Ping Dynasty: The Project Runway recap

How I wish that Project Runway could have a designated contestant each season who they keep around purely for our amusement. You know, one who wouldn’t necessarily know a sewing needle from a hypodermic needle, but who consistently brings the funny.

Because what will Season 7 of Project Runway be without the glory of Ping?

Amusing as Anthony is (and he actually made me laugh this episode, with his “even the VP of McDonald’s needs a dress”), his is a contrived kind of entertainment. He’s trying to be funny. Ping, however, is the genuine article. A Grade-A, they-broke-the-mold-when-they-made-her, honest to goodness weirdo.

Hey, at least she went out with a Ping-centric episode.

As the show starts, we see Anthony brushing his teeth while wrapped in a curtain (is that a Southern thing?) and Ping leaving the house . . .without her shoes.

“Oh, shoes!” she says, as though she forgot to turn out the light in the hallway. (I haven’t left my house without shoes since I was 2, so this is a truly awesome oversight on her part.)

Throughout the course of the show, Ping loses many things. They include:
The aforementioned shoes.
Her notebook.
Her envelope containing $500. (!)
Her sense of time and space.
Project Runway. (Oh snap.)

The only thing she doesn’t manage lose is the clothing on her back—which kind of sheds some light on why she designs the way she does.

Anyway, the designers are taken to the Metropolitan Museum of Art where they are brought to the couture exhibit. Everyone, including Tim, is kvelling over the gorgeous works by Yves St. Laurent, Balenciaga, and Madame Gres.

Their task? Make a signature couture outfit inspired by the greatness before you.
Their budget? $500 smackeroos.
Their hurdle? Two words: Team challenge.

So they get paired up and everyone is thinking the exact same thing:
“NotPingNotPingNotPingNotPingNotPing. . .”

And Jesse gets paired with Ping and immediately puts on his BitchFace.

(This makes me wonder: If I were Jesse, and paired with Ping, would I immediately become hostile and defensive? Or would I try to grin and make it work? I thought Jesse kind of came across as an ass this challenge, but on the other hand. . .there’s no compromise on Planet Ping. You either speak the language or you don’t.)

Ping and Jesse aren’t the only ones having problems. Mila has decided that Jonathan is her sewing bitch and, while she ponders the larger cultural and sociological implications of her couture coat, Jonathan slaves away over a sewing machine doing the actual, you know, work.

Meanwhile, Jay has immunity and he. . .acts like he has immunity. At one point, he just kind of wanders around the studio munching on an apple as his partner, Maya, works on their dress.

And just when tensions are beginning to boil over. . .

“Gather round!” says Mr. Gunn. (The most dreaded words in the Project Runway lexicon, next to, of course: “You are partnered with Ping.”)

Yup, a new wrinkle: The designers now have to create a “look for less” inspired by one of the other teams’ designs, with a budget of $50.

Back to Mood they go (that’s two trips to Mood in one show. . .are they trying to make up for our previous Mood withdrawal?) where Ping manages to find the cheapest-looking fabric in the store.
She, of course, thinks it’s the fabric of the gods.

Jesse questions her choice.
“I’m not used to doubting my idea,” Ping says, screwing up her little Ping face in confusion. Ping is more of an act-now, doubt-never kinda gal.
“I’m not doubting your idea,” he says snippily. “I’m just trying to make sure you have one.”
(Oh Jesse, Jesse, Jesse. . . Why even bother?)

Runway day. Everyone is putting the finishing touches on their two looks, realizing it’s a race against time. The runway show is fast approaching.

“Okay, everyone. We’re leaving,” says Tim. 
Ping looks up, mystified. 
“Leaving where?” she says. (You just can’t make this stuff up.)
“Down to the runway show,” says Jesse wearily. At this point, he is a beaten man.

The looks come down the runway. I have to say, after last week’s brilliance, I’m a little underwhelmed. I often find that when the designers are given free reign, they tend to falter.

I liked Amy’s dress, as well as Emilio’s and Maya’s, but nothing made me gasp with wonder. Looks-for-less-wise, I was pretty impressed with Jesus’s look (which, based on his track record, I can only guess was actually designed by his partner Amy). And yes, I think slacker Jay did a pretty good job of improving on Janeane’s $500 get-up with his $50 one.

Small voice: I actually didn’t mind Anthony’s dress, which Michael Kors called the “cotillion party from hell.” (I don’t think of mustard and black as cotillion colors, do you? ) I’ve seen a lot worse Scarlett O’Hara wannabes on this show. (Kayne, I’m talkin’ to you.)

And Mila’s winning coat? No thanks. It screamed “patron of the arts” to me, the kind of coat that a middle-aged Lincoln Center benefactor might wear to the annual gala.

So the Bottom 4 are Anthony and Seth Aaron and, of course, Ping and Jesse. 
Does Jesse throw Ping under the bus? 
Does Karl Rove shit in the woods?
“I had to teach her sewing lessons,” he says, predictably.

What I didn’t predict was that the model would ALSO throw Ping under the bus. 
“She never fit me in this,” says Meghan, who, it should be noted, is Jesse’s model, not Ping’s.
Yikes! When models attack!

Ping looks understandably dejected. (But very fetching in her stylish metal glasses, heather gray turtle neck and orange pants.) (Note to Ping: Why can’t you design like that?)

Seth Aaron is safe. Jesse is safe.

Heidi makes a gaudy display of the fact that two contestants might be going home. And Anthony is. . .safe.

And with that, Ping gone. Don’t worry, Ping. All your pals on the mothership will welcome you back with open arms.

2 thoughts on “Ping Dynasty: The Project Runway recap

  1. Wot fun! I'm gonna miss Ping. Normally the cast-for-the-crazy contestants make me crazy nuts. But I loved her. I even rather liked her drape-y designed-but-not constructed aesthetic.


  2. I’m looking at this show years later and honestly, while Jesse definitely started with the wrong attitude, he was right to question Ping. She didn’t get the memo of it being a teamwork, and was basically expecting Jesse to be a seamstress instead of a designer.

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