Project Accessory Episode 5: Golden Shells and Golden Girls

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​I had a revelation last night: Project Accessory is an exceptional show. 

While the formula remains a mystery, this little reality show has successfully bent, ravaged, and discounted the laws of the universe. It defies natural logic and everything that makes sense, because a show about purses, shoes and jewelry should not suck

How is it possible? How is it possible to take the best three things in the world and make it so bad that as the credits are still flashing across the bottom of the screen and the first scene opens to the runway on episode five, I groan. There are still seven contestants left.

Seven. That means at least five more episodes until the finale, and then a friggin reunion show. I can't do it. I can't. It's the equivalent of running a marathon with my thighs rubbing together and creating a rash before I even break a sweat or fun to the first free snack station.

​They've kicked everybody off with slurring speech, additional personalities, and the guy who liked to clasp his hands together and bow to people like a monk despite the fact that he was wearing a purple polyester vest. He also liked to skip instead of walk. 

The mumbler -- who created names and narratives for his outfits and who reminds me of one of the hobos on my corner that likes to have shouting fights with the hobo across the street -- is also gone, as is the girl who liked to physically threaten people.

Way to run a show, folks.

And we have seven left to go.


All right, so, this week, the incredible, dastardly challenge is--------make accessories! For a bikini! This includes sandals, headwear, and an accessory of choice. So five weeks' worth of contestants are spirited away to Coney Island to get inspired and are allowed to pick anything they want off the beach and 100 bucks to spend at the vendors along the boardwalk.

It should be no surprise that everyone returns to the workroom with bag full of dirty seashells, driftwood, and a skeleton of a fowl that I am positive died of bird flu. This, however, gives me hope that perhaps a majority of the room has not been vaccinated, and although I certainly don't want them to die, I'm leaning towards wishing that maybe just a couple of them would maybe just get a fever or vomit a couple of times. Just to delay taping for a bit. A bit like long enough for the show to get cancelled. But everyone knows Lifetime never cancels anything, in fact, I'm pretty sure new episodes of Will and Grace are still airing over there.

The closest thing we get to a hissy fit in the workroom is Rich, who looks like an Hassidic Dobie Gillis. He is the self-proclaimed "man of fire and metal," so he's not very please with the bikini challenge. Who would be? The only people who wear accessories with bikinis are girls too dumb to know how swim, or girls that don't weigh enough to do anything but float on top of the water like a beach ball.

"I don't give a rat's ass about the beach," Rich says. "It's not my thing, man. Like I'm just not into it."

Congratulations, producers. This will be the singular most contentious sentence spoken in your show because everybody who was on behavior meds has been eliminated.

Awesome job.

​So blah, blah, blah. Half of the contestants take their ditty shells out back and spray paint them gold, because what the hell else do you do with a shell besides put them in a dish with a piece of soap that looks like a shell? 

​Quickly, the workroom begins to look a lot like my Grandma's bathroom when she lived in Miami. Gold shells everywhere, gold shells that really only belong in bags of cheap wood-chip potpourri at Big Lots. For the headwear, an equal number of contestants buy pre-made straw hats, and this alone shows you the level of skill we're dealing with. Factories full of little children in China and India have made these hats, and yet, these artists can't seem to do any better. Someone sticks a seashell on the hat a toddler somewhere in Asia made. So does someone else. And someone else. The monotony is staggering.

Then, the most magnificent of seashell repurposing any Miami bathroom has ever seen happens. It's from Shea (soon to be seen for perhaps as much as three seconds in the new shitty movie New Year's Eve, because not only does she spray paint sea shells, but she's an actress), pulling out of the pack and stretching her neck just enough to get a lead, and--and--and she's put a seashell the size of an infant's head or a dessert plate on a chain and christens it a "belly belt." Meant to go around the waist.

Now, there are certain things even a model who can only float on water can't pull off successfully: Boogers, head lice, and cod pieces made out of the encrustation of a dead sea animal. The athletic cup--on a chain--cannot be denied. It is simple in its vulgarity, obscene in its placement. I bet Lindsay Lohan will be wearing it in her Playboy shoot. 

I'm very excited to see what the judges will say about it, but as soon as I see who they are, my enthusiasm deflates. Kenneth Cole is absent again, perhaps is title as Social Activist has him sitting in a tent in Zuccotti Park making silk twill armbands for the protesters, or maybe his agent just showed him the show's ratings. Either way, the devil sitting in his chair takes my breath away.

It's Jenna Lyons, the woman who single-handedly spread the plague known as the Gladiator sandal, brought back the cowl neck and added sequins to blazers with shoulder pads, also known as the president and Creative Director of J. Crew, which, I feel, she has destroyed. 

​In fact, I wrote a letter that documented such on January 10, 2010, that I just found in my "sent" folder.

Dear JCrew;

This new catalog that we got yesterday? Wow. Some of the classic pieces are still there (stretch wool blazer, great), but um, the glittery hot pants? The Gladiator sandal? The Zooey blazer? REALLY? I wore that Zooey blazer on every interview I had in 1985 at 5.7.9., Casual Corner, and Contempo. That blazer died. Let it rest in peace, unless you're so intent on dressing young women like Blanche Devereaux and Dorothy Zbornak just for the sick thrill of it.

I can't come along on your pointless fashion trip.

Seriously. Stop the Jenna Person. She's evil. It shows. Do you know how much frustration it takes to have someone write a letter to a company about their clothes? It takes quite a bit, I'm telling you.

Laurie Notaro

(Despite the date of this letter, the sequins, despite their half life, are still in the JCREW catalog that I got yesterday.)

So that's right. If you put sequins on a wool blazer, rest assured I will call you on your shit. And I will also hope with every ounce of it that I have left that you will get your face will get very, very, very close to the bird skull that Rich has borrowed from Shea and thus used as a clasp for his sarong. So close that it might slide a beak accidentally up tiny, pointed nostril. Or graze a thin, pursed lip. And pass a virus for which you scoffed at getting the vaccine for. And then, finally, you will pay for what you have done, Jenna Lyons. You sparkly, disco menace.

​Everyone's stuff sucks on the runway, even Diego's, who has wowed the judges with his clutch made out of a straw mat and his flip flops that he glue gunned a buff puff on top of. Christina's made an oppressive necklace out of a fisherman's net of shells, shells and more shells, all glittery gold. It's a step away from spray painted macaroni on yarn, but the judges love it. 

​Brian, who had made bracelets out of resin cast tin foil, wins, but honestly, I forgot he was even on the show. I kind of like him, I decide, noticing that he looks a lot like George Castanza. Here is someone I can relate to.

Shea and her Venus codpiece, however, get their walking papers, which sort of sucks because she found the bird skeleton, drilled into her hand and sprayed blood all over the place and was my only shot for really putting a stop to this show and giving the bird flu a real run for its money.

But it shall continue next week, regardless, pushing through it's delicacy and forcing me to wait until 11 p.m. to take my Ambien.

God I hate this show.

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