'Project Runway' recap: Tim prefers the wooly balls

Project-Runway-GretchenImage Credit: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime TelevisionWelcome back to the Runway! I’m filling in for Missy last-minute, so please forgive my lack of any real insight about fashion. Or maybe that doesn’t even matter! After all, this week we had one of those “unconventional challenges” we all know and some of us love. It was a CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION: Create an outfit from materials found in a party store. Obviously, Betsey Johnson was the guest judge and this was perfect because the name of this week’s shopping locale, “Party Glitters,” is pretty much a synonym for “Betsey Johnson dresses.” Not many other designers would have freaked out quite as hard that one of the benefits of Valerie’s chic black-and-white dress was that its cocktail-napkin skirt could be lifted in order for an hors d’oeuvres-hoovering party guest to wipe her own mouth.

We have a new villain! Now that weirdo Jason is gone, Gretchen — who had won both challenges — has boldly stepped up onto the Most Hated pedestal. In addition to CONSTANTLY offering unsolicited “advice” (read: thinly veiled criticism) to most of her competitors, she decided to become the mother hen of the workroom, forcing the other children to keep their stations clean and “prepare everything before you start working” as if they would get extra credit for this nonsense. Seriously, shut up — everyone works differently. If Kristin wants to wait until hours into the challenge to decide between her “animal wooly balls” and her “real balls,” that’s her prerogative! It’ll also be much, much better because Tim Gunn will be given the perfect opportunity to announce that he prefers the wooly balls. I love when Tim delivers a sexual innuendo and is sooo proud of himself. On anyone else, this might seem gauche, like a dress with ruffled legs or a fringed crotch. On Tim it’s just adorable.

My least favorite Gretchen moment was when she complained that Andy’s time management issues were hard for HER. Lady it has nothing to do with you, especially if you’re not helping! (Props to Peach and April for helping Andy finish.) Ugh. Gretchen is like a little-girl bully who happens to be talented. She poses no social threat because most people don’t enjoy her, but she acts like everyone’s know-it-all big sister anyway and assumes they’re better off with her advice. She’s not quite enough of a character to seem like one of those typical reality TV ratings-mongers, but I tired of those creatures easily and sort of appreciate how riled up I apparently am about a normal contestant perhaps heavily edited to seem like a bitch. Sometimes people’s basic personality flaws can be fascinating, even though they’re annoying.

Can the show please hire a translator for Casanova? It could be sponsored like everything else on this show. I’m sick of this piperlime.com b.s. so Bluefly should sneak back in there and then Tim could gently remind Casanova to use his Bluefly.com Translator thoughtfully and everyone would win, especially the viewers at home and that’s really what it’s all about. Casanova just looks confused all the time, and it bothered me that his confusion seemed to intensify right after Heidi announced “One of you will be out.” Come on, amigo, that’s like one of the five things she ever says! I’m not sure if having a translator would change the fact that Casanova is totally the Ping of season 8, but it could at least help him with the next challenge.

He really shouldn’t even be in the next challenge, though. Sarah should have stayed another week — she knew her palm tree dress wasn’t working and should have trusted her instincts, but I never heard the judges question her workmanship, taste level, or basic understanding of the assignment. They were just disappointed in her, and so was I because if someone bothers to take home a freaking PALM TREE from a party store and paint the pieces different colors, you better believe I expect a lot more than a paper cutout over a gray dress. Alas! Casanova is in; Sarah is out. Never put it past the Runway judges to knock out “sad and boring” in favor of a total loon who produces outfits that look “like a transvestite flamenco dancer at a funeral.”

