Thursday, January 26, 2006

Auntiemame's Recap of Episode #8 "Inspiration."

Previously: We learned the word "tootie."

What? There was other stuff?

Okay, fine. The designers made skating outfits for
cute-as-a-button Olympian figure-skater Sasha Cohen,
who has strangely lurid taste for one so young. Andrae
starred in his own dramatic gay-designer-fixit man
movie, "Brokedown Overlock Machine." Emmett, whose
elegant nature-inspired design was deemed boring by
the judges, was out for not having much imagination,
while Zulema's design -- a riff on the venn diagram
where subatomic string theory meets pedophiles who
like little girls not wearing very much -- was in for
leaving nothing to the imagination. Much to our
chagrin, we were reintroduced to annoying and
irrelevant Elle fashion editor Anne Slowey, who hates
"tootie," of which she has one, but has
infinite love for split ends, of which she has
many. But that was all nothing when we weighed
it against our overwhelming expectations for this
week, when Zulema gets her long-awaited walkoff, Jay
comes back to judge, and we get more of Santino's
brilliant Timpressions!

Onwards. The show opens with sepia-like shots of New
York - waterfront, buildings, prostitutes trolling in
DUMBO.wait, not the last one. I guess that's implied.
We go from sepia to AAAAARGH as we zoom to the suite
and see Hausfrau Zulema, in fuzzy slippers, a white
muumuu and big white towel on her head, looking about
one inch away from barefoot and pregnant. She
interviews that she's happy with the win, but she
doesn't want to get sidetracked. I have trouble
believing she hasn't already been sidetracked, unless
being filmed slobbing around in a muumuu was part of
her original plan. Santino, who since last week has
been grabbing pairs of animals and living things to
fill his Redemption Arc, is thankfully wearing street
clothes as he interviews frankly that his last design
was horrible and he's not taking any chances this
time. "I'm going to do my best and see where it gets
me," he says, and I love Santino, but I have to say
this thought is long overdue from him.

The designers meet Heidi at the runway to get their
instructions for the next challenge. She is wearing a
brown dress with those intergalactic Star Trek
shoulder wings in a complementary color, and her hair
is pulled back with a rake-y headband, and generally
gives the impression that she is about to bear Captain
Kirk's child.

The Zulema Show begins. Zu is given the option to stay
with her model, Rachel, or take Shannon, Emmett's
model. Zu, eyes glittering mad with power behind her
crazy cat-lady sunglasses, can barely contain
herself as she says "I today am going to choose to
change models." I today? It must be the runway,
because she didn't talk like that only fourscore and
seven years ago, she was wearing a fuglacious muumuu.
Daniel V., who is looking impossibly hotter each and
every week, interviews in the preview clip heard
'round the world, "It was a motherf****ing walkoff!"
He delivers it with a little head shake and a cute
attitude that makes me think this what Daniel V. must
be like in real life, as opposed to the drugged and
mostly silent creature he is on the show. Back to Zu.
She is wearing earrings that are roughly the size of
Saturn's moons.

The models walk. They pretend to be handicapped.
Danyelle looks bored and walks like she's affecting a
club foot. Tarah slumps her shoulders and throws her
body around sloppily on the turn, although even this
will not foil Zulema's evil plan. Shannon, who has the
best chance of being out, walks for her life and looks
sharp. Zu chooses Tarah, who frowns, and then Zu turns
back to say she's sorry to Nick, who gives her a
grief-stricken "bitch, please" look. Rachel looks
crazy sad behind her crazy Tammy Faye Bakker eye
makeup, and Nick interviews that he felt like he was
going to throw up. Nick theorizes that Zu always knew
she wanted Tarah, and snarks that she just did the
walkoff for drama. Remember this as Nick recreates the
entire plot of an unnamed Greek tragedy in this

Zu interviews meanly that she changed models because
Rachel CANNOT WALK. The same Rachel she told us before
was hunchbacked. One of my friends has a favorite
quote that goes, "the man who is brutally honest
enjoys the brutality just as much as the honesty."
That's your Zu, right there. Nick interviews that
Rachel was very angry, and looking at him like, "I
can't believe this bitch did this." To which Zu
interviews to an absent Nick, "do a good job and NEXT

