You’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).
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