September 18th, 2009
01:02 PM ET

Needles and newspapers on 'Project Runway'

We kicked it old school on “Runway” last night, from the newsprint used for fabric to the designer’s middle-school antics.

project runway

That might sound like the awesomeness that reality TV is made of, but “PR’s” sixth season has this uncanny ability to take the right ingredients and deliver something tasteless.

But let’s start at the beginning. Since we all know no one reads the newspaper, the producers figured we may as well make clothes out of them, so they hauled them all to the L.A. Times, because - obviously - they couldn’t just bring the papers to the workroom. No, “PR” was all about the learning in this episode. They had to schlep them all down there just so Althea could exclaim: “They took us to these BUILDINGS where they make NEWSPAPERS.” Yes, Althea -– and people are still getting paid for that too!

Fans, we have to admit... we finally got what we’ve been begging for. The newspaper challenge was an actual challenge, not a requirement to simply put the model in something decent and trot her down the runway. Should’ve been “Runway” gold, but it ended up more like lamé.

First, they have Tim Gunn do the most awkward - let alone unnecessary - history lesson on the fine art of paper clothing. Why? I don’t even think Tim knew. That combined with the extended camera shot of the colorful permanent markers and paintbrushes made me think I was back in my 8th-grade art class. It definitely did fit the style of past seasons of “Runway.”

Once the papier-mache was under way, Irina and Nicolas, who’ve proven to be closet trash talkers for the past few weeks, stepped it up a notch last night ragging on everyone from Johnny the Addict to Shirin, but only during their interviews. They’re like freaking mice in the workroom.

Christian Siriano’s rude comments and a limited vocabulary turned him into the “SNL” skit he is today because he laid it out there in all of its “hot tranny” glory, and I adored him for it. This season, between whiny-voiced, semi-talented Irina and whiny-voiced, definitely-not-talented Nicolas, the cattiness is unleashed only when no one’s around to hear it. Even at the pinnacle moment, when Nicolas calls Johnny the Addict out on the runway for telling a crazily sewn lie, it was weak. No, I don’t have a love-hate relationship with these secret backbiters; I’ve just got hate.

The resulting clothes, however, for the most part I loved. Althea, for all of her non-newspaper-reading, rocked it out, as did Christopher. Johnny the Addict … well. I guess that’s why you shouldn’t do drugs, kids.

Who do you think was a hit and a miss last night? Are you as tired of these whack challenges as I am? Let me know!


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soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Carol

    Love last night's show. The project was a real challenge that in the end showed some real creativity. I read newspapers EVERY day. Bloggers like you are a dime a dozen. Newspaper columnists are read by MILLIONS of people EVERY day. I bet THAT will never be said about you, whatever your name is. PR rules!

    September 18, 2009 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. LeeAnn

    I had never seen PR before last year's season, but I was so impressed by the creativity and raw talent of the candidates (contestants?), and was glad to see this season finally begin on the new network. Maybe it's because I only saw one season with Kors and Garcia as judges, but I like the variety of judges we've seen so far this season. And, I don't feel this is a "lame" group at all – in fact there's a lot of talent and creativity in this group, which is why I'm watching. I generally despise so-called reality TV (like I despise the "Models of the Runway" spin-off) because it's usually a lot of no-talent narcissistic pettiness. But I am fascinated to see what the different sensibilities of these designers has them produce for each new challenge. How different they all are, and the technical skill required for them to do it just stuns me. Shirin's pregnancy outfit? Christopher's newspaper dress? Talent is always so fun to watch in action. And I'm glad they're celebrating the Los Angeles location, getting out of NYC.

    September 18, 2009 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Susan

    I did appreciate the background for the challenge. I could not believe how Johnny was changing that story and also loved the fact that Tim mentioned it at the end of the show. I miss Michael and Nina being there.

    September 18, 2009 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. michael knight

    Sorry David – our emails crossed in the ether.

    September 18, 2009 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. michael knight

    I think you are thinking of Michael Knight, African American kid, maybe from Atlanta - at least he showed up on last season RHW of Atlanta to help Sheree last season. He did really well, top 3 – stayed really sweet the whole time.
    Is that who you mean?

    September 18, 2009 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. David

    Michael from Atlanta who made the amazing hot pants!?? hello?

    September 18, 2009 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Marina

    I have been a fan of PR since season one and I have to agree that this season is definitely flat and dare I say it-lame. I don't know if it's the cast or the challenges or what but I am not feeling it at all. Or maybe it's beacuse the original judges aren't always there. During the previous seasons, I could not miss a single episode- but it's not the same now. Christian was definitely my favorite- not for his personality but because of his amazing talent and creations that could stand on their own. He was a stand out throughout season four, as was Leanne. This season, so far however- well, I don't know, but I miss the old PR for sure.

