I love reading the recaps and comments after each episode. A couple of weeks ago I noticed that there was one particular voice on the Television without Pity boards that always cracked me up. It was Auntiemame.
So I approached her about writing a recap for this blog and she agreed! She actually had it to me last night, but I was too tired to post it.
I think you will agree that this is a fabulous story from a very talented writer. Enjoy!
Previously: The designers made day-to-evening outfits and designed matching display windows for Banana Republic. Zulema went apes**t on Kara. Diana and Marla created an outfit for a stewardess, who never brought Michael Kors that coffee he was waiting for. Nick said he liked Santino’s Asian concepts—no surprise from the man who created the Asiana Nights lingerie collection – but backtracked when the judges didn’t like the design. Chloe and Emmett created an outfit more fit for Bergdorf Goodman’s than Banana Republic. Daniel V. and Andrae win for their drop-waist 20s-type dress, and Diana and Marla are out, along with the high-waisted flowered pants that Marla is wearing for no obvious aesthetic reason at all.
Bygones! On to the present. Which is actually also the past since this all happened last summer. Anyway. We see Chloe packing up her stuff to move in with Kara and Zulema now that her roommates, Diana and Marla, are gone. Chloe says she would rather have her own space, but she’s lived with people before. She doesn’t think this will make it more competitive – “It’s been competitive from day one!” she says, adorably. Still, I question her attempts to win friends and influence people after I hear her intro to her roomies: “It’s me…They’re making me move in!” she announces. Santino congratulates Andrae and Daniel V. Andrae says they had a good collaboration as Daniel V. fusses adorably in several rooms with his thick, dark hair. A single room cannot contain Daniel V.’s obsession with his hair. But at least when it’s up we don’t see the greasy bangs.
The designers meet at the runway to get their assignments. Heidi says the designers will have to wait until the next morning to find out, and that this time will be devoted to model-picking. Daniel and Andrae, last weeks’ winners, choose to stay with their models. Leslie and Cara leave the runway. I swear Cara checks out Heidi’s ass on the way out. Okay, not really, but she looks at something critically, and it is south of Heidi’s face. I am glad to see Cara go, because she’s stiff and looks like she would be an ugly person on the inside.
In the suite, the designers get ready for bed and speculate about their new assignments. Nick asks, inscrutably and in an exhausted voice, “Can it be one of those outfits of people who pass out things?” What? Like a signboard? Santino hopes it's a bird or a chickensuit. He says he would love that. All you fans of foreshadowing out there can start nodding wisely at Santino’s feathery design for this episode. Zulema says with absolute certainty – the way she says everything – that she thinks they’re going to design for an airline. More Stewardesses?
Geekazoid comic-relief music plays as we see a postman with a dirty-old-man vibe who kind of looks like he should be wearing a trenchcoat. It’s lovable lech Robio from Season 1! Guys, did you know that this show had a Season 1? We never hear about it! At this point, even Daniel Franco, eating Ho-Hos at home with Michael Kors and Joan Collins, is like, “Him again?”
Rob is in the US Postal Service uniform that reminds us of the challenge that got him kicked off the show last year. Not that I’m complaining about his reappearance, but I’m wondering how that conversation between Rob and the producers went.
Producer: “Hey, Rob. Robbieee. Robiooo. [smiles greasily] Remember that uniform you designed that got you kicked off the show? Even though Wendy Pepper put her model in indefensible orthopedic shoes and flouted the divine Tim Gunn? Yeah, us too. Good times. So we want to remind people of that.”
Robio: “Dude, yeah! That would be totally hot!”
To me, his appearance raises a whole lot of questions. Why the Postal Service outfit? Is Sasha Cohen this year’s Postal Service? Because I thought she’d be more like this year’s Sarah Hudson or Nancy O’Dell. And if Sasha Cohen is this year’s Postal Service, is Emmett the new Robio?
There are no answers.
Anyway. Nick greets Robio, showing off some nice biceps and strong forearms. Nick has a very appealing, coy look about him as he’s talking to Rob. Gay men must just fall at his feet. I wonder if Nick already has his "requisite straight-woman buddy?"
I may run for that position, although I’d have to kill anyone familiar with my usual Santino-defending ways because you know Nick wouldn’t stand for that. Or I could secretly split my time between them.
