Top Design – Light It Up
Injera has again done a witty recap of Top Design. The show where interior designers are competing for the prize of what else but “Top Design.
Top Design – Light it Up
“Look, I’m going to wear undies today guys!” And, with that opener, Eddie sets my expectations for this episode to high.
Eddie starts by trash-talking Preston’s talent, then moves on to dissing his dishwasher stacking. This strikes such a chord with me – I have a partner who cannot stack a dishwasher and I think I, too, have used the phrase “if you can’t to something right, don’t do it at all”. Guess who has no comeback when the dishes aren’t done around here?
Andrea’s completely boring story arc snores along when she finds some flowers at the doorstep. They’re from her husband and – I’m not sure whether anybody’s picked this up – she really misses him. Awwwww. Spew. I cannot stand reality show contestants who trot out the “I hate being away from my family” line. What? Somebody forced you to leave them for a TV show? Shut up.
Oh, make it stop! Now Ondine is reading the “love poem” Andrea’s husband wrote. She’s going on about Andrea’s wonderful life and fabulous husband. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Ricky Schroeder in anything, but I guess you can still refer to him as an “actor”. This edit had better portend Andrea’s demise! I can’t work out if Ondine’s being sarcastic when she says “I am thrilled to have met her”.
Finally, the contestants hit the studio, to find it crammed with Jonathan Adler’s “stuff” and India’s book. India comes in, closely followed by Jonathan who springs a “Pop Design” on them. It’s a test of their composition and styling. Eddie is “super confident” at this. Each designer has a beige sofa, plain bookshelf, coffee table and side table, and 30 minutes to use “these magnificent accessories” (Jonathan! Humility, please!) and books from the other judges to style their space. Prize? Well, immunity, and… a surprise.
Go! Running and grabbing! Oh, FFS Andrea! “Accessorising isn’t my number one strength. I’m already feeling the pressure.” What is your number one strength, Andrea? What are you waiting for, a design challenge that showcases your ability to moan in a monotone?
“I feel like I’m doing a Jonathan Adler window. If I wanted to work at a Jonathan Adler store, I would’ve filled out an application.” Oh, Eddie, you are so above this!
Andrea has lots of hideously clashing patterns and admits to turning the bookshelf on its side because she “wouldn’t be any good at accessorising that bookshelf”. Ondine gets some positive reactions from Jonathan for her colour scheme. Eddie says that “as a designer” he doesn’t like “one-stop shopping” but then he fits in a bit of bottom licking by enthusing over the rug. He does, however, bristle when Jonathon calls him a “stylist”, because he’s “a chef, a decorator…”. Nathan’s space looks very poppy but he looks a bit taken aback when Jonathan references Austin Powers. Preston’s looks like a corner in Freedom Furniture. He explains his thinking by saying “this pillow balances that pillow” and I’m not sure why I find this so funny.
Judging. Beginning with Andrea. Not pulled together. Haphazard. Preston: mis-steps. A shop-front. The winner? Eddie! He’s very happy and I’ve just noticed he’s wearing rolled up jeans and thongs (and by “thongs”, I mean “flip flops”, but we do already know he’s wearing undies today). Of course, he doesn’t really think he needs immunity. Give it back?
Elimination challenge time. They head to L.A. Mart. Preston is excited because L.A. Mart showcases a lot of designers and is not open to the public. Andrea? Well, her husband is filming right across the street and “I really miss my husband” and SHUT UP, Andrea!1 Inside the L.A. Mart, India is standing in front of a blossom tree made of Swarovski crystals. The challenge for the designers is to design a room around a Swarovski chandelier. I don’t know why Preston smiles so happily when India says “the room can be anything you want it to be”, unless, of course, Swarovski chandeliers are his mum’s favourite thing, or in his favourite hotel, thus allowing him to execute one of his two stock designs.
As part of Eddie’s win, he gets to pick the order in which the designers pick their chandeliers. He goes first, and picks the “Golden Teak Glitterbox”. He decides that Andrea should pick next, then Nathan, Ondine and Preston. I’m not sure I see the strategic advantage of putting Andrea second, unless he’s counting on her picking the next best thing by sheer accident. And Preston, last? Does Eddie really think he’s such a threat? “Honestly? Preston and I will not be friends after I leave the show, so a gay’s gotta do what a gay’s gotta do”. Fair enough.
Andrea chooses the “long green one”, which is called the “Light Peridot Glitterbox” and I’ve never seen her use a colour palette that would go anywhere near that gorgeous green. Nathan chooses the “Ice Branch”, Ondine chooses “what looks like the fish net, with crystal” (the “Light Sock”), so Preston is left with the “Sparkle Shady”, which sounds like a collaboration between Eminem and Lady Gaga. It’s as hideous as that would be, but I can see him working it into a hotel room. Preston thinks it will be difficult to work with.
