Project Runway Recap: The Whole Heidi Debacle

After last week’s emotional rollercoaster of an episode (let’s hear it for Mondo, who told the world about his HIV-positive status and also won three challenges in a row — a Project Runway first!), any ensuing drama was bound to seem trivial by comparison. But last night’s drama really was trivial: Rumors involving Michael C., boob tape, and cheating were tossed around; a briefly reinstated Ivy threw a temper tantrum, for which she was karmically punished (we’d like to imagine, anyway) with a sewing object to the eye; and Gretchen, the least self-aware person in the history of not self-aware people, had the gall to complain to April of the recently dismissed Valerie that “It was always about what was going on in her head; I need to focus on me sometimes, too!”

But let’s start at the beginning. Heidi hits the runway, velvet bag in hand, and says the designers must change models, which means one girl will be eliminated. Whoop-whoop, no one cares. (Remember when Bravo tried to make that spin-off TV show all about the PR models? Hahaha.) What they do care about is the challenge: This week, Heidi is the client (groan), and she’s got a new activewear line for New Balance to push. The designers must create a look that would fit into her line, which will then be produced and sold exclusively on Amazon.com. The line comprises boring sweatshirts, boring off the shoulder tops, boring yoga pants, and boring hoodies. Did we mention the stuff is boring? Really, we’d give anything at this point for a circus challenge, or a dumpster-diving challenge, or a “Here’s a warehouse full of roadkill and old textbooks — go!” challenge — anything to alleviate the show from the doldrums of reality retail. Or in this week’s case, the kind of clothes you’d find wadded up in someone’s gym locker.

The one good thing, at least, with any Heidi-as-client challenge, is that she’s a total pain in the ass. To the point where you want to hit her. And last night, we were pretty sure Mondo might. After the designers “go go go” back to Parsons, as Tim says, Heidi pops into the workroom for a midway critique. But it’s when Heidi trounces on Mondo’s crop top, which he insists is a size six, that things get ugly. Heidi pulls the diminutive top off his dressform and forces it over her head in what is a bit of a Chris Farley in Tommy Boy fat man/little coat moment, and basically tells him it’s garbage. Mondo rolls his eyes, which Heidi calls him on, and things deteriorate from there. Tim stands back, watching the sparks fly with that signature knitted brow, while Heidi then tries to squeeze her head through another of Mondo’s pieces. “Maybe a little Yorkie can fit through that hole,” she quips, to which Mondo retorts, “Maybe I’ll dress my dog in it when I get home.” Heidi tells him there’s no reason to be rude, Mondo says he’s not being rude, he’s “being hurt,” and then goes off to sulk on the couches. Um, brat attack much?

Even unshakable Gretchen feels derailed by “the whole Heidi debacle,” and Mondo says he is “blocking her out of my life.” (Heidi, not Gretchen — though that would make sense too.) So just when you think Heidi can’t piss off the designers any more, she tells them she wants to see two additional looks. They’ll get 20 minutes to sketch, $200 more, and “extra help,” which, as Michael C. correctly guesses, is “the people who all hate me.” And in waltz Valerie, Casanova, A.J., Peach, Michael D., and Ivy, who, inexplicably, is wearing a shirt with her name sewn on it (for fear, perhaps, that the viewing audience at home might have already forgotten who she was?).

That’s when the real drama starts. Casanova only gets in one funny comment (regarding Michael C.’s orange and brown look, “It’s like a pum-kin pie of Tanksgiving wit a pecan pie on top”) before bitter Ivy goes on the warpath. “So Michael, how does it feel being almost to the end of the competition?” she asks in the sewing room — a seemingly innocent enough question which quickly devolves into accusations of cheating. It’s not entirely clear what he cheated on, but it had something to do with the dress from the Jackie O. challenge, fabric tape, and things that look like chicken cutlets and hold up boobs. (What, are the designers not allowed to use fabric tape either? Like EVERY OTHER DESIGNER on earth? Ridic.)

They get in an argument, Ivy calls him “low-class” for using the F-word, and Michael C., emboldened no doubt by still being in the game, rightly goes off: “You’ve been nothing but a bitch to me for no reason; I’ve done nothing to you….Be bitter all you want, okay, but I got here for a reason.” Ivy then pulls a round-robin, telling all of the other contestants that she “took one for the team” by calling out Michael C. Mondo isn’t having it (clearly she doesn’t remember that they’re besties now), and Gretchen, rather surprisingly, thinks Ivy’s drama is “counterproductive.” Then, in a brilliant editing sequence, Ivy is quoted saying she definitely believes in karma right as the camera cuts to something flying off the sewing machine and hitting her in the eye.

The rumor mill stops churning only after St. Tim comes in and lays it to rest: “As far as I’m concerned, there is no malfeasance; this is merely a case of he said, she said. The tangibles are the following: The judges saw nothing on the runway, I saw nothing in the workroom, and our many cameras saw nothing. So this is a case of a non-case. End of story.”

Oh, Tim. How we love thee. Now let’s go to the runway!

Project Runway Recap: The Whole Heidi Debacle