Speaking of Santino, are you ready for his nipples? Because, shirtless and clad in a towel, he shakes Rob’s hand and almost undoes the towel. I guess the towel is to prove he takes showers. After the usual niceties, Rob says he has to continue with his route. We see him leaving packages with Chloe and one for Emmett..Rob greets Emmett by saying “Top of the morning to ya!” in a bad Irish lilt, because Rob thinks the U.S. Postal Service employs leprechauns. Emmett is very openly like, “And you are…?” It’s hilarious. "Oh yes...Mario..." Emmett is so clueless that Rob pretends to be Jay “Bitch is going to get stabbed” McCarroll and Emmett is like “Right!” He’s so dense. But he’s handsome. He looks like Lord Byron, I think, to Daniel V.’s Shelley. Anyway, Emmett mysteriously invites Rob in but we never see them rolling around on the floor kissing. Maybe that’s because it didn’t happen. But maybe it did.
Santino, still with nips out loud and proud and the towel a mere formality at this point, reads out the note that comes with the outfits. It’s from Tim Gunn, and it says, “Part one [of your challenge] requires you to outfit yourselves. Please get dressed and meet me downstairs.” Nick joins in on the last part. They all squawk and squee with suitable horror. Chloe jumps into her fuschia outfit, and says, adorably again, “I have no problem dressing like a fool.”
Not so for Nick, who was openly horrified with his lavender floofy top. He looks like the Dread Pirate Roberts at the Greenwich Village Gay Pride Parade. As he’s trying to get his outfit on, Nick fusses with his package quite graphically, and I think he’s wearing Superman underwear. Andrae is wearing a puke-green floofy top. Santino gets dressed under a towel, like the fat kid at the pool. Daniel wonders what Emmett will look like in his outfit. We see it. It’s hideous. Nick interviews derisively of Emmett’s outfit that Emmett is wearing a neon-pink blouson top with no v-neck. “It’s like International Male gone g-g-g-g-gay,” he says, hilariously. I love it when Nick brings the bitchiness. But Nick also says this while wearing the aforementioned lavender satin floofy top, forcing us to unwrap multiple levels of irony as well as open entire cabinets full of pots and kettles. I would generally agree with Nick here, but I am distracted by the small pixel fires Emmett’s outfit has ignited on my television screen through the radioactive brightness of the pink.
The designers come outside to meet Tim. They look absurd. Zulema is wearing a short pink thing with glittery spaceship-spaced gold eyeshadow that make her look like an interplanetary go-go prostitute. Kara is wearing a lime green and YMCA blue velour swimsuit-type thing with the skirt that the old ladies wear. It is hideous on her, making her look even more sallow than usual, and looks a bit like a Speedo. Santino is wearing a white shirt with those skater-man pants and a ginormous fur hat that makes his long face even longer. Tim Gunn sees him and yells out gleefully, “Doctor Zhivago!” About a million viewers go “No, Rasputin!” Santino vogues goodnaturedly, although you can tell by the look in his eyes that he knows Tim is enjoying this humiliation just a bit too much. Speaking of humiliation, it's nothing to what Emmett is going through right now. Emmett, wearing a white fedora and shiny sunglasses, perhaps to avoid identification, looks at Tim accusingly. Tim giggles and says with fake regret, “Emmett, they made me do it.” I feel this will have implications later for Tim and Emmett’s hot but unconfirmed man-love.
Emmett interviews that as the contestants drive away in the van, they look like the Lost Mariachis. He says this with the expression that my cat gives us whenever we try to give him the cat food he doesn’t like. The appalled glare of the overly dignified.
They get to their destination, an ice rink cheesily named The Ice House. They see Olympian figure skater Sasha Cohen. I see her with some trepidation. I remember her at the Salt Lake City Olympics standing next to President Bush, then calling her mother and making Bush talk to her mom on the cellphone, with bad reception and everything. So I am hoping she is less presumptuous these days. Nick calls her “THE Sasha Cohen” then immediately laments, “I’m standing ten feet away from Sasha Cohen in this tacky outfit!” Sasha tells them that the outfits have to stretch well so the panties stay on. We see a still pic of Sasha’s money shot during a high kick. It quickly becomes apparent that Nick is to Sasha Cohen as Santino is to Nicky Hilton. Boy cannot leave her alone for a second. The designers start skating on the ice with Sasha, and Nick starts gushing that he watches the figure-skating competitions and says, “look at Sasha, I love Sasha.” He says this, of course, to Sasha.
