? Turns out that Rami wasn't really much of a dick after all. Just bossy. And for all we know Ricky only cried once and they just showed it to you again and again, adding ugly hat effects with a computer. They can do anything with computers. Did you see Jumanji? None of those animals were real.

Another thing about editing: It twists time and space. Evidence: The Elle-stablishing shot of the latest issue on newsstands is back in Mary-Kate Town. What happened to Jessica Alba? That lady just had twins or something, give her a little camera time. Help us help her forget she ever (allegedly) heard the expression "Mend It Like Beckham." And then we learn that Kenley thinks of departed Daniel as her "best friend" from the show. The one she bad-mouthed and laughed at openly on the runway. That best friend. And who knows the truth? Only the parties involved and the people who log all the footage.

Cut to Keith. On interview-cam he talks about being overwhelmed and not being happy about having been in the bottom two of the last challenge and how he wants "to change the way the way the world dresses." Rat tails for everyone!

Cut to the runway. Heidi emerges in a tiny little black, blue, and white striped dress. She's the hottest soccer referee/minimum-wage Foot Locker employee in the world right now, so you can add that to her list of accomplishments. Then she brings out the winning and losing designers' models who last week didn't actually model anything but who're going to get their heads sliced off right now anyway. In fact, two of them are going home for all their not-modeling efforts. And by home I mean those little four-girls-on-two-bunk-beds-in-one-room apartments that agencies set these ladies up in. I know all about this now thanks to model pal Elyse, whose comments on this very special episode full of model intrigue are coming soon.

Then Heidi asks them if they are ready for their next challenge. I always love this moment because her eyes flash, all robot-revenge, and you can tell she's like, "Hmm, 10 left. Then nine. And that won't be perfect symmetry as I stand and look at them slumping in their little folding chairs, and that will never do. So, then eight. But then it's so good to watch them crawl away in tears and shame, so it must become seven. But now asymmetrical chairs again! One more must go! SIX!" And on and on until vacation time. She gives the designers an address and tells them to go to the rooftop. "And that's all I'm gonna say," she smirks, adding, with an undercurrent of oh-yeah-and-fuck-off, "And time is ticking, so get going."

Germans love for stuff to be clocky and precise. I went to Munich once and those trains really do run on perfect time. And they have workers scrubbing every inch of the place round the clock. You could eat off the subway floor.

But yeah, the challenge. Blayne immediately jumps to conclusions and thinks they're designing for a "superstar" and that this will necessitate something called "exclusive rooftop style." To Blayne, this is "kinda scary." It just makes me think of Spider-Man. It makes Korto think of Mariah Carey. What if the challenge is to make a Spider-Man costume for Mariah Carey? I heard Cher is going to be Catwoman in the new Batman movie, and that makes less sense than what I just posited, so even though I just invented a challenge in my mind, it could still be true. Anything in the world could be true. There could even really be something called "exclusive rooftop style." They go to a parking garage. Maybe they're all going to design outfits inspired by the new Saturn! Oh, shit, I was kidding, but THEY ACTUALLY ARE!

Tim Gunn meets them on the roof. He's standing next to a wee little Scottish gay in a flowered-up shirt. This guy has a job title that is, literally, "lead color designer for Saturn." I now imagine him in a room inventing colors and then silly names for them based on urban legends ("I call these two 'Lemonjello' and 'Oranjello'"), and he just does that all day long in between three-hour-long, shopping-intensive lunch breaks. I've just decided that's what he does, and it makes my own job -- which is to watch lots of TV -- seem like scrubbing the Munich subway. Then he tells the designers they have to use car parts to make their outfits.

Now, normally I hate product-placement challenges. Last season's Hershey lameness springs to mind. But I like this one. I don't care if it's rubbing the sponsor's name in my face for an hour. It makes me think of my favorite car movie, Crash. The good David Cronenberg one about people who have a car-accident sex fetish, not the shitty one about how, by the way, in case you didn't know, it's not nice to be racist. In the good David Cronenberg one there's also fashion going on. In the scene where Holly Hunter defends her mourning attire (her husband has recently died in a car accident and it has secretly turned her on a little) she says, "I'll wear a fucking kimono if I want to." That's a good line. Netflix-queue that one. You won't regret it.

Terri claims not to own the necessary blowtorch required to complete this challenge, but I think she's making that up. If she's not making it up, then I'm going to ignore that she said it, because I like to think of Terri as being ready for anything. Down for whatever. Need a car built? Yes, she has the blowtorches and the lug wrenches and the wiper blades right there in her Mary Poppins-ish purse. And she'll sing you every Funkadelic song ever recorded while she builds it.

