Project Runway: Season 9 – Episode 5 The Dreaded Sportswear Challenged…Served Up with Some Serious Drama! [Runway Rundown]

So folks, I should start by saying I am not Zack Bunker. Zack is on vacation, chilling or doing what cool guys like Zack do, so this week you are stuck with me. I know, I know…but hey, this is not a picnic for me either. In order to write this recap, I had to get off the Reality TV Boycott I had begun in the wake of the travesty that recently occurred on SYTYCD. Side Note: Dear Nigel, Sasha was robbed, period!

Okay, now that I have gotten that off my chest let’s get down to business.

First, you know this is a recap and that means spoilers…so if you did not get to watch Project Runway last night and it is still languishing in your DVR…walk away and come back later.

As the show opens we see some exhausted designers struggling to get their butts out of bed and then the camera pans to small stacks of clothing with name tags on each pile. I look more closely and a pit forms in my stomach for the poor designers…the clothing is actually t-shirts, shorts and sneakers.

This, my friends, is the dreaded sportswear challenge.

A small note accompanying the clothes directs the designers to meet Heidi and Tim at the New Balance Track & Field Center at the Armory in Washington Heights.

As the designers scramble to get ready….we see poor Cecilia – clearly still reeling from her stint in the bottom three – depressed and refusing to get out of bed. Cecilia is apparently angry that the judges sent Julie home instead of her (though come on dude this was Julie’s third straight week in the bottom three…the clock was ticking on her). If I was her I would be more concerned about ever living down that comment about firing Nina if she ever wore Cecilia’s dress to work. But anyway…

Joshua is psyched by the thought that this may be a race. He basically declares himself the young, white and gay version of Carl Lewis…okay, not really but he does say, “I’m hoping it’s running because I am just going to whale on these people and everyone’s going to be in the dust behind me.”

When the designers arrive at the New Balance Center, they are met by Heidi and Tim. Heidi lets them know that for this challenge they will be working in four teams of three.

[Cue to the groans about team challenges and no one wanting to have to work with Bert…who has become persona non grada.]

Heidi continues to explain that the designers will have to race once around the track, which is 200 meters, and the top four runners will be team captains and will get to choose their team members.

In the background we see a sad looking Cecilia, who clearly does not want to be there. So Cecilia decides to let Tim know that she wants to go leave the competition because she feels like she just cannot give it her all and that is not fair to the other designers who may be on her team. When Heidi asks her if she is just worried about the coming challenge, Cecilia says no, “I’d tried my best to get out yesterday…[I] hate this.” So with what felt like a bit of chastising by Heidi for wanting to go, Cecilia leaves.

There’s some grumbling from a few designers about her being crazy to leave at this point and needing to go home if she is not committed. I am not going to say these folks are heartless, but damn.

Then the race is on and the episode continues to be eventful as out of nowhere Oliver takes a face plant on the track.

The winners are, in order, Joshua, Bryce, Anthony Ryan and Victor.

I guess Joshua was the young, white and gay version of Carl Lewis. My bad!

Bert comes in last with Heidi generously volunteering to accompany him across the finish line (in her way too high heels).

Meanwhile, a down and out Oliver is being treated by the paramedics for what looks like a serious injury to his knee. Heidi and Tim note that “They are dropping like flies on Project Runway.”

And almost as if planned, Oliver passes out.

When the show comes back from commercial break, Oliver is shown to be okay and just had a minor panic attack of some sort.

The captains pick their team members.

On the first go around, Joshua picks Anya. Bryce picks Kimberly. Anthony Ryan picks Laura. And Victor picks Oliver.

On the second pass, Joshua picks Becky. Bryce picks Danielle. Which means by default a very unhappy Anthony Ryan gets stuck with Bert. But this leaves Victor and Oliver short one person since Cecilia is gone.

Okay, this is where I start to believe in the beauty of editing.

Because even though it looks like Cecilia just left like 15 minutes ago, Heidi already has a backup plan. She announces that Victor and Oliver can choose any one of the designers that have been previously eliminated for their team and that designer will be back in the competition.

The designers are stunned. Both Anthony Ryan and Laura immediately suggest Josh C.

And as if taking their advice, Victor and Oliver chat briefly and select Josh C. Actually looking at the choices, I would have selected Josh C. too.

Heidi shows the designers a few of the pairs of sneakers that she has been designing for New Balance for the past year and announces that this week’s challenge is to design a look that goes with Heidi’s sneakers.

“Think fashion; don’t just think gym, a dress, a suit…..Think basic with a twist.”

Enter the dreaded sportswear challenge.

Each team must create three cohesive looks and they must also use the same materials in the sneakers for their designs – suede and denim.

Tim interjects that the incentive to win this challenge is huge. Because the winning looks will be manufactured and sold exclusively on Amazon.Com as part of Heid’s line.

The teams have 30 minutes to caucus and sketch and then off to Mood.

Becky, who is part of Team Joshua is “super excited” because she has done sportswear before. But she immediately gets the smack down from her fellow teammates who seem to hate everything she comes up with. And Team Anthony Ryan is busy putting the kibosh on all of Bert’s sketches. But Team Bryce and Team Victor seem completely in sync.