There are two hours to paint, and two hours to shop at the L.A. Mart, with seven hours to complete the space after a sleep. Budget is $22,000, which means that India is expecting “spectacular” rooms. Go!
Eddie has decided to do a “young, hip and cool” dining room. I’m looking forward to the expression on his face when the judges somehow manage to use the adjective “granny” to describe it. He’s chosen “sassy green and some kind of, like, mocha colour” to make the chandelier “pop”. “Sassy green” turns out to be “pea soup”.
Nathan has taped off the walls to capture the shadows cast by his “Ice Branch”. Eddie thinks it is “bonkers”. Nathan is going for “Upper East Side Townhouse bratty rich girl room”.
Ondine is going for “eclectic bedroom” with things from around the world. Andrea is happy because she’s never done anything “dark” and she’s aiming for “Hollywood glam”. She’s painting the walls brown. Preston has finished painting his walls (black, but with an unpainted section in the middle) for his “masculine, surprise, surprise” cocktail lounge.
With 20 minutes left to paint, Nathan looks to be struggling to complete his walls, which he is painting in purple within his pattern line. “My god, what have I done!” He rejects offers of help from Preston, but lets Eddie help, whilst Preston watches. He interviews that he doesn’t “let a lot of (his) personality out” until he’s comfortable around people, so thinks “that’s maybe why they don’t like me”. He’s like a beautiful android, trying to figure out how the humans work. As the designers file past Andrea’s space, Nathan starts laughing. I’m not sure if it’s the colour scheme, or just the realisation that she’s still in the competition.
Shopping! Nathan buys a massive driftwood horse. Andrea wants to spend a lot of money on a sofa. Eddie’s looking for a dining room table – he finds Martha Stewart! He’s so excited! Everything is “gorg”! He wants everything! He totally worships Martha!
Now, cast your minds back to the beginning of this challenge. Eddie’s stated intention was “young, hip and cool”. Now, it’s “Martha”, so I wish I’d put some money on “granny” for the judging… Of course, Eddie has immunity today. Nathan and Andrea look on in disbelief as Eddie self-congratulates “I don’t know where I come up with it. It’s a gift from God!”. “Martha, Martha, Martha,” Nathan sighs. “Martha, Martha, Martha.”
Nathan’s horse arrives, and so does Todd! Who can see it’s going well! Sort of. In fact, he’s dialled it back a bit this week, giving Nathan and Ondine some pointers and telling Andrea “I don’t hate it, at all”. Hmmm. Eddie doesn’t “need somebody to be, like, ‘oh it looks good’. It’s my job to know when something looks good”.
Preston is not in love with his chandelier, but is happy with his room. Eddie sneers a little out of the corner of his mouth, whilst agreeing that it looks good. Nathan is hoping his room reads as “a surprising shock” with its “jolt of colour”. That’s not a jolt, Nathan, that’s an almost homicidal assault!
Five minutes! Plumping, polishing, candle-lighting, fussing, waiting for the judges.
Simon Doonan, creative director of Barney’s in New York, author of “Eccentric Glamour” and Jonathan’s husband, is judging this week, along with stalwarts, Margaret and Jonathan. Andrea is “like, perfect! Because my room’s glamorous”. But is it eccentric? What do you think? She has an incredibly busy green wallpaper that actually makes her chandelier look good. Well done, Andrea. Simon asks her “which time period” and she says “50s, 60s, 70s” (what?), which surprises Simon, as the vase “screams 80s”.
Ondine has a lot of stuff in the room. Monkeys, crabs, Indonesian puppets. The chandelier doesn’t suit the room at all.
Preston sees his room as a cocktail lounge or… “a boutique style hotel in Chicago”. There are geometric patterns and some splashes of colour. I don’t hate it, but I never really have strong feelings about Preston’s stuff. Simon makes a good point about the placement of the chandelier against the wallpaper, but Preston manages to defend his decision. In his interview, Preston has slicked his hair down and is wearing a brown, low-v-necked sweater with a string of brown beads. It’s so… not him! Or, maybe, this is the real Preston and he’s only just letting his personality out. Maybe he finally feels comfortable! I hope not. I prefer shirt-Preston.
Eddie says his chandelier is the focal point. Jonathan and Simon exchange lots of looks as Eddie pretends he’s forgotten about his immunity. India is amazed by the idea of a sofa at a dining table, as am I. I’ve seen long benches, but never an actual sofa. “As a freakishly small person”, Simon wants to try out the sofa. Eddie has no regrets.
Nathan’s room is a whole lotta room! Jonathan says he’s “bananas” and Simon wants to know if it was “acid or crystal meth” (it’s acid). Nathan is very articulate so he can really sell the design.