Tim Gunn says the Scottish Saturn color designer and "his team" have stocked the Saturns with raw materials. So that guy has A TEAM TO DO ALL THE WORK FOR HIM. ALL THE UN-WORK. Then Tim Gunn warns the designers that this challenge is about innovation and that "frankly, for that first challenge, many of you did not rise to the occasion." Tell 'em, Tim Gunn. Fuckin' no-rising bunch of losers. Except Terri. They have four minutes to gather materials. This means everyone grabs the little pinkish seat belts (Official Saturn Team Color Name Decision: "Nipple") and starts weaving them together. Joe claims that this challenge is appropriate for him because he's from "the Motor City." I get that. I'm from Texas, so I'm friends with the Bush family and I build oil wells with my bare hands and I can stay on the bull for eight seconds and I have a bike in the basement of the Alamo. Jerell is going to turn his headlight into a brooch. He says this. He says it with that bobbing head/neck thing the gays like to do when they think they're being sassy and clever. Suede uses the word "wackadoodle." Stella, upset at the lack of bikers on the roof, is "not even dealing with rushing around like a fool" and seems pissed off. And you'd think it would be the opposite. Having already made evening gowns out of alternators for years, you'd think this would be a walk in the junkyard for her. They carry off their carts full of parts and Bravo throws an ad for the new Rachel Zoe show across the bottom of the screen. No way am I watching that.

Back in the workroom, everyone's in goggles and gloves, smashing things on the floor and chopping up rearview mirrors. Keith, on interview-cam, says his "biggest thing is ... to please those f[bleep]ing judges" and that he's "sick of presenting these outfits that stand out so much and having them be so critical on me." Then he says that his next garment will be "more tailored" and "more toned down."

Right. The nerve of those people. Those judges. That he announces "toned down" like he's Christian Dior and he's just invented the New Look and no one understands his genius is...well...I know, LEAVE KEITH ALONE.

Suede says "wackadoodle" again. They love catching him going third person and using that word. I just love that he's cutting his hands on the materials. I also love Stella, who claims that she's not going to make another pair of leather pants and instead has decided that she wants "to really do something... [and she pauses here because the word is kind of difficult to form in her mouth] pretty." So this, of all weeks, is when she decides she wants to be Laura Ashley. Later she puts a part of a seat on Blayne's head and tells him he looks cute. She has a crush on Blayne, I think, and it only intensifies as his tan continues to fade and he looks more and more like a pale Caucasian Seattle resident should. She's told him he's cute twice now in as many weeks. When he's reached a Ramones level of pallor she'll dump her actual boyfriend, Ratbones. Not making up that name either. More on him later.

Tim Gunn comes in with the models for a fitting. Except for Kenley's. Her model has bailed for an unspecified reason. Just dropped out of the show. The consensus is that she got a better-paying job. Kenley flips out. Now she has to refit her garment to a new body. And because we finally have some good modelcentric plot, I asked Elyse to discuss the possible scenarios. Her reply:

"Dave, all kinds of things might supersede a model's professional obligations. Hangovers, sudden invitations aboard Ivanka Trump's yacht, cramps, spider bites, fights with her agency, pure divatude. Of all these excuses for missing or bailing out of jobs, a conflicting, better job is the best. If the flaking model got another gig with good pay or more prestige (neither of which Project Runway offers), if she was lashed to a sinking ship of a designer and destined for elimination anyway, if her agency advised her to skip out on Proj-Run, man, I can totally identify with her opportunism."

So they fit the models, Kenley whines about it, and then Tim Gunn comes back to check in on them all. He's got nothing to say to Blayne, but his face says pretty much all you need to know. He calls Jerell's suede bustier thing "beautifu,l" but I'm not so sure I see it. And it turns out Korto is making a kimono. Or a coat. Or something. Tim Gunn asks Stella what she's doing. And the answer is that she's having an identity crisis. He likes Leanne's the most, and so far so do I. It's now two weeks in a row she's gone for this sort of what-if-Frank-Gehry-made-clothes-instead-of-swoopy-looking-buildings effect, and I kind of dig her more and more because of it.

