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Team Firecrotch vs. Team Skidmark

By Figgy | TV | August 30, 2010 |

By Figgy | TV | August 30, 2010 |

We’ll get right to it, because this show is incredibly long as it is, but there’s a couple of things to get out of the way first: One, we’re starting with episode 5, but you can read my recaps for previous episodes on my blog. Two, this is my first time writing a recap for Pajiba. Cut me some slack as I try to figure out what format works best for you guys and how to keep it from being 20,000 words long. I’ll summarize as best as I can here, so as not to overwhelm everybody.

Seems like I picked the wrong episode for that because the shit hit the fan big time last Thursday? It’s possibly the most dramatic, insane episode of “Project Runway” yet, and I’ve been watching from the start.

Previously! The judges were crackalicious in the Crazyass Hat challenge. April made diapers, but Kristin made something worse and went home, Michael Costello’s dress was overpraised by the judges, and he won the challenge.

At the apartments, the designers are confused and angry at MC’s win, and though I can chalk up at least part of it to envy, if I were one of them I’d be confused as to what the judges are looking for from me. MC is sad that no one is really happy for his win, which is too bad. Oh, honey, it’s about to get much, much worse.

At the Runway of Lost Souls, Heidi announces that for this challenge they’ll be divided into two teams of six, and I cackle and rub my hands in glee, because nothing calls for drama like team challenges. MC gets to pick first, as he won the last challenge and has immunity (this will be very important today) and to his utter and complete doom, he picks the evil Gretchen.

On one team we have AJ, Ivy, Andy, Christopher, The Retch and Michael C. Most of the assholes, in other words. I shall call them Team Firecrotch. The other team has Valerie, the insufferable Casanova, Michael D, April, and Peach. I shall call it Team Skidmark. They’re the underdogs.

Tim comes in (HI TIM! I LOVE YOU TIM! MARRY ME! OH WAIT) and tells them their challenge: to create a six-look collection, picking two words from a board of concepts (trends) and colors.

Gretchen immediately takes the lead in Team Firecrotch. She’s shrill and commanding. She’s like a more annoying, more vapid Tracy Flick. They pick “Menswear for Women” and “Camel.” I expect a lot of tan blazers and white pants and boredom. They decide that instead of each of them doing a separate look, they’ll assign different garments to different people, according to their strengths.

Team Skidmark picks “military” and “lace,” which is an interesting, but possibly lethal combination. I’d make the models wear tri-cornered hats and my favorites: pantaloons. They seem to be working pretty well together; no one in particular is taking the lead. They decide that they’ll each do one look,with a general theme running between them.

The teams go to Mood. Gretchen is horrible, and there is much scrambling. AJ and Gretchen do a dance and I stare at the screen in terror. Valerie says the other team’s method reminds her of when you have simultaneous diarrhea and vomiting. Appropriate. It’s how I feel whenever I look at Gretchen.

Tim Gunn visits the workroom, and he doesn’t seem enthusiastic at what Team Skidmark is doing. Valerie is doing a lot of shit with zippers because she’s obsessed with opening things, and Casanova is annoying. “Guen Teem Gunns comes to dee worgshop …” he says, and I want to smack him. Tim is horrified at what’s he doing.

Team Firecrotch gets Gunned. Ick. What Gretchen is making looks like something Eowyn would wear as she trecked through the dirty river. It looks boring and old.

Casanova has an Assy Drama Moment. There’s some High School personalities this season. Stop whining and nut up. I’m so tired of this asshole. Finally his model goes to comfort him and he puts on his man panties and decides to rework his look. The day ends.

The next day there is a lot of scrambling and yelling. Gretchen is controlling (she has a to-do list, naturally). We get a horrifying, traumatizing upskirt shot of Ivy (the hell, producers?) and Team Firecrotch has their models do some of the sewing. This does not bode well. Peach calls someone “Sweet Potato” and I love her, even if she’s an old lady who makes dull clothes.

Runway time at long last.

Team Skidmark

Mondo’s look, worn by her stunningly gorgeous model (she is seriously fierce) is a beautiful black top with epaulets and gold braid on the shoulders, and I can see the military theme. It has beautifully made shorts with gold leggings underneath. Is it just me or is Mondo the most consistent designer this season? I’ve loved every crazy thing he’s done, and he seems to be the only one on the show who is truly innovative and has a voice of his own. It’s too bad that he’s been ignored by the judges so far, because I think he’s hugely talented.

