the last lap now, the home stretch, anticlimax, like when
the beat-box kid wound up last in the pool with the
Disney princess/future silliest enemy of Russell
Brand. No one cares what happens, really, except the
people on the other side of the camera. But we, the innocent
audience on an entertainment quest, are in this too deep to
back out now; we might as well stick it out until the
end. And that's the downside of getting hooked
on a reality show that has nothing to do with your own
life experience, one you only watch because you just need an
hour a week where you can get away from the fact that
Sarah Palin can't give a straight answer to
anything or that the entire fucking country is melting
down before your eyes and it's about to all turn into
The Trigger Effect with Kyle MacLachlan suddenly
aiming a gun at your face for your last bottle of
VitaminWater. Why not think about fashion instead? Or
at least project all your accumulated
work-life-rent-gasoline rage onto Kenley? It's
not like she's really in your house or anything. She
can't hear you. And even if she were in your
house it's not like she'd listen to what you
had to say. Or look at your collection.
And it seems that
just about everyone except me is sick of Kenley's
shit. Well, me and Xtreem Aaron. He still harbors
not-homicidal feelings toward her. And this is in
marked contrast to every single person in my apartment
watching the show. Tonight's viewing group includes
XA's coworker Job (yes, like in the Bible) and
his boyfriend, Corey, who also happens to be one of my
Advocate editors. I know, it's a
much-less-than-six-degrees thing happening tonight.
I've come to realize that for someone who
doesn't like to leave the house I seem to know
a lot of people. The husband/partner/whatever is here, as is
neighbor Jill. You might remember Jill from last week when
she announced that she wants to see Kenley punched in
the face. I also seem to know a lot of people with
The show starts
with Korto talking about her husband and her kid and how
she wants to show the child that Mommy pursued her own
dreams, which entailed leaving the precious little one
at home for a month with Daddy and 30 boxes of Kraft
Macaroni & Cheese. I kid, Korto. You're my
current favorite and probably an excellent mother who left a
month's worth of delicious, wholesome meals in
dated freezer bags. Please do not come punch me in the
face. Cut to Leanne on interview cam stating that
Kenley should have been eliminated a long time ago. Her
reason? Kenley's been disrespectful to
everyone. Not that extra-fashion reasons probably
don't come into play when deciding who stays and who
goes on this show. But rudeness = entertainment,
Leanne. Don't you watch The Hills?
interview-cam counterpoint is "I'm not talking
to Leanne." Reason? Leanne spent every second
on the runway acting a fool in Kenley's
even-less-hip-hop-than-PM-Dawn outfit. I'm going with
Kenley on this one. Leanne was quite the little
saboteur. And it was overkill. That garment could act
a fool all by itself. It didn't need bolstering. And
what I love the most at this moment is how Korto and
Leanne have decided that the gloves are totally coming
off. They openly mock Kenley to her face in the Atlas
apartment, Leanne whining, "I'm not even going
to smile!" Korto repeats this sentiment. Kenley
ignores them both. Meanwhile, Jerell is the last male
standing and he's been reduced to creating puppets
from two pieces of fruit, a Tim Gunn bobble-head doll,
and a bottle of Aunt Jemima syrup for
don't watch the show. Maybe you only read these
recaps. I've heard from some of you for whom
this is the case. And if you're one of those
people, I want to stress something here: I wasn't
making that last part up trying to be funny. Jerell is
actually performing a puppet show for the camera.
He's drawn faces on the fruit. Joe is a grapefruit.
The syrup bottle is Jerell? Maybe? Anyway, Aunt Jemima
Bottle says, "Goodbye, Joe."
says, in a baby voice, "Bye-e-e."
represented here by an orange that sounds vaguely like
Michael Jackson, wishes Jerell all the best. "Suede
wants you to go and represent [garbled, unintelligible
words of encouragement]." So yeah, Jerell is
Aunt Jemima Syrup here. Tim Gunn Bobble Head observes the
scene silently. "It was fun at first,"
says Jerell on interview cam. At first? You
don't see the endless puppet high jinks possibilities
here, Jerell? That proves you don't
deserve to win this competition. I've already
developed three increasingly scatological one-act
syrup-based mini-plays in my mind while making TiVo replay
this moment. Next we see Jerell leaving Atlas and
saying goodbye to Joe Grapefruit and Suede Orange.