Heidi-Klum-Betsy-JohnsonImage Credit: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime TelevisionAndy absolutely deserved to win the challenge with his black-ribbon dress, which looked so polished and not-from-a-party-store that Betsey Johnson couldn’t even relate to it in a meaningful way. That’s good, he thinks! Loved his balloon-glove. Valerie deserved the win just as much, I thought, with her black-and-white cocktail napkin frock (and model who was sporting some rather magnificent side-boob during the closeup). Valerie, always the bridesmaid, is also one of my favorite people on the show — she joked that if she was in the top again but didn’t win she’d officially be “the Susan Lucci of Project Runway,” and even though she almost won, she was honest and succinct about her perceived shortcomings: “Excuses, excuses. I just wasn’t innovative enough with it.” Nice.

I also really liked some of the outfits we barely got to see during the workroom scenes: April‘s black-and-silver dress with a lot of funky textures and jagged shapes, Michael Drummond’s fanciful Alice in Wonderland look, and Christopher‘s beige napkin dress which was kind of like the “pork: the other white meat” of the runway show. Nothin’ wrong with pork. Ivy‘s “ballerina slash garden party dress” was pretty but a bit too roomy for her model. I thought Michael Costello really went for it and demonstrated the spirit of this crazy challenge with his bright-red immaculate conception — as he explained, “flamenco dancer meets Carolina Herrera meets Beyoncé meets Michael Costello and they all get together and pop out my dress.”

Peach‘s (white top, patterned skirt) and Mondo‘s (two-toned pink over black tights) looks seemed well-put together but I truly abhor hot pink and it’s getting pretty late so it’s like I can’t even go there. I appreciated Kristin‘s use of color and random found objects, but her frothy dress just looked like the cheap costume of a My Little Pony named Tropical Punch or something and she didn’t really stand out to me as a contestant to watch. A.J.‘s “dress” was terrible, and it’s disappointing that this was supposed to be “his challenge” (as in he lives for the tack and knows his way around a hot glue gun) and all he could come up with was a collage of sparkly crap seemingly pinned while he was blindfolded onto an incomplete base. As mentioned above: fringed crotch. This isn’t Dancing With the Stars, kiddo. I’m supposed to have at least another month off from that s—.

Other notes:

–Someone needs to tell Nina Garrrrrrciaaaa that she’s gonna have trouble making “hot mess” happen five years after it happened.

–A.J. was almost as bad as Gretchen as he over-explained his “method” to his peers when all they wanted to do was get through the buffet. Shut up, A.J.!

–90 minutes allows for ample footage of the buffet now?!

–April’s pretty bitchy but I adore her eye rolls.

–Best/most tragic direction to hair and makeup was from Peach: “She’s, like…going to a martini bar.” Ironically, 50-year-old Peach, token Lifetime demo lady, is the one who seems the most keen on that HP Touchsmart…

–Best/most tragic line delivered by Casanova to demonstrate why he should have been eliminated: “I don’t want to experiment.”

–Tim selling Valerie on sticking to black and white: “Ascot Gavotte would not introduce teal!”

–I didn’t know that “Plush Puppies” were an actual product and initially thought this was just Casanova’s made-up term for stuffed animals.

–Pretty sure Casanova did a cartwheel!

–I’d noticed that in the first two episodes, Heidi edited herself (or was edited) and did not chirp out “Hello!” or some variation of hello such as “Hi-iiii” or “Yoo-hoo!” after prancing onto the runway. This is an important part of the series, and I’m glad it’s back. Playing it cool will get you nowhere, Klum! I almost wonder if the editors had some fun with us on the first “Hello!” because it seemed like she was really making us wait for it.

Lingering post-show thought: At one point during Casanova’s critique, Tim snapped, Did you not listen to me when we were at the party store?” and I thought man, I love my own parents, but that is exactly the kind of tough love I wish I’d received on a daily basis in an alternate world in which I was Growing Up Gunni.

Discuss episode 3 in the comments. Was party time excellent for you?

Annie on Twitter: @EWAnnieBarrett

Comments (195 total) Add your comment
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  • Kathy

    I agreed with the winning and losing designs, but I thought that Michael C.’s red dress should have been in the top three instead of Gretchen. Although her “leather” jacket was a good look, especially with the topstitching, the skirt was rather fugly. The red dress was gorgeous!! Also, LOVED Tim’s “wooly balls” laughter…so adorable!

