This is the boring penultimate episode that in most seasons is only interesting because Tim Gunn does home visits and grimaces at catfish or bounces on trampolines or declines (with his inimitable courteous dignity) to accept turtle poop. But since there’s no Tim Gunn, and there are no home visits, it’s an episode that’s interesting because…. wait…. it’ll come to me….nope, it’s a total waste of time. But that isn’t going to stop me from dripping words all over the internet, nosiree.
The short version:
Austin – His theme is Fragonard meets Madame de Pompadour meets Williamsburg Hasidic rock star – any questions? Not since Rami and Jillian (Joan of Arc and 15th Century Spanish armor, respectively) has there been such an interesting concept on PR. Makes Gretchen’s “Running Through Thunder” sound piss-ant, doesn’t it?
Michael: Central Park, green, animal print – aha, Safari! Oh, Michael, don’t you know there’s already been a Michael who did a Street Safari, and afterwards he had to change his name and design t-shirts for Starbucks? Is that what you want, Michael? Your designs with latte drips all over them? And now a big shoutout to ketzel on TWoP for this astute life advice aimed at Michael:
When I started to make art, a great teacher warned me never to settle for my first idea. “The cheap and easy stuff comes first, kid,” he said, “You gotta not fall in love with the first cheap and easy thing that winks at you.”
I gotta remember that.
Mondo is really, really Depressed. After a day of Being Depressed, he uses it as his theme: “Therapy.” Electroshock. Acupuncture. Ink blots. I hope this was filmed before Viktor’s ink blots aired. Because Viktor, he really did great ink blots.
They work for a couple of days, and then:
Twist – Sixth Look, using only fabric scraps left over from prior challenges. This is a Made for Mondo twist if there ever was one. But he’s still depressed. Oh, come on, guys, you knew it was coming. There’s always another look, except for the Remedial Season 9 when they had to cancel it to allow time for Anya to redo her collection (my interpretation).
Twist, part deux: pick a 24-hour assistant from among your former competitors.
Mondo picks Mila. Kind of makes sense. Graphic, good skills, no nonsense, no buddy-buddy stuff. He’s still Depressed.
Austin gets Anthony, which is a surprise to me. What about your BFF Kenley? Not so BFF that he wants to be saddled with her for 24 hours, it seems.
Michael chooses the Grey Fox, April, which shocks me, especially with Rami the draper standing there (I didn’t see him, was he actually there? I assume he was). And Gordana, who can sew up a storm and is incredibly nice as well. But he says girl’s got mad skillz.
They sew. Mondo sulks. Austin and Michael complain about him.
That’s about it.
Ok, a few details that, if I squint and try hard, might be worth a mention:
– Mondo sees Austin has shaved his mustache, and snarks, “He went from Errol Flynn to Kermit the Frog.” Hey, that’s not really something a guy who wears lederhosen ought to be saying, y’know? Funny they don’t even try to disguise the interview shots that, throughout the season, have shown him both mustachio’d and clean-shaven in random fashion, sometimes both on one episode IIRC.
– They visit Joanna to gawk at the awe and splendor of her offices; she comes out looking remarkably attractive and wearing shoes that make those rhino heels Christian Siriano loved kept breaking in his “Having a Moment” special look downright comfy.
– In addition to the usual obligatory kowtows to power, there are a couple of somewhat interesting questions they ask Joanna:
Mondo: What about theatrics and over-the-top styling in the fashion show, how important is it?
Joanna: It depends, if it’s authentic to the collection, that’s fine, but in any case, it’s not essential.
Michael: What does the guest editor job entail?
Joanna: It entails joining Nina’s team for discussions of how to interpret runway looks for readers who want to wear fashion (in other words – nothing specific, sit and listen, get coffee and maybe the next unreleased Harry Potter book – oh, wait, there are no more Harry Potter books….
Me: Do you ever fall over backwards in those shoes?
Joanna: no answer. What’sa matta, Joanna, afraid of the truth?
– Mondo interviews that the magazine job would be terrific for him because he loves collaborating with creative people. Which is why he sulks for four days in the workroom and rebuffs all friendly advances, and storms out of a cocktail session, and is happy he has a space where he can close the door. I love Mondo. Dearly. When Austin and Michael bitch that they’ve got problems too, I love Mondo all the more. Depression (capital-D Depression, the illness) isn’t about problems. In fact, some of us function best when we have “real” problems, because then people understand how hard it is for us and we can be brave and soldier on. It’s when you wake up and the sun is shining and you have a trip to the South of France on your calendar and your sensitive and loving boyfriend makes you a perfect omelet and your dog greets you with waggy tail and the cat purrs next to you and you have a series of outstanding offers and your inbox is crammed with praise and affection and you still wish you were dead that you understand capital-D depression. And you can, indeed, truly believe that you enjoy collaborating with creative people, because you recognize it as something you would enjoy, if you were capable of enjoying anything.
– Michael picks April as his assistant, and I momentarily couldn’t remember her name, so I write “death girl” in my notes.
– Anthony tells Austin, “That lace looks like dead white lady.”
– Michael says something to April about her finally getting her pony. Remember, she wanted to use prize money from a challenge to get a miniature pony? It was the most excited she looked the whole season, too. I think she should give up fashion and go into miniature-pony breeding.
– Austin wants the hairstylist about including payot. This could be really good. Or, HaShem could strike him down on the runway. Watch what happens.
After the Runway:
Mondo: just before the first challenge, he “kind of broke up” with his best friend of 11 years, and also, he’s been having problems with his partner. I think he’s reaching. Face it, Mondo, you’re a depressed whiner. Me, too. Embrace the Emo.
Anthony on assisting Austin: “I was the help, just call me Minnie.” At least I think it was Minnie. Winnie?
Isaac to Michael: “I adore how much you love flesh.”
Now… aren’t you glad I skipped the long version?