Last week, Top Design started off with a bang and a whimper, as the ID's were challenged to create a room for a mystery client with questionable taste in accessories. They were put into teams of two, given an ungodly amount of money, a carpenter AND a seamstress, and still most of the rooms sucked. The amount of orange and green used in the designs last week was unfortunate, and none of those rooms won, either. They probably would have had better luck with this judging panel.
Still reeling from losing two of their number so early in the game, the ID's blow off a little steam back at the lofts by taking turns riding Ryan's skateboard in the living room. (The producers are obviously hoping to get a shot of someone taking a humorous spill so they can send it to America’s Funniest Videos or a VH-1 "reality TV embarrassing moments" show.)
But they're all giggling and having a good time, when John-Ralph decides to let them know that he's HIV positive and was given a huge dose of testosterone by his doctor, which accounts for his aggressiveness towards Michael-Ralphie. He then tells them that he doesn't hate Ralphie or anything, he just thinks he's a talentless whiny pansy, and then goes off to take a bath. The fun has been sucked out of the room, and they all sit awkwardly, watching Andrea knit something. Also someone has apparently slapped Ryan across the face, or maybe he fell off the skateboard and hit his face on the credenza, which I'm sure will end up on the DVD in the bloopers section, but for now just looks kinda painful.
The next day, the ID's return to the workroom. The table recently occupied by Lisa and Heather is sitting there, huge and empty, and I'm surprised that one of Ralph[ie] hasn't claimed it. Mr. Todd breezes in and gives them their next challenge - design a bedroom for an unknown client. (Hmm... this sounds familiar... oh yeah! That was last week's show! Reruns already?) Each ID gets a short bio of the person they're designing for, and they're supposed to plan the room using that. They will be getting a mattress but they have to design and build the bed themselves, AND they only get $600 for paint and $8,000 for furnishings. (They got a little spoiled the last time with that $50k, didn’t they? I’m hoping a future challenge has them shopping at garage sales with a $100 budget.) This week, the winner gets immunity – but someone else will be going home. Carisa acts like that’s a surprise. Weren’t you paying attention last time, girl?
Everyone picks a design bio and gets to work. They also get to choose a hardwood floor sample from a table. Felicia picks the one John had his eye on, and he’s all “Bitch stole my floor!!”
So he decides to go with linoleum. In a BEDROOM?? That's like putting wall-to-wall carpeting in a bathroom. Maybe his room is someplace warm where the floors never get cold in the wintertime. Either that or he's going to put a kitchenette in the room (hey, that wouldn't be a bad idea!).
Mr. Todd comes in to take a peek at the designs. Goil has built a tiny room out of a box! He’s even made a tiny cardboard person to show scale. Todd asks how tall the person is, and Goil replies, “Six feet” to which Todd nods knowingly. Felicia’s design has a big bed, in case her client brings home a ‘lady friend’. Well, at least she’s considering the function of the room.
Now it's time to go memo-ing out. Surprise! All the furniture is insanely expensive. Nobody can afford anything, so they all have to build their furniture out of posterboard and spit. Well, I guess they get a little bit of stuff but it's still all pretty much ugly.
The ID's now have to figure out how to make all that high-end designer showroom stuff they just picked out work in a kids' room. Luckily it's Mr. Todd to the rescue, with $300 more for each of them (plus a bonus c-note for Elizabeth and Goil since they won last week) to go shopping at Target to get more "kid-friendly" stuff. (Of course, they don't SAY they're going to Target, because Target's not a sponsor, but we all know that's where they are.) What I want to know is... in which department do you find giant chains? I LOOOVE Target but I didn't know they had a harbor accessories department.
Enough shopping! The clients are here for their presentations. Mr. Todd ushers them in and - jaws drop - they're ten-year-olds! (This immediately gets my attention, because I have two kids and I'm trying to get them to decide how to decorate their rooms. This episode is going to be their after-school viewing tomorrow.) It also makes Goil’s "scaled-for-a-six-footer" mock-up room and Felicia’s “lady friend” comment that much funnier, and I have to rewind and watch Todd’s reaction to those, since he knows the entire time that the clients are children. Ah, what a poker face. He's good, that Todd Oldham.
