Project Runway, Season Five, Episode 6

Manolo says, ayyyy! Drag queens and Project Runway! Two great tastes that taste great together, like sequins and neon green feather boas! Like Mediterranean accents and fashion blogging! Like existential despair and bargain vodka!

Oh, how very long the Manolo has been waiting for the Project Runway producers to recognize the pure entertainment value of drag; to see that the addition of the ferociously fierce-o-licious drag queens would likely produce one of the greatest episodes ever.

And indeed, it has come to pass exactly as the Manolo had imagined.

But then, the Manolo has long been convinced that if the television networks were truly serious about increasing viewership they would serve up the heaping helping of drag queenage. Consider how much more entertaining your favorite shows would be if the lead actress were replaced with the giant drag queen. (Finally, The Closer would be watchable!)

So, at long last, there they were, giant glorious drag queens heralded onto the runway by the delightful Chris March in full Brunhilda glory. And these were not just any old random drag queens, no, no, no these were famous drag queens, figures of renown and respect in the “community”. Varla Jean Merman (whose Southern accent is much more convincing than Kyra Sedgwick’s), Miss Understood, Hedda Lettuce, and the others, they are all famous, truly the creme-de-la-drag.

At that point, five minutes into the show, the Manolo’s joy knew no bounds!

And then the designing started and the reality of the episode exceeded the expectations. Without the doubt this was the most quotable episode of the Project Runway ever. “Sad chicken”, “gay pterodactyl”, and “wookie onesie” (with sound effects) have all now entered the Manolo’s vocabulary.

It was also the most entertaining episode ever, every bit of it amusing–the trip to Mood, Tim’s customary workroom walkabout, the inevitable attempt at conflict (between Suede and Hedda Lettuce), the celebrity judge (Ru Paul!), Michael Kors comments– every bit of it wonderfully delicious.

For the Manolo, the exact peak of the show arrived when RuPaul rebuked the excuse-full Keith the Angry Gay Mormon with “the dingoes ate your baby,” which is cryptic in print, but hilarious and sharp and cruel in context. Truly, one of the great moments in the history of reality television.

Likewise, one of the most amusing aspects of this most amusing episode, was that Emphatically Not Gay Joe so fully mastered the subtleties of dressing drag queens, to the point that he was judged the winner for pouring Varla Jean into the spangly pink, Gay Ship Lollipop sailor suit. Masterful.

And Terri, whom the Manolo is completely convinced will be one of the three finalists, came up with something so startlingly surreal and original that the previously ousted Jennifer (the bewildered child who claimed her inspiration was “Holly Golightly meets Salvador Dali”, whatever that means) must be kicking herself. Again, masterful.

The bottom three, Miss J. Jarell (whom the Manolo also expects to be one of the three finalists), Keith the Angry Gay Mormon, and Daniel (the bewildered child with the “impeccable taste” that wasn’t) were all deserved, although Jarell’s outfit was merely not over the top enough, rather than actively bad, like the other two.

And in the end, after Keith was cruelly rebuked, when Daniel was sent away by popular acclaim, it was more like the mercy killing than the auf’ing. Daniel’s threnody of whine had grown tiresome, and his lack of talent had begun to tell.

And now the Manolo must go watch this episode again, for such concentrated entertainment cannot be fully appreciated in the single sitting.

20 Responses to “Project Runway, Season Five, Episode 6”

  1. Cambiata August 21, 2008 at 10:07 pm #

    This episode marks the first time I have ever disagreed with Tim Gunn to my knowledge. According to his blog, he disagreed with Terri’s choices and was shocked to find find that she was among the top three. I suppose Bravo cut his workroom disagreement so that our national treasure might not be shown to be wrong too publicly. Or perhaps it was simply because “gay pterodactls” and bitchy Hedda Lettuce were better entertainment.

  2. valawhoo August 21, 2008 at 10:08 pm #

    I have a theory. If you have to tell people that you have impeccable taste, you probably don’t.

    Just a thought.

  3. Melissa B. August 21, 2008 at 10:35 pm #

    Just when I thought the episode couldn’t be any more fun, they auf’d my least favorite designer! Now when does Kenley go home?

    I felt bad for Jerrell — his outfit, while a bit dull, was nowhere near as bad as Daniel’s or Keith’s and he didn’t deserve to be on the chopping block with those two.

  4. Cambiata August 21, 2008 at 10:40 pm #

    Oh, and I agree that Terri will be in the top three. I hope she gets a win soon, I feel she has been unfairly passed over a couple of times. If the next episode is the one where she gets a win and Blayne finally gets auf’d, then that will be a happy episode.

