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Recap: 'Project Runway' Season 8 Finale - Part 1

The final three are chosen – and one eliminated designer breaks down

<p>Andy of 'Project Runway'</p>

Andy of 'Project Runway'

Credit: Lifetime

It’s down to the final four, and this is both exciting (we’re that much closer to the really big show!) and dreary (Tim has to tromp around the country and eat bad meals with designers and their families). But we do get a peek at the finalists’ designs, which should be fun. Or, in Gwetchen’s case, probably a little gag inducing, but hey, I’m just allergic to patchouli. Anyway, let’s get to it!

[Full recap of Thursday's (Oct. 21) "Project Runway" after the break...]

 
Heidi bequeaths to the designers nine grand and six weeks to jam out collections for Bryant Park. Except for whoever is eliminated, who will just have a whole bunch of runway-unworthy clothes to stuff in his or her closet.
 
Of course, Gwetchen whines that this is going to be “toooouuuuugh.” Shut up, Gwetchen. You made it to the final four, you don’t get to complain. Michael C. says he’ll have the last laugh, which is already true, given that, even if he gets sent home next, he’s still outlasted Ivy.
 
First stop: Andy’s place in Waianae, Hawaii. This is all kinds of great, because Andy raised Chinese catfish growing up, and the minute he tries to show one of these not-particularly-scary fish to Tim Gunn, Mr. Refined Designerman squeals like a little girl, which is weirdly endearing (have I mentioned before that Tim Gunn can do no wrong?). And really, no one else could look as effortlessly cool wearing a suit with rubber boots.
 
Andy cries about how much his mom has sacrificed him, which makes me like Andy a little more (still working on forgiving him for getting on Gwetchen’s bandwagon of Michael C. hating-evil a while back). But then it’s time for Tim’s critique. Andy got inspiration from a Laotian Buddhist statue and his elephant herder grandfather, which sounds like a combination that could be very cool or hopelessly schlumpy. Andy’s been held up on actually making his clothes while waiting for his fabrics to come in from Laos, but it seems like that might be a good thing, as Tim thinks his designs could, in toto, be a “really, truly hot mess.”
 
Next, Tim heads to Palm Springs to see Michael C. And he drives a Cadillac to get there, which is apparently a freebie because we get a lingering, sexy shot of the front of the car (shameless plug, zzzzzzz…).
 
Michael C. dives right in to getting his critique from Tim. His inspirations were sunsets and feathers. And lollipops and rainbows. No, sorry, not the last two, but sunsets and feathers do not seem like rich source material. But Michael C. being Michael C., he’s made not ten looks, not twelve looks, but eighteen looks. Tim says he needs to cure his design diarrhea and start editing. Not the most dignified way to say it, but point taken.
 
Michael C. makes some eats and then his friend (boyfriend? Husband?) Richard reveals that Michael C.’s parents were not supportive of him until he got on the show. Because he’s gay? Because he wants to design clothes? We do not like Michael C.’s parents, who are not only narrow minded, but give way too much power of authority to TV.
 
On to Denver to see Mondo. Mondo, of course, has a pad with pink walls and a black-and-white checkerboard floor. So Mondo! Tim loves his stuff, which is good, because it does look fairly awesome. The only thing he doesn’t like is a hot pink shirt that does look, as Tim puts it, jejeune. But Mondo agrees.
 
Tim and Mondo go to Mondo’s parents for dinner. And what do Mondo’s parents do? Admit they tried to make him more “normal” (read: less gay) while he was growing up. Sigh. Then, Mondo plays piano. And of course, he’s good. Mondo’s parents aren’t Michael C.’s parents, but I’m not feeling much love for them, either.
 
Gwetchen’s turn. Gwetchen is moving, because coming home from “PR” meant, for her, a broken relationship, an empty bank account and a need to move. She’s embarrassed to have Tim come over in these circumstances. Gwetchen reveals that she really missed Tim, and she’s glad to have been able to share this awful moment in her life with him. Gwetchen’s being all nicey-nice these days, but I’m not buying it.
 
