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Reality Check: Exercise in Highs and Lows

By Olivia Leigh in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 14, 2007 8:43PM

2007_12_yepthatsapilgrim.jpgThis week's installment of Project Runway played out like a roller coaster of emotions. The designers were given the challenge of clothing for real people (yay!), retooling "fat clothes" from women who had lost significant amounts of weight, ranging from 45 to 160 pounds. Although the contestants tend to bitch and moan every time they're forced to design for, gasp, a non-stick frame, we always enjoy seeing what they have to offer. After all, while you, 110 pound, 5'11 model, might look good in a bubble skirt or trapeze dress, most of the women buying clothing off the racks will want something flattering and wearable for their frames.

While we were excited to see what designs were in store, we were also waiting for the weepfest foreshadowed in previews all week long. As rumored, the talented, seemingly kind, schexy designer Jack Mackenroth departed from the show in a flurry of tears after coming down with a contagious strain of staph infection (boo!). While our heart was breaking for Jack, who had displayed obvious skill and smarts in the menswear challenge, we were suddenly lifted back up, with the news that our favorite recently booted chubby hubby, Chris Marsh, was back (yay!).

After the tears were wiped away and emotions calmed down, the designers set out to finish their looks. Victorya and Steven both received what were arguably some of the most difficult "before" clothes to work with, a very 90s green velvet dress and a terrible white polyester wedding dress, respectively. Although Victorya was able to craft hers into a halfway decent looking cocktail dress, Steven's fate was evident from the moment he decided he couldn't work with the wedding dress material, and instead opted to use a $10 budget to buy uber-blah black fabric. In the end, Steven ended up getting aufed (boo!) after the judges reamed his design, calling the look reminiscent of a French maid (whereas we saw more allusions to Pilgrims) [Ed note: I was getting a Diane Arbus twins vibe, with a little bit of Felice Martin (Donna's mom on 90210) for some reason], while annoyingly snarky wunderkind Christian ended up winning the challenge with his ruffled-placket blouse and fitted cropped pants combo.

What else is going on in reality TV land?

>>Kid Nation wrapped up on Wednesday, chock-full of enough weepy emotion to satisfy Project Runway's Ricky Lizade. The final episode saw the kids reunited with their families, and three kids were given $50,000 gold stars, including Illinoisan Migle, who won for making the biggest improvement over the 40 days. After all that drama prior to the show's premiere, no kids ended up getting killed (although some chickens did), everyone seemed to be appropriately fed and clothed, and most kids seemed to gain self-confidence and independence in the process.

>>The top 50 American Idol finalists were leaked this week, and sadly, only one Chicago contestant advanced. 19-year-old Ddendyl (?!?) Hoyt, who auditioned in South Carolina, will be battling it out for a chance to sing horrible renditions of pop songs on television.

>>And last, but not least, Saleisha beat out Jenah and Chantal in the most boring Top Model finale yet. Where's awkward Heather when you need her?