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12 Martha Stewart wannabes from the corners of the country try to outstyle each other. The prize - a contract from CBS, guaranteed television appearances and the chance at stardom.

Recaps by Julie Suchard, GSNN


FACT FILE:

Host:
Joan Lunden
Judges: Candace Bushnell, David Evangelista, Bobby Flay
Creator: Larry Bleidner, Eric Schotz, Bill Paolantonio, Irene Zutell
EP: Eric Schotz, Bill Paolantonio,
Packager: LMNO Productions
Airs: Saturdays at 8:00pm ET on CBS


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"A Perfect Work of Art" - January 29

We open day 10 of Wickedly Perfect in the kitchen at the estate. Members of both teams are acting all lovey-dovey. Mitch "made some HOT biscuits like momma used to make," apparently trying to fill the obvious void created when Mychael (the only one who could cook worth a damn) was voted out. He publicly claims to have hated sending Mychael home, but immediately contradicts himself in a private conversation with the camera, pointing out that he never wanted to go up against her in the kitchen. [Maybe he never wanted to "go up against her" anywhere – wink, wink, nudge, nudge, know what I mean?]

Joan Lunden walks in wearing a truly hideous spangled shawl. She announces that the next competition will "challenge the artist in each of you". Joan's new friend is Alease Fisher, an art patron and a member of the board of directors for the Bruce Art Museum. Despite the awkward spelling of her name, Alease speaks well – in fact, she speaks too well, as she gives an obviously rehearsed speech, remembering to always smile like her pageant coach used to remind her. It seems that the following evening is the season opening at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, and the teams' services are to be engaged to provide the entertainment. [Apparently, Alease has not seen the ratings for this TV show!] Darlene then gives her signature over-the-top reaction shot.

Joan explains further that the teams will be creating "a living work of art," using props, costumes, a life-size frame, and at least 3 team members as part of their "living tableaux". They will be judged on costumes, at least one of which needs to be made from scratch, the frame, and the overall concept and execution of the art. The art museum opening is supposed to be a masquerade ball, so the individual projects are to create original masks. The teams have 36 hours and $1500 to complete their projects. The remaining female Crafty Beavers (Heather and Amy) are very excited, while Darlene shouts, "I'm shaking!," since they finally have projects close to their self-professed areas of excellence.

Team Artisan huddles to brainstorm. Darlene is thinking of a "Sunday in the Park with George" format, while Margo suggests a "Phases in the Life of a Woman" theme [which seems to be a back-handed dig at the younger team members. Margo is too young still to be experiencing menopause, isn't she?] Dawn says something stupid and useless. Kimberly can't seem to stand even being in Margo's presence, and explains that she thinks Margo has been too pushy. Margo suggests to the camera that she is invisible, since nobody is listening to her ideas. [Come again, Margo. If you're invisible, they can't see you, but they can still hear you.]

Time for some Beaver action: Amy says that she's "a painter, an artist, I teach art," and is excited about being team leader. She envisions something with a "Moulin Rouge" theme. When the camera next shows Mitch, for some inexplicable reason the text on the screen says he is Margo from Team Artisan [good editing job there]. Tim talks to the camera next. Earlier in the day Tim was wearing a baseball cap at a jaunty angle, which was bad enough; but now he is wearing a knit ski-cap with a carpenter's pencil sticking out of it. Then he boldly proclaims that he is a transsexual…er…that he will play a transsexual in the living art thingy. He'll be wearing make-up and earrings, but be "dressed" in a tuxedo painted onto his body. [Oh Tim! We all thought you were heterosexual. Why are you mocking us like this?]

Denise is concerned that the challenge is turning into a sorority skit. Dawn and Darlene seem excited about a "Girl Time!" theme, but Margo is unfazed. Heather, the fashion designer who is finally getting her chance to shine, and Amy go shopping.

Mitch and Tim bicker in the craft room about size issues…frame-size issues, that is. Mitch doubts whether Tim has any hidden talents, because he certainly hasn't shown much of anything so far. Tim starts a childish chant: "I feel lucky. This is what I do. Happy go lucky. This is what I do. I cut wood with Mitch, and pretty soon I'll crew[?]. Hey!," while dancing a little jig. [The whole thing is very embarrassing to watch.]

Darlene and Kimberly go to the fabric store. Darlene is obviously in her element, and Kimberly gets out of the way. On the way back to the estate, Kimberly calls dibs on making the frame, and then bitches about Margo some more. They return to the craft room to find that Margo has started making the frame. [Ooh! The fur is really going to fly now.] Kimberly starts criticizing the way the frame has been constructed so far, and then starts removing the staples that were holding the pieces together. She does have a much better way of constructing the frame with "pocket screws", but doesn't handle the issue very politically. Then she bitches about Margo again and gives the game-plan for the frame to the team: papier mache with an antiqued gold finish. Kimberly finishes her woodworking early and asks the teacher if it is OK for her to go outside and play, or at least work on her personal project.

