Let’s switch things up a little and jump right to the first superlative for this week’s episode of Project Runway, which is Most Real Talk From You Were Therapist That You Were In No Way Prepared For. This week we’re doing the work like an episode of Iyanla Fix My Life.Initially that honor of this superlative was going to be bestowed upon Christian who leveled up his impish mentorship to something close to Tim Gunn levels with an intervention for Victoria. We’ll get into the specifics of the moment in a second, but what’s most interesting, I think, is that it served as a harbinger of the theme of the episode in general. During a challenge in which the task was to create editorial sheer looks that tastefully showed off the bodies of the models, it was the designers themselves who ended up being revealed. As someone who is obsessed with a) therapy and b) telling people what I think they need to do to get their lives together, this was deeply satisfying to me.
I’m always curious about the psychological toll of reality shows, particularly competitions. I still think about Shubham from The Circle and I hope that he is having a good day. Regular life, with the social media rat race and the petty grievances of the real world is hard enough without a ticking clock, a team of producers, and a bunch of cameras in your face. So, it’s not surprise that some of the designers start to crack under pressure, forcing others, like Christian and, pleasingly, Chelsea to step into the role of amateur therapist, truth-teller, and, occasionally, the deliverer of a speech from a movie that would win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
Everybody likes that one friend who is always giving the unvarnished truth, right? Well, when that friend is me and all my opinions are correct, yes. The crowd goes wild. Award me a Presidential Medal of Freedom. But when that friend is someone else giving me advice that I do not appreciate? Jail. Tower of London. No release. In the same way, some of the advice on this episode is well-received and some results in an arrest warrant served by the Sheriff of Nottingham.
But before all the speechifying and armchair psychoanalysis, unfortunately, there comes the real crisis of Dayoung’s continued ailing health. Before the designers can even get to sketching, Dayoung, feeling weak and run-down, meets with one of the show’s directors and opts to remove herself from competition. “At the end of the day,” she says, “I’m a human before designer.” This is really heartbreaking as she’s incredibly talented and it must be really frustrating to have one’s body betray their ambition. I wish her nothing but the best. And speaking of the best, let’s now discuss superlatives and some cold, hard truths.
Most Real Talk From You Were Therapist That You Were In No Way Prepared For
Victoria claims that her language barrier prevents her from truly grasping the objective of the sheer challenge, choosing a light fabric that isn’t exactly sheer, and then starting a design that is—you guessed it—asymmetrical with cutouts. Christian is having no parts of it. “Let’s have real chat. You can’t keep doing this dress,” he says over her objections that it’s a totally different dress. Christian continues, “You keep doing these half, high-low, one-side, one-sleeve, power shoulder, long sleeve things.” My Lord. This is that thing when your therapist or your best friend reads you to filth simply by listing things that are true and factual and you’re like “well, look at me, snatched bald by adjectives and nouns.”
Most Sudden Change of Plans
Because Dayoung left the competition, Marquise comes back! He strolls into Mood with sunglasses on and a purpose. He was ready! Question though: how did they pull this together so quickly? Like, was he just walking down the street next to Mood and a producer grabbed him and pulled him in? Marquise is even wearing a sheer superlong shirt! On theme! I’m not saying collusion but I’m not not saying collusion! (I’m just kidding. As with most reality shows, they probably had him and the other cut contestants holed up in a separate place so they didn’t go back to their real lives and, by virtue of their presence, reveal who didn’t win.)
After Dayoung leaves, Geoffrey gets weepy talking to Christian about feeling responsible for her exit because he was supposed to be taking care of her. Honey. This is not your fault. Take a seat on my couch; hand over the copay; I have some award-winning unvarnished truths for you.
Most Bartleby the Scrivener
After the tough talk from Christian, Victoria begins to unravel. Eventually, like Bartleby the Scrivener, she decides that when it comes to the competition, she’d prefer not to. She announces she’s going to quit and then lies in the break room for a couple of hours. This is preferable, she says, to being sent home from the bottom. But then, after a bit of contemplation, she gets up and goes back to the dress form with half an hour left. I get this, actually. Some days you just need to check out and then pull a masterpiece out of thin air during a montage. This is how it always seems to go in my head. Unclear how the results play out in reality. No feedback on this matter, please. I do feel sorry for Victoria’s model, Asia, as she always seems to get paired with designers who are spiraling.
None of this goes over well with the judges, who put Victoria on the bottom and excoriate her for trying to bounce. “Quitting is quitting your dream,” Nina declares. Nina does appreciate the dress, however, despite the fact that it was made in two hours. She dubs it “feminine and interesting.”
Most Meme Aware
Speaking of feminine and interesting: after landing in the bottom for a blue short dress in chiffon with a black and white striped belt and big architectural shoulders, Geoffrey has some explaining to do. Specifically, why he sent his model down the runway with exposed breasts and pasties. He says “I love breasts.” Simple enough! Case closed. Brandon sees that and affirms it, also declaring “I love breasts” before checking himself. Brandon, who last week fell to pieces over Ashley Longshore declaring that a pair of pants flooded her basement, suddenly gets shy again. “Maybe I shouldn’t say that,” he says. “I can see the meme now” Elaine replies, correctly.
Most Tracy Flick
After Victoria threatens to leave, Brittany says “I came here to compete against the best and if the best leaves, then I don’t feel like I’ve earned my spot if I make it to the end.” I appreciate this sentiment but I do not share it. If you are better than me in any area, please get out of my way. Thanks!
Even More Real Talk From Your Therapist
Victoria’s prolonged exit gets the real real talk from Chelsea, who really shines this episode despite being eventually sent home. Victoria complains of being tired. Chelsea delivers a monologue that would win any of your faves at least a Golden Globe: “You’re tired? We all are tired, babe…. I wake up almost every day and want to quit because of how hard it is, and how tired I am, and how draining this is. But you cannot quit. There’s nothing wrong with you. You have no physical ailment.” I have a new mantra.
Final Word from Your Therapist
Chelsea isn’t done there, however! Backstage, as they wait for the judges to deliberate, Victoria laments the chastising from the judges. Chelsea grins widely and replies, “It’s good to receive critical feedback. It’s good for the soul.” Please put this on a t-shirt immediately. Or a bomber jacket!
Personal Favorite Design
I was really partial to Brittany and Delvin’s designs, which is odd because they were the two that were declared safe. I will not be receiving this critical feedback about my taste level at this time. Thanks!
Sergio comes out on top with exquisite tailoring and only a smidge of backstory. He creates a full-length black sleeveless gown in burnout chiffon with dotted mesh on top and adorned with fringe on the shoulders and at various places on the gown. It’s quite dramatic and it wins him the challenge and the final immunity of the season.