    • sarah

      totally agreed. i think the judges were just pushing for gretchen. i was surprised michael kors didn’t rip apart her skirt.

      • Mean Girls fan

        Hey Nina.. Stop trying to make Gretchen happen!
        I wouldn’t mind Gretchen if she wasn’t so pushy. She wouldn’t even let Andy have a moment to talk about his critiques. Why does she have to be so pushy?

      • ann

        we made skirts just like that when i was in college — to wear to parties. cheap, easy and very un-imaginative.

    • Pinky Shears

      Agree about Micheal. Cassonova missed the mark. I wanted Puppy head shoulders!!!!

      • JT

        Puppy heads on the shoulders would have pushed Nina out of her stupor. What happened to her? She’s way too calm. Remember in previous seasons on Bravo? She just to let them have it.

      • Ember

        Isn’t Nina preggers? Maybe her maternial instinct has taken away her edge.

    • Ceballos

      Definitely agree – Michael C. deserved a spot in the top 3.

      Then again, that’s probably because I’m loving Michael C. in general. From his epic eye rolls to the fact that he always seems to be saying I’m thinking (I especially loved him calling out A.J. for trying to backpedal from the idea that he should do well in this challenge.)

      Then again, I was REALLY impressed with this runway show overall.

    • Mark S. King

      AGREED! Michael C’s red dress deserved more love from the judges. And am I so “out of it” that I don’t recognize what party girls would wear — high jackets with tinsel skirts, a la Gretchen’s disco disaster? I guess I should turn in my gay card.

      Mark S. King

    • warped

      So agree. How did Michael’s red dress NOT end up in the top 3? And what does Gretchen have on the judges that she keeps up ending in the top 3? The first challenge I was certain she was in the bottom when it walked down the runway – and then she won. So I decided it must look better in person. Then last week, while her outfit was good, she beats out both Mondo and Valerie’s outfits that were much better. Then this week? What are we missing on tv that the judges are seeing in person?

      • Hypnogal

        I’m so glad Gretchen didn’t win. Not because she’s annoying, but because her skirt looekd exactly like what it was – tinsel. Very clever about the jacket, though. Gotta give the devil her due; she’s talented. A couple of seasons ago Irena was a wretch, and she ended up winning it all. Sometimes, nice guys (and gals) do finish last.

      • shannon

        Gretchen’s hair is ridiclous…….. She is not pretty enough to be on Star Trek as a volcan so she needs to lose that hair cut.

      • fg

        Gretchen so looks like she cuts her hair with a bowl. I keep thinking next week she’s going to make the stylist cut her model’s hair that way.

      • becky

        I agree-Gretchen’s week 2 outfit looked like a sanitation worker’s uniform, tweaked for a female. Am I that much out of the loop? Gosh, I hope not!

      • Perdita Semcasa

        I think Gretchen perceives herself as a Heidi lookalike. That haircut is a throwback to Heidi’s style of seasons past. Maybe the judges are subconsciously picking up on it- hence their unwarranted love of her atrocious creations.

        >Gretchen’s week 2 outfit looked like a sanitation worker’s uniform, tweaked for a female< Perfect!

      • mikkim

        What’s with all the crafty cuts on Gretchen’s model’s blouse? It looks like it came from a greeting card.

    • Perdita Semcasa

      When Michael Costello’s model rounded the screen, my jaw dropped open and I gasped. I’ve been watching PR since S1E1 & I’ve never had that reasction. I loved Andy’s design- Valerie’s too- but I Michael deserved to be in the top 3 at the very least, instead of that overblown disco furball. Imagine- Gretchen made fringe from fringe and got rewarded for it!

    • Cynthia

      I agree with you, Kathy. The red dress was lovely. I also liked the flirty skirt with the pink insets(I can’t remember the blonde designer’s name at the moment!

      • MoHub

        I think you’re describing Peach’s.