Her inspiration is rural stuff. Tim declares a pair of bloomers diapers-like. And he thinks one of her dresses looks costume-y. And Tim is not wrong. I know, I know, Gwetchen has been such a constant source of irritation on the show I can’t fairly judge her work, but I think that no matter who churned out the stuff on display, I’d hate it with every fiber of my being. One, it doesn’t look spring at all. Two, the colors all seem to be rust and baby vomit. Three, I saw M.C. Hammer pants. There’s a distinctly retired art school teacher/Chico’s vibe that really makes me want to sick up. Which means I could dye her ugly diaper-bloomer pants naturally. Which little Miss Nutty Twiggy would probably love. Blech, blech, blech,
 
Gwetchen and her mom eat snacks with Tim, and Gwetchen reveals she was a control freak from preschool onward. Wow, color me shocked.
 
So, everyone goes to New York and they’re staying at the Hilton in Midtown, which isn’t so bad for a Hilton. Mondo gets there first and takes the big bedroom. Good for Mondo! The rest of the gang shows up, and Gwetchen reveals that she’s missed everyone, because they’re “her boys.” Oh ma God, Gwetchen, you’ve said something crappy about every one of those guys, just shut up!
 
Tim shows up with a (gasp!) velvet bag. But for once, it’s a good thing, as each one of the designers are getting a free resort stay from the Hilton. Yay!
 
So, the next day it’s off to the workroom, and Tim announces they’ll have to pick two of their looks to show the judges, then create a third one in the next two days.
 
With only four designers left, there isn’t a lot of drama. But Mondo hates his jersey dress and thinks he’s going home. Don’t worry, Mondo, you’d have to screw up a lot more than one jersey dress to get the boot now.
 
It’s Tim time! Tim tells Michael C. he needs to pick his two other looks and get it together. Tim tells Gwetchen she has great continuity. Mondo tells Tim he scrapped his other dress and he’s created another, which gets a thumbs up from Tim. Tim tells Andy he’s in superb shape. Basically, Tim loves everyone and everything, which I don’t really agree with, but at this point, Tim might as well be a cheerleader because it’s getting too late for anyone to do anything drastic.
 
Before he leaves, Tim tells Gwetchen, Andy and Mondo to carry on, then tells Michael C. not to choke. Which stresses out Michael C. So, I’m guessing he’s going to choke. Sigh.
 
Models get dressed, models get their hair done, Garnier gets plugged, zzzzz…
 
Finally, it’s runway time!
 
 

Andy:

 

First look: I don’t know about this. It’s okay, but it’s a jumper with some frills and ruching on the butt.  But I do like that ruching. Still, the headdress is a great idea, but the execution is too space alien for me.
 
Second look: It’s a bikini with some fabric stapled to it. It’s fine, but it’s not all that exciting.
 
Third look: I know Andy loves this, but it just reminds me of Valerie’s paper napkin dress. The color’s nice, though.
 
 
 

Michael C.:

 

First look: I love this dress. It hangs beautifully, it’s fluid, it’s wearable. I want this dress.
 
Second look: Okay, feathers aren’t the most creative inspiration, but I like the idea of this dress, though I don’t understand why the skirt is thicker at the hips than at the thigh (not flattering, Michael C.!). I haven’t been completely wowed by Michael C. before, but I’m liking what I’m seeing so far. The little bow detail in the back is nice, too.
 
Third look: Maybe I just wasn’t expecting much, but these pants rock. Although the top does have April’s beloved arm strap and looks a little hoochie with the pants.
 
 
 

Gwetchen:

 

First look: Yay, here comes an army green sundress. The back is interesting, but I think it looks too much like she has fabric stuck in her underwear.
 
Second look: Okay, hate hate hate this. It looks very ‘80s, very unflattering, very close to Mom jeans territory. Pleating and Capri cut = looking twenty pounds fatter than you really are. Blech.
 
Third look: The jacket is interesting and I like the material and colors she used here, except the inability to close it with anything but a sash just makes it look too small. And the diaper still looks like a diaper, just one that’s been well-used. I really don’t think I dislike these looks because they’re Gwetchen. I just hate them on their own merits.
 
 
 

Mondo:

 

First look: This ensemble looks way too busy to me (could have done without the hair thingy and the purse), but I like the elements.
 
Second look: This is cute. The sleeves are perfect, even if I’m on the fence about the whole outfit. Very Mondo.
 
Third look: Love this dress. The black side panels make it wearable. But what’s on her head? I hate to say it, but I think Mondo was trying too hard with his mini-collection.
 