As the other designers skate around, we see Tim Gunn being not so divine as he wobbles and clutches the side of the rink. Tim is obviously a land mammal. It’s a little disconcerting. There’s something kind of regal about Tim. I think of him as Emperor of Chelsea, and Defender of the Textiles. But seeing him on the ice is like seeing him in a short silky kimono robe with knobby knees sticking out. Whereas I like to picture Tim Gunn fully dressed in a suit at all times, even in sleep.
Santino is enjoying the skating, which comes with lesson in what look like the ice version of the hokey-pokey from Emmett, who seems like the most experienced skater. We see a softer side of Santino when he says, “There’s definitely a healthy amount of competition in the workroom, but it felt like we were bonding [on the ice]. Too much competition is too much.”
The designers form a choo-choo on the ice at Sasha’s request. Hilarity ensues as Santino "accidentally" grabs Emmett’s butt and Emmett hikes up his pants rather huffily. Daniel V. is dressed all in black with some glitter on the front. He looks hot and dangerous.
The ice shenanigans end as Tim Gunn informs the designers that they have 30 minutes to sketch and two days for the challenge. Daniel V. says Sasha is small and shouldn’t have something heavy. Remember this when you see his heavy-looking design later on. Emmett says he thought about the midnight sky and sparkling stars for his design. Andrae wants her to be a dark princess, pretty but somewhat menacing. This says a lot about Andrae, I think. Tim, turning the screws, says they can’t change out of their outfits when they go fabric shopping. “So evil!” says Lavender Nick, with no credibility because: lavender.
It become clear that wickety-wack is our theme here. If it's wrong, our designers don't want to be right. Daniel V. admits he spent $50 on fabric, and $90 on trim. Zulema admits she has never used glitter or beading or anything. Of course – then all of those 80s Mugler power bitches wouldn't buy her clothes. We see Santino ominously rifling through long strips feathers. Chloe, in the Derrrr interview of the week, says that Rasputino likes to be ornate, and not everybody can carry that off.
Emmett, looking ridiculous, interviews that he doesn’t know how to use stretch fabric because he’s a menswear designer. Did you know that? I didn’t. Emmett, were you ever a menswear designer? You never talk about it! Daniel V. says in a nicely bitchy way that Emmett is not at the point where he needs to be to have his own womenswear line. Kara tries to instruct him, then tries to enlist Nick, who rebuffs her bitchily with, “I’m not teaching today.” Can you imagine the death threats if Santino said that? Yet from Nick it is only mildly curmudgeonly. Santino interviews that Kara is constantly asking questions of the other designers.
Chloe says she doesn’t think that Santino knows what he’s doing with the outfit. Nick says Santino is very talented and has a great eye, but goes overboard. Zulema says that the other designers knew right away that there was too much going on in the back of Santino's garment. They show Santino working on his garment, which as it stands in the close-up shot, has a proportion of 1:3 of fabric to wickety-wack feather trim.
Elsewhere in the workroom, Emmett whines, “ I never sew. I know how to, but I don’t.” The designers are supposed to use special machines, called overlock machines, to sew the stretch fabric. Sewing without these machines is like sewing with one hand behind your back, Andrae informs us. Zulema’s breaks and it needs a screwdriver. Andrae says, “off with her head!” in a ridiculous acccent because in his mind he is living in the Elizabethan version of Alice in Wonderland all the time. Andrae heroically takes time off from his project to try to fix the overlock machine. We see Andrae tinkering with the machine. Nick, working the diva bitch thing to death in this episode, snarks on Andrae behind Andrae's back: “He’s so dramatic!” Then he imitates him pretty hilariously. “It’s the end of the woooohld. We cannot use the overlawwck.” I secretly think Nick wants to be Santino with the imitations.
Andrae warns the other designers not to f**k up the machines. He says he wants everything perfect. I would have never guessed that Andrae was that high-strung.
We cut to the priceless moment of the episode as Santino, bent over the infamous overlock machine, squawks out, “She looks like a baboon’s ass EXPLODED ON HER BACKSIDE.” Which is funny because Santino is mocking himself as well as doing a spot-on impression of the farty Michael Kors. Nick is breathless with laughter. But also: Santino’s outfit looks like a baboon’s ass exploded on the mannequin’s backside.
