Top Design Recap, Premier: Queer Eye for the Pacific Design Center!
Legal disclaimer: No designers were physically harmed in the writing of this recap. However, some were emotionally scarred and will require therapy. This is a recap of what goes through my head while I'm watching the episode. It is a mix of fact and fantasy and most of the quotes are fake. Any relation to real people, places, and events is entirely intentional but rare.
Welcome to the premier edition of Eric Three Thousand Recaps on Top Design Blogger! For those of you familiar with my recaps you know the deal. For new readers and/or the completely clueless, please be sure to read the legal disclaimer above. Just so you understand I don't have a split personality or talk about myself in the third person like Bob Dole, I watch the episodes with my boyfriend, also named Eric, and he pops up from time to time. These first few episodes will be a little tough because it takes me a while to get to know the contestants and to really get into the show. I do read several of the fan sites but I don't do a lot of other outside research on the designers. I'm far too lazy so I leave that to others. I like to watch the episodes kind of fresh and write about them from the point of view of someone who hasn't run background checks on everybody. So, many of you will know more about what's going on that I do. Also, I don't read anything at all about a show from the time an episode airs until after I've posted my recap of it because I don't want to be influenced by anything. So if I make a point or a joke that has already been made, I apologize. Please keep in mind that we are writing about a television show. My comments are meant in fun and I have nothing personal against anyone. If you think I'm a genius, please feel free to leave a comment. If you think I'm a horrible little bitch with no grasp of the English language, please keep it to yourself; I'm far too sensitive.
On with the show:
First of all, the theme music sucks big time.
Todd Oldham is the host. He tells us the designers are competing for a spread in El DeBarge magazine. Oh, yeah, the magazine started by the lead singer of DeBarge; I read it every week. They will also be featured in the charity event Dining by Design (or something like that). And they will get an Acadia by GMC. Oh, wait; not just an Acadia by GMC, but a brand new Acadia by GMC. Wow, at first I assumed they would be winning a used car but this is even better! And they win $100,000, which will cover the taxes on their new car. And I know your saying, "No, there can't be any more prizes; it's too much already!" But, in addition to all that, they also get the prestige of creating the Top Design! Well, I don't know how Bravo thinks it can get away with this kind of extravagance.
We're introduced to the designers. There are just too many people and I can't keep track of all of them. If you don't mind, I'm just going to refer to everyone as "that gay guy with the glasses." I think that will cover the majority of them. Just kidding. Here's a brief rundown:
Lisa - She's black with white hair and she likes Asian-influenced design. She seems interesting; I'm looking forward to getting to know her over the next ten weeks. Or not.
Goil - He's the gay guy with the glasses. Oh, OK, he's the Asian gay guy with the glasses. He has two (not one, but two!) architectural degrees. He's cute and he dresses adorably. Other Eric and I are a little in love with him. I just wish he'd stop informing us that he doesn't want to be the one kicked off the show. I mean, duh!
Carisa - She is a design student and likes affordable design. She looks like Super Nanny.
Ryan - White guy with glasses (sexuality unclear). He's an artist and he likes to skateboard indoors.
Felicia - She's blond. Sorry, that's all I got. Oh, Other Eric points out that her eyebrows are uneven; yeah, that helps. She informs us that she wants to put food in the refrigerator. I think that's her design philosophy. Whatever.
Matt - Blond gay guy without glasses.
Matt: "Oh, I'm not gay. I have a beautiful wife and daughter."
If you say so.
Andrea - Short black hair. She's an architect.
John - Definitely not a gay guy with glasses. He wants to make that very clear.
Elizabeth - Blond. Works in the film industry. Her design philosophy is "a bunch of styles meets another bunch of styles." At least that's what it sounds like to me.
Michael - Young, blond gay guy with glasses.
Michael: "I'm not gay! ... I'm super gay! Gay, gay, gay!"
Michael: "No, really; I'm gay. I'm talking 'Over the Rainbow' gay!"
We get it. You're gay. You don't need to convince us.
Erik - Gay guy with a goatee who apparently requires lots of space to store his mascara.
Heather - Brunette. No design education but she's designed bars. I think for a prison.
The designers move into their apartments. John meets his new gay roommates:
John: "Gay people make me very uncomfortable. That's why I didn't go to college: too many gays. Who knew there would be so many of them in the interior design industry?"
