I can hear my
neighbor Jill watching this week's episode because
both of our front doors are wide open. It's
almost October and still way too warm in Los Angeles.
Everyone else in the civilized world gets to wear jackets
already. Not me. I spent this week sweating through
T-shirts. Who wants to trade me my glamorous zip code
(I'm one over from 90210, y'all -- I
know, exciting) for 25 fewer degrees Fahrenheit, starting
right now? Anyway, I can hear Jill. And she's
at the point in the episode where Kenley gives Tim
Gunn way too much lip. So I walk over. Who cares that
I'm wearing a ratty T-shirt that's soon to be
a dust rag and a pair of boxer shorts? Not Jill.
I enter her
apartment and she's chopping up apples because
she's about to make some kind of baked apple
crumble thing. "I hate that fucking Kenley and
here's why," she starts. "Number 1,
she's a megalomaniac. You probably like her for
knew it," she says. "I knew you
enjoyed that about her. You live for evil. Also?
She's so mean, laughing at other designers on the
runway, being rude to everyone, never saying one
decent word to Tim Gunn, not even 'thank
you.' Nothing. She's awful. And number 3, her
voice. That nasal, pouty whine just cuts right through
me. I want to see her get punched in the face. I say
that as a woman. I'm embarrassed that she's
one of my people. She is, I guarantee you, an only
argue with Jill. Kenley is a brat. But still, I want her to
stick around because she livens up the show. You
simply can't count on Korto, Leanne, and Jerell
to be cruel to one another. But you can count on all
of them to hate Kenley. And that's why
I'm here. If I want real fashion, I'll go
watch runway shows on the Internet.
"I need to
step up my game or I'm gone," says Suede, who
opens the show wearing a black leather vest. I get the
feeling he bought it at some BDSM emporium hoping to
butch it up a little, maybe scoop himself a
cigar-chomping Daddy to bankroll his line. Korto, meanwhile,
is wearing jeans that really show off, for I think the
first time this season, the level of booty
she's maintaining. If her ass were math it would
Badonk + adonk +
Janet Jackson's "Pleasure Principle"
video + one of those hydraulic things they lift your
car up on to change the tires.
stunning achievement in buttocks. Normally I don't
like to comment on the bodies of reality show
contestants, especially the ladies, because even
though I'm a gay it still seems sexist when you
criticize, and I'm not that kind of asshole.
But this is praise, so I feel OK about it.
She's been hiding her coolest feature this entire
Model-stealing time. Heidi meets them all on the runway and
trots out the nameless women that no one really cares
about. Jerell stays with his model, but Leanne takes
Suede's. The Leannimal is loose! She crouches!
She attacks! "Childish!" pouts Suede on
interview cam, and Korto says, "You're a
heartbreaker, Leanne." But Leanne doesn't
care. And why should she? Suede's going home
this week anyway. Everyone can feel it in the air.
Because even if he and Kenley have competing badness on the
runway at the end of the show, who's better TV? The
brat or the lump? I vote for the brat.
off to the workroom, where Tim Gunn is going to explain the
challenge. It makes me feel a little cheated out of Heidi
time, but I'll recover. I have to start weaning
myself off her anyway; the show only has like three
episodes left. I don't even think we're going
to get a fighty reunion episode and that annoys me.
Thanks for nothing, Bravo.
Tim explains that
they're going to design for each other -- so all that
model stuff was even more filler than usual -- and that the
designs have to reflect a specific genre of music. I
wish I had a little link to a sound file you could
click on to hear Tim Gunn say the word
"genre," because he fancies it up like
he's actually French, pronouncing it
"Jeawwuhnruh," not elongated necessarily, but
swallowed way into the back of his throat. I hit the
TiVo repeat several times to hear him do it. I love
that Tim Gunn.
Suede gets Jerell
as a model and rock as a jeawwuhnruh. His response:
"Suede is gonna win and get Tia [his model]
back!" Ha. Wrong and wronger. Kenley gets
Leanne and hip-hop. Korto gets Suede and punk. Jerell
gets Kenley and pop. Leanne gets Korto and country.
Everyone gives a mild chuckle over that one. Translation:
"You're black so this is hilarious."
Jerell is excited. He's going to make Kenley
look like a rockabilly Jawa. Suede explains that he's
not punk rock at all, in spite of his lame blue
fauxhawk. And somewhere off camera back at Atlas,
Stella is putting her fist through a wall.
I sit on the
couch with Xtreem Aaron (sorry, but the
husband/partner/whatever has been traveling for work a lot
or missing episodes because he's out at movie
screenings for his job, so if you've been
missing our warm, loving, longtime companion interplay,
you'll just have to wait until next week, I
guess -- or American Idol -- I don't know what
to tell you) and we discuss what Leanne's taste
in hip-hop might be:
Xtreem Aaron: She
likes Mos Def.
