I’m getting a little frustrated with this season of “PR” for two reasons. One, that extra half hour is clearly being spent on Garnier product placement (yeah, I can buy crappy hair care at Target just fine without getting beaten over the head with a marketing message, Lifetime) and two, the judges are clearly being told which designers are off limits – at least, for the time being. And yes, I know, it’s a reality TV show, you can’t expect talent to be the sole reason for who stays and goes, but I dunno, I used to feel like “PR” was a little above the pack. And now? Well, let’s just say I look forward to seeing some of these designers making T-shirts for Christian Audigier.

[Full recap of Thursday's (Aug. 26) "Project Runway" after the break...]

But let’s get started! So, once everyone concludes bitching about Michael C.’s simple-but-winning dress (c’mon, relax you whiny babies, be happy you didn’t get aufed), it’s time for the next challenge. Which features two teams of six ripping each other’s spines out and using the vertebrae as interesting skirt detailing. Oh, wait, they’re going to design something before they actually kill one another. So, let’s look at the teams.
 
The Superstars
Michael C.
Gretchen
Christopher
Andy
Ivy
A.J.
 
The Underdogs
April
Mondo
Michael D.
Valerie
Casanova, whose moobs are looking terrible in his neon green sweater, ick.
Last pick is, sadly, Peach.
 
Now, Peach points out that the other team is rife with challenge winners (four wins, two of which are wretched Gretchen’s, of course) while her team is a bunch of losers, I mean, underdogs. But I’m rooting for any team that has Mondo and Valerie, so you go, losers!
 
At Parsons, Tim reveals the challenge -- each team has to create a six-piece collection using one hot trend and one hot fabric listed on a board. And then Peter Butler, the guy from Garnier, has to give a canned speech about fall 2010 trends. Please shoot me. By the way, when is volume not in?
 
Anyway, the teams split up to chat about their direction, and boy, these teams could not be any more different. Michael D. asks that everyone respect one another, while on the other team Gretchen is already being a big bossy bitch. And her direction? Menswear for women in camel. Yawn. The other team is military and lace. Now, that sounds like fun. As if I didn’t already know who to root for.  
 
Gretchen quickly takes it upon herself to dismiss the other team as having “koo koo drama” so she wants everything to be clean and tailored. Which is a swat at A.J., who likes to make dresses for women who like small dogs, recreational drugs and having sex standing up in bathroom stalls. But that’s okay, because everyone on this team thinks Gretchen is a genius. I keep waiting for one of the designers to drop to his or her knees and kiss her ring or something. And she’s SO proud of everyone for working so well together, i.e., bending to her will! Squee!
 
So, as you might expect, things start getting tres bitchy on both teams pretty fast. Ivy, who has nothing but contempt for Michael C., warns him he better not try to skate by on his immunity, while on the other team, Peach snaps at Valerie for a whole lot of nothing, really, because she’s just nervous about going home. Peach, c’mon, where’s that crone wisdom you used to talk about? Rise above!
 
The superstars decide to call themselves Team Luxe. Because they like cashmere. The other team is Team Military & Lace because they didn’t come up with anything cute. At Mood, Gretchen goes screeching through the aisles, calling for Michael C. like he’s a lapdog. Really, I couldn’t hate this woman more if she organized the Rwandan civil war.
 
Valerie discovers that Team Luxe is designing piece by piece, instead of letting any one design coordinate an entire look. This she compares to having diarrhea and vomiting at the same time. I’m not quite sure how to connect that idea to making pants, but I like it just the same.
 
Ivy is horrified when Michael C. asks how to make a cowl neck. After Ivy barks instructions at him, Michael C. quietly plots her death. Christopher suggests to Gretchen that they support and nurture Michael C. Which is code for fixing his outfit while insulting him behind his back. Don’t you love Team Luxe?
 
Then, it’s time for Garnier. I am so not interested in this. If I gave a crap about the hair, I’d be watching “Blow Out” or something.
 
Finally, it’s Tim time! He talks to each team as a group. He’s crazy about Mondo’s design, as he should be. He tells Peach not to put the berry fabric on top of her lace, as it doesn’t look cohesive. Valerie’s outfit gets a “wow.” April has messy seams. He thinks Casanova’s design is too old lady. Of course, I don’t know how many grandmas wear outfits with an open back, but from the front, definitely Sunday go to church wear.
 
