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Project Accessory Episode 4: eBay Dumpster Diving

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Oddly enough, when the opening credits of the latest episode of Project Accessory flashed across the screen, I heard an unusual dragging sound coming from the television. 


It was like a claw was slowly dragging itself across a rough surface, nearly echoing off and echo off an echo. It got louder and louder, as if it was trying to send a message, as if it was trying to warn me. It was almost thunderous until host Molly Sims announced the challenge of this week: To make a handbag for clients who were featured on an eBay fashion style story. 

And then the noise suddenly stopped, as if to say..."Do you get it now?" 

And I did. We had arrived to the saddest point in a reality show--and this one only the fourth episode in!--when we are scraping the bottom of the barrel
​Now, I'll be the first one to admit that I am an evangelistic eBayer. You name it and I've bought it from there, including Marc Jacobs suede boots for a paltry (and I mean PALTRY) sum, 1940's crocodile shoes, and right now I'm on a vintage umbrella and hat kick. Seriously. 

One of them arrived yesterday, a Henry Pollack 1940's brown mohair fedora/witch hat, that my husband forbid me to wear when I am with him. "I'm sorry," he said as he fled the kitchen as it was still perched on my head at a bold angle. "I can't be married to Truman Capote. It begs too many questions that I am not prepared to answer." 

​It bears mentioning that since episode one, there is an "accessory wall," like the one in Project Runway, but this one is not from Piperlime. It's all stuff from eBay, which could very well mean that there's something with my toe prints inside of it hanging on that wall. Foot shit is gross, and it's made all the grosser when the highest bidder takes it all. 

There are only three things you need in order to take the eBay plunge: Febreeze, isopropyl alcohol and Tinactin in the can. I've gotten stuff in the mail that I can smell before I open the box, and when I do, it's like someone shoved an AA meeting in there and taped it shut. I keep waiting to find pieces of teeth and cigarette butts. 

So this challenge tells me one of two things: No one in the accessory business with any sort of reputation will risk it be being on this show because it's so shitty OR that this show is so shitty it can only get used shit. 

Either option isn't great and one of them literally stinks. 

​And to make matters worse, they kicked off both of their most valuable assets last week--David, whose narratives became so warbled and weird that I thought John Cleese was writing his lines, and Nicolina "Kray-Kray" Royale, who not only cried, but was beginning to bring the third person into her narratives. 

Seriously, an alter personality. Nee Nee Leakes would rip a weave off a bitch for one of those. You never kick off the crier, it gives the rest of us something to laugh at, and you sure as shit never dump Sybil unless she bites someone or tries to fly, and even then it would take a majority vote. And it would not pass. 

​So with the only person of ire left on the show--James, who, apparently prompted by the Restylane plague sweeping over the workroom--has to decided to stop moving any feature on his face AND adapt a quiet, monotone voice that I think is supposed to be contemplative and deep, but sounds more like a person who might say something like, "Don't be upset. I'm about to decapitate you for your own good. It's for the best. Please don't struggle." 

It. Is. Creepy. Actually, it's ALL CAPS CREEPY, and I think immediately, "Dude, please. We saw you skip like Dakota Fanning." (I'm only on my first pages of notes, by the way.) 

All right, so the next part of the challenge is to pick an anonymous tote box with someone's purse trash in it. They're all different, James is very excited. He won last time, so he gets to pick first. He does not proceed with caution, but with fury, and seems incapable of making a choice. Which is puzzling, because it's not like these ladies are on Rodeo Drive. 

Don't get too excited. They're not even at the mall. They're on the internet. 

Impossibly, he finally chooses and Diego, who own a handbag business and is supposed to be quite the craftsman, singles out a tote with a gym membership card in it and chooses that one, because he knows the client behind it "would be fit....and stuff." He's also from Italy, and says humbly, "I breeth hannabags." 

In come the owners of the totes, the eBay Fashionistas, and, um, well, just um. Yeah. They look like ladies who buy used stuff from the Internet. Some of them need to be buying shampoo on eBay instead of purses, but people have their priorities. 

Rich, who used to be a diesel mechanic and gave it up to design anklets and hoop earrings, is in a tizzy.

His design is fantastic--green leather in a sharp shape, and his client loves it. 

Diego's hannabag is flawless. It's gorgeous brown leather with an wonderful frame and flat bottom. Nina, a random girl who has somehow vanished since she won the first challenge, is plunking along with her metal and leather handbag, and it looks like she might have something worthy of someone who's never had a new purse that didn't already come with chewed up gum stuffed in an old Marshalls receipt at the bottom of it. 

Then, a lot of nothing really happens. Rich wants to start a stupid fight with Shea, and that fizzles out. Although his bag is great, he doesn't know how to sew it, claiming he "is a man of fire and metal." The result is a disaster.

The stitching looks like he had a Grand mal in the middle of it, and the bottom of the purse gapes wide open. It's a terrible, awful mess. 

On the runway, things don't liven up with the two guests judges, both accessory designers whose identities are a mystery to me. One is wearing a necklace that looks like it was made from kidney stones, and both look as bored as they are. 

Diego's bag is awesome, but we already knew that. James' bag is big, lumpy and looks like a tumor, but that's aside from the fact that he didn't finish the challenge, which was to make a second accessory from one of the used handbags their clients already had. 

Shea's bag, according to the mystery judges, make her client look "quite large" because it's designed it an "east-west direction." So heads up, girls. Purses now make you look fat, too.

I really hate this show.

It's not much of a contest, and Diego wins, hannas down. He deserves it, but the show is about to strike another blow.

And it's that James is about to go, even though Rich's bag was so badly made that stuff would fall out of the bottom of it. But it's James' time, and as he returns to the workroom, not a skip in his step, me is met with a collective, soft, "Jaaaaaaaaaaaaamesssssss," from the survivors. 

It's for the best, I want to remind James in a deep, slow, monotone. 

Please don't struggle. 

Author Laurie Notaro's on a mission to make it through the first season of Project Accessory on Lifetime. Read more of her episode recaps below: 

Project Accessory Episode 2: Tears, Romance, and the Arrival of the Bedazzler 

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