"Later, Joe. Later, Suede. Don't rot on the
counter. Goodbye, Aunt Jemima bottle of Me. Stay
high-fructose-corn syrupy. Friends
The final four
meet on the runway. Heidi pops out from behind the scrim
in a leopard-print minidress. The model filler stuff is
dispensed with, and then they're all off to
meet Tim Gunn for a field trip. When they wind up at
the New York Botanical Garden, Jerell says on interview cam,
"I'm thinking we might go do something with
plants." And this amazing guess is brought to
you by the gay tilty mini-fedora he's got on his
head. How much longer do we have to put up with these
things? I hate them more than Crocs, and here's
why: Talk to someone who owns a pair of Crocs, and
they'll just shrug and go, "Whatever, man,
they're comfortable." But a
tilty-hat-wearer will start in on a monologue about
how cute they think the hat is and how jaunty they feel in
it. Then they'll show you their favorite pair
of $250 jeans they like to wear with it when
it's going-out-for-drinks time. Then you're
stuck. And ultimately, now matter how much Jerell is
doing to turn my attitude about him around -- and it
would be too demanding to ask for something even
better than syrup bottle improv theater -- it's
little pointy thorns like this tilty hat that make me
unsettled and cause me to continue questioning his
presence in my life.
At the gardens
the five of them walk down some stone steps. I expect Jay
Manuel to jump out from behind some azaleas at any second.
And look at Korto there, in her royal blue outfit,
like she's about to shoot her own music video.
Is there nothing she can't wear? Every color pops off
her deep brown skin, and she knows it and is
constantly turned out. In her way she's the
Laura Bennett of this season. Jerell, speaking of the
flowers, says they're therapeutic. Tim Gunn, whose
mind, it would seem, is never far from all things
Mommie Dearest, responds,
"It's therapeutic unless you're Joan
Crawford. And a control freak. And you don't
want the bloom to fade."
This moment, for
some reason, reminds of last summer when I went with my
favorite gays to the beach and one of them threw a really
hard Frisbee right at my head. It drew blood. The rest
of the people in my group thought my injury was the
best thing they'd ever seen in their life. No
one spoke of Joan Crawford once. And I've just
decided that I don't have enough Tim Gunn-style
gays in my life. My existence is lopsided, and I'm
surrounded by loutish post-Jackass homo-dudes
who throw things at me. As I think this quietly to myself,
Job lets out a giant belch, the product of multiple
cans of Coors Light. He and Xtreem Aaron are having a
contest and will soon begin crushing the cans against
their foreheads. Not that I want to trade that in for a crew
who only dish about Bette Davis and Judy Garland. But
it's nice sometimes when an old-school faggot
comes around and really lays it down the way they used
to, you know? Like what's going to happen when they
all die off someday in the gay nursing home? The rest
of us will all just sit around talking about Mario
So no Jay Manuel.
Instead we get the annual season appearance of Collier
Strong. His job is to remind you that L'Oreal
Paris makeup should be trowel-dumped all over your
face-bricks 365 days a year. He's also going to
tell the final four about their challenge. That means
it's picture-taking time. That's the
challenge. Take pictures of the pretty flowers. Let
them inspire you into making an evening gown. "No
sniper?" asks Job.
Now, see, that
would be a good challenge. This is the kind of
show-watching guest I like, megaburps and all.
this challenge because I use bright, beautiful, crazy
colors," says Kenley. Like purple. Strong
purple. Rebellion, strong and purple. She goes on to
talk about how all the great colors come from
And rain? Comes
from the sky.
So they take the
pictures, go back to the workroom, print out their
shots, and then they all sit around deciding what flower
they are. Jerell is a flower with exposed nipples. I
swear I can't think of a more teat-displaying
man on television in recent history. The entire cast of
Baywatch Nights weren't this nipply.
