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The Project Runway Blog

Tick, Tick ... Boom!

By CaitlinBergmann Fri., Sep. 9, 2011 ,5:01 am EDT

Another team challenge, another opportunity for drama.

But first, a cartwheel break by the legendary Betsey Johnson.


We need a collection! We need a show! And I hope one of you knows how to use video editing software for lib-dubbing mediocre pop songs and uploading them to Tumblr.

Joshua McKinley gets bossy in the HP fabric challengeWhile Team Chaos (who should really lend their name to Team Nuts and Bolts, cause that's what they were — CHAOTIC) were giggling and slow-motion braiding each other's hair, Joshua was dominating a team that was clearly labeled as LEADER-FREE CHALLENGE and desperately trying to recall the members of The Village People* for inspiration.

Like a kid waiting for the right opportunity to jump into a double-dutch tournament, Joshua seizes the opportunity to cause some waves by hastily accusing Bert of having the foulest mouth of all time. (Where's that British gum lady when you need her?)

Based on Joshua's dramatic Norma Desmond–style overreaction, I thought I missed a much more dramatic moment, and paused to think to myself, "Wait. Did Joshua just think Bert didn't say CLOCK and said something ... ELSE?" And then I began to laugh with every subsequent reference, because it was just so double-entendre ridiculous.

Once I realized this was really over the words "friggin'" (Really?) and the F-bomb proper (I'm sure nuns say that nowadays), I stopped laughing and wondered why Joshua blew up as much as he did.

Forfeit? You're going to forfeit (Can one actually even do that?) a challenge because someone ... swore? Designer/Detective Laura Bennett has done some recon work and discovered that Joshua actually curses twice in this episode. I will not stand for it!

At this point, this workroom is desperately needing some color to liven up the awkwardness in the room. Yet each team only goes for black and white. The ABSENCE of color, and white. Did I miss something? Look back at Seasons 7 and 8 (I'll wait!) and check out the winning prints by Emilio Sosa and Mondo Guerra: vibrant color. Or, hey, look at any of the prints the designers created in those seasons, and it's a Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor ROYGBIV bonanza compared to these patterns.

Joshua M's design for the HP fabric challengeTeam Chaos' Rorschach test idea certainly lends itself to, well, black ink, but I would have loved to see some prints that didn't look like they came from the neighborhood library's Xerox machine.

While Team Chaos is still thriving and jiving, Team Nuts and Bolts is falling apart. It took Father Timothy Gunn's prayer circle to intervene and bring some true cohesion. Yes, Joshua eventually apologized to Bert, and it was probably best that it happened in front of everyone so that there were witnesses to back it up, but the fact that he called it a "PSA" cheapened it. I'm sure if he had access to a publicist, there would have been a press release and an "I'm Sorry" after-party, but we move on ...

Let's talk about the collections:

Team Chaos really wrapped their heads around the whole experience Betsey was preaching about in the workroom. Aside from the messy hair and makeup choices, they knew exactly who their girl was, where she was going, what she was wearing and why she was wearing it. It was clear that theirs was the winning collection. Best of all, they all used the HP print.

Team Nuts and Bolts used as much of their print as they could legally get away with, and the rest worked with whatever excuse they could muster as being clock-like, gear-esque or generally inspired by the inner workings of Big Ben. Thankfully, the judges recognized this right away and called out the offending players:

Laura Kathleen's belt felt like a way to use the print just for the sake of using it (she quasi-admits as much), and Kimberly was smart enough to just plain avoid it.

Joshua's jacket looked great from the front, but I question the functionality and practicality of the garment. To reveal the second print, he had the cogs open the way they did on the front of the jacket to mirror it. It looked as though the model was peeling away like a fashionable banana, since, you know, no one's closed a jacket in the back since Celine Dion's backwards-jacket Oscar look.

The length of Bert's dress was just too long and took away from what actually worked on his garment. It would have been worlds better if it fell closer to the knee. But Michael and guest judge Rachel Roy hit the nail on the head: This collection's problem was that it was FAR too literal. "Don't give me bad energy. I don't want to wear something that says 'CANCELED.'" AMEN.

And poor Becky was down for the count no matter how many times she redid that skirt.

The one thing they did do right was clip those blunt bangs to those models' foreheads. But at least it's not The Village People.



* The policeman, the construction worker, the sailor, the biker ... (I watched "Wayne's World II" more than once.)