Me: I was going
to say Talib Kweli. Maybe Common.
Korto grins as she is "countrified."
we can think of, really. Unless she's into Aesop Rock
or thinks LED Soundsystem is hip-hop because the guy
just talks over the music. Cut to Suede and
Jerell's consultation. Suede has drawn
Gandalf's hat on the faceless head. And Jerell
is asking for a big collar and a cape. So Jerell is
about to be transformed into a wizard from the band
Sorcery, featured musical act in the 1978 film Stunt
Rock. It was this movie about auto stunts and a
band called Sorcery ("A death wish at 120
decibels," growls the voiceover guy in the
trailer). Maybe you didn't see it. I think about 12
people have. Do we think Suede did? Cut to Leanne rapping.
Oh, good. Skinny white indie rock chicks waving their
arms around and saying "yo" is always a
rib-tickling moment. Here is her rhyme:
Kenley's gonna make an outfit for me.
She better not
make it look like it's from 1950."
This prompts me
to contact famous-y model pal Elyse to ask her what music
she's been listening to this week and what
she's been wearing while she listens to that
music. And like Leanne, she composed a rap as a response,
even going so far as to help you, the reader, know how to
pronounce the word "drawers."
surely you are aware that the correct pronunciation is
DRAWZ. With that in mind, I submit my weekly
sartorializing in rap form...
I roll through my
hood rockin' Ratatat,
shorts that make my ass look fat.
I like to have
sex to Of Montreal
So I'm usually
butt nekkid or in VS drawers.
When I'm on the
job I like to bump some Beck
'Cause he's got a
hot beat to make my work less wack.
Clubs play house,
so when I'm sayin' 'cheers,'
I can't hold my
drink with my fingers in my ears."
And this is
another reason I like Elyse.
They go to Mood
for fabric and it's here we see Kenley's first
moment of sass directed at Tim Gunn. He expresses
concern over her choice of fabric because it
doesn't seem related to hip-hop at all. She says
dismissively, without looking at him, "Well,
you'll see it when it's done, Tim." Cut
to Korto, saying, "We're not gonna tell
her. We're just gonna let her believe
that's hip-hop." This is fine by me, because
not five minutes later Korto decides to really get
into the spirit of country music by badly warbling
some unidentifiable song and shuffling around in a pair of
cowboy boots. So nobody tell her, either, OK?
working. Kenley gets a fitting in her "pop"
outfit that Jerell is designing for her, the stated
intention of which is to make her look like a Pussycat
Doll and/or "Kenley Spears." He succeeds --
she's hooched right past most of the women on
America's Next Top Model. Tim Gunn
comes in to consult and seems unimpressed by just
about everyone's designs, and with good reason:
They're all cliche pieces of garbage.
I'm not talking about proportion or silhouette or
texture or anything else. I'm talking about concept.
And all of them are straight from the book. The book
that is not the novelization of Stunt Rock. Or
Krush Groove. Or The Decline of Western
Civilization. Or whatever that George Strait movie was
called. They're from some other book, one I
think my mom wrote in 1985 called, Why Are You Dressing
That Way? Are YOU ON DRUGS NOW?!
Weirdly, the only
designer not giving in to tired imagery is Kenley, who
is simply walking around in a fog of her own making,
thinking she hears Eric B & Rakim guiding her
footsteps through the blindness. She doesn't,
but at least what she's going for is something that
maybe Mary J. Blige might have worn back in the day
before she did all that growing and changing she
enjoys singing about so much. And if it were neon
orange, it'd be even more likely she'd put it
Tim Gunn, though,
believes he saw a Kris Kross video on cable once in
1992 and wonders why Kenley isn't designing a pair of
baggy jeans meant to be worn backward. He confesses
his ignorance, but Kenley's response is so
snotty it's like she just turned Tim Gunn into her
own personal human handkerchief. The words she says
won't read that way here, but trust me
-- the delivery was dripping with bitter mucus.
"Pretend I've come from the moon. Talk to me
about hip-hop and what characterizes it."
"Well, I see a lot of hip-hop artists today are
wearing leather jackets and dark denim. I'm
doing these high-waisted jeans."
"Correct me, I'm an old fart. Isn't
part of the whole hip-hop fashion oversized?"
that's like '80s hip-hop." [Translation =
"You fucking idiot."]
"OK." [Here Tim puts on a scowling, downcast
face. His feewings are hurt.]
K: "I know
what you think when you say hip-hop, and you immediately
think oversized, but I can see that. I'm not
gonna make her look stupid."
voice pitched up high: "Kenley, I'm not
disrespecting you. I'm here to support you."
you said everything's oversized."
need to listen. [Cut to Jerell and Leanne shrinking away.]
It will benefit you tremendously as a
K: "I just
want you to understand the outfit."
would help if you removed the sarcasm and the facetiousness.
It would help me a lot. You just think I'm
K, with a snorty
Tim Gunn keeps
looking hurt. Such a weird moment.
