Mission: Top Clean Sweep Organization Designer
There were times during this episode when I wasn’t quite sure what show I was watching. I had to keep looking at the guide to make sure I hadn’t accidentally changed the channel during a commercial break!
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Bravo must be trying to win the Emmy for Cryptic Introductory Phrases for Reality Show Challenges, because in introducing this week’s challenge, Todd says something about it being “a family affair in more ways than one” – what the heck does that mean? Are they bringing in the designers’ families? Are they going to make two of the designers get married and the rest of them have to design their newlywed bungalow?
But no. A family pulls up in their new car – I see kids, I see a dog…
I see that actually, Bravo is trying to win the Emmy for Obnoxiously Blatant Product Placement in a Reality Show. Almost every single time they talk about the car during this episode, they use the full name and then they show us a shot of the nameplate of the car, too. If anything, it really turns me off to even considering buying that kind of car.
They’re focusing on the car so much, I’m starting to think that the challenge is going to be to redesign the interior so the family, who unfortunately just became homeless after using all their savings buying it, can live in the car. But actually, the designers will have to simply redesign their garage for use by the entire family, and still be able to put the car in it.
Back in the design studio, the family describes what they’d like done with the garage, which, judging by the photo, is a disaster. Dad wants to put the kids in there to do their homework. The kids want a stage and a playground and a Chuck E. Cheese and an in-house band to provide music on demand. Mom wants to have an office space for her. What I want to know is, what’s wrong with Dad that he wants everyone out of the house and they’re all happy to go? Who puts a home office in a drafty, barely heated building? And what’s the rest of their house look like that they feel the need to go live in the GARAGE???
Thoroughly confused and overwhelmed, the designers have a daunting task ahead of them. Todd makes it worse by telling them that instead of sketching, they have to build a model, and then they only get 3 minutes to pitch the ideas to the family. The winning designer will be the team leader (dammit! Another team challenge!!) and also cannot be kicked off this week. So if the design ends up being crappy, one of the worker bees gets squashed while the queen (or king) bee sits back eating bon-bons and snickering.
Even with immunity, the idea of being team leader doesn’t appeal to Goil at all. He just really, really wants to work by himself. Nobody seems to like making models. Some of them are good, some of them look like they’re made out of discarded cereal boxes. Carisa invokes the spirit of Tim Gunn, uttering “Make it work!” Carisa, you are no Tim Gunn. Plus you may get sued for copyright infringement.
Now it’s time for the presentations. Todd is standing by to time them. Andrea woos the kids by including a swing in her design. Carisa also goes straight for the kids, asking “Does it look cool?” and completely ignoring the parents in her presentation. Smart move, actually. She knows that if these are typical kids, they will whine until the parents give them the design they want, so Carisa wants them to want hers. Ryan starts his presentation by telling them they need to get rid of most of their crap. They don’t like that at all. Ryan’s not going to be team leader, and I think he could care less. Ralphie has a lot to say, so he starts talking really fast like a winner at the Oscars who has a lot of people to thank but hears the orchestra starting to pick up their instruments.
In the end, Andrea wins. I notice during her little interview about winning that someone has helpfully labeled her “THE BOSS.” She gets a budget of $5,100. But before they can get started, Carisa has to claim her prize from last week – picking a carpenter. This is boring so I’m going to skip it.
Andrea then gets to assign roles to her team. Goil is Andrea’s “special helper,” doing the architectural sketching and basically whatever else Andrea wants him to do. Ryan is in charge of graphics - duh, because she doesn’t want him touching anything else lest it get art all over it. Plus, graphics are expendable if they run out of time. Ralphie and Erik are sent to buy the fabrics. Carisa will design the office space and work on final styling and organizing. But Matt – poor Matt! She puts him in charge of organizing the mountain of crap that’s in the garage.
Matt and Carisa run off to The Container Store. I’ve read and watched enough about organization to know that the main rule of organizing is to sort what you’ve got and THEN see what kinds of organizational materials you need. Of course they can’t really do this. All they had was a picture of junk. So now they have to decide what size buckets to put the junk into. That’s hard!! And I’ll bet they won’t be able to use some of the things they buy. But I don’t see how Matt is going to have much of an opportunity to do any interior designing, which is what I thought this show was supposed to be about.
