Barbara Nitke / Lifetime

Project Runway Junior Jumps Into The Pool To Repeat Itself, Again

It's a new season, but repeated challenges have this feeling like a poorly executed repeat.

Unconventional Pool Time

If there's one constant in the universe, it's that Tim Gunn can be found, at all times, in a festive suit. So to find him lounging poolside with Hannah just like this is a true delight:

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Lifetime

The wine looks chilled, the sun looks shiny, and the multiple green patterns clash in a delightfully summer-y way. I'm not fancy enough to frequent rooftop pools on the regular, but it's a shame there's no sponsor shout-out to this location, because I would gladly pay double my rent to join on the premise that Tim occasionally stops by on his off hours. Oh well.

Once the kids arrive, Tieler immediately endears himself by stating his dislike of both sunshine and showing his body, while Izzy states what we're all thinking: we watch this show, and we know what's going on. It's Episode 2, so it must be the unconventional materials challenge! This is news to all the other kids, but Cartier's pretty confident because she's used to making dresses out of telephone books.

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Lifetime

Tim lays out the rules -- no Mood trip and only one day to work -- and the president of Butter London pops up to let the kids know that, for this challenge, they'll also be able to consult on a hair and beauty look...which they also get to do every other challenge? It's unclear why this is important. Anyway, the main takeaway is that you should watch out of pool envy.

Gathering Materials


No one gets pushed into the pool, so it's really not worth the time.

Working The Workroom


Tim stops by to make a Gilligan's Island joke, to which all the kids basically have this reaction:

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Lifetime

Izzy's pretty sure it's a book, and Chelsea backs her up, saying, it's "like from this Charles Dickens book or something." Yeah...it hurts.

While the rest of the kids work out trades for their materials, Lucas comes into focus for being yet another little mean girl.

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Lifetime

It's sad because he's having difficulties working with his materials, but also because his eyebrows and cherub face distract from what will one day be a very impressive combover.

Let's Do A Makeover


This is basically just a promotion for Butter London, which is exactly what they're paying for. Also, in the interest of full disclosure, let me also pause to note that I own one of their nail polishes (Wallis) and that its ugly-pretty gold tone is sometimes an exact match for my soul. They really do have a wide variety!

Also, this screen shot...

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Lifetime

...is pretty angsty.

Tim Checks In


Tim stops by, and it's pretty clear that he's unimpressed with the room overall. He says likes Izzy's creative slicing of pool noodles...

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Lifetime

...but his face above is basically as good as it gets. Upon visiting Lucas's workspace, Tim plaintively tells him, "This has 'send me home' written all over it."

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Lifetime

It's hard to disagree when the look is like a rejected Rainforest Café costume.

Tim also has hate notes for Molly about using actual fabric from the poolside pillows, and for A'kai for using fans (according to Tim, fans have been done before), but Tieler alone seems to be able to roll with the punches, literally hand-breaking the supporting structure of his dress when Tim critiques its rigid shape:

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Lifetime

But lest you be too concerned, Professor Gunn does have some favorable things to say, specifically about Cartier's hand-painting of the lei flowers and Hawwaa's watermelon jacket...

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Lifetime

...the latter of which causes some major, adorable blushing.

Pre-Runway Rush


The usual mad scramble, with 100% more "where are the hot glue guns?!" given the challenge. This always ends up being a feature of the designers talking shit about the other designers' looks, but with the kids it's almost worse, because the mean ones are super-mean and the nice ones are super-nice. A'kai wins the day by saying that "everyone's design is pretty nice."

Working The Runway


Hannah shows up as the only human ever to look good in dusty rose...

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Lifetime

...which makes this as good a time as any to note that her name has officially been changed to "Hannah Jeter" in the credits, though I don't believe it's been said aloud. Mazel! Now, on to the show:

Chris's swing dress has amazing texture and jungle vibes, thanks to the layers of Astroturf and faux palm fronds:

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Lifetime

It earns him an immediate "wow" from Kelly Osbourne. Cartier also uses texture, to build almost a fish scale pattern out of broken-down, painted lei flowers:

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Lifetime

Chelsea sends down a cute mini-dress, perfect for a garbage-themed New Year's Eve party:

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Lifetime

Hawwaa tries to over-achieve with a floral short set, but the watermelon jacket -- while cute in its own right -- just doesn't go with the rest of the outfit.

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Lifetime

Also, Allie completely misunderstood the assignment, creating a look for a beach-themed sock hop set in the not-too-distant future:

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Lifetime

Judgey Judges Gonna Judge


At the end of the runway show, the six kids stepping forward are Molly, A'kai, Cartier, Lucas, Tieler, and Hawwaa.

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Lifetime

Christian loves Molly's fringe, celebrating its Tina Turner vibe, while the rest of the praise falls mostly on Tieler (Cartier picks some up off the ground). Otherwise, it's pretty bleak: the judges all agree that Hawwaa's outfit is too costume-y.

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Lifetime

They also feel that A'kai's materials got the best of him. There's no love for Lucas, either, as the judges agree that his final look is just cheap.

Winner And Losers


In a delightful move that I hope will continue throughout the season, Hannah immediately announces the winner after the regroup. (She did this last episode, too.) It's Tieler!

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Lifetime

He's adorable, and addresses his mom, who's off-camera, from the runway. Which: more moms on this show, please! I would love to watch them be terrible to each other while the kids were busy building each other up.

Also, Lucas is the loser, but that's fine because it means that A'kai and his adorable grandpa outfits can stay to make it work at least another week.

Verdict

Again, to be honest, I'm surprised this is where we're ending up. Something about this season has yet to click, and my hunch is that the kids just aren't charismatic enough to carry the weaker challenges. We've seen great work and great antics (Izzy continually wears weird stuff on her head), but nothing has been as attention-grabbing as last season. It's terrible to have to compare, but something needs to come along soon to shake this sequel out of its rut.

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