    • Cynthia

      Gretchen’s skirt was ridiculous! I thought the black/white dress was spot-on, too. I can’t remember who’s who yet! Sorry.

    • Stasia

      I didn’t like Gretchen’s outfit at all. I think she is highly overrated. I think the producers are doing this on purpose to give the audience someone to hate. I liked the red dress but it should have been shorter. It was too long.

      • elr

        Yeah, I agree. I think it was the length of the red dress that kept Michael C. out of the top 3.

    • sara

      gretchen’s look was fab. she needs to get over herself but there is no denying her talent

      • Lyn2

        Strongly disagree with you–I thought sure Michael Kors would tear apart that tinsel skirt. I could have made that. I did think the jacket was pretty nice but not with that skirt, and those boots didn’t even go with the outfit. Gretchen’s clothes all seem very 80’s and outdated to me.

    • Erin

      Looovveed the red dress. I was totally shocked when it wasn’t in the top 3. The concept of Gretchen’s outfit was creative, but the actual dress was hideous.

  • Tally

    I can’t believe that on a non-conventional challenge that they didn’t list the materials used in each look! That’s something that I’ve always found interesting in other seasons. I was also very curious as to what some of the over looked dresses included!

    • Annie Barrett

      That is such a great point. The candy challenge seemed much more compelling than this and probably for that exact reason. (Also because it was candy.) Like, what the heck did Michael Drummond use? And why did I have to go look up his name on lifetimetv.com before posting this?

      • CWaj

        Annie! I can’t believe you appear in the “comments”. I think (?) that you might be the first EW writer to do so. Maybe not, but so many times I wish Slezak would. Love the show, like MOST of the group this year, think last night was so much better than the previous shows. And you are so freeking funny! and talented!! Hope Ivy is ok!!

      • AnnBee

        Agree. They do have 90 minutes! Let them use those minutes instead of subjecting us to nonsense.

    • E

      That drove me nuts. We have no idea what the people in the middle used, and I wanted to know! Is that so unreasonable? It’s like the editors have totally thrown away the playbook from previous seasons. They’ve been so spotty with giving us important information;we didn’t get the models names the first week, for example, we didn’t hear which model went home, this week Gretchen gets to pick, and then Sarah’s model is summarily eliminated. Models of the Runway was a useless show, but still, it’s not like we don’t care about the models at all! Gah. So irritating.

    • queue55

      ITA! We have more time but less important info…what was the long red dress made of?

      • Brazen

        It looked like he was cutting up red plates and silo cups in the workroom.

      • LG

        Part of it was plastic plates cut up.

  • retirednotdead

    I’m laughing out loud, thanks!

    • BLB

      This recap was great. Please replace the Top Chef recapper.

      • Lyn

        YES; T.C. recapper reads like a high school intern who’s trying to snark with the grownups. . . . .

      • LostMom


      • Ember

        My cat could write a better review than the T.C. recapper. At least Kitteh eats meat.

      • Julia

        Wonderful recap, Annie B. You can recap any of my favorite reality shows any time. You are a smarter, funnier version of me (what could be better?)!

  • MsDaisy

    I’m disliking Gretchen more each week. What an annoying twit.

    • Gretchen

      you want war? i’ll give you war. i’ll be there in my red stilettos.

  • aluka

    I cannot stand Gretchen.. She thinks she’s all that.
    If you have nothing nice to say, “SHUT the F up.!!!

    • Ceballos

      Yeah, I don’t really care for A.J., but when he stook up for Andy when Gretchen started speaking on Andy’s behalf, I was actually cheering A.J. on.

    • warped

      Yes!! I couldn’t stand her hypocrisy when it was okay that she helped out Casanova last week but if someone helps out one of her competitors then they are in the wrong.

    • joie

      gretchen is extremely talented. the show is setting her up to look like a bitch.

      • elr

        No, I think she just is.

      • D

        You can’t create the footage if it didn’t happen in the first place. Meaning she is a PITA.