Andrea goes to visit the house. The homeowners throw an empty shed into the mix, so Andrea has to change the design a little bit, putting the office into the shed. That at least makes more sense than putting it next to the car. Back at The Container Store, Matt and Carisa have basically moved the entire contents of the store to the checkout counter. Some of that organizational stuff is expensive – I wonder how much of the budget they used?
I have to digress here and say that I hate Carisa’s skirt. It looks like she sat in chalk. And if you have to wear leggings with a miniskirt, you probably shouldn’t be wearing the miniskirt in the first place.
Materials in hand, the designers make their way to the garage. This is where it stops looking like Top Design and starts looking like Clean Sweep. They have to take all the crap out of the garage (I really think the family could have done this part for them, don’t you?) and then clean it before they can get a really good look at the space and start working. It’s a good thing it’s a large garage, because there are about a hundred people in there working.
Let’s see what everyone’s up to. Ryan thinks it’s a goofy challenge but he’s going to “make it his own” – so what does he end up doing? He paints big gray stripes on the floor to show the parents where to park the car. Goil gets fixated on building a dog bed on wheels so the kids can pull the dog around. Other than that, there’s so much activity that it’s hard to focus in on anything.
People start getting irritated because Carisa is back in the little shed puttering around while the main garage is in danger of not getting finished. Everyone stops what they’re doing, however, to listen to Matt argue with her about where she needs to be. That’s five minutes of work time they can’t get back. She goes back to putting photo boxes on shelves, and then moving them to different shelves.
Meanwhile, Matt is my new hero. He has definitely done more of the organizing – he had a lot of crap to work with and there’s no WAY all of that stuff is going back into that garage. He and Ralphie have a giggle at Carisa’s expense while trying to put an inflatable pool into a plastic tote. The arrival of Todd, looking cool as a cucumber, means that time is up. Apparently some stuff had to be cut, probably Ryan’s painting. Goil did NOT like being anybody’s special helper. He says that’s not what he’s here for. I have to agree. All these team challenges are annoying. The show is not called Top Project Manager.
The judges arrive to take a look at the garage. Again, the designers are lined up really far away from the judges. I realize now that it’s because of camera work, but it’s still very off-putting. And poor Kelly! Somebody mistook her for junk because they’ve put her into a black trash bag. Luckily they left her head out. Our guest judge is Mark Rios, who is a designer with a new product line to push. Now we finally get to see the finished product. First thing I notice is the swing. It’s right where the car is going to go. Their new car is going to get scratched! But I notice she did hang a tennis ball off the ceiling, which is a good trick for telling them when to stop pulling forward (if for some reason they don’t stop when they hit the swing).
Back in the White Room, the judges send everyone but Andrea backstage. Then they ask her about the design. We also get to see the family’s reactions. The kids love the swing and the stage. Dad loves the storage. Mom says her office is better than nothing, which is not exactly a ringing endorsement of Carisa’s work. They pull the car into the garage, and Glory Hallelujah! -it fits, but they don’t show whether they had to move the swing. My guess is no, and that the first time the kids forget to tuck the swing up and Dad hits it with the car, that swing is coming down.
Andrea then talks about division of labor. The judges question the big blank back wall. They’re surprised that Ryan didn’t commit any art atrocities on it. Of course they have to ask about the color of the stage curtains. Andrea says that Michael chose the purple, but in actuality, there was dark purple on her design board, and the purple that ended up in the curtain really looked about the same, at least on TV. Maybe it wasn’t.
For once we get to see what the designers do when they’re not in the White Room. They sit around on couches drinking out of their weird water bottles or whatever they are, discussing what’s going on in the other room with Andrea. Ralphie knows she’s blaming the color on him, because he shows the other designers where the bullet will go after Andrea dodges it.
Erik points out that the finished product lacked in styling. So Ralphie asks, “Who was in charge of styling?” And Carisa answers, “Matt and I.” No… Matt was in charge of organization. Andrea said you were in charge of the office and overall styling. We are then witness to the first and probably only time someone on TV says the words squirrel urine.
