make it work

Project Runway Recap: Otherwise Known As the ‘Everybody Hates Gretchen’ Episode

Now that bowlerhead Jason and his hideously pinned “infinity” dress are gone (no doubt karmic retribution for insulting Tim), designers and viewers have a new target on which to cast their ire: Gretchen, she of constant, often uninvited advice; arrogant but not unfounded proclamations (“I am a force to be reckoned with”); and, sigh, back-to-back wins. Every time the camera turns around, there’s Gretchen, offering her two cents at some other designer’s workstation, in front of the Piperlime Accessories Wall, in the checkout line at Mood … we’re surprised she hasn’t instructed the PR crew on how they should be holding the boom mike.

Anyway, for this week’s “unconventional” challenge, the designers meet Tim outside Party Glitters, a cheapie-tacky party-supply warehouse. This kind of a challenge is PR bread and butter, of course, having taken place in previous seasons at hardware stores and grocers. Tim warns the designers to stay away from tablecloths, wrapping paper, and other fabriclike materials that might make their lives not a living hell. Gretchen whines, “A party store is like Cheeseball City, and nothing about my design aesthetic is cheeseball”; AJ is in cheeseball heaven; and Casanova indignantly cries “I’m not able to make a dress with bullshit! It is not flattering!” before grabbing a bunch of stuffed dogs off a shelf in a moment of epiphanal clarity. In the video clip below, you can see exactly what Casanova does to those poor “pah-lush puppies,” which he claims to love but then savagely strips of their pelts and guts on the workroom table. Tim shows up with a twist — the designers’ models have picked out more party-supply materials, from which the designers now need to fashion a last-minute accessory — and then spends a good 45 seconds giggling over the words animal wooly balls with Kristin. Best of all, he tells Peach, everyone’s favorite mom, “You’re really tight; it’s like you have a piece of coal up your rear-end. I mean, honestly. Make it into a diamond and pull it out!”

After the judging, some semi-exciting, stew-room drama ensues, wherein the designers on the bottom try to rationalize their mistakes, the on-the-top-again Gretchen attempts to interject, eye-rolling commences, AJ tells her “You talk all the time,” which isn’t entirely inaccurate but funny because earlier in the episode Michael C. said “AJ. Please. Stop. Talking. Try it. Five seconds. So simple,” and then Gretchen smugly observes “You’re just being sensitive because you’re on the bottom.” Zing! More head-shaking and Gretchen-loathing ensues.

Ultimately, Heidi, Nina, Michael, and special guest judge Betsey Johnson had another “tough decision” to make, choosing between a cut-and-paste hack job, a cracked-out Barbie Girl dress, and what the judges could only describe as a tacky “parade float.” Let’s see which of the fourteen contestants got the boot, shall we? To the runway we go!

Project Runway Recap: Otherwise Known As the ‘Everybody Hates Gretchen’ Episode