After last week’s rough challenge, and the judges’ odd reactions (Casanova is still here? Wha?), I’m bracing myself for another difficult episode. What could possibly happen this week? Designing ball gowns out of gum wrappers in less than an hour? Using homeless people as models? Who knows, who cares, it’s time for another episode of “PR,” let’s get to it!

[Full recap of Thursday's (Aug. 5) "Project Runway" after the break...]

So, Sarah informs us that she’s dead tired and feels the show is torture. I don’t give Sarah long, as it’s early and she’s already whining. Talk to us when you haven’t slept in ten weeks. Or after you’ve had a kid. Either one will be fine.
 
As everyone gets ready for yet another big day, the girls mourn the passing of McKell. April brings up the point that her dress wasn’t really that bad. Which it wasn’t, especially not compared to Casanova’s train wreck. I’m not sure if it’s too soon to have a bad feeling about the season, but if this is the direction we’re going in, in which characters are saved for the sake of good television and the boring chick with bad hair and an only okay outfit gets the boot instead, well, I’m not feeling a lot of confidence. Tim Gunn, save us!
 
Peach is the first to mention that the boys are very high maintenance. And she is not wrong, because one of the guys has a make-up airbrush gun. I am not even kidding. I mean, maybe his day job is working at a make-up counter or dancing in a drag review, but this is beyond. I don’t know women who have that, much less guys. I am both disturbed and yet, somehow envious.
 
Oh, we also learn, again, that Mondo is weird and squirrelly. Poor Mondo. He doesn’t play well with others. Oh, Mondo, at least try to make friends on the playground!
 
Time for the challenge! Joanna Coles, editor-in-chief of Marie Claire, gives us the dish. They have to design a look for the Marie Claire woman. The garment will then be featured on a billboard. Christopher is not impressed with this prize, because his stuff’s already on a billboard in Times Square. So suck it, other designers!
 
A.J. wants to go grunge. And punk rock. He’s thinking Courtney Love and Blondie. Maybe they don’t have clubs or, you know, music in Missouri, but there’s not as much stylistic overlap there as he thinks. Courtney Love was, at least during the grunge era, baby doll dresses and shredded stockings, and Blondie (which is a band, dude, not a person, unless you’re talking about the cartoon) always had an element of Euro cool, almost bordering on Mod.  For the album cover of “Parallel Lines,” Debbie Harry wore a simple white dress and the guys wore black suits a la “Resevoir Dogs.” I kind of hate A.J. now, because clearly, he’s full of crap.  And has he ever read Marie Claire? It’s not Spin, buddy.
 
Mondo may be weird, but he’s organized. He makes lists of what he needs before he goes to Mood. Considering how many times we’ve seen designers realize, oops, I don’t have what I need (washer-and-thread bikini, anyone), this is not as obvious a decision as it seems.
 
Jason is designing an infinity dress. Or an eight dress. Or something. Okay, Jason, I’ll withhold judgment until I see it. But that little black bowler does not fit your head, and it doesn’t give me a lot of confidence in you.
 
Casanova asks A.J. to help him. And A.J. refuses. Although I understand where A.J. is coming from, because it seems Casanova has no idea what he’s doing (hello, proof of that in his horrible outfit last week), he’s kind of a bitch about it. So, another reason to hate A.J.
 
Tim’s here! Tim’s here! Time for him to nod and order the designers to “make it work.” I don’t even care if he’s becoming cliché, because I can rely on him to be the voice of reason before the judges make decisions that (ugh) seem to be dictated by the producers. Really, someone at Lifetime must have naked pictures of Nina and Michael, that’s all I’m saying.
 
Anyway, Tim gives Valerie’s trench dress a thumbs up. Gretchen sees Valerie as her main competition. Tim is unnerved by Mondo’s inability to produce a sketch, but he was so impressed with his last design he gives him his blind trust. Don’t disappoint him, Mondo! While Tim loves Jason’s palette, he thinks he may run out of time. Jason feels sorry for himself. Jason seems to have a lot of issues. Tim feels the odds are against him as a straight man in a gay world. Boy, tiniest violin in the world playing for Tim.
 
Gretchen is excited to be making a pair of pants on her own. April, baring her claws, says Gretchen is talented, but not creative. I’m inclined to agree, as I can practically smell Gretchen’s patchouli-and-granola through the screen. But maybe that’s what the judges want this year. It is a recession, after all.
 