Back at the warehouse there are comments and questions. Margaret thinks Eddie is disparaging the chandelier and Jonathan thinks that, in Eddie’s room, it looked like “a casket. It was really bad”. Eddie is gracious enough to tell the judges they have a right to their own opinions. Margaret’s appalled that Eddie could do that to a Swarovski light fixture and Jonathan tells him he’s lucky he has immunity. Poor Eddie, the best he could do now is pretend that he really did just phone it in. He looks devastated.
Nathan’s room had a “great, great mood”. He basks in the compliments from Jonathan and Margaret, but Simon is strangely silent.
Jonathan is surprised by Ondine’s room. He thinks some of the furniture is frumpy. Simon points out that the “shrill” light looks strange against the muted “tea-stained” room. He’s right, and he gives Ondine a chance to say that she noticed this, but she doesn’t take the get-out-of-jail-free card.
Margaret thinks Preston’s room is quirky, but the chandelier and mirror fight with each other a little. She’s scraping for criticism here, because she clearly really liked the room. Simon really “didn’t want to leave it”. Preston beams! “It was really great,” emphasises Jonathan.
Andrea gets kudos for her use of strong colour, but the accessorising and styling were not as strong as they should have been. Simon was horrified by the plastic shell and fake orchids. Finally, damning with faint praise, Margaret says “it was great that you had things in the right places, it just wasn’t the right stuff”. Ouch. Andrea has an outpouring of oh-my-god-I-thought-you’d-love-this-why-don’t-you-love-this angst, and the judges are too polite to say “because it’s shit”, but Margaret does say “snap out of it, get over yourself” and then berates her for lacking confidence. I’ve always wondered whether telling a person with low confidence, as they’re crying, that they lack confidence would be a winning strategy. She says she’d like to go home. Nobody rushes to talk her out of it – it all seems a bit “I broke up with you!”.
Judging, for what it’s worth. India says “let’s talk about Andrea”. Margaret tries to talk Andrea’s effort up, noting that she’s made some progress with this design, but Jonathan doesn’t even want to talk about the design. “However, when she said ‘I think I want to go home’, at that moment I’m, like, ‘bye'”. Simon agrees, and Jonathan goes on to say that it’s disrespectful to the other contestants. India tries to support Andrea by saying she doesn’t think it was preconceived, but I think it kind of was, every week. During last week’s episode, we saw a bit of Eddie and Preston having to boost Andrea up and it felt as though it was a regular thing. Perhaps this week, everyone was over it, and didn’t give her the behind-the-scenes pep talks, so she had to go to the judges for her fix.
In the studio, Andrea is still half-sobbing and the others are saying nice things… and then she says “I’m so nervous”. About what? What is her endgame here? Is she hoping that, in quitting, the judges will say “you wouldn’t have been eliminated” so she gets to go home and tell herself that she could’ve won the whole thing?
Eddie’s room is pasted, again. Preston’s is lauded. Nathan’s room was incredibly fantastic. Ondine’s was depressing. Poor Ondine thinks she’s going home and I will probably stop watching this show if she does. Or next week’s recap will be variations on “fuckity fuckity fuck”.
Preston has the top design. In his post-show interview, he’s wearing an emo scarf. He’s a chameleon.
Nathan, Eddie and Preston are sent off, safe, but Eddie’s not happy – he has issues with the judges, so obviously he was lying when he said they were entitled to their opinions. They’re not!
Andrea is told that her room is more successful, based on the criteria for the challenge – to showcase the chandelier. She smiles. Grrrr. “Which would mean that Ondine, you would be going home”. Ondine manages to squeak out “OK” while Andrea looks a bit smug. “However”, cut to Andrea whose smile disappears, “it’s not our role to stand in your way if you want to go home – it’s up to you to decide”. Aaaaaaargh! Can’t. Type.
She agonizes and hems and haws and ums and ahs, which is the most articulate she’s ever been. Finally, she asks ONDINE what she thinks! Andrea’s a dickhead. When she finally decides – finally! – to go, she actually looks surprised when India says “So, Andrea, you are going home”. What a drama queen.
She thinks she’s proven herself as a designer. I think she’s proven herself to be a flakey Needy von McNeederson.
Bye bye, Andrea, you won’t be missed.
1 IMDb tells me that Ricky Schroder’s may have been filming The Andromeda Strain, which has Daniel Dae Kim! And Eric McCormack! Ricky’s popularity has gone down by 10% since last week but the movie has gone up 31%. I don’t really know what that means. It also has the following trivia: “Spoke at the Republican National Convention in honour of George W. Bush, 2000… Member of the National Rifle Association… He was absent from “NYPD Blue” (1993)’s May 2001 season finale and later announced he would not return to the show because he wanted to devote time to his growing family.”