The teams race off to Mood and then pack to Parsons, where Tim announces that they only have until 11 pm for this challenge which is an hour less than normal. Cue whining.

Everyone gets to work, but takes a quick break to clap when Tim brings in Josh C, who is beyond happy to be back!

Tensions mount on Team Joshua as Becky realizes that Joshua and Anya have no interest in her design input. “I feel like I’m the intern who is there to sew.” Well, that’s because from Joshua’s perspective that is exactly what she is.

Heidi comes in with Tim to do the walk through and proceeds to rip all four teams a new one (though to varying degrees). She says that the cowl neck shirt that Bryce worked on is not fashion forward and the dress that Kim did is boxy. She calls Oliver’s skirt an “Auntie Em” skirt that would be worn on a farm. She hated what she called Anthony Ryan’s high-wasted, Grecian goddess jump suit.

Team Bryce and Team Anthony Ryan start over.

Oh during a conversation with Laura about struggles designing for a model with a big butt, Heidi actually uses the term “big, ba-donk-a-donk.” This by the way did not look that big to me based on the tape lines on the mannequin, but then again I have a typical black woman’s bottom, so Heidi would probably faint if my ass walked down the runway.

Last, but not least, was Team Joshua. Heidi accused Joshua of designing a similar dress to the one he designed during the last challenge. Hell even Anya admitted that she would not wear the dress! And then it came out that Becky felt like she was just a seamstress with no input on the design.

Finally, Heidi (worried about the designer’s finishing) gives the designer 7 additional hours….or 4 am.

We return to Team Joshua in the process of discussing how to redesign the dress that Heidi hated. Anya suggests converting it into a miniskirt. And Becky offers to design the top for the miniskirt. This is where the shit hits the fan. Joshua says to Becky, “Becky, you do doughty dresses, you know that.” I guess that was his way of saying no she could not design the top. Becky storms out! Joshua continues, [Becky’s] demographic is 40 to death.”

The confrontation continues in the sewing room, with Joshua trying to say he did not mean his comment as a bad thing. What?!? But with Becky not going for it, he basically tells her to suck it up! Becky breaks down crying and Joshua yells at her to “take a nap.”

Becky storms out again, seeking refuge in the ladies room. Anya goes to console her and then in walks Joshua (yes, in the ladies room, though he seemed surprisingly comfortable). Joshua apologizes and actually seems genuine.

Also, there was a brief spat, which strangely resembled a “cat fight,” between Joshua and Bert over a sewing machine.

When it is finally time for them to stop work, I’m exhausted from all the drama!

This week’s runway was kind of schizophrenic. I, like the judges, were loving and hating parts of every team’s collection. Team Anthony should have been ashamed of that mess that out down the runway. Anthony’s “romper” looked like he just wrapped the fabric around his model, stapled it and wrapped a belt around her waist. The model had camel toe in the front and the back. Team Victor kept their “Auntie M” skirt, but added a cool leather, motorcycle jacket over a crepe, paper-like dress and a hot to death casual tee, with leather holster and leather Capri pants. And Team Bryce got back in the game with a structure mini-dress with snaps down the side. And lastly Team Joshua killed it with a slim, maxi-dress and a shredded vest and shorts combo.

But again, the judges, including guest judge model and designer Erin Wasson, loved and hated things about each collection. With Heidi noting that, “This was a little bit all over the place day. Within each team we had looks that we liked and looks that we didn’t like so much. So there wasn’t a clear low or high team.”

Then runway blew up with all the fights and emotions from the previous work day. Anthony Ryan, Laura and Bert get into a fight, that culminated in the judges chastising Anthony Ryan for paying too much attention to fighting with Bert and not enough to designing which is why his outfit was a hot mess and Bert’s was the best of the three. At which time Bert damn near pees his pants with glee.

Tempers are still running high in the green room, with Anthony Ryan trying to explain to Bert that he is hard to work with. But Bert brushes it off and chalks it up to “generational differences.” To which Anthony Ryan notes, “I haven’t been this pissed since I got cancer.” Wow.

Michael notes that, “I don’t remember people having that many problems in a group challenge on Project Runway.” As the judges deliberate the drama seems to be contagious. A battle is waged over whether Anthony Ryan or Danielle should go home. Nina and Michael fight for him. Nina says that he has more promise. But Heidi protests that his outfit this challenge was horrible and that is what he should be judged on, “I always thought our show was cut and dry…one day you’re in and the next day you’re out.”

In the end, the designers are called back out and Heidi says that this is her challenge and she is going to mix it up. She picks two winners – Victor and Josh. Both of them get immunity for the next challenge and their teams are in.

Bert’s in/Laura’s in/Kimberly’s in/Bryce’s in

That leaves Danielle and Anthony Ryan.

Heidi notes that the judges’ decision was not easy, nor was it unanimous. She says, “Danielle, you bored us again with another poorly made, chiffon blouse, and Anthony Ryan you completely fell apart on this challenge.” In the end Danielle is out. But Heidi notes that it if were solely up to her, Anthony Ryan would be packing his bags.

Next week looks like they’re working with kids and Oliver may be getting in deep trouble for gluing his top to his model.

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