  • Nora

    Fantastic writeup, Annie. Made me laugh several times. Thanks.

    • CWaj

      Ditto! Always!!

  • Caro

    I hope Ivy is ok. Her dress was really pretty. Any other season I would say that gretchen is getting the biotch edit, but that just seems to be who she is. I hope they knock her down a peg or two. It’s not like she is Donna Karen or something..

    • Sienna

      Donna Karan is not that great.
      She’s not considered a top designer in NY.

      • Sienna

        Not trying to sound snooty, but I have friends in the fashion industry.
        They don’t take her seriously.

      • D

        And yet she is rich and successful. Go figure.

    • Caro

      I know this. My stepmother is in the industry.. I was being sarcastic..

      • Marie

        well my niece’s mother’s aunt’s grandmother’s dad’s daughter’s son is in the industry.. and he thins Dk is the bomb *eyeroll* too funny

      • Marie

        ahahahahaha *thinks (I’ll do the thinnin around here babalooie.. and dooooooon’t you forget it.)

  • Dave

    Gretchen is a condescending mega-bitch. She does it in that way where she’s “helping” but everything is totally a backhanded compliment at best. Also, now she thinks she’s just the best at everything. I mean, when you’re good, just shut up and let everyone tell you, don’t constantly remind them.

    And the two “prepare everything first” and “clean up your stations” comments were over the top hilarious-condescending-bitchy. This isn’t high school home etc and you are not the TA. She’s so annoying.

    • BLB

      This is going to sound odd, but she reminds me of someone, and last night I figured out who. John Malkovich.

      • kp

        I swear I had the exact same thought! She looks just like him.

      • Caro

        Or Alex from NY housewives.

      • Chris

        I was thinking her mouth was more like Jim Carrey’s mouth, especially when he did weird characters on ‘In Livin’ Color’.

      • Marie

        Fire Marshal Bill?

      • Julia

        I think what all these people have in common is – they are humorless. Have no lightness of spirit.

      • cutie pie

        Caro, you’re right! I thought exactly the same thing!

  • Amy

    I’m glad that Andy won this challenge; he definitely took the materials and created something beautiful. However, I don’t understand why they (the judges, producers, etc.) continue to keep Casanova. If it’s for the colorful factor, that color is beginning to fade…fast.
    Moreover, I feel the extra half-hour is superfluous. Sure, we get to hear the designers talk (and squabble), but we get enough of that in the workroom. I’d rather they use the extra 30 minutes to focus on the designs walking down the runway. After all, that IS what the show is about.
    On a totally different topic, I find Michael Kors’ critique to be hysterical. He does deserve the moniker that Missy gave him last season (Sir Quips-a-Lot), but I always look forward to hear what he’s going to say. When he was critiquing AJ’s “hot mess,” I was just waiting for him to say “that crotch is absolutely insane!” But I digress.

    • Music Fan

      The best is when he said “you did a 360″. Um, if you do a 360 doesn’t that put you back where you started?

      • GHR

        Absolutely! I waited for him to say she styled the model all wrong again but then he complimented her. Excessive tanner is messing up his math skills.

      • queue55

        My daughter said the same thing! Doesn’t he mean “a 180″?!

      • Emily S

        Yes! I thought the same thing.

      • MoHub

        Obviously, Kors flunked Geometry.

    • fg

      Cluelessness is really not that entertaining.

      • Trish

        I thought the same thing. Glad to know that my math skills aren’t as bad as I thought that they were!

  • shelby

    Sometimes all a person needs is to be a reality tv participant to realize how insufferable they truly are. Here’s hoping for a little self awareness for dear Gretchen.

    This was the best episode yet this season. There were some great designs this week. Michael’s red dress was uh-mazing. I’m shocked that it was ignored! I will say the one thing I don’t have yet this season, is an endearing favorite to root for. We need an Anthony!

  • Erik

    Annie I LOVED your recap, hilarious!! As a gay man the beaded/fringed crotch area will haunt my nightmares.