"Hi, Keith," says Tim Gunn. "Tell me what you're doing." Answer: complaining. Being a grump. Radiating fear. Talking about what an envelope-pusher he is. And to top it off, the show gives us interview-cam of other designers bad-mouthing him. So it's Gang Up on the Guy Having a Freak-out Day. And speaking of bad-mouthing, Terri starts goofing on Korto's coat, calling it the Jeepers Creepers scarecrow. Korto holds her own with what sounds like an equally playful "Hating on youuuuu" comeback. But Jerell decides to let his true feelings about Terri be known: "Terri doesn't know how to talk to people. She belittles people. She's got two faces. Two of 'em. Count 'em. Two of 'em. She's got two faces and four patterns. That's it. Don't trust the bitch." And now I don't care if Jerell actually turns into the next Christian Siriano: He's dead to me.

Day over, they all go back to Atlas and Stella calls her boyfriend on the phone. His name is "Ratbones." Actually it's William. But "Billy" only sounds good if your last name is "Zoom" and that one's already taken. So he's "Ratbones" and she's his old lady. You see a picture of him. He looks like you'd think. All the accessories in place. I'm thinking he used to play drums for G.G. Allin or Anti-Seen. Or Jackyl. Sometimes it's hard to tell. Stella complains about how hard it is to be on the show: "Honey, remember Altamont? Yeah, well, this week has been 10 times worse." OK, yes, that's not what you hear. But again, I blame the editors for cutting it out. Because you know she said it.

Elimination Day:

"You can't sit in that," says Keith to his model. She's squozen into the skirt and can't move. And this is a model. She weighs herself in ounces. The shit is tight. And not "tight" meaning awesome. "Tight" meaning "Why do you have so many ribs in the way?" And it's an ugly skirt. So she goes off to get TreSemme'd and L'Oreal Paris'd and she sits down and splits the it wide open. "I've given a small task to a model and I would hope that she could follow direction," Keith says. I feel actual anxiety for him now. He has 10 minutes to get it together. And he fixes it. Sorta. But it's still boring and ugly and weirdly frumpy-looking. Wrong in almost every way. "Watch the breathing," he says, followed quickly by an "and do NOT sit down, OK?" So yeah, model, don't sit down while you're walking on the runway, and if you could turn off those pesky lungs for about 45 seconds, that would be great. OK? Thanks.

Heidi comes out onto the runway in a dress that was constructed out of the recently molted top layer of a purple boa constrictor. And her hair is textbook "just fucked." I expect Seal to peek his head around a corner and share a knowing look with his wife at any moment. And I just Googled it to see what would come up and there are LOTS of hair-cutteries in far-flung locations around America called JF Hair. Well-played, salon owners.

It's a judge mix-up this week. Kors is here, but Nina is missing, replaced with season 3 finalist and the all-time favorite of the husband/partner/whatever, Laura Bennett. You know she's not going to give any of them an inch, either. Strict mommy all the way. So that's a good substitute call, right there. And then...


Rachel Zoe, grossest celebrity stylist of all time. The woman who turns every client into a strung-out stick figure in slut clothes and orange tan. Blayne probably thinks she's "fabulicious" or something.

And now the clothes:

1. Jerell -- Eff Jerell. He bad-mouthed Terri; I don't care what he does anymore. And I'm not telling you about it either. It's my recap. I do what I want.

2. Keith -- The skirt he's made is so tight and badly sewn that it makes the tank top pooch out and seem like there's flab spilling out over the model's wide belt. Only Stella's disaster will save him from ultimate doom. Elyse needs to weigh in here: "The case of the sitting-down-in-the-dress girl is murkier [than the Kenley situation]. The perceived inhumanity to a model is directly proportional to how ugly the designer has made her look. Glorify us, and we'll cooperate. Humiliate us, we turn treacherous. I have willingly walked barefoot through stickers and weird industrial scrabble (possibly radioactive!) to avoid sullying the patent leather sheen of a pristine pair of YSL stilettos. I have also snarlingly refused to even expose my midriff to certain bumbling, uncool photographers when slathered in hideous clown makeup and wearing a disgusting, ill-fitting polyester suit. If a model doesn't feel good, it's hard for her to act right. If some Mormon jerk just spent three hours sewing some wack-ass car parts all over her body and freaking out in her face, she might take a look at that makeup chair and feel a lit-tle less inclined to remain standing." [Note to sensitive readers: Send all pro-Keith hate mail to Elyse and not me, dig?] 3. Terri -- She's the biker this week. Jeans, webbed tank top. Basic but hard and slutty. And again, her model sells the sex of Terri's work so well that it's almost porn. Honestly, I think I like the "YOKO ONO" T-shirt Terri herself is wearing more than the clothes on the runway, but still, it's good.

4. Kenley -- A vest made of patent leather and a skirt made of air filters. And speaking of not sitting down in the garment, Kenley is just as guilty as Keith this week and has the nerve to call it "wearable." But it looks really clean and tailored, so she's going to get away with it.