The designers go to visit Michael Kors at his studio,
which we last saw when he was outfitting the Apprenti. The
theme is inspiration. Kors talks about the inspiration
for his latest line, who is one Doris Duke, the
heiress who moved to Hawaii and married a surfer. Kors
says that inspired him to think of Hawaiiana in the
40s, and wonder, if Doris Duke is around today, what
would she pack? Hmm.You be the judge:

Kors shows them a color board, and it looks the
Pantone color chart for Fug. Andrae nods intensely and
looks strangely hot. Michael Kors hands out cameras so
they can take pictures of New York for inspiration.
They are uniformly horrified at this, and, look,
you're not really going to run into those prostitutes
in DUMBO, okay? Besides which, I'm pretty sure Marla
is making their clothes these days. Kara is so stupid
right now. She looks like she's watching a car
accident. What did the editors not show us? Did Kors
ask them to beat puppies and drown kittens?

The designers snap pictures. Nick, Kara and Chloe take
pictures together. Santino and Zulema go on their
own. Zulema is wearing a tied yellow cotton top over a
white tank top, and it looks like she stole Big Bird's
swaddling cloth. Daniel and Andrae walk together,
because Andrae has not yet given up on getting into
Daniel's pants. Santino lies on his back to get a
picture of a wrought-iron gate and also photographs
some nicely color-coordinated graffiti. Chloe says
she takes her inspiration from buildings and lines
and stuff and doesn't want to "mess with people." I
find it annoying that she says that. I think too many
of the designers this season are open about not being
able to relate to people. And this goes back to Anne
Slowey's "tootie" comment and Michael Kors' horror at
last year's "boobies." If you can't deal with people
and their bodies, and can't find any beauty in them,
then don't go into a profession where you have to make
clothes for them or tell them what to wear, okay? Go
design buildings or make widgets.

Kara, in one of her most tiresome speeches, says she
was compelled by a "Danger! No trespassing" sign. I
can't believe that Kara is that banal. She sees New
York and thinks it is all about restrictions. Is she
counting the strait jacket she is destined to wear?
She calls NYC a "crazy, crazy place," and she says
"crazy" like she does in the credits, so: shut up,

Zulema, walking down the street is inspired by a
large woman in traditional red-and-yellow African red
dress, and I have to admit the woman looks awesome.
Nick is inspired by a fabric design involving a cross
surrounded by swirls. Nick, trying to work through the
model issue at all times, implies that karma
will get Zu. Yes, that's what the song says. Either
karma or rhythm is gonna getcha. The designers start
to head back. Andrae is in awe at the picture of the
woman flipping Santino off. "How'd you get
that?" he marvels. Yeah, that must never

Daniel V.'s inspiration is an orchid. Because no one
in the history of art of fashion has ever looked at a
flower, and thought, "that is pretty! That inspires
me!" Andrae picks a picture of gutter water in the
sunlight and interviews, "I like to take something
that's humble or lowly and ugly and apply the charm
gun to it." That's funny, because he did exactly the
opposite last week. Nick says despondently that he's
more inspired by his models than anything. Nick?
We get it. We see Nick looking petulant, and he
interviews that his mood made it difficult to focus.
Jesus H. Christ. Get this boy a Prozac.

Tim comes into the workroom and tells them it's time
for some tough love. This is exactly the opposite of
what he always tells Emmett, which is usually about
tender, tender love. Then Tim says what we have all
been screaming in our heads for the past 7 episodes:
that the designers' work has been lackluster, and they
really need to wake up. This part is so good, they
play it twice, once before and once after the
commercial break. He tells Daniel that he always
excites him in the early phases (too easy? Yeah, too
easy.) but loses momentum and falls short of his
potential. He tells Chloe that if she doesn't push the
envelope and step out of her comfort zone that people
will say she's one note. (I guess those people are me.
For the past four weeks.). He tells Zulema that she
needs to take risks, which she takes as an opening to
launch into a speech on time management. Tim
interrupts her and says, fabulously, "the judges don't
care." Also, Zulema is a hypocrite, because she
informed us early on that she never misses a deadline.
She also never misses a chance to make a broad
generalization that is also false.