Peach’s look is refreshingly different from what she’s made before. It’s a high-waisted blue skirt with a hot-pink top that’s covered in black lace. There some gold braid on the skirt. It looks like bordello Wonder Woman but I like it. It’s different. April’s is a bit weird, but not terrible. The top has a lot of different stuff on it, and it’s very busy but not bad. She has a zipper on the butt of his skirt and April needs to stop doing that. Valerie made more cute sportswear, and frankly I don’t think it fits in too well with the rest of her team’s stuff. It’s a white jacket and skirt, with a blue top and bright blue leggings. The jacket has the military accents, which is cute, but really horrible lace panels on the back. Casanova saved himself completely by making these gorgeous white pants with buttons running down the side, and his Corpse Bride looks really nice on the runway, especially the back, which is gorgeous. Michael D made a black skirt and a lace shirt like Casanova’s. It’s nice, but not terribly different.

It wasn’t a spectacular collection, but it had a lot of great details and some very cute pieces that were definitely wearable and innovative. Good for them. I really expected some hideousness from that group, but they have good chemistry and helped each other out.

Team Firecrotch

First we have the long white tunic-dress that AJ was working on, and it has a giant red ascot on the front. She’s wearing tan-and-red leggings that make her look like a jester. It’s horrible, ill-fitting and the colors are sad. I hate leggings.

Then we get another Rich Bitch outfit of tan pants, a grey top, and a blargh cape on top. Who is this stuff aimed at? It’s all so dowdy and snoozefesty. The worst part is that I can see Gretchen’s horrible influence over everything. None of it is original or exciting.

For the third look they made a short pencil skirt, a big white blazer tied together with a horrible belt, and that red fabric underneath. Snore. “It all looks like it came from the same place,” says Andy. Yeah, Banana Republic. Jesus, guys. Why did you let Gretchen run this show into utter boredom and safety?

The fourth look is one of the ugliest things I’ve seen on this show: a long-sleeved top the color of LA smog, high-waisted shorts and red leggings. But the worst part is this appallingly hideous thin vest thing that looks like the 70s puked it up because it was too hippylike.

The fifth look is yet another flowy, tan-red-and-grey thing, and it has Michael C’s cowl-necked blouse, which is actually sort of nice, but surrounded by other vomit.

I give up because the last look is a Slutty Red dress with cutouts and a tan jacket and I want to throw it into the incinerator
Gretchen says that fashion doesn’t always have to be over-the-top and embellished, and I agree with that, except that she went the complete opposite of that and made a collection that wasn’t so much minimalistic as it was … nothing. Nothing but horror. You don’t become a successful designer by making shit that everybody has seen before. You do it by standing out and showing the world something different. And nothing that her team made fits that description. So, once again, shut the fuck up, Gretchen.

Team Skidmark wins. The look on Gretchen’s face is priceless. I cheered and pointed at my computer and laughed at her stupid face.

The judges talk to the winning team, and they seem to be very happy with what they accomplished, especially given what they’ve seen from some of these people so far. They had good ideas. They get a lot of praise for the details, the styling, and Casanova gets a lot of kudos for finally making something classy. His team members are nice and say that he should win the challenge. There were no huge egos on the team, and so they managed to work wonderfully well together.

Backstage, Gretchen and horrible Ivy (whose horribleness has been somewhat opaqued by Gretchen, but she’s pretty awful, too) bitch about how unfair it all is. It’s funny, because Gretchen seems to like that the collection didn’t look like any of them, and I completely agree, but just because I think they were all generic clothes. You can see the panic growing in Gretchen’s eyes; she knows this was almost all her doing.

Team Firecrotch goes up on stage, and the shitstorm begins. It’s fantastic.

The Retch starts crying and saying how hard they worked and Nina seriously looks freaked out at seeing someone cry because tears are for the weak. Kors also looks disgusted, and really … brown. Step away from the tanner, Kors. Ivy starts fake crying. Oh, Jesus, Gretchen. Shut the fuck up and stop telling the judges how to think.

Kors says it’s boring. Guest judge Georgina Chapman (who runs Marchesa, and just happens to be married to one of the Weinsteins, who produce the show) says they lost all individuality by trying to be such a cohesive entity. Nina says that the proportions are wrong and that it has zero sex appeal. YES NINA YES. ROCK ME NINADEUS. She says the colors are ghastly. I love her. This team is seriously getting butchered. They say everything, from colors to proportions to styling to fabric choices, is terrible.

