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Now that we're mercifully past the halfway point of this prolonged shrug pretending to be Project Runway, let's evaluate what we've got. In the good column, we've got Heidi and her pin-voice still pleasantly stabbing us in the ear with random Germanisms after all these years. We've also still consistently got Tim Gunn (thank God). And we have a handful of sorta maybe interesting designers, namely: Epperson, Baby Brooke Hogan, Leatherpants Logan, and meek little meerkat Carol-Hannah. Oh how I wish we could just fast forward until their shows at Bryant Park (Irina would be the wild-card), but no, we've still got a long slog ahead of us.

In the bad column we have: Terrible and/or dull designers like Gordana, Greasy Peppermint Patty (who hates tacky things so much because he's projecting), Shirin (chirping can only get you so far), and Christopher (ugh, Christopher. If Nina were still on this show she'd say that she worries about Christopher's taste, because guess what? He doesn't have any). Also on the bad side we have the incredible ruining powers of Models Of The Runway, a largely drama-free cast of characters, and two giant black holes at judging where Nina Garcia and Michael Kors used to be.

Oh, and we can't forget the exceedingly dull challenges. I mean, "Design something blue for Macy's." Are you fucking kidding? What's the interesting element there supposed to be? Blue? When they were putting together this unfortunate season, was Lifetime under the mistaken impression that the program was only going to be seen by the isolated Quechua people who live high up in the Peruvian Andes, and who would be dazzled by the sight of blue clothing? ("Look, at these garments the color of the sky!" They'd remark to each other in their language.)  Because, you know, even the Quechua people have seen blue clothes before. Everyone has. I'm pretty sure the new producers of Project Runway are having a dull-off in coming up with these challenges. Next week: Make something yellow for Abercrombie!


So, yes, on balance, this season of Project Runway sucks. But let's get into the particular shade of suckitude of this episode, shall we? As stated above, the challenge—"Design two blue things for Macy's! Try not to fall asleep!"—was exceedingly, skull-softeningly dull. But if nothing else it taught us about what makes a great clothing brand: Macy's. "The best thing about the INC brand is that it's only available at Macy's," Martine from Macy's intoned. That's the best thing about it? That you can buy it in the same store where you can also buy stainless steel BBQ tongs and a mattress? Thank you, Martine from Macy's, for giving us all the key to determining the objective worthiness of everything: availablity at Macy's.  Important lesson learned.

Next, the designers all participated in a hilarious parody of that Project Runway 4 epsiode where they all had to pitch design ideas to Sarah Jessica Parker (Martine from Macy's played SJP), and Louise, Baby Brooke Hogan, Carol-Hannah, Christopher, and Irina were the "winners." The designers all paired off—which was a promising sign because team challenges sometimes lead to double eliminations and this season needs either two double eliminations or one quadruple elimination before it can become watchable again—and they all quickly set about making some of the most tedious, uninspired outfits in the history of Project Runway. Of course what else could they make? Their only guidelines were "Blue" and "Macy's."


Baby Brooke Hogan and Leatherpants Logan made an ill-fitting navy suit and an ill-fitting pair of wide-leg pants, but they were spared the bottom two because even though the crotch on those pants was clearly suffering from severe mental illness, there were other, more hideous happenings to consider.  Like Louise and Greasy Peppermint Patty's ruffle twins. I thought the navy sheath with the pale-blue-lined ruffle wasn't that awful, but the ice blue dress with the giant navy ruffle mess down the front just looked like a pinata had mated with a prom dress. Or, as Michael Kors put it, "Like a bridesmaid dress with a loofah down the front." Welcome back, Kors. But then there was the dream team of Epperson and Christopher who made a shiny teal balloon accented with lobster bib and leggings, and a shiny, oversized striped pajama shirt. Their creations were eight kinds of ugly, and Christopher definitely deserved to go home if for no other reason than he didn't realize that a shiny teal balloon accented with lobster bib and leggings was hideous. He didn't get eliminated though, because the double elimination was just an empty threat and only Louise was sent home.

Really, though, everyone should have been sent home for this challenge. Even the winning teams churned out cheap-looking, sub-Strawberry blahs. Carol-Hannah and Shirin's teal and black "day-to-night" look was really ho-hum and verging on tacky, while their teal tunic and leggings ensemble didn't bother verging and just went straight for Forever-21 bargain racks tacky. Irina won in part for her (and Gordana's) airy blue blouse, but mostly for her stripey, floaty maxi-dress, which was deserved because her designs were the only ones that didn't look like bluish nightmares.  But, really, it's a sad, sad day when a sad, tired maxi-dress like that wins a challenge on Project Runway. Especially considering they already did maternity wear once in this unfortunate, no good, very bad season.


Grade: D

Stray Observations:

—Tim is disgusted by leggings just like Greasy Peppermint Patty claims to be disgusted by ruffles, just like I am disgusted by Greasy Peppermint Patty's displays of "personality" and leggings!


—Of course the perpetually pregnant Heidi would wear Irina's stripey maxi-dress.

—"Blue was a tough challenge." Try again, Martine from Macy's.

—"I don't know what's worse the disco pumpkin or the shower curtain." It's a conundrum for the ages, Heidi.


—The return of Michael Kors was so satisfying, if only because he made Christopher cry. Although, I get the feeling saying, "That's not your best work" would probably make Christopher start crying. He's more sensitive than the bubble boy.