Anyway, flower dresses. They're on. Kenley is
the most excited about hers, of course, but not in a
way that suggests she's bringing any sort of editing
eye to her impulses. She's so excited, in fact, that
she's completely misplaced her Mood bag full of
tulle. This leads to an interview-cam smackdown where
Korto and Jerell talk shit about The Lady Miss Bangs.
Korto is particularly jabby and eye-rolly with a "I
don't feel sorry for her." (Pronounced
here as "HUH.")
"Kenley's now the underdog," says
Xtreem Aaron. "So I like her. And she's
going to become shorthand for every awful white girl with
bangs. 'Oh, that bitch? I hate her.
She's such a Kenley.'"
Second day of the
Jerell walks into
the women's Atlas apartment. He's got on a
wacky hat made of ... corn husks? Prairie dogs?
Parchment once used by Laura Ingalls Wilder?
It's hard to know. But shit, Scarecrow, I'm
going to miss you most of all. He jokes around with
Korto and Leanne. Kenley sits pouting on her bed. Do
we think the producers stole her tulle just to make
her even more unhinged? If they did then that was an awesome
strategy. Back in the workroom, Kenley begs for tulle from
Jerell. Will he sell it?
"No," says Jerell. "My tulle is not for
sale. I'm going to use it for [blah-blah
bullshit excuse that is a lie]." Cut to Korto making
a show of picking up her own tulle and stuffing it
back into her Mood bag with a "Bam."
There should just be a chorus line of animated dancing cats
on the bottom of the screen all hissing and meowing
and growling at each other. Dang. And by
"dang" I mean THANK YOU, SHOW. MORE OF THIS
SORT OF THING, PLEASE.
Tim Gunn walks in
to see how everyone's doing. Kenley tells him her
terrible tale of tulle. Tim Gunn says he'll try to
help her out. He says he doesn't want her to be
handicapped. Cut to Leanne wearing what appears to be
two stretched-out yellow "LIVESTRONG"
wristbands around her head. Don't know what
that's about. The models come in for fittings. And
now I see that all four designers have some kind of
bright yellow fabric on their head and the show is not
explaining why at all. Collier Strong comes back in
too, for one-on-one makeup consultations where words like
"drama" are freely dispensed. There's
always got to be drama with makeup, I guess. Also
glowy-ness. I e-mail professional model and professional
wearer of makeup Elyse to fill me in on makeup drama, the
whats and the whys. Her response:
context of the batshit ridic vernacular of makeup, 'drama'
is pretty tame. I've seen hair 'pudding' and cleansing
'sherbet,' 'volume' truncated with an apostrophe
('volum'' - Why?), twee misspellings and
perfectly cromulent words wrung out and rendered meaningless
through dogged overuse. 'Pop,' 'fresh,' 'poppin'
fresh.' They've been ground into the ground by makeup
artists and their ilk. I guess 'drama' is just the
next word doomed to die in the jaws of that lexical
Kenley's makeup consultation she leaves for Mood, and
we see her backstory with family photos. Apparently
she grew up on a tugboat. No lie. Her dad was Popeye
or something (evidenced in her statement while walking
out of Mood, tulle bag recovered: "I yam who I
yam"). It made Kenley feel left out her entire
life. She even uses the words "loud and
obnoxious" to describe herself. This is supposed to
make you feel a touch sorry for her, because when you
live with sharks and gulls and buoys you don't
learn manners or gracious behavior. You become a little girl
version of Robert Shaw and you walk around your floating
elementary school barge saying shit like
"Here's to swimmin' with bow-legged
wimmin'" and showing off your scars.
time for Tim Gunn consultation. He starts with Korto and
wants her to rein in the fancy-ladyness. "You
have got to talk to me," he says. What I like
about the Tim Gunn consultations is that you can tell
who he respects by how he talks to them. The dialogue
is always kind of elevated with Korto, as opposed to
people early on to whom he gives the "Walk me through
this" comments. When he gets to Kenley
it's very awkward and standoffish. He
doesn't want a rematch of the last workroom meltdown.
But he does say the bottom of the gown looks like fish
scales. Her response: "Oh, cool!" to
which he recoils as if she has just farted in his face.