Gretchen takes responsibility for the styling, saying that she was trying to save the crappy collection. Bitch, you were just praising it five minutes ago. Gretchen has gone completely batshit . And I get that some of this is just mental strain from stress, but this is bizarre and out of left field and she’s trying badly to save her neck. It’s horrible to watch, but I cannot look away.

And worse, after they all agreed to go down as a team and not name a loser, they decide to throw poor Michael C. (who, remember, cannot go home) under the bus. Gretchen butchers his sewing skills, and Michael’s eyes pop out of his head when Ivy says, “I don’t know if it’s lazyness or just ignorance” and No, she didn’t. She made the worst outfit out there. I hate these people right now.

Heidi totally calls out Gretchen for being a hypocritical bitch, changing her tune now that the judges have told her how much the collection sucked. Christopher and Andy, whom I’m suddenly terribly disappointed in, say nothing.

They continue to pile on Michael C. They all name him as the worst, and it’s obviously a desperate, cowardly way of not manning up and saying that it was Gretchen who led them all wrong. Only AJ admits to working on only one thing and not being great at it.

The judging is dramatic and amazing. Gretchen offers to go through the clothes so they can all say what they made. She calls her own dress “hideous and 80s.” Batshit. It becomes more clear that she had her horrible hand in almost all the looks, except for Ivy’s, which is easily the ugliest thing on stage.

They are finally dismissed and Nina looks like she wants to set Gretchen on fire with her eyes. The judges deliberate and continue to be appalled at Team Firecrotch, especially at Gretchen’s behavior. Kick her out. But no, everyone loves a villain and she brings the drama, which equals viewers. Send Ivy home for making the hideous vest thing. The judges are really disappointed, and for once, I agree.

Phew. Casanova wins, and that’s good, but I would’ve given it to Mondo.

Michael C is sent back, and he’s very hurt about how his team treated him. I’d be hurt, too. Ivy is safe, and I scream at my computer, because she should’ve been set on fire for what she did. Grr. And of course Gretchen isn’t sent home, but she’s finally in the bottom two, and I’m glad that the judges finally got over their inexplicable crush on her and saw her for the horrible harpy she really is. AJ is sent home, and though he wasn’t very good, he did not deserve the loss this week. It belonged solely to Gretchen, but as I said, she’s not going home any time soon. Every reality show needs a villain.

We go backstage, and Tim Gunn comes in, and he is furious. His rage is magnificent as he tells Team Firecrotch how completely disappointed and disgusted he is at their behavior on the runway. And you know that it takes a lot to get Tim to this point, and we all know he really cares about these people. It’s like your mom telling you she’s terribly disappointed in him. It breaks your heart and makes you feel horrible. And it’s wonderful, because they deserve it. I have never loved him more. He tells them how shitty it was that they let themselves be manipulated by Gretchen. He hates Gretchen. He tells AJ that his outing is completely unfair, and he doesn’t even look at Gretchen. Someone needed to call out this hag.

Ivy is even more horrible when she pretends like Tim’s words opened up her eyes. It’s bullshit. You, and your entire team knew exactly what you were doing. You saw Gretchen as the judges’ darling (and for that I blame the judges entirely for giving her so much undeserved praise), and you figured she wouldn’t be kicked out, so you did everything she did. She butchered Michael C. instead of blaming herself, and you went along with it instead of naming Gretchen as responsible, and you totally threw an innocent person under the bus. I don’t think he deserved his win, either, but he definitely wasn’t the weak link in your team. Let’s not forget that you ignored him during deliberations, and moreover, that his blouse was the only thing Georgina Chapman liked in your collection. It’s seriously appalling behavior, and I hope to God that it has some serious consequences. It’s definitely a game changer from now on.

In his parting interview, Andy says he’s only disappointed to not have left because of something he really believed in. No, you left because of The Retch. Chew on that.

It was exhausting and dramatic. Possibly the best episode of this show I’ve ever seen, in Reality Show terms. I can’t wait to see what Tim Gunn has to say about this on his blog, which has been sadly absent these past two weeks.


OK, I’d like some feedback from you guys. I know it’s very long, but do you like the really detailed format, or would you prefer a summarized version of events? Do you want more? Less? Is it good as it is? I really want to hear back from you.

And I know everyone has an opinion (almost universally negative) of Gretchen, so go crazy in the comments. Do you think Tim was justified in his anger? Does Gretchen have any excuse for her sudden turnaround on the runway? How unfair was AJ’s ousting, and how much did Casanova deserve the win? Take it!

Figgy is a displaced Honduran living in Dallas, TX, and she loves Tim Gunn. You can read more of her ramblings at her blog or follow her on twitter .

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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