Archive for August 11th, 2009

Design Star: Because why not?

hstar4_cast-host-10-finalists_s4x3_lgYou’re probably not watching much television right now.  And, frankly, I support you in that.  You might consider catching up on some DVDs worthy shows like Damages or Weeds before bed, but right now all we’ve got right now is reruns and programming that’s really only acceptable if you’re in a full body cast, agoraphobic or being paid to write about television.

Which, of course, I’m not. Any of those.

But, HGTV’s interior design reality show Design Star is on again and perhaps you may find it worth watching. It’s probably more satisfying than The Fashion Show, if only because it doesn’t really aspire to be more than it is — a Project Runway-inspired competition show that doubles as a commercial for the basic cable network it’s on.

The personalities are a bit more subdued this time around — the women are slightly less catty, the gays are less flaming, straight men are less grunt-y and visceral (except for Antonio who has stars tattooed on his neck — not a turn-on).


Cute, right?

There are, remarkably, only two gays on this season — Nathan and Jason. Nathan is a crush-worthy hipster-ish guy in his mid-twenties. To boot, he also seems very nice — true boyfriend material. I don’t, however, dote over him to the unhealthy degree that I did with last season’s runner-up Matt Locke. I definitely had to keep myself in line with a mantra of “you need to remember that this is a person on television.”

And Jason kind of looks like Perez Hilton. Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the even-tempered, gigantic-armed Dan (bottom right in the group shot), whose fitness and keen fashion sense belie his heterosexuality.

One of the biggest changes this season has been the abrupt dismissal of the show’s two female judges, replacing them with old Trading Spaces designer Genevieve Gorder and HGTV host Candice Olson — who has a blonde bob and a pitiless disposition. Vern Yip is also around.  While there was nothing wrong with the previous co-judges, the Gorder and Olson are worthy successors.  On the whole, they’re probably one of the most fair, articulate judging panels I’ve come across on this type of show. Also, the likably bland Clive Pearse is around again as host.

They did, however, make a total dick move on the most recent episode when they eliminated DC native Tashica. While I wanted to root for Tashica because of her hometown roots and fighting spirit, she was admittedly the weakest contestant and a bit unaware of her own incompetence. But during this week’s double elimination, they didn’t even perform the formality of deliberating — opting to call Clive over and have her sent home during the judging session.

It was a surprisingly tacky move from Yip and company — who normally construct a (very) thin veil of niceties before laying into the contestants.

Design Star is on Sundays on HGTV.

August 11th, 2009

So, What Else Is Happening?

That thud you  hear? That’s us running head-first into the end-of-summer TV doldrums. Sure, when I turn on the ol’ tube, there’s stuff there–but is any of it worth watching? Anything? Is anyone psyched that Who Wants to Be a Millionaire is back on? Did anyone catch the premiere of Shark Tank? Who tuned in to the Teen Choice Awards? I’m getting a distinct “null set” vibe from these questions.

Until the fall TV shows start rolling out–or at least until the Degrassi made-for-TV movie (this Friday!)–let’s see what else is going on, shall we? Here’s a brief check-in with some other areas of popular culture that may not be experiencing as much of a lull.

Movies: The big blockbusters are mostly behind us, but the Internet has nothing but raputorous things to say about this weekend’s District 9. Quentin Tarantino is always good for a larf, so we should all expect some craziness from his absurdly spelled Inglourious Basterds.

Movie Trailers: An artform in and of themselves, you’d be remiss if you didn’t watch the new trailer for Where the Wild Things Are, as well as the trailers for Alice in Wonderland and A Serious Man.

Music: Dan and Jesse might know better if any great albums are coming out before the end of summer, but right now I’m pretty happy about Heath Ledger’s video for Modest Mouse’s King Rat. (Hey, a music video is kind of like watching TV!)

Books: I just read the Time Traveler’s Wife in preparation for the awful-looking movie this weekend and it was wonderful, but in case you’re not looking for books that are four years old, there’s a new Thomas Pynchon novel out that’s supposed to be pretty good, and another one of those Philippa Gregory books comes out soon if that’s your thing.

Internet Nerdery: Facebook bought FriendFeed? Who cares–we’re Twitter people. That reminds me: Follow us on Twitter.

There, that should tide us over for the next couple of weeks, when we can go back to being couch potatoes (as is our natural state).

August 11th, 2009


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