Xtreem Aaron asks, "Does the woman who's
going to wear that thing look like Daryl Hannah and is
she named IH-IH-IH-IH-IH-IH-IH?"
And with each of
Kenley's "But it's ... " and
"Oh, yeah, well, I meant to do that ...
" the camera cuts away to Jerell and Leanne looking
more and more smug. Meanwhile, what happened to
"Make it work?" Tim Gunn hasn't
said that in more than a few episodes, it seems. Is he
retiring his catchphrase? Does Randy Jackson know
this? Because he might take it if it's going to
Tim Gunn likes
Jerell's layered deep purple cabbage dress.
He's noncommittal about Leanne's
determination to make a lavender stalk into a gown.
But she convinces him she knows what's up. If only
lavender plants came in dark charcoal gray, you know?
Then Tim Gunn gathers them all around to tell them how
proud he is of all of them. He can do this now, of
course, since Suede's finally gone. Then he leaves
them all to work late into the night and have
miniature breakdowns on interview cam. Leanne cries
the tears of the overly stressed.
daybreak and we're getting somber ablutions music
while people brush their teeth. Jerell weeps while
ironing to the "Theme From Blow-drying
Loneliness Bangs and Ironing Anxiety Clothes and
Stuff." The Aunt Jemima syrup is pretty
misty-eyed herself. This is a very poignant ironing
sequence. My question, though, is what exactly does Jerell
need to iron? Everything he wears looks like it came
from a bag of Mood scraps. "Oh, look, a button
that's five inches in diameter. That will make a nice
penis shield on this breakfast gown that I'm
fashioning from strips of leftover Mylar. Now I need
to ... sniff ... honk ... weep ... iron this thing and
... OH, SYRUP BOTTLE, YOU'RE THE ONLY FRIEND I HAVE
LEFT IN THIS WORLD!"
And now even
Korto is crying. Honestly, I didn't think she came
equipped with the requisite ducts. And the show still
has, like, 15 minutes left. If this is just a prelude
to a lachrymose runway meltdown, then I'm about
to become happier than I've been all season. Cut to
one bathroom mirror with all three of the female
contestants muttering "best wishes to all"
sentiments to each other. None of them means it, of course,
because within moments Kenley is back on interview cam
talking shit. She hates Korto's clothes and she
says that Leanne's "pleated details and muted
color palette" has "been done." Kenley
feels confident saying these things because no
one's ever done the
thing before. Ever.
"What's that smell?" asks Job on the
couch. I pause the TiVo, but no one else can smell
anything. Something with notes of plastic mixed with
peanut butter has invaded my watching guest's nose
holes. No one knows what he's talking about.
Boyfriend/editor Corey to the rescue: "Job can
smell things other people can't. He can smell the
past. It may be a residual aroma from people who lived
here 20 years ago."
Now that the
house-odor issue is settled, let's watch the
lackluster runway show alongside Georgina Chapman,
guest judge and queen of the fancy-schmance Marchesa
line. Marchesa is all about the red carpet, so
she's going to tear everyone a new rectum.
1. Korto -- A
long orange gown. Fits her model very well. Not super
exciting. It looks like what would happen if Tang were a
dress. Which makes me think of astronauts. Which makes
me think of Russian dogs in space. Which makes me
think of Beverly Hills Chihuahua.
2. Leanne --
Well, she did it. She pleated it into looking like a
lavender plant. A lavender plants with a saggy royal blue
dish towel hanging out of the butt crack. I know I
just mentioned rectum a second ago. But it's
not my fault if these people are ruining clothes in the
butt crack area.
3. Jerell -- Like
I said before, deep purple cabbage with layers of other
colors underneath the skirt. Heavy on volume and, therefore,
makeup-related "drama." Best one so far.
4. Kenley --
Scaly purple mermaid costume. Tacky, dumb, and embarrassing.
"The flippers at the bottom, or whatever they
are," begins the husband/partner/whatever,
"remind me of all the homemade banners people
used to hang in churches in the '70s. My mom even made some
of them for our folk mass at the Catholic church we
went to. She stuffed this giant dove with cotton balls
and sewed it to the panel."