Andre climbs onto his soapbox to address Nick, somewhat randomly: “I’m not against helping people, but I’m not going to help you at the expense of my own project.” This is about the machines. Nick picks his ear and looks away because Andrae is embarrassing, always.
Tim Gunn says that maintenance can only do so much about the machines, so the designers have to make them work.
The designers toil. Emmett talks about putting the sparkles on his outfit in a pattern reminiscent of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Zulema talks about feather shapes on white. Tim approves. Not so with Kara’s outfit. Tim warns her to be careful that there’s enough innovation. Daniel V snots that Kara’s outfit was very basic, “not in a Calvin Klein way but in a JC Penney way.” Daniel V. can be a bit of a jerk, it seems.
Tim looks at Santino’s design with open terror on his face. He says he’s conflicted about how to talk to Santino about the design. Translation: Don’t you dare go off on me, bitch, like you did for 90 minutes on the judges. Tim skips past the design ideas, apparently deeming any such help useless, and instead encourages Santino to think about his attitude on the runway. “Think about a way of responding to Michael and Nina that’s a little less ‘f**k you,’ Tim says. I am scandalized that Tim is cursing and clap my hands over my ears until I remember that everyone in New York City talks like a longshoreman. Santino says he’s going for a dramatic statement, like a "phoenix rising from the flames." I wonder if this is how Santino sees the story of his own life. Like, every day he’s being shot down, and then rising again from the ashes every morning. I think so.
Elsewhere in the workroom, Andrae, wearing his ball shorts, leaves the overlock machine. Kara sits down to use the machine, and it breaks. Chloe blames it on the machine, and Andrae nastily blames it on Kara. Santino, transitioning from a practitioner of Wickety-Wack to a Preacher of the same, half-jokingly advises another designer to “just start gluing s**t on.” Andrae look at his skating outfit and says it’s too Valley of the Dolls. I think it’s kind of Joan Collins, actually.
Santino admits he is at a loss with his outfit, and Nick, like Tim, encourages him to think about his defense. Nick interviews that the judges might say he missed the mark again in regards to the client. If you’re keeping track at home, that is exactly what the judges do say.
Later that night, the boys are in the suite. Nick says they’re in good shape. Santino, tired and destroyed with an arm flung over his eyes, asks, “Or do you think mine is f**ked up?”
No one answers. That makes me sad for Santino.
The Santino show continues the next morning. The designers seem to be discussing Santino’s often combative habit of Defending the Shoe. Andrae says to Santino, “you’ve become the designer it’s fun to f**k with.” I think he’s talking about the judges. Santino says when he gets on the runway, it’s like being back in the corner and his adrenaline starts rushing and he’s ready to fist-fight. He says that he can try to talk with the judges or eat them. He chooses to eat them. And, perhaps, eat some babies to refresh his palate. I am kidding! I like Santino. Although, at one point Santino yells at Andrae, “I WANT YOUR SOUUUULLL” and Andrae pretends to cower and cringe. I’m not sure if Santino know that the Vatican’s Exorcism department had to add a special dedicated “Santino” 1-800 number after he made fun of Diana and Michael Kors last week.
In the workroom, Santino explains that it’s crunch time at the one-hour mark and he just started adding stuff. His model objects to the design, which gives her a wedgie. He says his model should just sell it because he knows that he’s going to be called up there in front of the judges, and he’s going to tell the judges he loves it.. I like that Santino is self-aware, but I would have liked it better if he had made a design he could defend in good conscience.
The judging. Santino is wearing his Rasputin hat and Zulema is wearing her huge tinted sunglasses that make her look like Anwar Sadat moved into Grey Gardens. Heidi’s hair is doing a Veronica Lake wave and she looks cute. We find out that Sasha will wear the winning outfit at an upcoming competition.
Daviel V. is first. His design is all wrong. It’s either plum or burgundy (my TV is still sulking at Emmett’s neon-pink atrocity and I can’t coax any more color out of it) and looks like lingerie with some random sparkly stuff thrown on and a bottom that looks like bedroom-appropriate tap pants. Zulema is next. Her outfit is white and very revealing with a huge mesh insert in the middle and all sorts of curlicue things around the sides. It looks like a cannoli.
Zulema says her model looked like she was naked with sequins all over and she liked it a lot. I wonder what it is with Zulema and female nudity.