    • Pinky Shears

      But what happened to Tim’s face late in the show. Did he get attacked by one of the wooly balls?

      • GHR

        I was wondering the same thing – he had two marks on his forehead that I didn’t see earlier in the episode. Maybe he hurt himself banging his head against the wall I mean talking to Casanova.

      • BobbinRobin

        I noticed that too. I thought it looked like poisen ivy, or a rash of some sort. Maybe he had an alergic reaction to something?

      • Kelley

        On his blog, Tim said he passed out during the previous episode’s runway judging and was taken to the hospital. He hurt himself when he passed out (he has a form of epilepsy) and I’m sure his appearance was due to the fall. He said that’s why he wasn’t seen at the end of the last episode to tell Jason and Nick to collect their things, clean up their workspaces, etc, and if he had been there, he would have ripped the judges a new one for sending Nick home.

      • Jenn

        Tim did a video blog and stated that during judging of last week’s episode he had a petit mal seizure (he has a mild form of epilepsy). when he fell he hit his head on a chair and got a gash. He also said there were three ambulance calls that week: one for him, of course the one for Ivy and also one for Jason, the eliminated contestant. he didn’t go in to detail on the contestants though The vlog appeared on his Facebook page.

      • Jenn

        I was typing as kelley was posting, so sorry for the repeat. But at least you’ll know we weren’t making it up. :)

      • MoHub

        Tim mentions in this week’s vlog that he wore makeup for the first time ever—probably to cover up the marks on his face; it likely wore off before the later bits were filmed.

  • yah yah

    Gretch is a wretch! Cant…stand…the…b*tch. I mean get over yourself. And that skirt was simply stiched on and then cut. Whoopie! I dont see what the judges see in her. You were right! Michael should have been in the top and not her. And her butting in, and her “clean up” comments cant be edited in. She said what she said.

    • Carrie Mae

      If she said “I hand cut the” whatever she called it one more time I would have screamed. She took a pair of scissors to some shiny fringe.

      • Cate

        I loved the “hand cut chevron” bit. Like how else would she cut it? They have a magic “chevron” machine cutter in the back of the work area? I think my 9-year old daughter could use a pair of scissors just as effectively.

    • Marie

      I think she ran around her model like she was a Christmas tree.. stringing the tinsel. it was horrible.

  • Buzzy

    Skeletor needs to learn some humility! She isnt all that, and I cant wait for her to be in the bottom. Maybe then she will shut up and stop bossing everyone around.

    • tsw

      Skeletor is a hoot. Could she be any homelier???

    • AuntHollyKnits

      Ugh, a bad representation of our beautiful Portland. She’s about 20 miles away (give or take) from Seth Aaron. Too bad he couldn’t have given her tips on how to be successful…..

      • D

        Um, wasn’t Leanne from the same area too?

  • shelby

    Michael Kors has had some pretty amazing critiques in the past, but the one he delivered to Casanova tonight was EPIC. “She looks like a transvestite flamenco dancer at a funeral.” I mean, does it honestly get any better?

    • Jelana

      He’s outstanding when the thing in front of him is just ridiculous. EW — please make a Michael Kors best comments photogallery!

      • BLB

        “She looks like Little Appalachian Barbie!”

      • Katja

        That is such a fantastic idea for a photo gallery!

    • epz

      A few seasons ago he had a comment that a model was “a turban and a highball short of being Paul Lynde.” I don’t remember the outfit, but the comment will stick with me forever.

      • epz

        Now that I think of it, I think that comment was actually the reviewer here on EW (maybe Josh Wolk) talking ABOUT Michael Kors. Even funnier that way!!!

    • Delon

      Killer!!! Somebody should write a movie about that transvestite flamenco dancer.

  • Dee Dee

    Michael Costello was totally robbed and I am disappointed in the judging. Except for Michael Kors who is wonderful and who should play Steven Slater in the biopic.

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