Q: What did Michael do to make the other designers hate him so?
It's classic bullying behavior, alive and well in every classroom in the country, and here's how it works. A strong, confident personality expresses opinions and attracts weaker personalities who shelter under the former's flapping wings. Like baby birds, they seek Mama's attention and approval by squawking loudly, echoing whatever she says in even bolder terms.
Finding prey is the key because there is nothing that unites a group like a common enemy, usually some innocuous soul whose only sin has been not to flock to the worship of the strong personality. Exciting, inciting rumors about the target add to the drama and further unite the group in a frenzy of self-justification.
Gretchen Jones established herself as the Project Runway workroom arbiter by winning the first two challenges. Then Ivy Higa opened her beak wide and became head baby bird. For her scapegoat, Gretchen zeroed in on Michael Costello, shy and self-effacing, and the other designers followed suit. To make matters worse, Michael promptly won two challenges in a row. Not even his worshipping at the feet of Gretchen's over-inflated self-esteem by choosing her first for the group challenge made her back off. In fact, it gave her an opportunity to-uh-throw him under the bus.
Logic has nothing to do with the bullying. None of the designers seem to have noticed that swallowing Gretchen's tasty worms of advice has gotten them, one by one, knocked out of the nest. Ivy, of course, blames Michael rather than Gretchen (or herself) for her ouster.
Surely, you think, the remaining workroom residents would wise up by now. But no, it's so much easier to let someone else do your thinking for you. And besides, how humbling to admit you were wrong, that you let yourself be duped by Gretchen. Mondo and AJ were big enough to do just that after they were forced to work with Michael and got to know him, but April is still spouting vintage Gretchen. Andy also seems to be goose-stepping.
Ivy is Goebbels, Gretchen is Hitler, and Michael C is a hapless Jew.