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Nick Verreos' Blog

Bus Driver Gretchen Steers Her Passengers Into a Drab, Messy Ditch

By Tracy_Goldenberg 08/27/2010 06:00AM GMT

One word: WOW! What an episode! Three things off the bat: Why do I have a strong urge to A) douse myself with rubbing alcohol to rid myself of all the nastiness, B) feel like I would NEVER want to be on a team headed by Gretchen and C) want to bring some Kleenex to poor ol' Michael C. to try and console him? This last episode got me all riled up: There was DRAMA, egos, lots of crying, a designer wanting to leave and another designer becoming the official LOCA of this season. I cannot wait to get started …

Team Challenge … With a Twist
Last week's "Mad Hatter Philip Treacy" Episode was all about the Glamorous World of Haute Hats and the Hanky-Hemmed Dresses and Triple Panties that go with them. Well, that was a whole other ERA compared to what the designers were about to embark on. For this challenge, Miss Heidi Klum announces that the designers will work in TWO teams of six, creating a mini collection of six looks "on trend" for Fall 2010. From those two simple words — TEAM CHALLENGE — spoken from Frau Heidi's mouth, I knew this was going to be a drama-filled episode.

Headmaster Tim's Workroom

Team Winners vs. Team Kooky
Michael Costello, being last week's Challenge Winner, gets to choose first, and for some reason, he has a lapse of judgment and picks Gretchen. The rest of this team includes Cutie Christopher, Ambulance Ivy, Heatherette 2.0 A.J. and I-Love-Me-Some-Black Andy. Seems like an ego-tastic team. The other group is made up of Triple-Panty April, Loco Mondo, Susan Lucci Valerie, Charo Cuchi-Cuchi Casanova and Mama Peach — the always-in-the-bottom "kooky" team. Back in the Parsons workroom, Headmaster Tim announces what the Fall 2010 concepts are (Minimalist, '50s Retro, Menswear for Women, and Military) as well as the corresponding textiles (gold, camel, leopard and cheetah, plaid and lace). With that, each team gives itself a title: Team Ego-tastic dubs itself "Team Luxe" and chooses the Menswear-for-Women concept with camel, while the Always-in-the-Bottom kids decide to go with Military and lace.

Bus Driver Gretchen Drives the Wrong Way
After the team meeting-of-the-minds, it is obvious something is a-brewin': Miss Gretchen is the queen bee of Team Luxe and takes over completely, telling the rest of the designers what to do, delegating work and at the same time, of course, stirring the Michael Costello "can't-sew/drape/pattern-to-save-his-life" pot. All the designers march in lockstep to her as if she slipped something in their double macchiatos. She is the bus driver, and I have a feeling they might be going into a fashion ditch!

Estoy Cansado … y Gordo!
Team Military & Lace seem to be getting along just fine. Tim likes what he sees from them after his visit … except for Charo Cuchi-Cuchi Casanova. Mr. Gunn thinks Casanova's creation is looking very OLD. This is like the TENTH time Casanova has heard this critique! He's over it and wants to leave the show. You know when a Gay says "I'm even getting FAT!" it's time to pack up your faux Louis Vuitton overnighter and head for the hills, hunny! Alas, his model gives him an ego-boost pep talk, and he's up and running!

Rate the Runway here!

Cuchi-Cuchi Goes Elegant
It's Runway Day, and things are about to get CRAZEEE. Buckle up, kids: It's going to be a BUMPY "Project Runway" ride. On hand to judge is "Project Runway" Judging All-Star (hasn't she judged like FIVE times?), the stunning Georgina Chapman, co-founder and designer for Marchesa. Team Military & Lace's mini collection is first, and, quelle surprise, the six ensembles look good! The judges deemed the collection "versatile" and loved the overall styling. When Casanova's elegant ivory pants with backless black lace top came out, I knew they were the winners. Cuchi-Cuchi Casanova WORKS IT OUT and, in fact, becomes the winner of this challenge. How do you say "You go, girl!" in Spanish?

Menswear Mess!
But now, on to the BAAAAD: Team Luxe's collection was next, and it was an immediate snoozefest. It was as if I was transported to 1980 and we were at a "Golden Girls" Potluck Bat Mitzvah at your local Boca Best Western. It was old, dated, drab and looked cheap; the complete opposite of "luxe." The minute they chose Menswear for Women, I knew they were in trouble. Tailoring is one of the most difficult things to do — especially in a short amount of time (remember Season 4's Menswear Challenge?!). They got so consumed with just executing pieces that they completely lost all sense of design. Up on the "Chopping Block" runway, the team — and especially its unofficial leader, Gretchen — crumbled. First, she loved the collection; then two minutes later, she HATED IT. She admitted to basically "driving the bus" and bossing around all her little "soldiers" and at the same time throwing poor Michael Costello under the bus. For some reason, she (and the rest of the team) had it in for him (jealous much?), even though she was the one to really blame for the whole mess of a collection.

Don't Blame It on the Editing, Hunny
Watching and listening to Gretchen made me cringe. I almost felt sorry for how miserable she was. Nina's wincing "SHUT UP!" looks mirrored what I was thinking. And here's the thing: Her miserable attitude in the first couple of episodes was questionable, but this was on a whole other level! She cannot blame this LOCAfest on editing (but I'm sure she will). Since Michael C. had gained immunity by winning last week, he was safe. In the end, it was down to Bus Driver Gretchen and her poor little "passenger" A.J., who only made ONE shirt, and it was a bad one at that! Of course, A.J. went home — did anyone really think they would send that special "piece of crazy" home? Not even Gretchen truly thought she was leaving.

It's Over! Oh Wait, Someone Is About to Get Bitch-Slapped
Awww, finally it's all over! Time for that rubbing-alcohol bath. Oh wait … it's not over, Tim is coming in … and oh dear: Is he GOING OFF on Gretchen and her Team Luxe? YES!!!! To punctuate EXACTLY what I, the viewer, and I'm sure 95 percent of America was feeling, he BROKE IT DOWN, telling the kids that he could not fathom their behavior, demeanor and affect, and asking them how on earth they could let themselves be bullied by Gretchen. Oh snap! Ten points for Tim! OK, now time for my alcohol bath. See you next time, as we find out in which direction the Crazy Bus is headed … and whether Gretchen is still the driver or there's been a hostile takeover!