''Project Runway'': One is out; one is outed
Last week, like an idiot, I rashly predicted that weaselly sneaking cheater Keith Michael would not be exposed as a weaselly sneaking cheater and get kicked off of this week's Project Runway because that seemed too obvious. And now, I'm here to semi-admit to the demi-embarrassment of being half wrong. Keith was indeed kicked off the show this week. And it was too obvious.
If the above apology is insufficient, by the way, I will shortly be issuing a second, longer apology, through my publicist, with a plea to meet with leaders of the fashion community who can help me mend my erroneous ways after I am released from style rehab.
Keith, busted by Kayne (lesson No. 1: Never screw with a Southern pageant queen), was sent packing for the triple crime of having how-to fashion manuals in his bedroom, leaving the production ''for several hours without permission'' there, I suspect, lies a much more interesting tale and ''using the Internet.'' Said the gloomy evictee: ''My image has been tarnished forever...and I'm going to be a laughingstock to my friends.'' (Image? Friends? Really? Just asking.) Nonetheless, since I've beaten the daylights out of Keith for weeks, let me now say that I'll miss him he's not only the essence of great reality TV but also an apparently strong designer and undeniably funny (maybe even a good guy in real life) and that it would be a brilliant move for Heidi, Tim, and the producers to give him a second chance and bring him back for season 4. Maybe they could force him to wear an electronic ankle bracelet that administers a medium-size electric shock every time he moans or rolls his eyes. In any case, the show will be a quart low on conflict and energy without him. After all, as he said, ruefully, ''I had a lot of tricks up my sleeve still.''
If any lesson is to be learned from this week's oddly anticlimactic episode, it may be that the only thing more dangerous than too much airtime is not enough. Thus, it was perfectly obvious, wasn't it, that Bonnie, the only remaining contestant on the show who had been given no personality or big moment by the producers, was marked for extinction. Appropriately, she lost in a challenge to design a three-piece outfit for Macy's Inc. line that yielded what may be the single dullest runway showdown in PR's short, illustrious history.
Working with microbudgets that forced them toward bland, canvassy fabrics, and apparently designing for women who have a deeply held ethical objection to wearing anything with an actual color in it, Runway's contestants fell so short of inspiration that not only did Angela ''I Don't Really Sketch'' Keslar win, but believe me, it hurts me to say this she deserved to. She picked her team smartly efficiency monster Laura and fan favorite Michael, whose resigned but determined ''Daaaaaaaaa-yum!'' when she chose him contained an entire history of oppression and she put her penchant for evil little rosettes to good use, thanks to Laura's intervention. The result was a modish, flattering outfit that was not damaged at all by her insistence that it was inspired by the Empire State Building. Why, because they're both...vertical? Can we call for a moratorium on silly runway ''inspiration'' backstories, even if the judges always seem to greet them with gape-jawed delight?
As for Bonnie and why she lost, there's no question that she didn't get much help from teammate Bradley, who described himself forlornly as ''a squid with no ocean'' and sounds more like an escapee from Twin Peaks with every sedated non sequitur. (''Maybe...Bonnie...doesn't...like...my...beard....'') Bonnie, however, had nobody but herself to blame for having her model styled like Cleopatra Jones and then putting her in a pair of nasty brown pants that Florida Evans wouldn't have worn to Costco. Which meant that Robert was one lucky Barbie dressmaker; he survived despite concealing his model in an igloo-size white drawstring coat that looked like it was stuffed with old newspapers and water bottles, not to mention a skirt with a back slit so high that it almost journeyed to the Place Gay Male Fashion Designers Dare Not Go. When Kayne tells you you're ''on the verge of skanky,'' you'd better listen.
What did you think? Is Michael this competition's stealth candidate? Should Keith get his own spin-off special? And with Angela granted immunity, who's in trouble next week? (For Bonnie's side of the story, read her interview with Jessica Shaw.)