Mitch obsesses over the wire frame for his mask, while spouting some nonsense about team vs. personal project strategy. Working on their masks, Dawn and Kimberly then pretty much agree that the Crafty Beavers are more talented at this kind of thing. The Beavers work out their schtick with the frame, and Team Artisan keeps sewing. Heather sews and Amy paints, while Mitch continues on his gaudy personal mask that looks like a black bird exploding on your head. When Mitch asks for some advice with his mask, Amy says, "You're done. No, you're done." So then he brings it over to show-off to Team Artisan, trying to undermine their confidence. Dawn asks if he did this to make them feel like "dog poo". [If you need to ask, Dawn, then I fear you will never understand. Of course he did it to make you feel like dog poo.]

In the early morning, Margo picks up the frame and moves it across the lawn. Margo now gets to bitch about Kimberly never finishing the projects she starts. Margo philosophizes: "Did you ever have a piece of thread on a fine garment, that if you pull it it just makes it worse, so you need to leave it and just unravel itself? Well guess what? Kimberly is a thread in my silk garment, and I'm going to leave it to unravel herself. I don't have time for the drama."

Everyone is rushing to finish their personal projects. Margo's is based on an artist's canvas, rather than a Mardi Gras-style mask with feathers like most of the others. Heather's is one of those feather concoctions that is supposed to be a flame, or a flower, or whatever. Tim's is supposed to represent manic-depression. Amy's is a goofy, comic-book cartoon face of a girl.

Tim starts to do push-ups, apparently believing that he can tone his body in just a few minutes. This is in preparation for getting a tuxedo painted onto him. He cries out, "Oh dear God!" as Amy paints his nipples. [Really! I'm not making this crap up!] Mitch likes what he sees and claims that Amy is brilliant, and he won't vote her off tonight. [Mystic foreshadowing?] When they're done, the body-tuxedo looks really good.

Team Artisan realizes they don't have time to style their hair. Dawn puts her hair up in a French Twist, while Kimberly and Margo similarly forgo wearing period-style hair. Will this come back to haunt them? Cue scary music.

Heather paints her face. She has eyelashes painted on her face, yet coats on the mascara.

Dawn comes out dressed in her milkmaid costume. She comments sarcastically that having 70 yards of fabric surrounding her hips is every girl's dream, probably the only intelligent thing that she will say all season. While tarting herself up, Darlene in voiceover says, "My contribution is the visual aesthetic of the backdrop and the three costumes. If this doesn't come off as planned, the burden will fall on me."

At the Bruce Art Museum the masquerade ball is just that, a masquerade, since nobody is wearing masquerade costumes. The judges include Candace, David and taking the place of Bobby Flay, who apparently has abandoned this sinking ship of a TV show, Bozo the Clown, uh, I mean Patricia Field, whose claim to fame is being the person who tarted up the women of "Sex in the City." Field has a color of hair previously only seen in animated movies; it's truly heinous, and she is going to judge people? Judge, judge thyself.

Joan, channeling Julie Andrews in ‘Victor/Victoria', is wearing an oddly spangled black ensemble and slicked back hair as she introduces the teams.

Team Artisan presents "Women Through the Ages." As Denise predicted, their tableaux is a sorority skit. They are dressed in mid-Nineteenth Century garb, with completely anachronistic modern-styled hair. Kimberly wears a wristwatch, similar to several slave soldier extras in the movie "Spartacus". They pretend to properly sip tea. Candace, whose judgement may or may not have been impaired by the use of illicit pharmaceuticals, loudly exclaims that their presentation is "great." Next, the women put whisky in their teacups, drawing laughs from the audience. They play cards; thankfully, not strip poker. Dawn, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Monica Lewinsky, then pulls a cigar from under her skirt and the women smoke it. They get a smattering of applause.

The Beavers present "Pop Art Cabaret", an homage to the works of Toulouse-Lautrec, Andy Warhol, and Lichtenstein (the artist, not the country). The audience audibly "Oohed" when their tableaux was revealed. The Beavers pose and pretended to party, but after a while the audience seemed a bit uncomfortable because nothing much was happening.

David asks the Beavers about the styling. Amy says that everyone contributed; Tim wanted something sensual, Mitch wanted something decadent, Heather wanted something romantic, while she wanted something whimsical. Patricia wonders about color, and Tim gives those kudos to the women.

Candace asks about influences, and specifically what time period "Women Through the Ages" was supposed to depict. Dawn, reverting to her usual state of inanity, says, yeah mid 1800's to late 1800's. [Way to be specific, Dawn. You go, girl!] David wonders why Denise and Margo aren't in the frame and they say that the frame wasn't big enough for five. Kimberly gets into a hissy fit when Margo honestly explained what she had done, taking credit for her contributions to the frame and other items. [What did Denise do again? I don't know.]

