And so we've arrived. We're at the point in theProject Runway season where the judges start aggravating us with their inexplicable choices. I wouldn't say they managed to infuriate me last night — not to worry, the fist-pumping, screaming-at-the-television phase will come soon enough — but I am ticked off and disappointed. Kelli leaves and Blayne stays. What kind of effed-up parallel universe is this?
On one side, there's Kelli, who won the first challenge with her wildly innovative Gristedes dress and has not been in the bottom since. On the other, there's Blayne, who landed in the bottom in episode 1 with his hideous Playboy Pampers and has since failed to create a single garment that one could ever call sophisticated, chic, or particularly well made. While Kelli's body-hugging, leopard-print-trimmed suit was far from classy — it kinda made you think of thatother kind of working girl — Blayne's outfit was inappropriately casual, too juvenile, and, overall, nothing a high-powered exec would ever be caught dead wearing to the office. And come on! Those walking shorts looked tight enough to cut off the poor model's circulation. I swear they were worthy of a ''that crotch is insane'' from Kors. Or at the very least, a ''those pockets are bat-s---!''
I'm not surprised by the outcome, mind you. As soon as Nina brought up the question of taste — her pet topic — I knew Kelli was toast. ''Slutty, slutty, slutty!'' chirped Kors. And when Heidi summed up the judges' critiques and told Blayne, ''We wonder if you can ever step out of yourself as a designer,'' which was really just code for ''You are a pain in the ass with moderate talent, but at least you didn't make an outfit for the Fall 2008 Heidi Fleiss Collection,'' there was no question in my mind that Kelli and her tattoos were goners. Still, it irks me that contestants who have nothing to offer but Big Personality continue to enjoy the comfort of the safety zone while others who screw up once but have more raw talent get the boot. And let's not forget that the judges had never called out Kelli for her supposed lack of taste before. To that I say, Boo! Booooooooooo!
Faaaaahhhwooomp! Ouch. I just fell off my soapbox. (Or did someone push me?) Okay, okay, let's get on with it. Last night's episode was exactly what we'd been told it would be: The designers had to make a garment for a glamorous professional woman. I'm not sure why the producers even bothered to try to drum up any suspense in the workroom before the big reveal when we all knew perfectly well that the guest judge was Brooke Shields. Giving away those kinds of surprises does hurt the show, and I'm beginning to wonder if the conspiracy theorists are right that Bravo is trying to sabotage Runway before it moves to Lifetime in November. Yet their strategy — if it is one — has not prevented Bravo from embracing NBC tie-ins: the Olympics last week and Lipstick Jungle this week. (It seems we'll be getting a reprieve from the corporate synergy next week, unless the Peacock has a new drag-queen show launching in the fall that I'm not aware of.)
After a 30-minute sketch period, Shields evaluated the designers individually, then chose six to lead groups of two. Wearing a leopard-print shirt herself, Kelli pitched a leopard-themed design, to which Shields said, ''It is the jungle!'' The actress wisely avoided choosing Stella, looking dubious as she pointed out to Lady Leathah that her Jungle character, Wendy Healy, ''still has to go to work in this.'' (''This'' translating to ''your skank gear.'') Yet shockingly, Shields did decide to go with Blayne. (Who, by the way, had bragged earlier that he had a leg up on the competition because some of his friends are married to musicians, just like Shields' Jungle character! Nice logic, Blayne. Let's see....My sister's girlfriend is a lawyer. I guess that means I'd know what kind of underwear she likes!) Choosing Blayne was against your better judgment, right, Brookie?
NEXT: Threads of violence