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Project Runway: The Three Musketeers

Photo courtesy of Lifetime TV

Thanksgiving is coming soon. And at the top of my list of things to be grateful for is the sweet knowledge that that there are only two episodes of this season left.

It's been tough to be a fan this time around and I'm just going to chalk it up to all the behind-the-scenes troubles. It was the zero-charisma-bad-breath season we worried might come along someday. And it came along, didn't know when to leave, then passed out on the couch. But soon it'll be over and we can all drown the memory in turkey-drippings gravy and think about Santa. But I have to admit that when the Lifetime announcer told me to stay tuned for the first part of an "unforgettable" finale, I thought maybe he meant something really amazing was going to happen. A tornado maybe, or the last three designers having to claw their way out from under an avalanche of Flamin' Hot Cheetos. It could be anything at this point. I'd be pleased with anything.

But because I want to keep it upbeat, here are actual moments where I felt like I was watching a show that doesn't suck balls:

1. Althea, discussing her ongoing reservations about being in the same room with Irina, and rehashing the only low-grade squabble this season could even produce -- Irina had suggested that Althea was "appropriating" the volume and proportions of a big lady-sweater Irina created for an earlier challenge. I know, tense -- delivered the following confusional wisdom: "I'm not gonna forgive and forget. Well, I'm gonna forgive. But not forget." And after the camera cut she just kept going, "Wait, is it forget but not forego? Or forgive and fall asleep? I don't know. Fool me once, shame on me, kill two birds with one in the bush. It's peanut-butter-jelly time!"

2. It's always great to see Tim Gunn interact with non-fashion people. He's so polite and poised and game for whatever tacky bullshit he encounters. So it's never not fun to watch him put on an apron and help someone's mom make biscuits. Bonus excellence: At Carol Hannah's house, we see pictures of her as a child and she has on this crazy vest with watermelons appliqued all over it. She spent all season on this show and didn't reference it once in any of the challenges. This means she lacks vision. Meanwhile you can tell who Tim thinks is best from his visits to each designer's studio. For future reference, in case you're ever on this show yourself, when Tim Gunn is saying "ugh" to pieces in your Bryant Park collection, calling them "borderline Hilary Clinton" and still having to help you understand ideas like coherence and editing, then you are doomed. He saves his nit-pickiest critiques for Irina because she's going to win. Added bonus: Althea lives in Dayton, Ohio's (home of Guided by Voices and The Breeders!) very own replica of the abandoned warehouse from the "Saw" movies.

3. I like that Carol Hannah got sick with a serious and contagious stomach virus and the other two could barely contain their glee. I believe the distancing-for-politeness-sake quote was something like, "You [meaning both of us] want them [meaning her] gone."

4. I'm a big fan of Irina's wan smiles as she pays lip service to the other ladies ("I still sort of like them.") and even bigger fan of how she describes them as "The Three Musketeers." Translation: "The two musketeers and the other near-death musketeer we hope has to bow out due to sudden illness that I paid this coven of witches to invoke." There's a straight-to-DVD, shittily computer animated Barbie version of the "The Three Musketeers" that has more actual camaraderie.

5. They bring back Christopher, Gordana and Logan to help the final three make one last garment. They pick teams, dodgeball style. Christopher gets one last adult lesson in being chosen last. Saves his tears for when the director yells, "Cut!"


Previously > Project Runway: Beginning of the End

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Noah Michelson