Guten tag! Oktoberfest 2009 ended last Sunday in Munich, but I’m taking it upon myself to officially extend it through this weekend. ‘Cause after last night’s maddening outcome, all I feel like doing is diving into a super-sized Steinkrugand drinking myself into a Bavarian oblivion. Das ist some serious bullScheiße you pulled last night, judges. Nein, nein and nein!
Okay, fine. It wasn’t all bad. It actually started off pretty great. My favorite challenges are the ones that push the designers to the limits of their creativity, so I gave a big ole thumbs up to this week’s task of turning nine divorcées’ wedding dresses into something fabulous. Plus, Gordana made a funny. ”Hi, I’m Leah,” said the first single lady. ”And I’ve been divorced for three months.” To which Our Lady of Spoons replied: ”Congratulations.” Ba-dum-bum. Another reason to be pro-wedding dress? It gave Tim Gunn an excuse to sprinkle these words throughout the episode: ”Designers, I’m sending in your divorcées!”
After the contestants selected their gowns, they hit up Mood for 25 bucks worth of extra fabric. By that time, Shirin was in full-on freak-out mode, since she — not Epperson! — was the last to pick and got stuck with the worst dress: 100 percent polyester, no beading, no appliqué, and the least amount of yardage. She also got a pill of a client named Charlie, who rambled on about wanting a Cher ”Half-Breed” get-up, complete with feathers and a headdress. Don’t know what kind of post-divorce life Charlie has in mind, but it obviously involves sitting barefoot astride a horse while lamenting a childhood filled with loneliness brought on by her complicated biracial ethnicity. Hey, thanks a bunch, Charlie. Now I won’t be able to write this recap without hearing ”Half-breed! That’s all I ever heard! Half-breed! How I learned to hate the word!” blaring in my head.
Shirin’s meltdown continued into the workroom until Tim, once more clad in his customary suit, swept in to save the day. As she wept tears of frustration, he gave her a hug (sweet, adorable) and some advice (genius, generous): lose the feathers but not her identity as a designer. ”Clear this table top off, take each of these textiles out and just play, like it’s a big giant paper doll” Tim said. With that, Shirin managed to get her head back on straight. Next thing we knew, she’d ditched the ”bad Vegas outfit” (”HALF-BREED!”) and streamlined her design into a smart white frock snazzed up with some contrast stitching. ”I’m happy there aren’t peacock feathers coming out of her butt,” she said. And like a pint-sized cheerleader blessed with the determination of Tracy Flick, Shirin pumped herself up, telling the camera: ”I’m not going home for this. I refuse to go home for this.”
As the day wore on, Gordana went from cracking jokes with divorcées to breaking down while dialoguing with her husband’s voicemail. She explained that she’d been divorced before, and this week’s broken-marriage theme, combined with being separated from her family, just did the poor gal in. There she sat, sobbing into an electronic device that wouldn’t, couldn’t assuage her hurt. That her hand was stained with dark fabric dye only amplified the woe.
NEXT: Epperson just didn’t get it