Project Recap: Surf's Whack on the Sandy Beaches of Runway. Alt Head: Water Bored.

I'm putting it all out there: I had to eat some cobbler and listen to the two-disc The Greatest Hits 1966-1992 by Neil Diamond (excluding "Heartlight," and repeating "You Don't Bring Me Flowers," naturally) to get this last episode of Project Runway out of my system. I'm not even exaggerating. 

But whatever. Basically, this episode just irritated me. The challenge to make a surfer chic outfit? OK, yeah, you're in L.A. We get it. Woo! Hoo! And it looked like those producers caught on that since they'd kicked off Alien Chick and Egg Boy a tad prematurely, they needed to kick up the drama between the remaining milquetoast personalities. Partner challenge! One person gets to be captain! At which point Mitchell Hall of the Bottom Twos picks Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman and said, "I wanted to work with someone that could carry me on this challenge." Foreshadowing much?

And things were too easy, so ... only 15 minutes in Mood! Eek! Which, by the way, was but the second time we got to see the dreaded, mono-monikered Epperson talk to Qristyl Frazier like she was the least intelligent, least favorite in-law he'd ever had to be in the same room with. Meanwhile, Mitchell was acting like the prissy spoiled brat -- yelling at Ra'mon to quit talking to other designers, pouting, acting like an ass. 

Thankfully, all that was interrupted by Tim Gunn. Heidi Klum and the judges threw down the (not-at-all) shocking "second look that's an avant-garde relative of the first look" challenge. One person got to go to Mood again, while the other labored away in the workroom. I'm not clear why Dallasite Louise Black didn't make that trip, over her partner Althea Harper, since Louise can obviously avant-garde anyone under the table, but I'm thinking Althea pulled the "I worked for Vivienne Westwood and I'm the team leader" card.

Ra'mon declared his avant-garde look inspired by a wetsuit and grabbed Neoprene. Mitchell actually said out loud that he can't sew a swimsuit. Epperson and Qristyl continued to drive me crazy by nitpicking and/or insulting and being overly defensive, respectively. I hadn't realized they were married until this episode. (Rim shot!) Nicolas designed an avant-garde look for a street walker, but I couldn't help but love him the entire show because he told Mitchell he'd help him pack when they sent him home and kept ribbing him about being in the bottom two again. 

After we found out that T-Gunny says "scuba suit" in the strangest and funniest way ever, Ra'mon decided he was going to change his look from Lycra super-hero body suit to hand-dyed Neoprene cocktail chic. He finished it in about a half hour, it seems. Turned out to be a good move, as amazed as I am to say that.

I'm honestly not really clear on what was going on with our local girls for most of the show, except we saw Louise working on something with black-and-white stripes, while Shirin Askari and her partner Carol Hannah Whitefield had a model shake-up when one of theirs dropped out of the competition. Workroom scenes were really limited to the dramatic duos and both sets of macrame twins: Johnny Sakalis and Irina Shabayeva, Nicolas Putvinski and Gordana Gehlhausen.

Even the runway was dull. I was disappointed we didn't get more feedback from Nina Garcia or Michael Kors fill-in Max Azria -- though he did call out Qristyl for being weak and Epperson for being overbearing. Actress and designer Rachel Bilson was a great pick for guest judge, what with her sportswear design work for DKNY. She was also just galaxies beyond Lindsay Lohan in terms of personal presentation and, you know, speaking ability.

The local girls' teams both had gorgeous designs, but were not on top because -- I think -- their casual and avant-garde looks didn't correspond as intended. Shirin and Carol Hannah's bikini and wrap, as well as their dark teal evening gown, were well crafted and sexy, but I don't know how they were meant to relate. Louise and Althea's striped and maroon bubble dress, as well as their cascading zippered formal, blew me away separately, but didn't work as a set. 

This season so far has been -- for the most part -- really boring with blurry glimpses of awesome, fugly and shithouse-rat-style crazy. This last surfer challenge added to that list judging panel insanity. Yellow Neoprene avant-garde made in 30 minutes beats macrame about which Max Azria said "Everything was right"? Seriously, that's your winner?

And you, Bilson. You were leaning toward my pick. I could tell. What gives, lady? As much as I hate to admit it, Johnny and Irina's slouchy tee and skirt would have been so comfy while lounging on the Summer Breeze. At least Mitchell is good and gone. After three episodes, I'm not even clear how he made it on in the first place, but at least he's gone now.

This week's winner made Wilonsky and me question our understanding of fashion. And sure, while we may have near-daily uniforms involving denim pants (I think ol' Mr. Diamond would call that "Forever In Blue Jeans," but I digress), we're faithful followers of certain designers and get giddy over leaked photos of Fashion Week. We shouldn't feel this way, damn it! This show should be better! Someone get me down off this standard-definition ledge! 

The only thing more upsetting? On Models of the Runway, Louise got her model stolen by Carol Hannah and instead of picking Valerie or Erica, she picked bitchy Fatma, the psycho who's so in love with Logan that when Mitchell stole her last week, she flipped out in front of the models, designers and Heidi. Why, Louise? Why?

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Merritt Martin
Contact: Merritt Martin

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