“Quite frankly, fashion is a tough, competitive business,” opined the ever-wise Michael Kors on last night’s Project Runway. And for the long (too long) 90 minutes, we saw this truism at work in the form of a highly backstabby team challenge to create a six-piece collection based on fall trends. Okay, so we’ve obviously watched enough (too much) reality TV to know that editing is responsible for our perception of certain characters. The producers want a clown, so they do montages of someone’s goofy laugh; they want a villain, and someone’s going to be forever labeled “that bitch on Project Runway.” So it was with a skeptical eye that we allowed our hatred of Gretchen to grow. She can’t be that bad, we thought, innocently, as she continually judged others, bossed weaker contestants around, and told people that they’re “just sensitive because [they’re] on the bottom.” Yet as this episode went on, and as her crimes against humanity piled up, we started to allow ourselves to believe that she is actually is a very, very, horribly bad person. And then — and then! — none other than Tim Gunn — sweet, real, darling Tim Gunn — called her out on her misbehavior in what was perhaps the most shocking moment in Project Runway history, like, ever.
It went down like this: Gretchen’s team lost; she proclaimed the judges were crazy — she still loved the collection — and that the team would stick together (“We stand united!”). And then she was the first to sell out Michael C.: “Michael’s technical skills were the weakest. So I had to work with him so much, that I had no time to focus on what makes me strong.” She then said that actually, having thought about it for 30 seconds, the collection was crap and “everybody sucked.” Then, after landing in the bottom two, she delivered this bomb: “I take responsibility for the things they called me out for.” OH MY GOD, SHE IS EVIL. We were prepared to end the episode on this very thought, until Tim swooped in and saved the day. He approached the group after A.J. was eliminated and said: “I don’t know why you allowed Gretchen to manipulate, control, and bully you. I don’t understand it. A.J., you’ve taken the bullet, and now I have to send you to the workroom to clean up your space.” Tim was fuming, his face was red, and Gretchen sat there (with her annoying bangs) in shock. He summed up our thoughts exactly, and delivered them better and more satisfyingly than we ever could have. Hurray for Tim! Gretchen responded lamely. “I’m not a manipulative person. And it really, really hurt my feelings to have Tim say that to me. I just wanted to help!” Um, yeah, sweetheart — help yourself. Best PR ending EVER!
Oh, right, the rest of the show. Well, there was the underdog team and the Gretchen team; the underdogs had to deal with Casanova’s “major major major diva moment,” according to Valerie. He needed a break after Tim said his lace top was matronly. “I’m even getting fat!” he wailed while lying on the couch. Fat he’s not, as far we can tell from the entire top half of his chest (nipples included!) exposed by his deep V-neck sweater. The underdogs were doing a lace/military inspired collection, while the Gretchens made a camel/menswear-as-womenswear line that was a total disaster. Also, everybody hates Michael C. Also, there is a scary, intense man named Peter Butler who works at Garnier and never blinks. Not once. Also, Georgina Chapman is really pretty. Duh. On to the runway!