5. Leanne -- Tiny dress made of seat covers that point out horizontally and exaggerate the hips and then flare out on the sides and in the back, with a super tits-up strapless upper end and fringed seat belts trimming the top. The only thing that would make it better is some motorcycle rearview mirrors coming off the boobs. Of course, then it would be the Thierry Mugler dress from the "Too Funky" video. But whatever.

6. Suede -- Made the dress Keith was supposed to have come up with. A top of floor mats and a skirt made from strips of metallic sun visor.

7. Korto -- Awesome mod coat of woven seat belts. Extreme kimono silhouette. Really groovy.

8. Blayne -- Floor-length gown of draped seat belts. Upper piece adorned with broken mirror bits. And pouchy, lopsided boob area that looked fine on the form but doesn't fit the model.

9. Joe -- Black and red motocross cocktail dress. (Those are his words, and they're not wrong, but they're not as wacky a motocross experience I once had while watching this kids' movie, I forget the title, that starred Phyllis Diller, Gary Busey, Evan Marriott, Lorenzo Lamas, Dan Haggerty, a monkey, and some children who raced bikes -- and zero amounts of that is made-up information.) The dress is a little Olympics challenge-y but it's acceptable and he has immunity for this week, so it's not like any of it matters.

10. Stella -- At a loss for ideas, she copied Keith. Only when her model sat down in it and it split the whole thing right down the front she said "Fuggit" and didn't bother to repair the damage. So it's...worse? Better? A coin toss.

Safe people: Terri, Suede, Joe, Kenley

Top three:

1. Jerell -- Rachel Zoe thinks it's "amazing." Kors likes it. Heidi calls it "exciting." Whatever.

2. Korto -- Laura loves the volume. Kors calls it "elegant." Rachel Zoe says, "I would walk out the door in that. It's so chic I cannot believe that's from car parts." Later she'll ask Korto to make it for her in a size 000. Or -2 if she didn't drink water that day.

3. Leanne -- Kors can't get enough. Rachel Zoe: "I. Am. Blown away."

Bottom three:

1. Blayne -- Laura is distracted by the fit. Kors hates the "car-wash" effect. Rachel Zoe wants more skin. Heidi says, "You know that's no sex for seven years [when] you break the mirror." So yeah, that hair wasn't from TreSemme.

2. Stella -- Kors tells her that her skirt is her "trying to be ladylike." Poor Stella. Call Ratbones again and get him to beat up that orange guy. If he loves you he'll do it.

3. Keith -- Rachel Zoe asks the model to turn around, and when the model does so, you see the disaster zone in close-up. "This is where it got confusing for me," says Zoe. "I can't tell, where there's a hole there, if it doesn't fit her [or] if it's not closed." Then Laura tells him there's no concept, and Keith says, almost under his breath, hand over mouth, "You should see my other stuff." Then Laura, in full country-club-with-the-Upsons haughtiness, says, "Excuse me?" and Keith melts down and begins to tell them what an "edgy designer" he is. (Heidi reaction shot: Head cocked to the side, sad but caring look on face, thought bubble above the JF hair: Nein mein Kind. Ganz bestimmt nicht. That's actual German, by the way. Thanks, Thilo Wolfgang Hubner, you're worth your weight in sausage, pretzels, and beer.) And then the poor lost gay complains about being criticized and feeling insulted at the last challenge. And Kors says, "Guess what? You're going out there in the public, OK? You're throwing yourself into a situation where people are going to comment. You might not love the comment. You let it roll off your back and you get back to the next project." You know you've been served when Michael Kors is the one telling you to man up. And then during the judge conversation, Rachel Zoe says, "I don't think that was flattering from the front, the side, or the back." And what I hate most of all is that I agree with Rachel Zoe. It's like when you watch The McLaughlin Group and Pat Buchanan says something that makes sense.

In: Jerell, Blayne, Korto, Stella

Winner: Leanne. Korto is non-amused.

Out: Keith. And then he breaks down and weeps on interview-cam. But you know it's not about just the loss. He feels like he has to go back to Salt Lake City and stay trapped there, so he's crying for his whole landlocked life. But it ain't like that. Look at very cool designer Jared Gold. He's visionary and successful and he's based in Salt Lake City. You can do whatever you want wherever you want. A fact. And besides, you got a dress on Lipstick Jungle. So cheer up. And also? STOP MAKING ME FEEL SORRY FOR YOU. Distanced, recreational hate is way more fun than pity.

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