Film and TV

Project Accessory Episode 1: Tears, Bed Springs, and Dirty Laundry

​It took 19 minutes before a contestant burst into tears on last night's premiere episode of  Project Accessory, and that included seven minutes of commercial interruptions.

After being allotted 15 minutes to rummage through two storage units full of stuff you'd find in the Dumpster behind Goodwill to secure materials to make a belt, necklace and accessory of their choice, the contestants on the first episode find their way to their new workroom, where the releasing of the egos arrives like lions at the Coliseum. 

The one-name only Cotrice has her wares for sale at Urban Outfitters and announces, "I'm not going to be eliminated. They will be sacrificed." Okay, that's not creepy on the first day of school. Or anything. 

Then there's challenger Christina Caruso, whose line can be found at Bendels and has been featured on Sex and the City, and who has the biggest mouth found on most humans at this stage of evolution. To make matters worse, the sounds that come out of it can only be fixed at Bill King's Brake-O.

"Awwwwl of a sudden," the New Yorker says with wide eyes and at least one completely closed sinus passage, "I see a glahhsss shandahleeeah," she caws after her trip to the storage unit. I already hate her, which isn't fair, just honest. I'm nearly positive I'm related to her.

In the workroom, everyone's pounding, tearing, and gluing away at rat traps, baby buggies, old couches and then there's the guy skinning teddy bears. He has a beard. I can't remember his name, which is fine, because at this point, most of the players are still a mystery, as we haven't been introduced to them yet. I don't know how many there are, either--it's too early to count, and at this stage of the game it's too foolish to become sincere about any of them. 

It's still only ten minutes into the horror film, and if you're going to form an attachment, there needs to be some skill assessment before the first victim gets dragged under the front porch. Better to wait, see what sort of reflexes they have and how high they can kick before you make a bet.

Nicolina Royale, who proudly proclaimed herself as a "rock and roll chick" and happily rattled off Steven Tyler and Nicki Minaj as past clients, is the first one to pee her pants after my TIVO counter says the show's been on for barely 19 minutes. In real time, it's been seven hours of doing absolutely nothing in the workroom for Nicolina as the tears drip, drip, drip. First of all, your name reminds me of a cheeseburger and I doubt you had it in third grade. So I'm a little happy that you're crying. Second of all, Steven Tyler just had food poisoning, fell down in the shower, knocked his teeth out, got new teeth and climbed on stage the same friggin night. Pull your hair out and make a necklace out of that if you have to, but Enya's not your client. Nicki Minaj is, and she'll use you as a toilet then never buy anything from you again if she sees you bawling on TV like you forgot to take your meds.  

"Yoga would be beneficial for Nicolina," Shea Curry, sometimes actress and clearly the show buzzkill, mentions sadly. Her clients include Neve Campbell and Fergie, and she will be seen in "New Year's Eve," which opens December 9! If you forget, there will be three excessively long and tedious commercials for it. My hope is that she gets dragged under the porch in about 40 minutes.

The rest of the contestant roster is the same. Each new face has a pedigreed client list that assures you that they're somebody. Gone are the days of discovering new talent on reality shows; this talent has been established, marketed and sells at retail that you and I cannot afford. 

​Who's been in Vogue, has their jewelry worn by Hollywood luminaries, designed hats for Tyler Perry movies, sells stuff at Nordstrom? These aren't Etsy hopefuls, these aren't recent college grads, these aren't folks selling cool things at the Brooklyn Flea. They're businesspeople. Project Accessory is an ad. 

On the runway, there's good and bad. The guy who makes church hats has created a magnificent ensemble of earrings and a necklace with bedsprings; Nina has created a stunning, intricate necklace out of a rat trap, and the slightly-built man who's made a move on every girl but Nicolina produces a hideous flower necklace, flower earrings and a flower belt that looks like the ghost of Carmen Miranda rummaged through a clearance bin at Michael's. 

The judges don't skip a beat on being mean. There's the editor of In Style, Ariel Something, the legendary Kenneth Cole, who here is identified as "a social activist," host Molly Sims and guest judge Debra Messing, who finally, in her 40's, grew hips. Yay, womanhood!

Molly Sims refers to the flower belt as "luau princess," yet she adores the "post- apocalyptic" belt from the bearded guy made from furniture mats and teddy bear hides. Cortice takes a major hit on her ill-fitting corset belt, which squashes the tiny boobies of her skeletal model. Nicolina has literally made a bandana and a cuff from dirty laundry. It looks like it smells, but I still want a cheeseburger every time I see her. Some other Italian guy makes an outstanding purse, but he's on the wrong show. A man with talents like that should be on "Who Wants To Be In My Will?", full of New York old society ladies looking for young men of questionable sexuality to fill their every need: handbags and foot rubs.

​Trying to figure out who won apparently hurt Molly Sims, who looked like she was being forced to convert decimals into fractions. It made me want to hand her an Advil through the TV. The "luau princess" somehow skates by, and it's down to Cortice's wench-and-ale belt and Nicolina's dirty laundry ensemble -- which, according to social activist Kenneth Cole, "Didn't amount to much" --to hit the road. 

In the end, it's Cortice, who never took off her sunglasses, who leaves heel marks in the dirt. Nina, the tomboy-turned-popular-cheerleader who made high fashion out of a rodent trap, reigns as the victor, which is nice, being that she has the least experience and that she probably only sells her work to Zooey Deschanel and Michelle Williams, which means she's still indy. Looks like she can kick.

But what the hell do I know. Right now, I'm wearing a turban.

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Laurie Notaro