Tim goes on. Kara has not won a challenge, and needs
to do work that you can't buy on Madison Ave.
Actually, I think JC Penney is on Queens Boulevard.
Tim tells Santino that he, alone, is in serious
jeopardy, and Santino interviews (tearfully?) that Tim
is right. Tim tells Nick and Andrae that they need to
be ambitious. Nick gets all snotty and
ghetto-unfabulous in an interview and says he has been
ambitious, and that Tim's comment is just a slap. It's
good to see that Nick can take criticism like an

Nick later pouts that Tim's criticism was last straw,
and he's over it and over the whole show, and a part
of him just wants to be done with it and he's taking
his marbles and emptying his sandbox and going home.
And I know they're tired and the exhaustion and
frustration is written on all their faces. But also:
dude, get it together.

The designers get $100 dollars and 30 minutes at mood.
Daniel's inspiration is Japanese sleekness. Tim says
that's exciting, because no one has ever thought
of doing Japanese sleekness before and also
because Tim is starting to auditon Daniel to be the
new Emmett. Dan picks out a pretty tweed and a
gorgeous champagne organza. Santino finds fabric with
the exact colors of the graffitti. Zu says once more
that she has time management issues, and then says to
Tim in her absolutist way, "I don't work with darks,"
as she contemplates a garish red fabric that has
nothing to do with the awesome African woman and
everything to do with a misdirected shipment from
Ugly-Ass MuuMuu R Us. We see a shop employee
hilariously scurry out of the shot at the cameraman's

Nick asks Tim for advice on color because he has to
design for a blonde model. Tim is surprised, and Nick
says, exactly as if he's five years old, "Zulema took
my model!" Mommy! Daddy! And then we see a really ugly
side of Tim as he goes really conspiratorial with Nick
and bitchy on poor Rachel, and says she's like an
elongated marshmallow with Gumby legs and is a stiff
walker. Honestly, now. Honestly. That is not
divine. And I also wonder at the undercurrent Tim is
supporting here, which is the assumption that
Rachel's poor modeling skills are okay for Zulema, but
a disaster for Nick?

Daniel V. says that he has a close relationship with
Nick, and he realized that the walkoff broke him down.
Nick whines yet again that he's done with the show,
and Daniel V. speechifies "go home because you deserve
to go home, not because of some technical detail." And
here it gets interesting. Nick says, "it's not just
that, and you know it. I don't want to be here."
Daniel says, "I know," and I wonder what they are
talking about, because it's about a 98% chance that
it's something we haven't seen. Nick interviews that
Daniel gave him a speech, snapped him back and read
him. As he leaves, Daniel says, I love you. Nick mews
back the same. Nick is re-energized and ready to show
what he can do.

The designers cut and work. Their fabrics, so far,
look awesome.

The designers eat falafel, and Zu sits apart. Like,
far apart. She's sitting in an armchair, eating alone
while the other designers eat around the table. It's
hard to tell whether they're freezing her out or
whether she's isolating herself. She interviews that
she doesn't understand the others, and they look at
her like they're watching her and they think she's
sheisty. "And I'm not sheisty!" she insists. Then,
sheistily, she says, "If I win tomorrow, I'm I'm
going to switch models, and if I win the next time,
I'll switch models again. And again and again." Yeah,
I wonder why they don't trust her.

In the suite that night, Santino, lying on the floor,
asks Nick if he is okay. Nick, still talking like
Martin Lawrence doing Shananay, which he seem to do
when he's annoyed, admits that he wanted to "cut"
Zulema after the model thing.

In the work room the next day, Santino does some
brilliantly hilarious Timpressions, all in a row:
"Daniel, I think what what you've created is
delicious. Designers, rock the casbah. Designers, up
until now, you've all f***ing sucked. However, go out
there and kick butt!" Daniel V. confesses that when
he's feeling down, he asks Santino to imitate Tim. I
would like to keep Santino on retainer. Tim walks in,
we get a needle-skipping sound from the editors, and
Andrae is, of course, horrified at the close call. I
personally think Tim heard Santino, and we will
address that shortly.

