Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Design Star Recap, week 2: Dueling Kitchens

OK I missed the first five minutes this week, so I missed Clive (Pearse not Owens) recounting for us what happened during week one. He could have just popped you over here for a quicker recap.

The second I tune in I ask myself, “Who’s that girl in the kicky beret?” (I never do find out the answer to this – but she did seem so fashionably put together on Confession Cam that I thought I’d mention it.) The only thing I know for sure is that it wasn’t NataLee!!

This week is kitchens. They choose team leaders with the old star-in-the-paint-can trick, and it’s Nathan and Amy! (Side note: Nathan has gone with a more natural shade of lip stain this week and it totally works on him.) They’ll be picking their teams “playground style”. I’m telling you what – no matter who I am right now, I’m killing myself at this point to get Antonio on my team. Even if you don’t like him, this is the episode when it pays to have a straight guy on your team. A gay man might have a better idea what looks nice, and I’d certainly rather have a gay decorator… but I don’t tend to think of them as “handy.” There are cabinets to install and heavy work to be done – ANTONIO is the man here people! No matter what, you pick him!

Amy goes first, and she picks… not Antonio. Dumbass. She ends up with a team of all women and Dan.

Nathan’s first pick? ANTONIO! Someone knows the secret, am I right?

OK, are we shocked that Torie got picked last? No, they have no faith in the contestant they themselves voted on to this particular island, as they think they voted in a loser.

Amy meets her homeowners with, “We’re Team Love…” STOP. I can tell you that if my husband were greeted with this line he’d be like, “Team Love? No. What I want is ‘Team Get It The Hell Done or you can turn your ass around, Missy.’” Even on a free kitchen makeover she needs to tone down the touchy feely.

The question of the day seems to be; “ How do you see yourself using this room?”
“We entertain.” “We spend time in the kitchen.” “It’s the command central of our home.” OK, OK, we get it; if it had a bed you’d never leave. Did they expect anything different? “Oh, I like to quilt around the spaghetti sauce,” or perhaps, “We like to carry out Civil War battle re-enactments over by the window.” It’s a kitchen. People hang out in the kitchen. You already knew that.

At the end of that engrossing conversation we have it that Nathan’s team likes “Italian and Moroccan”, whilst Team Love has homeowners that want people who see the new kitchen to say “I’ve never seen anything like it before.” Which, in both cases, leaves a hell of a lot of gray area they they’re going to wish they’d filled in.

I’m going to throw in here that Clive (Pearse, not Owens… is that getting old yet?) is giving each team $20,000 for the makeover. This is not a lot of money when kitchens are involved… and it doesn’t buy them any extra grouting time for that tile backsplash that has never once been completed on any of the kitchens they’ve done in the past three years. Just a warning.

Oh, and why is SEARS not taking this opportunity to advertise its amazing kitchen cabinet re-facing program on national television? I get a mailer weekly, and yet when they’re sponsoring a prime time reality show they leave that part out? Frankly, I’m questioning SEARS’ commitment to making sure the homeowner’s needs are met.

WOW! Nathan’s team demo’d that kitchen FAST. These guys are needed on those flipping shows!

Wait, the girls JUST got back from shopping, and the cabinets are already there?

Why is Amy crying? (Why do I have the feeling that I’m going to be typing that question a lot?) I hate it when they cry.

Is anyone worried that we’ve not heard the word “backsplash” yet, and it’s day two? Get that project going – have they never seen this show? Time is lost in the backsplash!

(I’m going to take a moment here and say that I’m disturbed by how hot I’m finding Antonio this episode. That 40-year-old homeowner persona with the glasses is turning me on, and this is not a happy place for me. Remember in college when there was that one guy that, if the chance ever came up, you’d totally jump – but you knew you’d regret it the next day? We called that guy your potential “shame f**k”. Antonio? IS THAT GUY!)

TORIE! You are the GIRL! That backsplash idea is the bomb – if it looks good I might steal her idea! I’ll bet she’s not picked last next time!

Antonio announces to the Confession Cam that he doesn’t think Nathan is a good leader. I’m going to agree with him, and not just because he is my potential “shame f**k.” I think Nathan has been pretty good, but it’s probably Antonio that is driving the project home. (Gosh, I’m all hot again now.)

