So, Top Design. Let's just dive right in, shall we?
First of all, I knew I was going to watch this show beginning to end before it even premiered. If there is a reality show that involves an elimination aspect, you've already got my interest. But when you put the Bravo homo spin on the whole thing, it's basically required by law that I watch it. And since Project Runway doesn't appear to be coming anytime soon, Top Design is a good enough methadone.
Is it any good? Yes, it's alright. I'm not going to say it's wonderful, but it's probably not as bad as everyone says it is. If Project Runway is gourmet, authentic tiramisu and Top Chef is a freshly baked Mrs. Fields cookie, Top Design is probably some sort of Sara Lee or Entemann's treat. Not exactly my first choice, but you better believe I'm going eat that shit in its entirety.
I'm sure you know the premise without me having to tell you — it's Project Runway with interior designers. Todd Oldham is the host and while he is immensely likable, he has a stilted, book report-y delivery that makes his discomfort evident. It makes you appreciate how good and poised Heidi Klum actually is. The cast is rounded out by head judge Jonathan Adler, a woman named Kelly Wearstler and the woman from Elle Decor. I'm sure you'd know all about them if you were into interior design, but for our purposes they are just Thing 1 and Thing 2.
One of my favorite parts of the judging portion of the show is that after they inspect the rooms, Jonathan Adler smiles that fakey kind of smile that you recognize from parties. It's like you're talking to someone and you know that the moment you walk away they're going to start talking about your flaws.
My favorite designer and, in my estimation, the show's frontrunner is Goil ("like gargoyle"). As far as his design goes, he's very Verne Yip-y in that he tends toward the minimal, but personally he seems to be the most humble and easygoing of the bunch.
Other memorable contestants include:
John, who Bravo hyped as a boundary-breaker for being only the second HIV-positive person ever to go on a reality show — but, unfortunately, he forgot to give one of his rooms a floor and was promptly eliminated in the second episode.
Michael, John's arch nemesis (yes, he got an arch nemesis within two episodes), who appears to be an egg-y Harry Potter. He is currently trying to deny he is not afraid of paint and manual labor.
Ryan, the bad boy who literally skateboarded into the house with artsy bravado. Last week we said a rather unjust goodbye to Felicia who made the mistake of putting a depressing Roseanne Connor-style afghan on her client's bed. It was either her or Ryan, but they chose to keep Ryan because he's loud and a magnet for conflict (read: better TV than the wallflowery Felicia).
One of the eliminated contestants, Lisa Turner, really reminds me of a cartoon character but I can't remember who. I want to say it's a Flintsone, Jetson or someone of the Hanna Barbera oeuvre. Then again, my friend John pointed out that perhaps I'd been thinking about X-Men's Storm all along.
And, speaking of chicks with crazy hairdos, what the hell was up with judge Kelly Wearstler's (right) hair on last week's episode? She's normally a hottie, but this particular fashion choice was — how should I put it — truly outrageous.
Finally, someone needs to say something about it (and I'm sure people have — at length), Top Design has the single worst catchphrase on television. I swear to God. When someone is auffed, Jonathan Adler says "See you later, decorator." I'm not bullshitting you. It's sure as hell no "You're out." It's not even a "Please pack your knives and go" — which, really, should be re-examined as well.