The guys all berate Carisa for not helping Matt and hiding away in the back room all day. Her excuse is that there were too many people in the garage, and that she was supposed to do the office, so that is what she did. Then Ralphie runs off to the bathroom, which they really could have left out of the show.
The guest judge didn’t like that Matt simply organized everything. He was supposed to compose while he was organizing stuff. Like he had time!! I’m just impressed that he managed to put all that stuff away neatly and I thought it was done well. Sometimes organizing is just organizing. It has very little to do with interior designing. Plus it’s a GARAGE. Pick on someone more deserving.
Goil thinks he’s way funnier than everyone else does. He makes a joke about being mini-Andrea (which is slightly amusing since Andrea’s so tall and he looks so short next to her) and then laughs an uncomfortably long time about it. By himself.
The judges chastise him for spending too much time on the dog bed. I’m going to chastise him for using purple fabric for a bed for a WHITE dog. Dogs shed, Goil. Dark fabrics and light dogs do not mix.
Ryan apologizes for ranting all the time, and then insults them again by referring to them as ‘decorators’. He then basically says that this job was stupid and he’d never take it and that he really didn’t do much. This is when I know that he’s setting himself up to go home. And comments he made during the show make sense (something along the lines of “I could leave right now and go back to the art slums and be perfectly happy”).
Kelly tries to get Erik to badmouth Ralphie and the purple color, but he stands by him instead and says he thought it was fine. Then Jonathan coos over Erik’s roman shade, which was basically some muslin tied up with black fabric scraps. It was “original and fresh!” It was muslin tied up with black fabric scraps. I don’t think it fit into the room at all.
Ralphie of course defends the fabric, saying that if the kids thought the purple was ‘down’ they could flip it over and have gray - which is of course much happier and peppier than purple. He says several times that it was what Andrea wanted, implying that he thought it was gross but she was The Boss (because it said so on her shirt), so being a good little worker bee, he got purple.
Carisa was working. She says that about eighty times. Andrea says the shed looked better than the rest of the garage, and she wanted the whole area to be on the same level of unfinishedness.
The judges send everyone out and then discuss each person’s contribution. Jonathan, Kelly and Margaret give Matt kudos for the Herculanean task he had, but that guest judge is just stuck on there not being any art to it. Give Matt another day and he might have been able to get art out of it. He was just trying to figure out how to put all these people’s crap back into the garage.
Even Kelly can’t defend Ryan this week, although she reeeeeeealllly tries hard. The other judges won’t let her. I think Kelly has a secret thing for Ryan.
I must be missing something. The judges cannot get over how great Erik’s last minute shade was. I thought it was ugly and looks like something I would make. And that’s not saying something good.
The judges are convinced that Ralphie picked out the purple, when I think it’s pretty clear from this picture that Andrea did.
They comment that he’s never met a shade of grape he doesn’t love, when in fact he has only used purple in one other room out of four. Now if they were talking about Carisa and green/orange, then I’d agree. But they’re pulling at straws here with Ralphie. And not being fair. Margaret says sophisticated fabrics don’t belong in a garage. I disagree. It’s a GARAGE. Most garages have cars and tools and recycling bins and lawn mowers! Not couches and draperies. So it really doesn't matter what kind of fabric you put in there.
So finally, Jonathan asks them if they all agree about who’s going home. Kelly’s body language (crossed arms and legs, and that pouty “yes”) shows clearly that it’s going to be Ryan and she’s not one bit happy about it - and that’s exactly what happens. Ryan really could care less. Surprisingly, he’s the first latered designer we’ve seen getting hugs from the rest of the group as he leaves the room.
He goes off to talk to Todd in the workroom, and makes a rambling speech about sociopolitics, convservativism and vases. Then, showing that he’s an equal opportunity insulter, he makes a bizarre comparison between himself and a soldier in Vietnam, commenting, “a glass of Agent Orange and a shot of napalm and I’m happy.” Huh? I don’t get artists.
Next week: another $#@&*$^#(@ team challenge!!!! Aaaarrrggghhhh!! And somebody makes Goil cry.
Speaking of Goil - glasses color count for this episode: only two! Slacking this week, Goil!