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'Project Runway' - How to Throw Yourself Under the Bus

'Project Runway' - How to Throw Yourself Under the Bus

Last night's episode of Project Runway might as well have been called Product Runway. While the competitors hashed it out to deliver the best design, Lifetime smothered viewers with so much promotion for sponsor Garnier Fructis, this recapper, at least, was plagued by vague nightmares of Tim Gunn chasing her with hair products screaming "Make It Work!"

Last night's episode of Project Runway might as well have been called Product Runway. While the competitors hashed it out to deliver the best design, Lifetime smothered viewers with so much promotion for sponsor Garnier Fructis, this recapper, at least, was plagued by vague nightmares of Tim Gunn chasing her with hair products screaming "Make It Work!"

Even with the over-the-top product placement bonanza, the third episode of the season continued to provide plenty of entertaining drama among the competitors to balance out the shameless self-promotion. This week's assignment, to create a California surfer girl-inspired look was a team challenge. Judging from previous seasons, it's virtually guaranteed at least one team is going to have a complete meltdown bitch fight in the sewing room.

Continuing the tradition this time around, designers Qristyl and Epperson managed to insult, nag and give each other the evil eye through the whole episode. And if we've learned anything from prior seasons, the team that can't get their shit together and get along is quite often the team standing last on the runway facing elimination. Bad attitudes lead to ugly clothes folks, you'd think the designers would have figured that out by now.

On the other side of the room, designers Shirin and Carol Hannah seem to be a match made in heaven. Shirin won last week's episode and has already proven she has impeccable taste in design. Now she shows she's also an excellent judge of her fellow competitors. Shirin and Carole Hannah click near instantaneously and right from the start it's easy to see they're design is one of the best in the room.

The contestants are happily (and for some, unhappily) working away when self-described "Prophet of Doom" Tim Gunn comes in to ruin everyone's day with a surprise extra challenge. In addition to their surfer girl outfit, the design teams will be forced to pound out a second, companion avant-garde look to go with their first outfit. The shock and dismay on the contestants' faces is truly priceless. Like they didn't know that was absolutely going to happen with a team challenge. Seriously, all future designers on Project Runway should be required to watch every previous season ad nauseum before stepping foot on the show. Get a clue people!

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The person you just can't help feeling the most sorry for is poor Ra'mon, who was saddled with perpetual loser Mitchell during the team pick. It's so obvious Mitchell is a useless, untalented hack that it's really difficult to understand how the hell he got on the show in the first place. Poor Ra'mon is pretty much doomed to have to figure out both designs, create them and sew them with little to no help from Mitchell. I mean, Mitchell is the guy who actually said at the beginning of the episode: "I chose to work with Ra'mon. I wanted to work with someone who could carry me on this challenge." Really? Wow. Obviously people have skirted their way through Project Runway challenges on other designers' coattails before. But to come right out and say you are going to do it in advance? Honestly, that boy's gay card needs to be revoked for exceeding the maximum idiot allowance.

The remainder of the time spent designing offers up tons of nastiness between Qristyl and  Epperson and a large portion of panic from Ra'mon over Mitchell's continued failure to accomplish anything productive. Luckily Ra'mon realizes with only moments to spare that his wetsuit-inspired avant-garde outfit is more Catwoman than couture and ditches the whole thing. Unfortunately, this leaves him scrambling to put together a whole new piece with only minutes left in the challenge - without any help from Mitchell, of course.

Qristyl and Epperson's designs are the first to hit the runway and the beachwear look actually manages to be halfway decent. The avant-garde look, however, is ugliness personified. It's really no surprise when the two designers of that debacle end up on the bottom of the pack. What is rather shocking is that Ra'mon and Mitchell actually find themselves sitting on top. Ra'mon is so startled to not be one of the losing teams, he can't seem to pick his jaw up off the floor. Mitchell just looks insufferably smug. The judges, including guest judges designer Max Azria and actress Rachel Bilson (where is Michael Kors???), all seem to be in lust over Ra'mon's last minute avant-garde dress. Personally, to me it looked like a rumpled mess of plastic-looking, badly dyed fabric wrapped haphazardly around the model with no rhyme or reason. Shirin and Carol Hannah's two outfits, on the other hand, both looked expensive, gorgeous and sophisticated - but they didn't even end up in the top teams. Which is why, I guess, I'll thankfully never be a Project Runway judge.

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While Ra'mon and Mitchell are picked as one of the best teams based on the designs, the judges quickly learn Mitchell had very little to do with any of it. Mitchell actually admits right to the judges that "Ra'mon did most of it." Amazingly, the boy actually throws himself under the bus! Mitchell's incompetence is so obvious at this point, the judges actually leave him on the runway with the losing designers after awarding the win to Ra’mon - which was the least he deserved after all that suffering.

Although Qristyl and Epperson's cat fighting and resulting failed outfits might have otherwise resulted in an elimination for one of the team, the judges had a vendetta to settle. They have had just about enough of one particular designer who keeps ending up last on the runway. Heidi tells Mitchell  "never in Project Runway history has a team member for a winning design been eliminated, [but] three strikes and you're out."

Auf wiedersehen Mitchell, we can't say we're sorry to see you go!

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Laura Vess