Kara’s is black with an asymmetrical shoulder and straight flapper fringe on the bottom. It is pretty and sparkly, but dark and boring. Emmett’s design is next, and I think it is absolute genius. It has a kind of silvery icy–branch design on the neckline and back that looks modern and elegant, and a little bit of Art Deco and Art Nouveau to it. The sparkly stuff is all over and looks nice, but it’s hard to see on a dark background. There’s a short, flippy skirt.
Andrae’s is a mess. It is shredded and has a few dark boa-feathers hanging off randomly, making his model look like a plucked chicken.
Santino’s is…unfortunate. It’s pink and red, with shredded skirt on the front and feathers all over the back. Feathers are crossed across the front in what I think is a really beautiful, clever design. But from the back it looks like the Chicken Lady from the Kids in the Hall. Santino says he could have made more of it if he had more time.
Nick’s is a whole lot of nothing – a lot of asymmetrical straps, hems, blah blah blah, all in neutrals. It is okay, but disappointing.
Chloe’s is made of diagonal layers of overlapping ruffled chiffon that would be a genius dress. It is in Chloe blue. Her model, Grace, works it by floating a piece of chiffon over her head.
Nick, Daniel and Andrae are safe. Andre? Huh?
Sasha says Chloe’s dress won’t flatter her shape because her figure is too straight and the dress is not curvy. Kors commends her on the color.
Kara says her model is 1920s and “all that jazz,” and she does a little hip shake and finger-snap to illustrate. Kors says it’s very Vegas and Bob Fosse, but it doesn’t feel like Sasha.
Sasha isn’t hot on Emmett’s. Anne Slowey says that it's too much “tootie,” and that makes it vulgar. If tootie means what I think it means, it’s Anne Slowey who’s vulgar. Kors says it reminds him of an old lady ice skater. I think she has a lunch date with barefoot Appalachian L’il Abner Barbie.
Then we go inot the judges conference.
Sasha likes Zulema’s because it looks like it would work on the ice. Kors says it’s sexy without being vulgar. I think they are both blind.
Heidi aks, "How do you like Santino’s dress?" Except she bites out the name, like “San-tiNO.” The way Jerry Seinfeld says, “Hellooo, NEW-man.” Sasha likes the ruching but says the back, with all the feathers, is big. Santino is trying to imitate the illusion of fire and flames, it seems. Anne Slowey, sharpening her bitch claws, says, “The back is like Carmen Miranda on acid.” Not unless Carmen Miranda worked in a chicken factory, sister. Kors says it makes no sense unless Sasha is opening a Thanksgiving pageant and the Indians were chasing the turkey. What? I liked it better when he said that think about the baboon’s ass. Oh, wait, that wasn’t him. Maybe all of Kors’ best lines will come from Santino. Kors says Santino is very conceptual, and is not looking at the woman involved.
That’s a pretty kind estimation.
The judges confer. They seem torn on the favorite. The judges seem to want Chloe’s design to win because it is clean and woman friendly. Sasha says some nice things about Kara’s design, but Heidi says there was no imagination to it. As for Emmett, Slowey criticizes his design as vulgar and dowdy, and Kors says that’s not easy to pull off. I would call it impossible, actually, unless you’re an idiot like Anne Slowey. Who is she again? Heidi shows all her cards on the Santino issue, saying boldly: "I am ready to give him his auf weidersehn!" She adds helpfully that Santino is crazy. Kors says Santino doesn’t listen.
Kara’s in. Zulema wins, and Chloe and Santino both look bummed. Chloe is in, leaving Emmett and Santino on the runway. Heidi calls on Santino. He responds sadly and hoarsely, “yes”? Heidi asks him what it’s going to take to get through to him about the busy-ness of his designs.
She moves on to "Emmeett" and says his designs don’t show much imagination. Emmett says goodbye. As he's leaving I think, "what an ugly shirt." Then he turns around and asks the judges, “Was it the shirt?” and freaks me out. Backstage, Nick is crying. Tim hugs Emmett. Emmett says some stuff about dreams and tenacity, but he says it so slowly I fall asleep as he’s talking.
Next week: drama! Intrigue! Santino designs something blue and sparkly and is called sharply to account by Tim. Zulema finally demands her damn walk-off,and Nick is not pleased. Jay is a judge -- and meets Santino in the clash of the PR titans. Auf Weidersehn!