Michael settles into his new bed:
Michael: "Ooh, it's a Sleep Number bed! Hey, everybody, look at me; I'm gay!"
John: "Would someone please kill me?"
The designers learn they will be meeting Todd Oldham:
Designers: "Oh, My God! Oh, My God!"
OK, calm down!
Todd Oldham is waiting for us at the Pacific Design Center. Now, I'm sure he's fabulous and all but someone at Bravo needs to sit people down and explain how to use bronzer. Seriously, he's as bad as Michael Kors. What's the deal? And he talks like he's narrating a children's program. It's truly bizarre.
Todd tells us about the Pacific Design Center, "One of the most respected design centers in the world!" And you thought it was just one of your regular, run-of-the-mill design centers. I bet you feel foolish now!
We are shown all the fabulous things "In almost any style you can imagine" in the showrooms of the Pacific Design Center, or PDC to those in the know. Which is, basically, everyone. We are shown into the design room:
Todd: "Look: a blank white wall! Isn't that exciting?! You lucky people don't have to stare at a stupid Macy's Accessory Wall!"
Well, that is pretty nice! OK, the designers are paired up for the first challenge:
Michael is paired with John.
Vincent Libretti: "This will be the nightmare of your life."
Michael and John: "You got that right, freak."
Goil is paired with Elizabeth. The dream team.
Erik is paired with Carisa. They seem to work fine together.
Heather is paired with Lisa.
Lisa: "I'm a control freak and I don't like working with anyone else."
Well, that's a good start.
Matt is paired with Felicia and Ryan is paired with Andrea.
There is a table with a few items on it: what looks like a black-velvet painting of a bald guy, a disco ball, a giant Asian doll's head, a cool 70s television, and a dead bug in a frame.
Todd: "These items belong to a 'celebrity'. The viewers at home can't see this but I'm secretly putting the word 'celebrity' in quotes. You will be designing a relaxing space for this 'celebrity' based only on the ridiculous items you see here."
Lisa: "Ooh, I have a great idea: let's make the room Asian-inspired."
Oh, come on! You know you were going to make an Asian-inspired room no matter what the challenge was!
Lisa: "You have a problem with that?"
No. That's fine.
Todd: "You will get to borrow, or 'memo out', items from the PDC showrooms."
Todd: "Yeah, that's what we call borrowing stuff in the industry."
Why not just call it borrowing stuff?
Todd: "Because then I couldn't show off my knowledge of special industry terms."
Todd: "Anyway, you'll get fifty million dollars to spend in the showrooms and an additional twelve hundred and fifty billion to spend on paint and lumber. And you'll have two years to complete the project."
OK, I know that's not really what he said. But, compared to Project Runway and Top Chef, their budget and time allotment seems outrageously generous.
Andrea: "We only get two days? That's like two seconds in the design world."
Yeah? Well, cry me a river.
Ryan says his room is Stanley Kubrick meets Annette Funicello. No, that's not right. Sorry, I always get these "blank meets blank" quotes wrong.
We learn valuable lessons from Todd, such as, "Unlock that selvage!"
Then we are taken into the "white room," where we meet the judges and the "celebrity."
The judges are Jonathan Adler, Kelly Wearstler, and Margaret Russell (of El DeBarge Magazine). The "celebrity" is, you guessed it, Alexis Arquette! What, you didn't guess that?
They really rip the designers' work to shreds:
Jonathan Adler: "Some of your work wasn't very good."
Whoa! Ease up there! Let them keep some of their dignity!
The judges like Goil and Elizabeth's room, which features a sand pit and a swing:
Margaret Russell: "It just wasn't boring enough for my taste."
Right. Well, most of the judges like Goil and Elizabeth's room and they win! Congratulations!
Heather and Lisa basically just have a big bed in a room and the judges think it looks like a Chinese restaurant (I guess one of those restaurants with a bed?). Also they are way under budget, which they pretend is a good thing but the judges don't agree:
Jonathan Adler: "I'm always looking for a client who is willing to open his pocketbook."
Other Eric: "Why does it not surprise me that he has male clients with pocketbooks?"
Heather and Lisa lose. At least with this team challenge both team members paid equally. That's a nice change of pace.
Heather: "It was entirely my fault ... for listening to Lisa."
The losers are told "Goodbye."
"Goodbye"?! No "Pack your tape-measures and go"?! They have to come up with something better than that!