‘Project Runway’ Makes Kenley Cry — But Not Enough

KenleyI don’t know what celebrating Yom Kippur entails, but apparently recapping “Project Runway” isn’t part of it, which is why I’m your humble substitute for Rya Backer today. Rya could probably use a break anyway, what with her severe Stella withdrawal (symptoms: mood swings, the shakes, incessant grommet-hammering).

Just as Rya immediately latched onto the leatha goddess, I’ve been rooting for Leanne since the very first episode. I’ve always been one to back whatever reality-TV contestant I felt was most like me, which means that goodwill for quiet wallflower types emanates from my living room. So, of course, I think Leanne and I could hang out — exchanging awkward smiles without speaking, listening to nonthreatening indie rock (do you think she likes the Shins?) and creeping around pretending we were spies. And when that got old, we could venture out for some eco-friendly recreation.

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Old-timey courtship: Tim Gunn’s visits to the designers’ hometowns are always a highlight of the season, but Leanne’s afternoon with him took the cute cake. Maybe it was his little worried exclamations or the suit/helmet combination, but Tim sure looked sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.

Dirty minds: One of the dresses in Korto’s runway collection involved a shape that was, shall we say, reminiscent of several Georgia O’Keefe paintings. But could anyone other than Tim use the phrase “snatch shot” without making it sound wholly inappropriate? I feel like I should apologize just for typing it.

Little Rock, Arkansas: I predict a cultural renaissance for the city, based solely on their artists’ access to gorgeous, affordable studio space in the middle of snake-infested forests.

Giving credit where it’s due: Michael Kors deemed Kenley’s bridesmaid dress the “cutest damn dress I’ve ever seen,” while Heidi Klum called it “crazy-good,” and you know what? They were right. But that’s all the positive reinforcement Kenley can expect to get from this recap.

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Extra homework: The actual challenge was totally secondary and boring compared to the rest of the episode. Put together the most important collection of your career, plus a wedding dress and a bridesmaid dress? As the designers stood on the runway, I half-expected Heidi to hurl a roll of chiffon at them and yell, “And now, the mother of the bride!”

Dance costumes: I’m not talking about Leanne’s adolescent ballerina/designer beginnings because, come on, that was adorable. But maybe it was the very mention of recital chic that had me connecting all that glitter and sparkle in Jerell’s collection to my own tap-class ensembles. Since he was eliminated, we’ll never know if his models would’ve been required to do a time step at the end of the Fashion Week runway.

Living in a perfect world: Kenley can apparently coil a rope around a mannequin’s neck as part of an outfit and never once think of nooses. If she were Alison Kelly, I just might believe that sort of naiveté to be genuine. But Kenley is no Alison.

Half-assed apologies: Halfway between the door to the hotel suite and her bedroom, Kenley muttered a few words atonement for several weeks of tantrums, back-talking and generally unacceptable behavior. Then she blew up an orphanage and said, “Oops!”

Poultry: Like Kenley, I don’t follow designers or collections or, you know, fashion. So when the judges compared her feathered wedding dress to something by Alexander McQueen, I didn’t have any idea what they were talking about either. Besides, I was too busying thinking about this.

My lifelong political beliefs: Last week, John McCain told Fox News that he was behind in the polls because “life isn’t fair.” This was a great source of amusement and East Coast liberal smugness for me. But as soon as Kenley was in’d, a horrifying thought hit me: Oh dear God, McCain was right.