• Sunday, March 4, 2007

    Taste Patrol

    During this week’s hiatus of Top Design I decided to rate the judges’ blogs on the official Bravo site. After all, they take up over half the show with their walkabouts and nonsensical prattling. So I asked myself, "Do the judges’ blogs add to our understanding of the designs, or are their bullshit meters set at a level to deceive our unerring eyes?" Let’s see, shall we?

    Three Hula Men Bobble Award

    My Three Hula Men Bobble Award goes to Margaret. Though she comes off as a snooty Garden Clubber on the show, Margaret’s blog is actually thoughtful and informative. It turns out that even she is dismayed with how her more positive, insightful comments are cut out by the editors: "The worst is seeing how nearly every positive, constructive comment I make in the White Room never sees the light of day."

    She also attempts to explain why Ryan, despite his negative attitude towards designing a "pretty room," survived and why Felicia was let go.

    "It’s true. I wanted Ryan to go home, and not because he was belligerent (much more argumentative than what appears on the show and so was Michael; fortunately, most of that was cut). Ryan set the tone by wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the numbers 666, the universal sign of the devil. His attitude matched the outfit, and although we didn’t know that he boasted, "I don’t care what the judges think; if I lose, f***k ‘em" until we saw this week’s show, in truth it was irrelevant. … Ryan was given a reprieve because he is inventive, creative, and ambitious; Kelly admired his iconoclasm and we all thought him capable of better work. I had trouble getting past his condescension toward the design profession and popular culture in general."

    Bravo, Margaret. So did I.

    Two Hula Men Bobble Award

    The Two Hula Men Bobble Award goes to the guest judges. They add a refreshingly different insight to the previous week’s episode. The best guest judge thus far is Alexis Arquette, followed by second guest judge Liz Lange. However, it was Alexis who nailed the problem that Top Design has had from the start: "Overall, I was a little surprised with the lack of ingenuity I saw. To me, once something becomes repetitive, I understand that it becomes "classic" but it also becomes safe. And I was hoping that some of these people, even if they were students or up-and-comers ... I thought I’d see more innovation and a lot more original thinking."

    Darling, Alexis. You took the words right out of my mouth.

    The Bobble Won’t Wobble Award

    Call me stupid when it comes to Kelly Wearstler, because, frankly, I don’t know what to think of the woman. Between her undeniable design talent, inappropriate fashion choices (having fun with fashion is one thing, looking ridiculous is another), and inconsistent blog statements, I have come to the sad conclusion that Kelly’s bobble simply won’t wobble. Here are some of her most quotable quotes in all their inconsistent glory, and uselessness in helping us to understand why the judges made the choices they did.

    "Carisa’s wonderful use of color really wowed the judges & she ended up winning this week’s Top Design." Huh? She chose orange or red four challenges in a row! How creative is that? Oh, wait, during the cabana challenge Carisa changed things up, substituting blue for green.

    "I prefer cabanas clean, contemporary, and ready & waiting for the day’s occupants. Today’s seasoned travelers expect every modern convenience: personal refrigerators, flat screen TVs, internet hookups, and the open space to spread out and spend an entire day escaping in glorious semi-privacy." Kelly, dahling, that was not the assignment our designtestants were given. I’m sure they would prefer the above conditions too, but on their limited budgets and given their ridiculous time constraints, they were lucky to put anything that looked halfway decent together.

    "Design programs are not written in stone (which could be quite chic) and the vertiginous whims of a client are your marching orders. In addition to a fickle client, value engineering, material selection debacles, scope changes, time frame and fabrication, and even shifts in the global market can affect your job unexpectedly. This happens all the time, so get used to it." Huh? Say what? And how is this situation different from any other creative or business endeavor that depends on a client’s whims?

    The Trash it Award

    The Trash It Award goes to Jonathan. What a load of shovable crapola your blog is, Jonathan, ye of the happy visage, happy design philosophy, and oh so mean observations.

    Where to start?

    On the one hand you write, "Sometimes it's the things in questionable taste - inappropriate, vulgar, or a little kooky - that make a room memorable. Diana Vreeland once said, "A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. No taste is what I'm against." And then you go and contradict yourself when talking about Mikey’s partridges, "I don't know what was up with them birds on the wall. Anybody got any ideas about that?" Read Trixie’s thoughtful critique, Jonathan. And Linda Merrill of Surroundings knows whereof she speaks. You might get a clue.

    Also, it’s obvious that the younger generation’s color preferences are beyond you. Compared to the mud browns, rainy day grays, mustards, and other funereal color schemes our 20-somethings are into these days, Michael’s banana and mauve color scheme WAS joyfully happy.

    Here’s your rather accurate assessment of Ryan’s recent design contribution. "Ryan's message was that he is an ARTIST, not merely a designer, and he was a wee bit snotty about fabrics and decor. Sorry, luv, last time I checked this was a reality television contest about one's ability to whomp up a room, not a MoMa retrospective. And thank God for that cause his spaces so far ain't too MoMa-able."

    Given that both you and Margaret had similar negative reactions towards Ryan’s room, and that you are the lead judge, why didn’t your opinion reign over Kelly's?

    Well, dear readers, this concludes my rather snarky assessment of the judges’ blogs. However, I have two more awards to hand out before I sign off.

    The most Execrable Comments Award goes to Andy for writing this tasteless statement: "Another surprise guest who won't be on is Anna Nicole, who is presently decaying in Florida as her tale goes from sad to pathetic to I don't know how much lower it can go. And as it goes on and on, Larry Birkhead seems to be getting better looking and Virgie is starting to make sense." And he totally lost me with this inanity: "I actually am pleased that someone is interested in my dogs because I pretty much am not too into them."

    Where's Waldo? Award. My favorite Top Design blog by far is Todd’s. His insights make me wish he had more of an onscreen presence. Right now he reminds me of Waldo. Where the heck is he? Let’s hope that in the future the editors include more footage of Todd giving the designers advice, and fewer shots of the judges marking up their evaluation sheets.

    Well, dahlings, ta! See ya Wednesday night when our happy design gang will turn on Carisa en masse and pelt her with their rotten red/orange tomatoes.



    Blogger Linda Merrill said...

    Spot-on critique of the judges blogs. I've been amazed at how inconsistent they are. Margaret's is definitely the best. Jonathan just comes off as snarky and a little too impressed with himself. While it may sound cute to use the term "whomp up a room"when speaking - it looks ridiculous in print. On the other hand, Kelly just seems to like to use only "industry" term so she can show off what she knows. And yes! Why, if both Jonathan and Margaret wanted to vote Ryan off, is he still there? They have 4 judges each week- if JA is the lead judge, shouldn't his vote count for more and be the tie breaker? I'd respect the process more if they were willing to say why KW and guest judge Joe Stewart (presumably) won them over.

    Loving the contestants, not so much the judges.

    March 4, 2007 at 8:19 AM  
    Blogger trixie said...


    I also agree with your assessment of the judges blogs. Although I will say that at least Jonathan appears to put some effort into his blogs, unlike Kelly or Todd.

    Nothing has given me more of a sour taste for this show than reading the blog of that douchebag assistant. Just compare him to the likable (and adorable) Rucker and his hilarious blogs.

    March 4, 2007 at 7:27 PM  

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