As Cindy says, "The joy of teams is over. The thrill is gone." Was there ever a thrill? What we have are two teams -- one of which works well together and one of which is a total mess -- and the fact that the show is determined to stick with this structure is making this feel a little like watching "Survivor" during a season in which one team is whittled down to nothing while the other takes every challenge and gets food and fire to boot. I don't know about you, but I don't watch "Project Runway" to see muddy groupthink and mediocre design, and I certainly don't watch it to see echoes of other reality TV shows. I want to see pretty dresses and cool pants and funky jackets. Two weeks in, I am starting to feel deprived. 

 Anyway, we've got what we've got (and it's not a lot) so let's get to the mild arguments and general unhappiness. Heidi informs the designers that, yes, they'll be working in the SAME teams as last week. Thus, Team Keeping It Real will continue to keep it real, and Dream Team continue to be a nightmare. Heidi tells them that their next challenge will be a ball -- then herds them out the door. Again, there seems to be no real reason for them ever to meet with Heidi at the beginning of the show except for her to get an additional free outfit. 

The designers trudge off to meet Tim Gunn at SPIN NYC, which general manager Brandon Hirsch declares "the preeminent ping pong social club." Isn't it the only ping pong social club? It's owned by Susan Sarandon, which is very cool, and they need uniforms that aren't old T-shirts, which is very uncool. "Balls are our Business" is the slogan, which is suggestive and accurate.  

Each team must create five looks for servers and ball boys, and they will get $500 plus three female models and two male models to dress. But before they get to work, they have to… well, work. At the club. To understand the pain of picking up balls for a living. Tu's family has restaurants, and I'm assuming he broke the glassware there, too. 

After they leave the club, the teams gather together to plot. Benjamin is a natural born leader, and he's worked in a restaurant AND he designed uniforms for that restaurant, so he takes lead. I hope this is a good thing and Benjamin doesn't end up falling on his sword. I wouldn't really want to take lead for this group until some of the really sucky designers are out.  

Team Keeping It Real doesn't have a solid idea yet -- and they're already at Mood. However, the one thing they do have a solid idea about is teamwork, and no one more so than Daniel. I had my doubts about Daniel in the first week, and I have since completely come around. He's a truly nice, humble, generous man, and he is setting the tone for Team Keeping It Real more so than anyone else. If they're all working well together, I get the impression it's because of him. Daniel knows he has to help Layana, as she struggled last week, so he pairs up with her. I love that the unschooled designer who learned on the streets can show the F.I.T. grad a thing or two.

On Dream Team, it's not so much team work as micromanaging and judgment. Benjamin hovers over Cindy. She can't understand why he's bugging her when James is picking ugly blue fabric! Well, because you're letting him, but really, Benjamin means well. Cindy sucks, and he's trying to minimize the suckage, so she should really shut up and be grateful. 

Elsewhere, Joseph wants the ball boys to be cute in polka dots. Richard thinks guys do not want to be cute. I think Richard is right.

In the workroom, everyone tries to offer advice to everyone else, except on Island James. That's where James lives and cuts ugly fabric poorly. 

After we see what's going on in the workroom, I have some concerns. If there was any concern about Cindy, why is she doing a jacket? Give her a boring little skirt or something. She tells Benjamin to leave her alone, but if I were Benjamin, I'd say she gets to have an opinion when she isn't on the bottom. 

Tim time! He suggests Daniel and Layana use the swooping element of their top in several places. He likes Stanley's outfit and thinks it would be easy to put into production. Robert and Joseph are next. He thinks their outfit idea is clever, and he thinks Amanda's use of swimwear is also clever. So far, so good. Kate and Patricia are next. He thinks Patricia's ego is clouding her judgment because she's making hella crazy leggings. He smells a mess, Patricia. Ease up on the throttle.

Moving on to Dream Team (otherwise known as Team Disaster), Tim likes Michelle's outfit, but he can't understand why Matthew is making jeans. Michelle says they thought about a kilt, and Tim likes that idea. A kilt it is! Samantha and Tu's outfit seems disjointed. On to Cindy! He can't believe Benjamin would put his top with Cindy's jacket. It's whackadoodle! He sees lots of pieces that don't come together. Gee, that's a shocker. Island James makes a mess of a shirt. Tim declares it a disaster. James just wants to fix it! Tim tells the whole team they're in trouble. Again, quelle surprise.  

Stanley thinks Benjamin's kilt is tacky and an insult to the client. I think it's fun and different. We shall see. 

Michelle declares that Dream Team is pooping the bed. That's a quote. Pooping the bed. Words fail. 

Runway time! Our judges are Zac Posen, Nina Garcia and… Susan Sarandon! As Tu says, she has a "mmm, big booty." Tu should not speak and is my candidate to mess up this season's real woman challenge.

