The Village Idiots: The Project Runway recap

Can we just all acknowledge the fact that Josh owns this season?

Sometimes it’s obvious who the breakout star of a given season will be. Santino pretty much jumped off our TV screens and barfed all over us to announce his arrival. Last season, there was the fabulous yin yang of good (Mondo) versus evil (Gretchen). And how could Season 4 ever have belonged to anyone but puckish design savant Christian Soriano?
But this season? At first I thought it was going to belong to the other Josh—the formin’ Mormon—coming from Utah, coming into the big city, and coming out of the. . .well, you get the point. But he ruined everything with the sucking.
Then I thought it might be Honey Badger—and it still is, to an extent. He’s got a strong supporting role in the great Walter Matthau, “walk a mile in my shoes you little piss-ants” tradition.
But it’s really all about Josh, right? With the dead the mother that gives him just a skosh of humanity? With the crazy futuristic eyebrows? With the design aesthetic that is like Pucci and Missoni mated in a blender with Jackie Beat? With the serious, big time, air-sucking anger management problem? With the straightlaced Midwestern Dad who, improbably enough, calls him “son”? (Exact quote: “I love you, son.”)
I give, Josh. You win. Season 9 is yours.
Which is how I knew that, at the end of the show, when Basic Becky was standing next to Josh, there wasn’t a chance in hell that Josh was going anywhere. Bye-bye, Becky. You are the latest in a long line of designers who felt that they were misunderstood, sabotaged, and/or thrown wildly off course by the unfairness of the show. In fact, you were just mediocre.
Moving right along. . .
So the show has decided to make every other challenge a group challenge, because while the group challenges may not be particularly “fair” or an accurate indication of “how well someone designs”—they do kick up a lot of entertaining shit. So hooray, show.
There will be two groups of 5, with no leaders.
Team Chaos is Anthony, Viktor, Olivier, Anya, and Bryce. (I have a warm, soothing feeling just thinking about Team Chaos.)
Team Nuts & Bolts is Josh, Laura, Kimberly, Becky, and Bert. (Run for your lives!!!!!)
Back at the studio, Tim explains that this is the HP/Intel pattern design challenge.
“Design your own fabrics and a full-fledged fashion show,” he says.
“What does that mean, Tim?” asks Viktor and it’s incredibly obvious he’s been instructed to ask that. (It’s truly the worst acting job I’ve seen since I was forced to watch an HR video on the scourge of sexual harassment in the workplace. “Nice pecs, Ed” was one particularly memorable line.*)
Well, little Viktor, it means you’ll be using a video camera—any ol’ brand of camera will do (heh)—to create a backdrop for a fashion show. And at least 3 looks need to come from the textile designs.
As a surprise, Betsy Johnson comes galloping in—if she were a contestant on Project Runway, she would be the breakout star of her season—and gives the designers some very good advice (that Team Nuts & Bolts promptly ignores) about knowing who your target audience is and using music to convey the message.
So the teams huddle to come up with their concepts and it takes me a while to recover from the fact that Olivier is wearing serial killer glasses.
Over at Team Nuts & Bolts, Josh has come up with the single greatest idea in the history of mankind: An all-girl Village People fashion show!
How this idea is shot down and not embraced like the sparkling beacon of awesomeness that it is, I have no idea. But I fully expect to see Gucci launch a similar concept at next year’s Fashion Week. (And no, Laura, there was no fireman in The Village People. Geez. Kids today.)
Instead, they decide to go with clocks. Yeah, clocks. (Laura, I’m just as puzzled as you are.)

They start designing and Becky is doing the inner hardware of a clock and others are doing time-related words and Bert, of course, is designing old-fashioned pocket watches, like the kind he used to keep in the pocket of his knickers (in the other pocket: an abacus!), while taking the horse and buggy to the school barn.
Then everyone prints their design, but Bert’s design doesn’t print, which reminds me I need to replace the sucky HP printer I have at home (product placement FAIL) so Team Nuts & Bolts is picking fabrics without Bert’s to choose from.
And Bert says, and I quote: “So much for my frickin’ clocks.”
Not tickin’ clocks (which would’ve been funny.)
Not fuckin’ clocks (which would’ve been bleeped out by the FCC.)
But frickin’.
And Josh acts like he just used every single one of George Carlin’s 7 dirty words.
“People who have dirty mouths, they’re not intelligent,” he sniffs. Then he gives Bert grief for walking away and “saying things under his breath.”
So Bert tries to explain. But his protests fall on deaf eyebrows.
“I’m asking you if this is the way it’s going to be for the next 2 days because I. Will. Not. Have. It. Bert!” Josh proclaims.  (This was the moment when I knew that Josh had won over the season—and my heart.)
Anyway, turns out Laura is like The Josh Whisperer, and manages to calm him the fuck down. (Or, as Bert might say, calm him the frick down.)
They head out to the street to film the backdrop for their video which has something to do with Laura being a schizophrenic lady who changes her shoes every 5 minutes as she gets in and out of cabs.
Also, the shot of Josh’s hairy legs in those bright yellow pumps? Can’t unsee.
Team Chaos, whose theme is ink blots by the way, does these somewhat predictable images of Time Square, but they are saved by the ingenuity of Anya, who suggests creating a kaleidoscope effect with the shots.
Back at the studio, Josh and Bert hug it out and try to make peace.
Then Tim shows up and sees right through their charade.
“I don’t see a potential wow moment here,” he says of Team Nuts & Bolt’s collection. (Drink!) “You need more cohesion among the 5 of you.”