Tim is horrified by Casanova’s matronly jacket. Nicholas suspects Casanova is only pretending not to understand English. If that’s true, he’s one step above Johnny Fairplay on “Survivor.” Pack a bag, pal, your clock is ticking.

Tim thinks Nicholas’ circle jacket has some Little Red Riding Hood going on. And Gretchen thinks he ripped off her design from yesterday. I think Nicholas might be in trouble.
 
Michael loves his jacket. Tim hates his jacket. Tim calls it Blanche Devereaux. Ooh, a “Golden Girls’ reference is not a good thing. He also makes a sour face over Peach’s outfit. She, of course, begs him to tell her what to do, which he won’t. Peach, where is your wisdom and confidence? Peach needs to get it together, pronto.
 
Funny that, even though we have an extra half-hour of “PR,” we still don’t see Tim’s visit with each of the designers. But moving on, Tim announces there is another element to the challenge. Each designer will get a photo shoot with a Marie Claire photographer.
Everyone thinks this is great, but only Jason seems to realize it means less time to finish their designs.
 
Oh, my. Having been shot down by A.J., Casanova has found a sucker in Gretchen. He wants her opinion on EVERYTHING. I fully expect to see Gretchen sitting at a sewing machine, making an outfit for him while he files his nails. Instead, she declares him her bosom buddy. Or hip buddy. Gretchen, this is not “Big Brother,” you don’t need to form an alliance. Especially not with someone who kind of blows as a designer.
 
Finally, it’s the end of the workday, so we follow the designers back to Atlas. Gretchen, Ivy, Sarah and Valerie are roomies. And they’re so tight! Like, they’re totally besties! Wheee! Elsewhere, the guys think Jason’s aloof, probably because he’s busy trying to get his straight on somewhere, and Peach is saying her goodbyes, because she’s sure she’s going home.
 
It’s all the usual college roomie stuff, at least until we get to Mondo. Mondo is lonely. Mondo needs to make a connection with someone, but he hasn’t. Mondo feels he’s never been loved for who he is, and his talent is a curse. And he’s weepy. I feel bad for Mondo, but I also think he needs meds. And c’mon, his talent is a curse? Hello, drama queen. These are the kinds of thoughts that, when spoken aloud, make people hate you.
 
But the next morning, Mondo is fine. He just needed a nap, that’s all. Oh, and orange plastic glasses and a brightly colored feather pin. Just the thing to make a boy smile! Time for the photo shoot!
 
Ah, so this is where the extra half-hour is going – to the Garnier hair salon. Geez, why didn’t they just throw in a few extra commercials? They’re easier to fast forward through.
 
So, the designers are taking a few minutes to bitch. Everyone hates Jason’s dress. Not that they’re going to say that, because they apparently think he’s a serial killer. Or, at least Michael C. does. Poor scary, creepy Jason. I blame the hats.
 
During the photo shoot, two stinkers stand out immediately – Peach’s Barbie sofa dress and Jason’s gaping silver nightmare. At least Peach knows she’s screwed up, but Jason thinks everyone needs to cut him some slack, because he’s not “Prototype Jack.” Who is Prototype Jack, by the way? In any case, Jason’s dress is just as awful as everyone says it is, although he refuses to accept this. And when he can’t take direction from the fashion editor of Marie Claire, he just needs to pack it in. Ironically, Casanova’s outfit didn’t look bad at all. I guess it helps to get the winner of last week’s challenge to design it for you.
 
Runway time! Heidi reveals no one gets immunity. Little early for that, isn’t it? Joanna Coles is joining the judging panel, yada yada yada.
 
Nicholas
I like the top, but the skirt is a little tight and short, the circle jacket is weird and I think the sexy back he borrowed from Gretchen is too high. This outfit makes me dizzy. Wait, is that skirt asymmetrical, too? Too much.  
 
Christopher
I dig this retro meets space age peplum jacket, and the little pop of color works.
 
Jason
What a mess. This shiny monstrosity looks like blind kids made it.
 
Michael C.
I hate the fabric, but the dress is okay. But is it innovative? Not really. Still, glad he ditched the jacket.
 
A.J.
Not so punk. Wow, the belt creates a very unfortunate pooch for the model. It looks uneven in the back, too. But the yellow is strong.
 
Peach
I’m still not sold on the Barbie sofa. The brown detail just feels tacked on and random. Peach screwed the pooch on this one.
 
Michael D.
Yes, it’s short. But the rest of it is cute.
 