Time for judging! It’s the usual suspects – I really wanted it to be the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, but the last two weren’t available. Okay, okay, I’m getting punchy, I admit it. Let’s get to the clothes.
 
First up, Mondo. Michael likes the individual pieces, but not the way they’re put together. Heidi doesn’t like the second look, but likes the polka dot dress. Nina disagrees, as she thinks it’s walking a fine line. She’s worried about the wackiness. Michael does think there’s a lot going on.
 
Next, Andy. Heidi thought the green dress was well made and Michael thought it was sharp and romantic. Really? I thought it looked like napkins. Nina is worried that Andy’s collection is very bare and doesn’t see range. Heidi thinks the bikini is a throwaway. Andy wanted to save his good stuff for later. Bad idea, Andy.
 
Michael C.’s up next. Michael likes his gown because it looks effortless. Heidi likes the third look’s top. Nina doesn’t understand why it’s all the same color. Michael says it needs to tell a story beyond color. Heidi thinks the feather dress is too boxy, which is true. But that eleventh look, come on; it was wowza!
 
Gwetchen prattles on about her goals and such. Sigh. Really, shut up, Gwetchen. Nina says her looks feel crunchy granola, and she didn’t feel the drama and polish. She isn’t sure there’s any umph. Heidi liked the weird sack dress, but she wants to see everyone in high heels. Michael doesn’t think it looks expensive. Gwetchen argues she has dressy stuff. Michael can’t understand how everyone edited themselves so poorly.
 
This is a tough one, honestly. Mondo was not as strong as I hoped he was going to be; Gwetchen’s stuff seemed horrible but again, that’s me; Andy didn’t wow me and Michael C. got hammered for too much of the same color (even though I liked a lot of it).
 
The judges chat. Heidi is afraid that Gwetchen may be too granola. Good – send her home! Michael thinks there’s nothing wrong with granola, but it has to be fashion granola. Oh, I would argue there’s a lot wrong with granola when it’s not in your cereal bowl. As a breakfast, it’s quite alright, but I digress. Nina thinks Gwetchen and Mondo could balance one another. She thinks he could be a joke, and Michael thinks his stuff was overwrought. Nina thinks Michael C. needs to be more confident and needs more practice. And he may be too showgirl. Really? I didn’t think his looks were that over the top. Andy is deemed iffy. That bikini did him no favors.
 
Heidi tells the designers to be proud of themselves. Then, she tells Mondo he’s in. Yay! Gwetchen is… in. BOO! Seriously, that horrible granola mini-collection of hers got a thumbs up? What is WRONG with these judges?
 
So, it’s down to Michael C. or Andy. Andy is… in. And Michael C. is out. Seriously? Michael C. made a kick-ass dress. And Andy sent a bikini down the runway, while Gwetchen made ugly ‘80s clothes. What the hell?

Michael C. goes backstage and falls apart. And it's not just about losing. He doesn’t know how he’s going to tell his parents, because he knows they’re going to want him to move back home and pretend to be straight. I officially loathe his horrible parents. For crying out loud, he made it to the final four, they should be proud of him. This is heartbreaking. Whatever the truth is about Michael C., whether he cheated or didn’t cheat or was one person when the cameras were rolling and another when they weren’t, his pain is still terrible to watch. He's more than just sad or disappointed, he's terrified. Even Andy, one of the designers once so eager to stab him in the back, cries watching this.
 
Tim comes backstage and gives Michael C. a hug and a pep talk. Gwetchen is concerned that Michael C. isn’t going to be supported by his family. No kidding, Gwetchen. She also hugs him and tells him what an honor it’s been working with him. Really, Gwetchen? The guy you called an idiot what, two episodes ago (I could be wrong about that, but suffice it to say, it was recently)? Whatever, at least it was a nice thing to say. Michael C. gets it together and signs out, but in this case, I have to agree with Gwetchen (whether or not she’s disingenuous being besides the point). I’m concerned about Michael C., too. I hope Tim can find him a job, or his friends can support him. Because he shouldn't move back home and marry a woman and give up his designing dreams, especially not when women would pay good money for that eleventh look, no joke. Hang in there, Michael C.!
 
 

Who do you think is going to win at Bryant Park? Do you think Gwetchen really likes Michael C.? And whose family did you like the best?

 

 

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