K, on interview
cam: "What does Tim know about hip-hop
anyway?" This is, as we've just seen, a
fact. He knows nothing about it. That doesn't make
her attitude any less repellent.
And no one else
likes Kenley either. One by one, on interview cam,
everyone talks shit. Leanne refuses to play along with the
garment and says, "I won't lie,
especially not for somebody like Kenley." Then Korto,
so amused she can barely stand it, says, " So. Kenley
is a hip-hop designer." [Pause while she makes
a face like the ones John Krasinski has perfected on
The Office.] "I can't wait for
tomorrow," she exhales happily.
putters along, thinking aloud about his fate on the
runway. He deduces that the judges are going to hate his
piece or "really like it." Well, those
are your two options, Doofus-head. I keep
waiting for Korto to come stick a punk rock safety pin
through his cheek. Maybe two.
you think, Jerell?" asks Kenley.
"It's cute, it's cute," says
Jerell, right before announcing, via interview cam
that, "KENLEY'S ASS IS RIDICULOUS. She is
trying to force -- ha ha -- Leanne into this
children's sized 'hip-hop' suit...
I'll let Kenley destroy herself."
might make me have to rethink the rethinking I
was doing about Jerell last week.
Jerell?" asks Kenley, holding up some big, dangly
earrings to Leanne's head.
"Yeah," nods Jerell.
"Hip-hop?" she coos.
"Mm-hmm!" lies Jerell. Korto turns her head
away from Jerell and smirks.
What happens next
is maybe the biggest pile-up of ugliness as has existed
in Project Runway's time on the air. Kenley
is turned into a fishnetty slut. Jerell is Lenny Kravitz if
Lenny Kravitz were not the kind of man who could
impregnate women just by looking at them.
Lenny's gay cousin. And you can see his weiner in the
pants. Like all of it. Suede has been transformed into
a female extra from Liquid Sky, all blue eyeshadow
and androgyne scowl. Korto is a Gunsmoke
barmaid when she should have been festooned with
Porter Waggoner rhinestones and bedazzlement. Leanne
is a kid trick-or-treating in a hip-hop costume
conceived by her Sunday School teacher, complete with
multi-hued swoopy hair and jeans sporting a lumpy
vagina-pouch. For a second I think Jerell is wearing
them. It's so off the mark that even Roxanne Shante
and Kelis fused together via a science experiment
couldn't sell it. In fact, I think the BWP
girls just reformed the group and wrote a song about it
called, "Why You Got a Dick in Your Pants,
Bitch?" Before they even hit the runway, Tim
Gunn is cracking up and saying, "Good heavens! What
happened to everybody?"
What happened is
this challenge, this stupid challenge that even the
judges (including guest LL Cool J) don't know how to
judge properly. At least Heidi dressed the part of
Seal's wife in a black minidress. Thought
bubble above her head: "I'm a kiss from a
1. Nina, of
Suede: "I think he looks like Marilyn Manson."
2. When Korto
says "Thank you" to the judges, she seems sad.
I like that. It hints at a complexity she's
shown all season but refuses to discuss on camera.
3. Kors scrunches
up his face trying to see Jerell's thingie.
4. Nina shoots
her shudder-y "Ugh, not this dumbass again. GET
OUT!" face in Suede's direction.
looks like Jerell," says Heidi. And in this moment he
also looks like Seal in those spandex bike shorts he
was wearing when she and he first met. Oh yes,
that's a real story. She talked about it on Oprah.
Heidi liked the cut of his...ahem... pants.
6. Heidi wants
Kenley's tits supported more. LL says, "They
7. Heidi says,
"What happened to the pants," and Kenley asks,
"What do you mean?" Well, I'll
tell you what she means, Kenley. She means that the
zipper is fucked up and the pockets are tiny and weird and
make the vagina-pouch area even worse looking because
they frame it. "I didn't want to put
oversized pants on her with a backward baseball cap,"
she whines. LL almost jumps out of his seat to slap
her down like Dre did to Dee Barnes back in the day.
You can see him holding back.
I just want this
episode to be over. Luckily, it's about to be. Then
I'm going to go back and steal some sliced
apples out of Jill's crumble-bake thing.
Now, you thought
it was going to be Kenley. Maybe you even hoped. I think
lots of people did. And if we were going by clothes alone,
it would have been her. She was a heap of hip-hop
hell. But again, brattiness trumps boredom. Later,
Madonna says, you get up again over and over," offers
Suede, doing his best to sum up all the wisdom
he's learned from this crazy thing called life,
while he collects his bag of fashion tricks from the
workroom. "So, Madonna, I'm ready to dress you
up in Suede."
Madonna is screaming for Guy Ritchie to get one of his chav
buddies to go perform a little kneecapping. If you see Suede
hobbling around on crutches soon, you'll know
Everyone cries a lot!