The museum patrons clap when this car wreck, er, spectable ends, no doubt pleased that they can go back to sniffing coke lines off the bathroom sink with Candace.

Cat fight alert. Kimberly gets upset at Margo for daring to say what she had done to the frame. Kimberly, getting in Margo's face, says that Margo gets in people's faces. [Ahem. Kettle, you are black.] In a flurry of trite metaphors, Kimberly says to Margo "You are a snake, and the gloves are off…" Cue Darlene's reaction shot. Denise is silent, no doubt wondering how she can escape this team of losers. Just in case the viewers didn't realize that this was a cat-fight, the producers edited in the sounds of a screaming cat.

It's time for the "critique." Joan walks in wearing a lacy "mother-of-the-bride" outfit the color of turds.

David addresses Team Artisan and tells them that he enjoyed the storyline. He says that the hair and makeup, though, really bothered him. Darlene says that they ran out of time. David says that when you get to "this level" [the seventh circle of hell, maybe?] you need to make the time. Candace wants to know about the origins of the story. Dawn, revealing her complete lack of art history education, vomits up the rambling innards of her psychosis: something about seeing pictures in her head. [You know, that's nothing a little Haldol can't cure.] Candace says that they need to make specific references. Bozo, er Patricia, wants to know if all of the costumes were sewn by the group. They were, except for the anachronistic capelet that Kimberly was wearing, no doubt to accessorize her anachronistic wristwatch.

David addresses the Beavers. He says that he loved the color and light and mood. He says it was "eye candy" and he couldn't get enough of it. Candace wants to know why there wasn't a story. Amy says that their tableaux was a "snapshot" of a party where anything could happen, improvising was part of the art. Candace says that audience felt uncomfortable. Tim takes credit for the frame. Patricia says that the color of the frame was wrong. The Beavers meekly agree.

The judges deliberate. Patricia says that the Beavers were imaginative and surreal. Candace says that the Beavers didn't quite meet their own goals. Patricia, who may have a frame fetish, says that Artisan's frame related better to their painting. David says that he couldn't get past the hair and makeup of Artisan. Candace says that once again it is a battle of style over substance. Flash over deep waters. [insert other cliches here]

Amy says that the competition is between a team of really creative people [the Beavers] versus a team of housewives. "Anyone can do what the Artisans are doing. Nothing they do is special." [But we all know what a group of "Desparate Housewives" can do, don't we?]

The judges award the victory to Team Artisan as a shocked group of Beavers look on.

Joan discusses the individual projects. The judges mock Heather and Mitch's masks. They think that Amy's mask is cute, and David really likes Mitch's spider mask. Patricia says that Mitch's mask is ugly, while he shakes his head in disbelief and denial. The judges say that they do not like Tim and Heather's masks.

Darlene, doing her typical Darlene thing, goes up into her room and squeals. Kimberly says that she and Margo have tension, but all is OK since they won.

Mitch says that there is no reason to be critical or judge. [He obviously doesn't understand that the role of a judge is to judge.] He says that he would like to say that Patricia's hair isn't all that pretty, but doesn't. [An obvious oxymoron] Mitch says that he takes things personally. Amy says that she came to be with the best and she doesn't understand why it is not being rewarded.

Cue the rock garden and the walk of shame. Joan Lunden, now channeling David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust in a black sequined outfit, welcomes the Beavers. Patricia, wearing a yellow clown outfit [I am not making this up] nods stoicly as Joan talks about what a difficult decision the judges had to make.

Mitch, acting like a spoiled baby, wants to address the judges. He says to Patricia that her comment about his mask wasn't very professional. Patricia says that he is "flash" but not "content." Candace says that creative people criticize people all of the time and that you have to use criticism as a means of rising to another level. [Doesn't Candace yet realize, none of these contestants are rising to any level? Doesn't Mitch realize that these B- and C-list celebrity judges already have a foot in the door of appearing on "The Surreal Life" and are hoping that a midget won't pee on them?]

Tim demonstrates that he does not understand mathematics and says that if his team keeps him, he will give "110%" to them. Basically, he promises to be their bitch if they keep him on. Heather says that she is proud of the team and she would like to stay on the team.

Mitch says that nobody deserves to go home, but votes for "Tim". Amy wants the best to stay, so she votes to kick off "Tim". Tim hugs Heather, then Mitch and Amy, telling them that he has nothing but love for them. Joan states the obvious, saying the Heather is safe.

Over the closing credits, Tim rambles on about how he had given out 120%. Now we understand why he was voted off; he was going from 120% down to 110% of effort. It all makes sense now.

Next week, if there is a next week:
The teams take over a Bed and Breakfast and it's "anything but quaint." Margo is seen crying, while Bobby Flay complains about a lack of service, while Kimberly and Dawn are feeding each other in the kitchen.

Here's a link to instructions for making Tim's pathetic mask [your results may vary]

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