How well do the designers adapt their ideas to fit their youthful clients? Andrea admits that she's scared of her young girl, because she only had brothers and has two sons, and doesn't know thing one about girls. Matt's girl is an actress, and she looks all sweet now, but he'd better give her EXACTLY the room she wants, or she's going to go Veruca on him.
But enough fun. It's time to get down to business and create magic, people! Ralphie apparently took a crash course in wall-painting overnight. (That's because he really wants the judges to like him so they'll give him an official Red Ryder carbine action two-hundred shot range model staple gun with a color wheel in the handle and this thing that tells time.) Goil decides that cutting the walls worked so well for Felicia and Matt last week, he's going to do it too. Only he'll cut TWO holes instead of just one, which should be twice as good! Andrea builds a cool Murphy bed that I covet.
But poor John. His carpenter came back without linoleum (because he knew it was a stupid idea) so now John's room has no flooring. He's very upset. (His testosterone has worn off and now the estrogen is kicking in.) And painting time is up, so he can't even paint the floor, and he just chooses to leave it with big dirty drywall-dust footprints all over it.
After a tiny bit of sleep, the ID's finish their rooms and it's off to the White Room. Again, I feel the need to comment on fashion here. Jonathan is wearing a tie that looks like my daughter made it for her stitchery badge at Brownies. And Kelly? She's mixing decades: a 70's Princess Leia-ish poofy Danish on just one side of her head, a very 80's spangly black jumper/bicycle shorts/leggings combo with high heels, and black Madonna-esque fingerless gloves. (Not even Jonathan gets her outfit.) And our guest judge Liz Lange joins in on the fun, looking like she's been shopping in the chain section of Target with Erik.
Carisa - I liked this room. The judges did too. The huge expanse of red wall took me by surprise at first, and I wasn't sure I liked it, but I think after the boy put up a bunch of travel posters or something, it would be just the right amount of red to pop against the green. Her bed/desk/sidetable was great. I wish she could have finished the tops differently so it just didn't look like particle board, but I see the natural-finish thing she was going for.
Michael – The top judges' comments on this room were: that it "looked like a room in an assisted living facility", "it was a room", and "it was decorated". Not good comments. This is not a kids’ room. But I know what the problem is. Ralphie doesn’t know how to design for kids because he never WAS one. Last week he made the comment that when other kids were outside playing, he was watching “Dynasty”. He probably never SAW another kid’s room because he was too busy looking at Joan Collins’ rooms. So… what he actually designed was a room for a “Dynasty” kid. I do like the color he chose, but other than that it was just not right for even a “sophisticated” ten-year-old. Way to go on the paint job though, Ralphie.
John – This room was, to quote Tim Gunn, a hot mess. The floor problem notwithstanding, there are blotches all over the walls, like he was spackling nail holes and didn’t get the right shade of touch-up paint.
But whose scene reigned surpreme? Goil, Carisa and Erik were the judges' favorites, and Captain Erik walked away with the win and immunity for next week. (I have a feeling there's going to be a run on giant chain at Target, as kids everywhere insist that their parents give them pirate rooms.) Congrats, Erik! Well-played.
And "walking the plank," we have Cat-Man, Granny's Boy, and John No-Floor. It's a hard call, but John is out. (I'm hoping we make it through the episode without a "See ya later, decorator!" but alas, there it is. I will NEVER like that.) He goes back to the workroom to chat with Todd and hug him repeatedly. John's got the right attitude, though - he WAS picked out of hundreds of people for this show, and that's impressive. So we wish John "good luck" as he makes his way down the Walk of Shame and they turn the lights out behind him.
Next week's show promises to be a doozy - another team challenge. Groups of three this time, to mix it up a little. Are they going to kick off three people at once? Wow! This is going to be the shortest reality TV show ever!