Tim marvels that Santino's design is in a different
zone. I guess he means out of the handicapped zone,
where Santino's design was parked last week. Tim,
seeing Kara's so-pathetic-it's-poignant design
involving police tape and some stretch fabric,
cautions Kara not to be literal-minded. That ship has
sailed, brother. He tells her there's a fine line
between being funny and being witty, and that very few
people can achieve the wit rather than being a joke.
He says this very loudly and very earnestly, and I
think this is a not-so-secret slam on Santino, because
you can just tell Tim is furious with his impotence
about stopping the Timpressions. But also, I think
this is the way Tim sees himself, as understated and
witty, and he likes to draw laughs, and I think it
drives him crazy that Santino draws more of them, and
at his expense.

Nick describes his design, which is bias cut, and Tim
freaks him out by reminding him how much of it depends
on his model, and all Nick can do is nod and agree
furiously, trying to desperately stop Tim from going
on, because come on: Nick knows this and the
boy is on the verge of a breakdown because of it, and
all Tim is doing is manifesting all of Nick's dark
fears right out loud, and Nick is going crazy trying
to stop it, and in some societies there are taboos
against mentioning the name of the devil, and this is

And now, right here folks, is where Tim Gunn loses me
forever and ever.
Tim approves of Daniel V.'s design, and Dan makes some
vague flapping motions and says (highly bitchily) that
he can't stop touching his design, which is the result
of something he calls The Santino Effect. Tim says
with loud and incredible cruelty as
Santino is in the room
, "don't get seduced
by the Santino Effect or we'll all
crash and burn." A. All of us? Really? And
2. Shut up, Tim. It gets worse when Tim,
in the most two-faced way possible, pretends to spot
Santino and says so fakely, "Oh Santino! You're
there! I meant it in the nicest possible way!" Which
is false, because Tim knew Santino was there, and now
Tim is openly playing favorites. Can't Tim pick on
somebody his own size? Why not pick a fight with
Michael Kors, who is roughly his age, rather than try
to break the spirit (repeatedly) of a designer who is
trying to find his way? Santino is crushed, and sadly
mutters, "this is how you talk about me when you think
I'm not around." And Tim, on a roll, cheaply lies
again and says "No." Tim has a sadistic streak.

The designers whine about the time constraints some
more, with Daniel V. calling it the Ironman Triathlon
of fashion. So are we going to see Daniel V. in a
form-fitting bodysuit? No?

Tarah whines that she didn't like Zu's dress or design
and that Zu smells and has cooties and kisses boys.

Tammy Faye Rachel, looking ridiculous with her Cabaret
transvestite eye makeup, says Nick is her favorite.
Rachel does a slinky walk and Nick falls all over
himself and her, yelling and jumping, "thank you thank
you thank you." I think he is thanking God more than
Rachel right now. Nick interviews that Rachel is "my
my new muse!" He doesn't add, but clearly implies,
"call me every five minutes!" Tarah, seeing this, runs
over to Nick in her undies, all, I never liked her,
I'm only pretending to be her friend because she
promised me brownies and see you at cheerleading
practice tonight.

As the designers scurry around the hair and makeup
room, we get a bonus Timpression: "Andrae, your
garment doesn't' have a back on it." Love. LOVE.

Time for judging. Heidi has stopped getting it on with
Captain Kirk and she is in a drapey top and has
windblown hair. She introduces the judges, which this
week includes superstar Jay from last year. Jay looks
exactly the same as always, but with a hat.

Andrae's design is the first, and it's actually pretty
gorgeous. It's in a flowy stormy-gray silk with
pebbly sparkles on one shoulder a sunny light blue

Kara's design is just as fatally dumb as we expected
from her workroom experience.

Santino's design is pretty, but looks like a less
constructed version of Austin's gorgeous Nancy O'Dell
gramy dress from last year. The skirt is gathered high
around the waist so you get a very medieval-virgin
sort of Empire line.

