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Project Runway Recap: Just As They’re Designed to Do, Nuts & Bolts Get Screwed (Over)

Project Runway
Can’t We All Just Get Along? Season 9 • Episode 7

All it takes to mess with the mood of a Project Runway episode is one big-personalitied designer waking up on the wrong side of the bed. Well, that, and a leaderless team challenge that also involves group-designed fabric prints and show-staging elements. Clearly, the producers had no plans for a two-week long love-fest — but gosh, this season is turning into quite the wild mood-swinging pendulum.

After a team pick’em that left Bert chosen last again, the dueling lineups consisted of Anthony, Anya, Bryce, Olivier, and Viktor versus Becky, Bert, Joshua, Kimberly, and Laura. While that’s a reasonable balance of talent, it couldn’t be a more off-kilter split in terms of temperament. So guess which team got the lion’s share of airtime? The dysfunctional one, of course, who go by the name Nuts & Bolts. It took precious few minutes after a pep-talk, all about teamwork, harmony, and cute fluffy bunnies, from the always-effervescent Betsey Johnson for them to be fighting like angry fishwives — fishiest of all being Joshua M. and his aggressively grumpy disposition. Although we’d have been mad, too, if our plans for a Village People–themed collection got shot down, because, seriously: GENIUS idea.

After grouching his way through the team’s planning session and sketching time, he picked the silliest of serious fights with Bert over a softly spoken curse — the F-word, to be specific. Bert had, for once, gotten rightfully irritated at a malfunctioning printer, Joshua in turn took affront at this and really just blew up, outright threatening to forfeit the challenge altogether. (Of course, it turns out the Nuts & Bolts team basically did this as a whole, but you know, through the power of really bad design). After some alone-time and craftily soothing words from Miss Congeniality, Laura, he at least seemed to he seemed to have — Botox-snark notwithstanding — turned his frown upside down by day’s end, but with a seemingly well-scripted apology made to the workroom as a whole, a couple of his fellow designers shrewdly doubted its sincerity.

Upon the delivery of their print designs the next morning, the remarkably unchaotic team Chaos had a momentary faux panic over the potential for their hand-painted inkblots to look like those spots on cows, but really even that would have been more sophisticated that the ripped-off Sprouse-style graffiti and paint-by-numbers prints over on Nuts & Bolts. Wisely, Kimberly is having nothing to do with either, and constructs her look entirely print-free. On the flip side, Becky’s so determined to incorporate a print into her look’s skirt that she runs through all three in do-overs. They all sucked. And we can be that blunt because Tim was, too, railroading the team for their lack of cooperation and poor incorporation of their prints across the board. Though it seemed like he was trying to play “good cop, bad cop” by himself — in reverse, that is — because after that bout of recriminations he got the group to hold hands and basically pray for a better collective attitude.

Unfortunately, there was no real intervention, divine or otherwise, at hand. Instead, affronted by the bad feedback, Joshua stormed off for another hissyfit. Placing a call home to decompress, the reason for the self-described "black cloud" became clear, and uncomfortable: The challenge and all its associated stress has fallen on the two-year anniversary of Joshua's mother's death, still — most understandably — an event he's clearly struggling with.

But back to lighter fare and onto the runway show. This week we’re treated to two guest judges, Rachel Roy and Rose Byrne — but having said that, we get little insight from either. There’s little insight necessary though, as the two collections couldn’t be further apart on the scale of good-to-bad clothes. It’s left to the individual winner/loser picks to muster some semblance of surprise — both do, but just a little. Despite what seemed like greater praise going to Viktor and Olivier, Anya got this week’s “congrats” from Heidi; and Becky got cut — cut from the wreckage of the Nuts & Bolts car crash basically. Of course, her teammate Kimberly had summed that up perfectly much sooner in the episode — the team’s two bolts (herself and Laura) had shown too much good work in previous episode to get the auf this time, and the team’s two nuts (Bert and Joshua) had shown too much emotion. Stuck somewhere in the middle, Becky never stood a chance.

Note: Lifetime has yet to provide courtesy photos of Laura's jumpsuit this week, though a close-up shot is visible here. Suffice to say, it's a jumpsuit even J. Lo would turn down, and that really says it all. Once an image is available, rest assured it'll receive our attention.

Photo: Courtesy of Lifetime

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