Tim moves on to Team Luxe. Gretchen decides to waste time by talking about how much everyone looooves one another and what a woooonderful collaboration it is. Tim looks like he wants to shoot himself, so he moves on to Michael C. But he doesn’t say much, as Gretchen has sucked the oxygen out of the room. Tim says they’re really ambitious to be doing so much, but then says that, in comparison to the other team, it all looks ho-hum. Yes, Tim!
 
Oh, lord. Time for Casanova to pout about Tim’s old lady comment. Michael D. and Valerie tell him to put on his big girl panties and suck it up. But he wants to quit! Because he’s getting FAT! Whaa! Casanova, please pack your moobs and go home. You aren’t good enough to be this annoying.
 
Model time! One of the models, Sarae, decides to go talk to Casanova. He decides she’s an angel and gets back to work. It’s that easy? I was hoping someone would use a cattle prod on him.
 
On Team Luxe, it’s looking like Team Car Wreck. Michael C.’s top doesn’t fit. A.J. decides to remake the back of his dress. Gretchen decides to not help the situation by reminding them they’re ruining it for EVERYONE.
 
Gretchen is so worried about her minions, I mean team, she wake up at 4 in the morning to write a to-do list in lipstick. As Valerie points out, Team Luxe is all kinds of cra-cra. Or, as April delicately puts it, they’re a clusterf—k mess. How clusterf—ky, you ask? Andy has to ask his model to hem her own dress. And he isn’t the only one on his team who’s putting his model to work. I think they should lose just for this.
 
Yeah, another Garnier plug. This really needs to stop.
 
Valerie thinks the Bad News Bears can pull it out, but Gretchen thinks the opposition’s collection doesn’t have a flow. Shut up, Gretchen. The other collection, whether it flows or not, is a hell of a lot more interesting than your crappy designs.
 
Runway time! The judges are Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman.
 
First up, Team Military and Lace. You go, underdogs!
 
Mondo
I can’t dislike anything Mondo does. He says it’s not as fashion forward as he would have liked, but the little details definitely pop, especially in the detailing around the arms.
 
Peach
This is actually cute. Maybe Peach just needs to work with others to pull something together that doesn’t look like grandma wear. Or Casanova-ready.
 
April
This is a little Hot Topic, but it’s still sharp. And it’s not a diaper, so we have reason to be grateful for that.
 
Valerie
I love this jacket, even with the gold chain. That lace detail is amazing.
 
Casanova
After all that whining and bitching, this is a sharp little outfit. The pants are hot.
 
Michael D.
I’m assuming we couldn’t see a close-up of this outfit because it pretty much exposed the model’s hooters, but I think it’s cool. You know, from a distance. C’mon, “PR,” just blur out her boobs and let us get a closer look!
 
Team Gretchen, I mean Luxe
 
Look #1
This is hideous. It’s an '80s big shirt over two tone jodhpurs. WTF?
 
Look #2
So, here’s Katherine Hepburn. Which would be fine, if there was half an effort to update the look.
 
Look #3
This is not wowing me at all. The belted cardigan makes the model look fat.
 
Look #4
God, I’m just hating this whole collection. The colors are vomitous. What’s with the stupid oversized vest? This looks like a blind person dressed the model.
 
Look #5
The zippers on the back of the pants legs are crooked. C’mon.
 
Look #6
This isn’t terrible, but it’s bland. Basic jacket, basic dress with a keyhole detail. This is like the discount rack at JCPenney’s.
 
Heidi declares…Team Military and Lace the winners!!!! Yay!
 
Okay, I’m going to pause here, because I want to express my fervent wish now, even though I know it won’t be granted. Gretchen was the mastermind of that crappy ass collection, and she SHOULD go home, but I can almost guarantee she won’t, as she’s such a polarizing presence. But if she doesn’t, I say shame on you, judges! Shame! You have the power! Tell the producers to suck it!
 
Anyway, the losers leave the runway. Heidi tells the winners the collection is young and fun. Georgina loves that each design has its own attitude but it all works well together.
 
Backstage, Gretchen defends her hideous collection. Her frightened little minions agree with her.
 
Back on the runway, Michael tells the winners that their clothes are what women want to wear. Nina thinks the collection is versatile and she loved the styling. Heidi loves the hair and thinks everyone looks modern. And then she tells Casanova she loves his look. Michael tells him the workmanship works. And he praises Peach for her outfit. It’s like the world has turned upside down, but I don’t even care, I’m so glad this team won.
 
Backstage, Gretchen’s minions decide to go down as a group. Although they really should through the bitch under the bus.
 