Dream Team

MichelleIf this were a wine, it would be notes of East Berlin before the wall fell with a subtle taste of depression. My God, this is sad. The back is nice, though. Still, I'm much happier to see it leaving. 

Samantha/Tu

It looks too tight and the exposed bra does not make sense for a server who may not always have time to find the right underwear. There are definitely fit issues. 

James

This is better than I expected it to be, but I expected a trash bag. What's with the half-tucked, half-untucked T-shirt? It just looks sloppy.

Benjamin/Cindy

The jacket looks very dated. The shorts are passable, though, again, fit issues. This is not cute at all. Why did they all use brown? 

Matthew/Benjamin

Okay, I LOVE the kilt. Love. The little ball bag is a bit tacky, though. I would give them the win for this, if the rest of the designs weren't so horrid. Still, I'm not sure male employees would wear a skirt. 

 

Team Keeping It Real

Layana/Daniel

This is cute, but I have problems with the execution. The asymmetry is cool, but the collar seems crumpled. 

Stanley

A sweatshirt and pants? This is so dull. Still, might be okay as a uniform.

Kate/Patricia

This isn't bad. I like the back, and I like the criss-cross pattern over the top of the leggings. But it's not great. 

Amanda

It's a LBD. Not anything to write home about, really. Too short.

Joseph/Richard

This is too cartoonish. I'd be embarrassed to wear this. But, it does have the logo prominently placed, and really, I didn't see it on a lot of the clothes.

Team Keeping It Real… is the winning team again. Dream Team goes backstage to cry a little. James tells everyone he doesn't feel the teamwork. Is this Island James speaking? The one who wouldn't talk to anyone? Um, shut up, Island James.  

Up first, Daniel/Layana's look. Susan thinks it's very practical and very sexy at the same time. Zac likes that that gave a T-shirt formality. Though he likes the asymmetry, but he would question the balance of the garment. Heidi thinks she looks cute but not overly sexy. Nina found it charming and it's practical.

Next, Stanley's look. Nina thinks it's edge and cool, and she's crazy about the pants. Susan thinks guys would definitely wear that. She thinks it's totally practical. Zac doesn't like the pants, but Heidi does. 

The last look is Joseph/Richards. She loves the net holder. I think this is horrid, but fine. It's practical. Joseph takes credit for the pants, and Robert takes credit for the shirt. Heidi is glad the logo is in the right spot. Zac likes the topography.  

On to the losing looks. James' outfit is first. Nina thinks the length of the pants are disturbing. Zac thinks the top looks messy. Heidi doesn't want to see hairy armpits. No one does, really. 

Next, Benjamin/Cindy's outfit. Heidi thinks it shows they can both sew, but she thinks it looks like she's a receptionist in the suburbs. Sarandon thinks it's too formal and adds that it's sad. Zac just doesn't think it's appropriate for the job. Cindy points out, rightly, that the servers are currently wearing jackets. Benjamin admits he filled gaps and thus compromised  himself as a designer. 

Matthew/Benjamin's outfit is next. Susan says none of her guys would wear a skirt, but she thinks it's ballsy. Zac doesn't mind the gender bending, but he thinks there are too many elements. Nina appreciates it when they're provocative, but she thinks they didn't remember the client. Zac says fashion is about art and commerce, so they have to pick within their challenges what kinds of risks they were going to take.  

For the record, I thought Matthew and Benjamin were clever. Would I have skipped the logo on the bag in front? Yes. And no, it probably wouldn't have been a hit with the male servers or ball boys, that's true. But it was a cool idea.  On this show, you're penalized for being boring and, in this case, penalized for not being boring. Tim liked it, too! Stanley makes a sweatshirt and pants and he gets covered in kisses? If the goal was to be boring, fine, but guess what? I don't tune into this show to watch Dickies go down a damn runway.  

Heidi emphasizes that this challenge is about practicality (i.e. boring crap). She declares the crotch piece tasteless on the kilt. Still, Nina found James' snooze more offensive. The judges talk and I can't even listen to them because, come on, the stuff they liked versus the stuff they didn't? I guess it worked as a challenge, but I had hopes that a friggin' ping pong social club would have servers in interesting, edgy clothes. Susan Sarandon, you let me down. 

The winner is… Layana! Honestly, I think they should have given the win to Daniel, despite his chivalry in saying she should get to win. He simply had a more impressive skill set. Not my favorite outfit, anyway.  

Samantha, Michelle, Tu, Benjamin and Matt are in. On the block are, yet again, Cindy and James. I say send both of them home. 

Cindy is… in. James is out. No tears over this one. At least Cindy, very unhappily, worked with her team. Island James didn't play well with others and it cost him. 

 

Are you sick of the team challenges? Do you think it was time for Island James to go? What did you think of the kilt?