Daniel's is a poofy champagne organza top over a tweed
pencil skirt. It makes his model look like an apple on
a stick.

Chloe's design is a pleated top, a banded waist and a
slightly pleated bottom that flows out at an odd
angle. There are three or four sloppy bands of random
color. It's very Tootsie circa 1983.

Nick's is a draped top in black and white fabric that
is exactly the same as the top he designed for the BR
challenge. It has nothing to do with his inspiration
except that it is black and white.

Tara comes out in Zu's ugly red JC Penney dress.

Judging time. Nick greets his model with a smile and a
kiss. I guess his boo-boo is all better.

Heidi says with fake meanness that the first designer
she's going to grill is Daniel. Daniel explains his
design, which has gorgeous pleating around the waist.
Kors says he's happy she picked something genuinely

Jay says that Chloe's inspiration was really
geometric, while Chloe's design, not so much. Chloe
mutters something about time constraints - we haven't
heard that one yet! - and Jay says, "oh honey look,
I've been there, so don't tell me that." Nina concedes
the dress does not have to do with the inspiration,
but it's a nice dress. And here is where see once
again the Pimping of Chloe Dao, because the challenge
was not to create a nice dress, but one that had to do
with the inspiration. Offstage, Chloe pushes a baby
carriage into traffic and the judges think it's cute.

Kara, with wavering voice, starts littering the stage
with cow patties to the effect that New York is a
standoffish city, while I think, irritably, it was
apparently not standoffish enough to keep her out.

She adds that there are many signs that tell you
to "post no bulls." I think that's Pamplona, actually.
Jay calls her out and says her dress doesn't match her
talk. Kara says simplicity has its voice, and that
her dress speaks volumes. Yes, and it says "I have no
taste," and also, "post no bulls."

The judges like Andrae's dress,which Heidi says looks

Nick says his inspiration was Paris Hilton, strolling
down the beach with her Greek boyfriend in Mykonos.
Which is funny, because move it to Capri and you have
the story for his Barbie design! And also: just
because Nicky didn't buy your chicle doesn't mean that
Paris will. Jay and Heidi scuffle irrelevantly about
the creation of fashion back-stories. It makes me sad
that their relationship is so on the rocks now.

Nina complains that Zu has three badly-constructed
designs so far. Kors says her design reminds him of
the trashy debutante in town in the red dress, whose
mom is a bad home seamstress. Zu flounders
pathetically, stopping and starting, and in one
stunning acrobatic move, almost blames it on Tim Gunn.
Nick smirks, obviously seeing Zu's struggle as karma.

Jay calls out Santino's design as the exact same dress
as Austin's Grammy Dress for Wicked Orange Witch of
the West Nancy O'Dell. Heidi complains that it looks
like the model is hiding a big butt. Michael Kors says
he knows people who could use that. This is why I like
Santino. Because his clothes are sometimes crazy, but
his silhouettes are Woman to the 1000th power, with
the big pannier hips and the crazy stick-out
bubble-butts, and the breasts that are supported by
actual fabric rather than being left to flap in
formless halters. Santino, in his head, is always
either designing for Marie Antoinette or the Venus of
Willendorf or that happily ba-dow! fat woman on the
beach at Rio, and I find that much more compelling
than trying to make all women look like the same
halter-dressed hipless non-breasted Stepford Wife that
Chloe, Nick and Emmett have been cooking up in a back
room using plant mucilage, a bunsen burner, and some
solvent. Santino points out that he is trying to do
better, and Kors says, "I find it hilarious that you
think that you're going to win this competition at any
point no matter how much you grovel," but he says it
in his head and out loud he says he tips his hat to
Santino for pushing himself past his usual thing.

The judges discuss. Chloe's is deemed to be too
unfinished. Kors goes off on Kara's design, deeming it
ridiculous that she gave a 45-minute explanation for a
tube dress with a piece of tape wrapped around it. I'm
saying. Kors also pronounces himself ready to scream
if he sees another fishtail hem. Me and you both,
brother. I'm really feeling Kors right now.
Jay likes Andrae's dress, or maybe his demeanor, and
Kors loses me by saying Daniel changed your eye and
changed the silhouette. Later he says that orchids and
water on the street are new and different things to
take your inspiration from, and once again I have to
turn on the Hubble telescope to see where Kors is
coming from. No one takes their inspiration from
orchids? Is he serious?