  5. Jennie August 21, 2008 at 10:56 pm #

    A few of these designers need to get out more! Didn’t they understand that DRAG means over the top fabulousity?? And I know I may be speaking blasphemy but does Tim Gunn have a new boyfriend? He looks like he has had whisker burns around his mouth, chin, and nose for the last few episodes… Who is this lucky guy?

  6. Lady DunBraidh August 22, 2008 at 2:37 am #

    Manolo dear, the auf’d contestant who said she was surreal, was Jennifer. What a fabulous episode this was!!!

  7. Judith in Umbria August 22, 2008 at 6:52 am #

    If that’s the winner I think I am glad we don’t get this show in Italy. There is something about supporting those plasticky, globular boobs with those square, trunklike thighs… shudder…
    I have known some delightful drag queens in my life, and they would refuse that outfit!

  8. Despina August 22, 2008 at 8:09 am #

    Fab recap as always, dear Manolo! Quick note: The Angry Gay Mormon is Keith, not Kevin. Kevin was the equally bearded but determinedly straight-and-not-nearly-as-angry-and-probably-not-Mormon hunka lovin’ from Season 4.

  9. wannabe August 22, 2008 at 10:11 am #

    Agree with all the sentiments expressed dear Manolo except for those regarding Terri’s creation — to me it wasn’t so much startlingly original as just plain freaking strange. It lacked the playfulness of the drag queen and instead looked like heroin-kabuki chic. Joe was deservedly the winner. However, I totally agree that she should and will be in the final.

    Props to using “threnody” in a blog post, which must make you the only blogger in history to do so.

  10. eric3000 August 22, 2008 at 12:54 pm #

    I think my expectations were too high for this episode and I just thought most of the garments were boring. We’ve seen better drag outfits in previous seasons on the regular models.

  11. Miss Janey August 22, 2008 at 1:15 pm #

    Miss J MUST catch this show in rerun. She has missed nearly all of PR this season but The Manolo’s brilliant retelling has caught her interest.

  12. Manolo the Shoeblogger August 22, 2008 at 1:49 pm #

    Many thanks to the Despina and the Lady DunBraidh for these corrections. As usual, the Manolo has written in haste and repented in leisure.

  13. carfas August 22, 2008 at 2:17 pm #

    I knew Joe had it locked up when he said, “I just need to think about it as if I were making a Halloween costume for my daughter.” I think that really captures part of the drag queen spirit: the joy and freedom and over-the-top fabulosity a little girl feels when she’s in dress up. When Varla Jean came sashayng down the runway, you could tell that’s exactly how she felt.

  14. khazar August 22, 2008 at 10:10 pm #

    What Joe did was truly magical: When Varla came onto the runway, she made everyone fall in love with her. If you could wathc her do her little pose & not be charmed silly, you have no heart.

    Terri’s costume, while impressive, was too masculine/science fiction anime for the challenge. If anyone was overlooked it was Leanne, whose creation was quite remarkable in its own right.

  15. rb August 22, 2008 at 11:22 pm #

    I have to say I HATED Terri’s outfit. It’s wasn’t feminine enough to be a drag queen outfit. I agreed with Joe’s win, but wonder how much he was assisted by Varla’s FABULOUSNESS on the runway?

    I want to marry Tim. I think I could even deal with him not liking my icky girl parts.

  16. Lora August 23, 2008 at 11:07 am #

    I know, right? This episode stays on the DVR so I can watch it whenever I want. And I agree, Jerrell’s creation was a bit tame, but so was everything Lame wore. It’s about her beautiful face, remember. Blayne’s falling apart Gay Jurasic Park was far worse and should have been in the bottom three.

  17. Aimee August 23, 2008 at 2:52 pm #

    Lora, It’s true Lame didn’t want anything “costumey”.

    Terri’s outfit would have been more Drag if it had big pointy JP Gaultieresque bustier added to the corset/ obi thingy, I think..

  18. Cliff O'Neill August 23, 2008 at 11:30 pm #

    Oh, I am so hoping Terri makes the final three and wins this whole thing!

    But I am really getting to be wishing Keith off my screen even more than the ridiculous three-headed Blayne/Stella/Suede monster.

  19. cheeky August 26, 2008 at 5:58 pm #

    Am I the only person in the entire blogosphere who thought Blayne’s atrocious design should have at least landed him in the bottom three? I mean, the nasty thing started falling apart on the runway! What the hell?

  20. ChicaPica August 29, 2008 at 10:21 am #

    Ayyyy, the bloggings of Manolo are like the bon bon chocolates – so tasty and so rich! I have only now caught up with all of this season’s episodes, and Manolo’s corresponding recaps, and it is like eating an entire box of chocolates at once – I am a little woozy, but very satisfied.