Ivy
Booooring. And weirdly wrinkled.
 
Valerie
This is strong. Excellent detailing, and very wearable. The red would pop on a billboard, too.
 
Sarah
The color choices are offbeat, but I like that about this dress.
 
Andy
The sleeves are awesome, but the stripes on the back of the pants? What is she, a car?
 
Casanova
This turned out much, much better than I expected. Casanova either used Gretchen a lot more than I thought, or he has hidden talents.
 
Kristin
I still think Kristin’s work looks haphazard, but she’s been flying under the radar.
 
Gretchen
This is very well-made, and I don’t think anyone else made a jumpsuit like this, which could be an advantage. But I hate the shoes she chose. There’s just too much going on below the knee for me when you see the rear view.
 
Mondo
This is adorable. Great skirt. Fun and flirty and love the fabric.
 
April
The fabric doesn’t flow over the model’s body, and I’m on the fence about the purple crinkly stuff at the top.
 
Heidi calls Mondo, Peach, Nicholas, Jason, Valerie, Gretchen. Everyone else is safe can leave the runway. A.J. is amazed. Actually, I think he got a pass, as that belt kinda screwed up his outfit.
 
Peach is first on the block. Heidi says there’s no sex appeal, and it’s strictly ladies who lunch. Nina thinks it doesn’t look young and the styling is matronly. Joanna points out the brown looks like an animal climbing down her back. I feel bad for Peach, but I think Peach is just doubting herself so much she’s heading home sooner rather than later. So much for Oldie McOlderson whipping this kids into shape.
 
Valerie is next. Nina thinks it would be beautiful and says it’s sexy but conservative. Michael thinks it’s a job very well done. Joanna thinks it’s great. It really is.
 
Jason starts prattling on about the infinity thing. Nina is not impressed. Michael says it looks like a satin bedspread or a walk of shame dress. Joanna can’t imagine a single woman wearing it to the office. And yet, Jason won’t let it go. He stands by his tin foil surprise. Bad idea, Jason.
 
Gretchen is next. Heidi loves that the front opens to reveal a little more skin. Michael thinks it’s like a piece of sportswear, and he loves the hair and make-up. Joanna thinks it’s wearable, Nina thinks it’s fun. It’s fine, but not my favorite.
 
Nicholas tells the judges about his weird circle cape. Nina thinks it’s too complicated. Joanna thinks it’s utterly unsexy. Michael says the only garment that works is the blouse. This week, they don’t like the bare back.
 
Mondo says he was inspired by Mary Tyler Moore, which Joanna loves. Nina likes the graphic black and white. Michael thinks girls will want to be like his model. No kidding.
 
Backstage, Jason blames his model. The other designers aren’t buying. Jason admits to having a chip on his shoulder. Really? We hadn’t noticed, Jason.
 
The judges chit chat. They liked Mondo’s whimsy, they thought Gretchen had a modern aesthetic, and Valerie’s dress screamed cover. I’d pick either Mondo or Valerie. Gretchen’s outfit may be seasonless, but it’s also navy and not half as much fun as Michael claims it is.
 
Next, the losers. They can’t understand what’s wrong with Jason. They think Nicholas tried too hard. And Peach’s dress is “Desperate Housewives.” I’m thinking Jason is gone, possibly Peach.
 
Mondo is… in.
Valerie is… in.
Gretchen is… the winner? Really? Again? Everything she does is black or navy. And that wasn’t anywhere near as cute as Valerie’s dress. Michael C. agrees with me, too.
 
Whatever. On to the losers!
Peach is… in. Everyone is so happy! No one wants Mom to go home, after all.
Jason is… out. No shocker there. And then, instead of waiting for Tim, he just takes off. Talk about a sore loser. I guess we should just be happy he didn’t stab anyone.
Nicholas is… also out. Really? That seems pretty harsh, honestly. He made an outfit that was overcomplicated, but that doesn’t seem like a crime punishable by death. Poor baby starts crying.
 
And then, it’s time to see Gretchen’s billboard. Looking at it, I can see why they went for Gretchen’s design, as it would be harder to kick and twist that way in a dress. Without, you know, showing more than you should. But still, not my favorite outfit of the day.
 
Oh, goody! Next week we get ambulances! Yay! I can’t wait!
 
Do you think Nicholas deserved to go? Did you see the eight in Jason’s dress? Why do you think the judges have such a crush on Gretchen?