Leanne tells them
how she wanted to re-create the structure of a lavender
plant. Chapman likes it. Nina calls it harmonious but then
says, with her now-patented Subtle Sneer, "Can
I have her turn around?" Translation:
"Can I see her tragic ass-cloth and snap a quick
photo to provide evidence for the defense when I go up
there and wring your little organic Portland
Kors loves the
shape of Korto's dress. But he and Heidi both call it
pageant-like. Korto cries. Chapman and Nina question the
color and fabric choice. Korto cries more. Verdict:
She cared more about impressing the judges than doing
Jerell's the most youthful but then says it's
messy. Kors says it's off. Jerell gives the
"I ran out of time" excuse. Shut it, Jerell!
No time-based excuses allowed!
A close-up of
Kenley's dress reveals it to be even more dumpy and
hideous than it looked while the model was walking.
For her delusional part, she says it's
"really cool" and "edgy." Nina
says it looks like a reptile. Kenley loves this and
opens her mouth wide to laugh. Nina adds, "But not
in a cool way," Ouchie.
Then Kenley digs
herself a deeper grave with "I wanted to stay away
from pretty." Well, then, mission
does not look young, hip, or cool at all," says Nina.
Then Kenley says she also wanted to stay away from
wrote 'cliche,'" says Kors.
NAWW-AAAWWT!" squeals Kenley.
petals don't look very elegant either," chimes
wasn't going for elegant ...
Heidi," snaps Kenley, adding a little snorty
exhale for emphasis. I know! Gah! Dang, Heidi! Stop
criticizing everything all the time! Cut to Heidi
rolling her eyes and motioning her hands to the
ceiling, counting the days until this season is over.
Kenley's attitude bothersome. Heidi says, "It
is a little bit annoying, I have to agree," to
which Kenley rolls her eyes and shakes her head and
claims not to know what anyone means by such a thing. And
you know, she may not have known while the show was
being shot. Sometimes it takes a picture or a
recording to get you to really see yourself in action.
And you know she's watching now. And if she
doesn't understand after seeing this air on TV,
then she never will.
Finally, the best
part. Heidi gets to interrogate them. "Why should you
move forward to Fashion Week, and which two designers do you
want to have come with you?" she asks.
answers abound. I've dreamed of this.
I've worked so hard. I've shown my point
of view. Etc. Also? Fuck Kenley. I think she
should be pushed off the roof of Atlas.
Naturally, Kenley disagrees and a big argument breaks out on
the runway. "I'm not trying to throw you
under the bus, Boo-Boo," says Jerell. "But
they asked me which two designers -- "
didn't ask you to elaborate on why," Kenley
Leanne and Jerell at the tents," snaps Jerell. AT.
THE. TENTS." And I'd spell out how
Jerell just said the word "tents." But I
don't know how. There's a "y" in
there somewhere, like "teyents." It's
weird. Georgina Chapman looks really uncomfortable right
now. Heidi, however, is on fire. So happy.
"Leanne, same question to
the presence of Jerell and Korto. Heidi's eyes
sparkle with evil glee. Korto says she wants Leanne
and Jerell, "not just because of what they do
but because of who they are as people."
"Well, now that I've just been trashed ...
And on and on and
more boo-hooing and profuse apologies as the dams of
emotion burst and Nina just looks away and takes notes on
the madness and Heidi steels her frozen flinty gaze
and takes in the human destruction she's helped
create as the fighting moves from the runway to backstage.
Judge chat? Fuck judge chat! Korto and Kenley gotta have
some more words!
And so ...
Due to this
excitement, the first major fireworks of the season, the
judges are completely at the mercy of what have to be
producers' decisions. And what that means is
that no one's getting kicked off. It should be
Kenley, obviously. But do you want her to be gone? Do you
really? No, you don't. You want more of her electric
whining and dazzling emotional immaturity. OK, maybe
it's just me. Look, they got rid of Keith, her
only competition on that front. We need somebody
who'll mix it up in the final two
Oh, by the way,
Jerell wins this one. No one's out. See you next