Kors pronounces himself a Dan fan, but it's no use:
Dan will never let you into his pants. Heidi wishes
that Santino had Santinoed his design up a bit more.

The final decisions. Chloe and Nick are in, followed
by the winner, Daniel, who comes backstage and gets a
kiss from Nick - a real kiss, so that Chloe is
embarrassed and looks away. Andrae and Santino are in.
Zu is out, Kara's in. Nick is delighted to see Kara.
Zu is all John Waters in tight jeans and a sloppy
orange top. She says that she and the other designers
will stay in touch and that they are friends, which is
exactly the opposite of what the armchair scene would
have us believe.

Next week: another field trip, and hopefully, more
Timpressions for-evah! Auf Wiedersehen!


Anonymous said...

Yes, I'm a bit late reading this...

..but I just want to say WORD to much of what you've said. Particularly the bits about Santino's dress (all hail the designer who doesn't think women need to wear form-fitting dresses--as if it's anyone's damn business what kind of body they've got under there), and about the bloody orchids. ORCHIDS. Come on, Kors, are you seriously telling us that FLOWERS are not the oldest inspirations in the book?

Great recap.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious recap! Really brilliant.

May said...

I'm wondering if Auntiemame has seen Tim Gunn's totally unforgivable, borderline cruel comments regarding Santino, in the "Ask Tim" section of Bravo's PR website.

Anonymous said...

Yup, [b]pinkogrrrl[/b] I've seen the Ask Tim thing. (I keep up with Television Without Pity and saw the link there). I didn't like those comments. I wouldn't call them "unforgivable," but they certainly were surprisingly harsh. Perhaps there's a lot more we're not seeing? Or maybe the producers are putting Tim up to defining the villains and the heroes of the show, and his attacks on Santino are part of that? I can't really make it out whether the apparent tension between Tim and Santino is real or created, and why it would be so in either case. I really feel for Santino, though, having to read those things about himself. That sucks.

Anonymous said...

Hrm, does anyone else think Auntiemame is overly negative and cynical? Some parts are funny, and you're a great writer, but wow, very cynical and a lot of projection.

LauraK said...

Yeah, we like her like that!

Anonymous said...

[quote]Hrm, does anyone else think Auntiemame is overly negative and cynical? Some parts are funny, and you're a great writer, but wow, very cynical and a lot of projection.[/quote]

I think so too! What's her story, anyway?

Kidding. Sort of.

Well, it's a little meta to comment on my own comments, but: I guess the short explanation is that Laura and I met on Television Without Pity, and I like and enjoy the "without pity" part, as I have basically since birth. Sometimes over there the snark is so sharp you could cut your hand on it. So my only goal when writing these is to keep them as entertaining as possible for Laura's readers and maybe sparking some discussion. Somtimes that means sacrificing sentences that would comfort the participants in their old age.

Also, I don't want the cynicism, which I hope to play for laughs, to overshadow one key thing: IMO this is the best show on TV, with the wittiest and most talented people to grace our pixelated cable-TV screens. I am an avid fan, and if I mock the show, even though it may be with varying degrees of success on my part, I hope it is in the same spirit of united and loving fashion-b***chiness that rules the program itself. I try to mock behavior more than people, and distribute the snark evenly among the characters as it strikes me. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes perhaps not. But none of my mockery comes from dislike. If you get down to the core of it, I like all the participants and I have a lot of respect for their talent.

Actually, now that I think about it, the recaps are kind of like my love letter to them, really. Except the kind that's written with choppy, cut-out letters from magazines and pasted on torn looseleaf paper. With no return address.

This blog has amazing, intelligent readers and I love reading all the well-thought out, funny comments with every single opinion. And I send my continuing love to our kind proprietress, the ever-tolerant Laura, for creating such a great site.

And that's all I'll say about all of that meta-stuff, forever and ever. I won't darken the recaps-comments doorstep again.