    September 18, 2009 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Breeanna Hare, CNN.com

    Hey everyone!

    Glad to see I'm not the only Runway fan out there :-)

    And, you guys are totally right - I WAS referring to Christopher, not Michael! I think I was so upset by the continued absence of Nina and Michael Kors' absence that I had a Freudian slip.

    Thanks for reading!

    September 18, 2009 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ames

    Breeanna – maybe you should let someone who actually likes the show do the writing.

    September 18, 2009 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Alicia

    Kevin Ives – You have terrific ideas! They should hire you! Entertaining for the audience and a benefit to those in need.

    September 18, 2009 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Kit

    Michael = Michael White, from Atlanta?

    September 18, 2009 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jenny

    Duh, they are talking about Michael Kors as a judge...come on your supposed to be PR fans...

    September 18, 2009 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kelli

    I loved the entire show. I love PR each and every year. I can't wait to see how the clothes look on the runway. It's all good as far as I'm concerned.

    September 18, 2009 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. me

    apparently none of you has actually watched another season of Project Runway- Micheal Knight from Atlanta was a finalist in the season won by Jeffrey Sebelia.

    September 18, 2009 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Hollan

    Kevin...love your ideas especially about the prom dresses and Goodwill clothes for celebrities. Awesomeness!

    September 18, 2009 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Liz

    I agree with John about it being nice to have a background for the challenge. I found the little history lesson interesting. I also really like the wackier challenges as it forces the participants to stretch the limits of their imaginations.

    September 18, 2009 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Karen in Sac

    This season of PR is the most boring ever! At least last night they showed some creativity. However, the best designers don't get on because they can't afford to take that much time away from work.

    September 18, 2009 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Joy

    agree with aaron.. who's this michael person??

    September 18, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Morgan

    Aaron, I believe it is supposed to be Christopher, not Michael. Christopher should have won that challenge, he has so much potential. You would think for being such a basher the author would at least get the names right. Dear author................you're OUT!

    September 18, 2009 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Mary

    I don't recall a michael...did you mean christopher? Either way Christopher really pulled out an amazing dress last night despite the fact he came in second. I can't believe he made a full length feathered newspaper dress in one day. It was amazing and personally I would have liked to see him win the challenge. Either way, I'm glad Johnny is off and I'll be equally glad to see Nicholas go as I am expecting to happen in the next challenge or the one following.

    September 18, 2009 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Jayla

    I L-O-V-E-D this particular episode. I was totally in shock at how creatively the designers were able to construct garments with newsprint. Yes, too many of them went with cute little dresses but the way they used patterns, etc. just blew my mind. And that Johnny guy thinking he could totally get away with such a lie with cameras everywhere to prove him wrong. I was glad he got called out on the runway by the other designer. My only unhappiness with PR so far this season has been the loss of Michael Kors and Nina Garcia. It's just not the same without them.

    September 18, 2009 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  22. JACKI

    I think Althea, Chris & Carol Hanna will be the last three. But Logan and that dark haired girl who's name starts with an s, her name escapes me right now, could give them a run for their money

    September 18, 2009 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  23. huh?!

    Michael? Who the heck are you talking about? Are you confusing PR with Top Chef?

    September 18, 2009 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  24. kevin ives

    I can't believe they made them make a dress out of newspaper. I thought it was a little corny. Here would be some more productive ideas for the contestants to complete:

    1. Have them make something for a non-profit such as Dress for Success.

    2. Design a prom dress for a deserving high school student who can't afford one.

    3. Go shopping at Goodwill, using recycled fabrics from clothes sold there, design a formal dress for celebrities who support them and then acution them dresses off afterwords. The proceeds of which would go back to Goodwill (or another charity).

    September 18, 2009 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Aaron

    I don't think there is a Michael on this season.

    September 18, 2009 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  26. TINA

    i liked Tim's reaction at the end of the show about Johnny's runway lies. classic

    September 18, 2009 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  27. john matthew

    I disagree with most of this review. "Breeanna" may not want to know the history of paper dresses, but that doesn't make it boring or irrelevant. It's nice to get some kind of background for a challenge. They may have focused on the supply table a little too long for Breeanna (who seems to be a little A.D.D.), but it's also good to show the limited supplies used for the project.
    Not every season can have a "Christian" or "Santino" or that would get so predictable and annoying. They were great for their seasons, but if all you want is "cattiness" and reality brawls then you may want to watch something like "Housewives of anywhere" or "The Hills" instead. Keep Project Runway about designing.

    September 18, 2009 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |

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