Amy is an idiot. You NEVER let them drop a fridge off in the yard. They always offer to bring it in, it’s called DELIVERY, and they’ll even plug it in for you. Why those two girls are struggling with it I’ll never know… but they don’t want to disturb Dan – because he’s the “guy” on the team and is installing the cabinets. (Remember gay man = not handy?)

As we leave the teams tonight, they announce that the floors will be installed, and the countertops will be put in as well. Who is that girl on Team Love (Jany?) who isn’t finishing the tile backsplash tonight? She’s going to install it AND grout it in one day. No, she’s not. We all see that coming, right?

Now it’s the next morning, and I’m going to have to pat myself on the back here for just a second…. The team with the (shamefully hot) straight guy installing the cabinets has a beautiful counter top. The team with the (confident but not as handy as he might think) gay man installing the cabinets? Improperly installed countertops because the cabinets are not square. So again, students, in the kitchen challenge YOU ALWAYS WANT THE STRAIGHT GUY on your team. (I wonder if Torie had to restrain herself from dragging him in to the pantry for a little “brainstorming” session?)

(Is it warm in here?)

We see Jany lamenting her bad tile job. Ha Ha. Its OK Jany – that traditional kitchen wasn’t ever going to be good enough for Mr. I Want Something Original anyway.

SHAWWWWWW, did Team Love not accessorize? Amy is SO gone. Or maybe the tile girl. Or maybe Tashica – who is on the show why? Because I’m sure there are Haverhill Staging students out there more qualified to be on this show than her.

Time to see the kitchens!!

Team Nathan’s kitchen:

The judges don’t love the colors, and Jen – the “color designer” is to blame for that. They say “less is more.” I think the colors would have been less overpowering if they didn’t have all those mismatched pendant lights all over the place adding even more color to the design. When one of the daughters says, “It looks like my mom designed it herself,” is that a compliment? AND? I DIG the backsplashes!!!!! Candice complimented those, “Congratulations on not getting bogged down with tile.” (Did you notice that Candace thought they were tin, not vinyl? I’m totally going to go looking for that stuff when we get to the kitchen in our house.) I actually think if they had stuck with two colors and kept the accessories to a minimum (less Buddha, more edibles), Genevieve and Vern would have been happy.

Amy’s Team Love:
They call it “Warm Modernism.” Let me tell you that this is THE AFTER SHOT… not the before shot. This kitchen had no accessories whatsoever. The Judges notice EVERYTHING that is wrong. They hated the styling. They hated the shoddy workmanship, the unfinished tile (Candace: “Have you ever SEEN this show before?”), and the countertops. Tashica is weak and whiny. Candace thinks Tashica has blown it two weeks in a row. Candace it right… Tashica SHOULD be the one to go, but Amy was project leader and will be chopped I’ll bet.

OK here we go! The results are in and Dan and Antonio? The judges think that clearly they were the leaders this week. Please wait in Green room.

Jany, Loni, Jason, & Torrie: Good work, please go join the others in the green room.

Remaining designers, will you please step forward.

Jen, your choice in color does not reflect well on you.
Nathan, you lack of leadership (but you do not lack overly blushed cheeks). However you are safe. You may both wait in the green room.

Amy and Tashica. You were both unable to focus. You left the family with an unusable kitchen. Amy is scattered. Tashica, you are not clear on what you could and could not execute.

Amy your show has been cancelled.

My thoughts on this decision? Tashica screwed up two weeks in a row. It’s a bad decision, and the other contestants aren’t happy with the fact that Tashica is still there. No one was happy when she walked through that door.

Next week is the white room challenge. I LOVE those

Monday, July 20, 2009

Design Star Recap, week 1: Design Your Hollywood Home

As this season opens, Clive Pearse (who you know loves this gig so much better than that sell-your-house show he also does, and who I keep calling ‘Clive Owen’, so bear with me…) does a montage of the grueling season that is coming up. Yep, there will be bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms… you name a room and they’ll decorate it this year. And they’ll do it bigger and better than ever before!

