PR S11E3: Balls to the Wall

Posted on February 01, 2013

We fear we may be heading into Unpopular Land, judging by the online reactions last night, but we didn’t hate this episode. Not even close. Sure, it wasn’t the most exciting episode in the world (or even exciting at all, more’s the pity), but it struck us last night that

  1. The challenge was design-based, not style-based. For a LONG time we’ve been asking for the show to return to the former (reminder: the postal challenge in season 1, the Barbie challenge in Season 2) and stop relying so much on the latter (“Make a pretty dress for Heidi!” “Make a pretty dress for Nina!”).
  2. They spent a great deal of time showing the designers executing their work and encountering obstacles, i.e., the design process. This, again, is something we’ve been asking for.
  3. They spent a great deal of time on the crit process as well. Tim is more of a facilitator than an actual mentor, but he moderates the group crits effectively and it makes a nice change from simply having him come in, raise and eyebrow, say “I’m concerned,” and leave.


So in a formal sense, the show worked quite well last night. In a practical sense, it was, as we said, kinda dull, though. Sure, it was a design-based challenge and that’s good, but when the judges all wind up ejaculating over a freaking skort, then you know the challenge went wrong somewhere in the planning stage. Spin, from what we can tell (because you’ll never find us inside a ping pong nightclub) dresses its employees in standard casual wear. This really didn’t give the designers much room to do anything of interest and an inordinate amount of the design process centered around how to make t-shirts, jeans, and little black dresses interesting. You can’t help but have a dull result with a setup like that.

Worse, the judges all seem, we’re sorry to say, pretty worn out and tired. Nina has to be prodded into saying anything and Heidi’s gone all manic on us, trying to keep the energy level on the panel up, in the absence of its most energetic member, Michael Kors. Interestingly, the judges have so far not made a decision or comment that made us roll our eyes or accuse them of smoking crack. Sure, we’ve disagreed, but for the most part, the judging has been even-keeled.



Daniel and Layana

Se congrats, Layana! A SKORT! Exciting.

We think this is fine, if unworthy of the hosannas tossed its way. The lapels are kinda goofy, to be honest. Still, not a bad effort. It was nice of Daniel to push Layana to get the win.



Design-wise, it’s interesting, but could you imagine having to wear this to work every day? Talk about a bunch of depressed waitresses.


Samantha and Tu

Just okay. Not particularly well executed. And a bit severe, considering the venue.



Dropped crotch pants! The most astonishing design invention since the skort!

Again: just okay. He looks good, but we thought the shirt looked a bit Star-Trek-y. When you get right down to it, the designers had almost no leeway at all to do anything interesting. They pretty much had to make a t-shirt and black pants to make the judges happy.



Clever that it was made out of swimsuit material, but utterly unworthy of discussion otherwise.


Benjamin and Matthew

This was a real shame. We thought the idea of making denim kilts for the “ball boys” was clever as hell. Unfortunately, that kilt is a bit too literal and overdone, and the sign hanging over his crotch is just dumb. We got really annoyed when the judges all acted like this was some insanely cutting edge idea and that it was way too crazy for a ping pong club, which you would have thought was a Daughters of the American Revolution hall the way the judges were fanning themselves over it. Susan kept talking about what “the guys” would and wouldn’t wear and all we could think was, “Don’t they work for you? And what happens when one of “the girls” doesn’t want to wear a short skirt? Oh, and one more thing: ‘BALLS ARE MY BUSINESS’ IS YOUR SLOGAN. WHY ARE YOU ACTING SO OFFENDED BY IT?”


Benjamin and Cindy

Sad. Morticia knows how to sew, but she has no real design chops, so far as we can see. This is a fine jacket, but it’s not very interesting and it’s kind of formal and dour for the venue. The shorts are a big ol’ nothing.


Joseph and Richard

It’s fine, but that slogan is really dumb.


Kate and Patricia

Yoga class. Too covered up for a venue that clearly wants its employees to look cute. Plus that top is an ugly color.



Perfectly fine for a beach – a beach where everyone wears their clothes crookedly – but bad for a server. James was weird and defensive the whole time, so we’re kind of happy to see him go. Shocked he was sent home before Cindy, though. Then again, she’s not long for this world, is she?


[Photo Credit: Barbara Nitke for Lifetime – Stills:]

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