“Project Runway,” Ep. 13: If we talk about this for too long, I’m going to cry.
Liftetime. If you’d like me to keep watching a 90-minute episode about who’s going to make it to Fashion Week, do not — DO NOT — run a commercial at the 54-minute mark, SHOWING three designers at Fashion Week.
Seriously. This is the worst editing of all time. (In the history of reality fashion shows.)
But I’m kind of relieved to have something to be indignant about because otherwise I’d just be sitting here crying. This was the most heartbreaking episode of the season. Yes. Even worse than Mondo and his HIV-positive fabric. Mondo, despite everything he shared in that episode, knows who he is. He’s confident and seems at peace with himself.
Michael C., who was relentlessly bullied all season long, was not ready to go home tonight. His confidence and self-respect and hope for the future hinged on going to Fashion Week. And when the judges eliminated him, Michael broke down completely. Thank God Tim Gunn was there to hug him. (I think that Tim Gunn’s hugs must be twice as potent as any other person’s hugs. Hugging Tim Gun is probably like hugging both of your parents at once.)
It’s been strange watching this season against the backdrop of gay suicide and bullying. Mondo, and tonight, Michael, have talked about being rejected by their families because of their sexuality. And Tim talked openly of being bullied in his It Gets Better video. You couldn’t watch this season of “Project Runway” without thinking about how many of the designers are gay and how that’s shaped them.
Tonight, when Tim went to visit Michael, his parents were nowhere to be found. But his friend (boyfriend?) Richard was there, telling Tim that Michael’s parents cut him off when he came out. Or, rather, when Richard outed him to his family. That’s how Michael put it, which made me hope that Richard wasn’t his boyfriend. Michael also revealed that his parents said they’ll accept him if he gives up fashion and gets married “again.”
It makes sense now why Michael is so untrained. He’s spent his life denying his talents and himself. Remember that photo from earlier in the season, of Michael in his underwear? He’d been wearing a dress, but his mother made him take it off …
By the end of the episode, it was clear that Michael believes his parents might accept the real him if he’s successful. Getting to Fashion Week meant everything to him.
Tim did get to meet with Mondo’s family. His parents still seem uncomfortable with his sexuality and his disinterest in baseball, but they’re all eating dinner at the same table with Mondo and his boyfriend, Ben, so it seems like they’re trying.
Mondo is Mexican. I don’t know why this surprised me. I’ve been thinking a lot about the designers’ sexuality, but I was clueless about their race. (Andy is from Hawaii, but his family immigrated from Laos.)
Anyway, Mondo described his collection as a marriage between the Day of the Dead and a creepy, old-timey Mexican circus. I almost wish he wouldn’t have said that because it made me expect a lot more from his collection, which I thought was just OK.
I don’t have much to say about any of the clothes. Andy’s stuff was shiny and short.
Mondo’s was printy and less colorful than usual.
Michael’s was overwrought, but I thought his colors were gorgeous and that his final look made his model look supernatural.
And Gretchen’s? I thought it was awful. Sad animal prints and too-shiny green leather.
The judges called it granola and hippy-dippy. Nina was like, “Where are the Birkenstocks?” I wonder if Heidi was thinking, “Right here!”
All of my antipathy for Gretchen is gone. I can’t tell what happened to Gretchen during her time off, but it seems like her boyfriend (?) moved out while she was in New York. She came back to an empty house and an empty bank account. Her mom was helping her pack when Tim showed up.
Gretchen needed a Tim hug, too.
She said that being on the show “humbled” her, that she knew she was a control freak, but that her friends had never called her on her behavior.
I think Gretchen might have broken down pretty seriously, too, if she hadn’t made it to Fashion Week.
Which she did, despite underwhelming the judges.
Knowing that everyone but Mondo underwhelmed the judges, I wish they would have kept Michael over Andy or Gretchen. I just feel like he needed it more.