And then something rather extraordinary happens—in fact, if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I may not have believed it actually occurred.

Tim has Team Nuts & Bolts form a circle and hold hands. Yes, like the kind of thing they do on New Age retreats with drum circles and bonfires and group chanting . Or, if you prefer Anthony’s interpretation, he’s making the poor bastards pray together.
My new answer to “How Bad Was It?”
“It was Tim Gunn Prayer Circle Bad.”
Meanwhile, and needless to say, Team Chaos is positively thriving. Tim Gunn loves everything they’re doing and wants to marry their entire collection. (Except for Bryce’s, but he doesn’t count.)
They have but one snag, a sort of leitmotif running through their otherwise perfectly awesome day: Olivier refuses to make a pair of pants to go with his (expertly tailored) jacket.
One particularly humorous exchange on this subject goes like this:
Anthony: Olivier, where do you stand on the pant?
Olivier: Huh?
Anthony: The pant?
Olivier: Wha? What? The what?
Anthony (sighing): How are you coming on the pant?
Update: Olivier does eventually make a pair of pants, not that it matters because his jacket is smothered in awesome sauce and absolutely blows the judges away.
The guest judges are:
Rachel Roy (If she says “yum-o” one damn time, I will scream.) (Wait . . . I have just been informed that Rachel Roy and Rachael Ray are two different people.) (I’m pretty sure I made this same joke in a recap about five years ago. Please do not Google to confirm.)
Rose Byrne, who is a helluva actress (really!) but a tad useless as a Project Runway judge.
So Team Nuts & Bolts come down the runway and there is some good and some bad. It’s not a total disaster, although I remain puzzled by the length of Bert’s dress. (And hair.)
But then Team Chaos does its thing and it’s so much better, guys. I mean, it’s actually great. Every single piece (well, except for Bryce’s, but he doesn’t count) is extraordinary. And I kinda feel bad for Team Nuts & Bolts. They actually did get their shit together, but they just got outclassed.
Sooooo. . .
Team Chaos gets their tongue-bath from the judges and then it’s time for Team Nuts & Bolts to skulk back on stage and take their medicine.
Michael Kors makes a bunch of jokes at their expense: “Time’s a tickin’ when you’re wearing that dress!” and “Not a lot of women want to have the word cancelled on their crotch!” and “Your video looks like a hooker convention coming home after a long night!”—and then Heidi asks the team members to choose the weakest link.
Becky picks Josh. “He started us off badly. It almost collapsed us in a way.”
Bert also picks Josh, so apparently that hug/prayer circle/bromance didn’t stick.
Laura says Bert, because she prefers to surround herself with shiny,  new things.
Josh says Becky.
And then Kimberly says Becky, too. “She’s the least styled,” Kimberly says. “She’s more of a”—and here she looks at Becky, as though expecting some help (“glorified seamstress?” she hopes Becky will offer, or “really just kind of a space filler?”—but Becky refuses to play her game). “She has more of a simple kind of style,” Kimberly finishes on her own.
Little chat time.
Michael Kors calls Josh a “Little Dictator” which makes me giggle.
They love Olivier’s jacket, Viktor’s dress (me too!), and Anya’s overall fabulousness (me three!).
They hate Basic Becky and Josh’s bad taste and bad attitude.
And the winner is: Anya!
And, as stated in paragraph one (sorry spoilerphobes): Becky Ross’ time has . . . run out.
*Apparently, this would be an inappropriate thing to say in the workplace. Please make a note of it.

3 thoughts on “The Village Idiots: The Project Runway recap

  1. What made me happiest this challenge: Seeing that Rose Byrne got those horrible severe bangs from Season 4 of Damages under control.

  2. Um, I seriously thought you would mention Josh's pronunciation of the word “frustrated”, as if it had no “r”. “I'm so FUStrated” he says, and as if to drive the point home, he says it AGAIN not 5 minutes later. “This is so FUStrating.” Oh the humanity.

  3. One of my daughter's favourite books features the repeated line, 'It's only Little Bat Jack – and he doesn't count.' I will henceforth always think of Bryce as Little Bat Jack. Fab as always.

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