Heidi asks Mondo who should be the winner, and he suggests Casanova. Valerie seconds the motion. Casanova suggests Peach. C’mon, people. Is this because Casanova had a big baby fit and the only way to make him happy is to give him a toy? Because you’re just reinforcing bad behavior. Now you’ll never get him to take his naps or eat his spinach. Just think about that.
 
Time to put the losers on the block! Oh, I’m loving this!
 
Gretchen steps up to say that the mission of the group was to collaborate, which is funny, because I thought the mission was to follow her orders. Heidi asks who the weakest designer is, and Gretchen refuses to name anyone. And starts crying. Ivy starts crying because she doesn’t want anyone to say her baby is ugly. Gretchen, unfortunately, won’t shut up and has to tell the judges that she and her ugly-making minions stand united.
 
Michael tells her he commends her for the team effort but the result was vanilla boring. Georgina thinks there was no individuality. Nina thinks every outfit has a proportion problem. She thinks the colors are ghastly (I agree!). Michael doesn’t see any luxe or lushness. Heidi hates the enormous vest. Michael calls it a Golden Girls vest, which is so true – Bea Arthur would have snapped that thing up. Heidi hates A.J.’s shiny shirtdress.
 
Apparently all this criticism finally gets to Gretchen, who says she takes responsibility for the styling, because she was trying to save a crappy collection. Oh, really? It’s crappy now? Heidi and Nina are about to call her a big fat hypocrite, but Michael interrupts to ask who had the hardest time. Gretchen promptly names Michael C., so that whole “we’ll all go down together” attitude disappeared in roughly ten minutes.
 
Oh, and it gets better. Apparently, the reason Gretchen feels there’s no real loser is because EVERYBODY sucked. Then, Ivy throws Michael C. under the bus. And Christopher does. And A.J. says his big mistake was not bringing his fun attitude to the challenge. Heidi is getting sick of everyone throwing the designer with immunity under the bus. Andy tells the judges they should go by what they know of each of them individually. Michael Kors looks like he’s going to stand up, walk over to the runway, and bitch slap each one of these idiots, because the losers aren’t, um, supposed to dictate how the judges judge. That’s for the producers to do.
 
Gretchen finally volunteers to walk the judges through the bad stuff she made, and her minions follow suit.
 
The losers go backstage and, for once, Gretchen doesn’t want to talk about it. But she DOES. And she explains why she (and everyone else) threw Michael C. under the bus. As if he isn’t standing behind her, plotting her death. All this woman needs is an evil cackle and some green face make-up, and she’d be perfect for almost any wicked witch of the West interpretation you’ve got.
 
The judges talk about the winners. They’re all excited about Casanova and Peach. And then it’s time to move on to the losers, who are so much more fun.
 
Nina thinks the whole thing was horrifying. Michael thinks Gretchen had too much to say. They also make fun of how she picked on Michael C. Oh-oh, they’re focusing on A.J. because he only made one thing and sublimated his personal aesthetic. Sigh.
 
The winner is… Casanova. Really? I mean, yes, his outfit was great, but what about Valerie? What about anyone who didn’t throw a tantrum and threaten to walk out? I’m telling you, bad behavior like this should not be rewarded!
 
The loser is…not Michael C. Who goes backstage and starts crying because everyone went after him. And sure, on the one hand he’s being a crybaby and yeah, he’s sewing challenged, but damn, talk about a dogpile.
 
Christoper is… in. Ivy is… in.  Andy is… in. Hmm, down to A.J. and Gretchen, I can see this coming. Gretchen is…in. I KNEW it. AAARGH! So unfair! A.J. is gone. A.J. is miffed that he’s going home for something that he basically sewed and didn’t design. Amazingly, he doesn’t go after Gretchen with something sharp. Although he should, and it would be justifiable homicide.
 
And then, Tim arrives to talk to Team Luxe. Oh. Ma. God. He is MAD. And specifically, he’s mad that the team let Gretchen walk all over them like a moldy bathmat. Or, to quote, “manipulate, control and bully” them. He’s clearly pissed that A.J.’s going home because of, essentially, Gretchen. I love Tim.
 
Gretchen, of course, doesn’t think she’s manipulative. Tim hurt her widdle feelings. She just wanted to help! And, like, A.J. could have made a better shirtdress, so really, it’s his own fault. Man, I hate this woman.
 
So, the monster lives another week, an innocent goes home and Casanova gets a pat on the head for being a diva. Just another day in reality TV land.
 
Do you think Gretchen should have gone home? Do you think Casanova deserved to win? And do you think Team Luxe was unfair to Michael C.?