We see the house. Pretty house. So much better than that bullsh*t last season about making them think they’ll build their own house. Improvements are already being seen, keep it up Design Star!!

Now we meet the contestants:

Jason. Who doesn’t want to carry his own luggage. Poor Jason. Perhaps NEXT year they’ll have bellboys?
NataLee is a cutie – but her name is the worst. Nata. Lee. NataLee. Her parents watched the Electric Company before she was born.
Dan. Young, adorable, reminds me of David Bromsted, who won season one. Do they need two of those guys on air?? Maybe he could be David’s understudy.
Jany Lee is passionate!! Because probably no one else is, and that’s why they’re here! Good to set yourself apart, Jany. You’re Passionate!
Amy is overcome with emotion at being here. I hope she isn’t a crier. She seems OK except for the tears.
Nathan is sure of himself. Which means he’s cocky and will step on toes. Won’t care that he steps on toes, won’t apologize – will say things like, “If they can’t understand my vision they aren't thinking outside of the box!”
Lonnie is afraid of having to do the work herself. I’m guessing Lonnie probably grew up listening to her mother yell at the help.
Antonio. Token straight guy. Will reference his heterosexuality many times during the season. (I don’t like him any better now than I did when he played “Kevin” on Project Runway two years ago.)
I must have blinked and missed the entry of the other two contestants. Jen and Tashica are also part of the crew.

Here comes Clive!! Welcome contestants to your new home. He is wondering if anyone had noticed that there are eleven planning tables, and only ten contestants?? The big wrench in the works surprise is that the contestants that got in on their own merit get to pick eleventh competitor… who they get to meet for 20 seconds. Why? Like they’re going to pick someone who will give them a run for their money? They’ll be fair at all? They are going to pick the one they think is the biggest loser. They pick a woman named Torie and her big Texas hair! (I’m not knocking big Texas hair – the higher the hair, the closer to heaven. Amen.) It isn’t even important that I tell you about the other two, as you will never see them again. (Well, that other girl might end up on Rock-of-Love if she really desires a career as a reality television personality. I can see that. Bret Michaels would hand her a back stage pass and ask her, “Will you stay and Rock my world?” It’s very touching.)

Clive (Pearse not Owens) announces the competition for tonight is to decorate the house. Dining Room, Living Room, Master Bedroom, Second Bedroom & Third Bedroom. They have a HUGE budget, the largest they’ve ever given them to work with: 50 Large. Nice. Someone just squealed that they don’t make that much in a year. Why would you share that?

OK, I’m going to point out here that Nathan is wearing way too much lip stain. He is so gay. He needs to blot that stuff before stepping before the confessional camera.

ANNNNDDDD, here it is: Bring on the SEARS product placement! SEARS sponsors us this year, ladies and gentlemen! Which can only mean that we’ll see blatant product placements from not only SEARS, but from Kmart, The Great Indoors, and maybe even Lands End if they can work that in! (Which is cool, my sister gets her paycheck from Sears. I’m down with The Great Indoors in a big way, too.)

Next we zoom around watching everyone plan his or her rooms, shop, and try and finish up in not quite three days. It’s challenging, but most of them seem to be handling it OK… except who are the two girls painting their bedroom floor on DAY THREE??? What idiots, if that gets messed up they are sunk. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. What a nightmare. Ohhhh, I love the wallpaper in the living room!!! I don’t, however, like Antonio. He is a DICK. Antonio is a dick. Will gleefully go for the fist pump in the air if his pink geese get him sent home. Back in the master bedroom I have to note that I love a good harlequin pattern as much as the next Ballard Design fangirl – but that floor sucks. At the end of the third day (second full day) NataLee almost passes out from exhaustion – she has to tell us she has poured her entire self in to that room. I’d not be bragging about that right now… everyone else looks almost done. Your floor would have looked better if you’d freehanded the damn thing.

Final morning, they have like two hours to finish up and those master bedroom girls are NEVER gonna be ready. They are cutting comforters in half. (Note to self: it seems that SEARS doesn’t sell twin sized comforters, as they are cutting king sized comforters in half. Ha Ha Ha. That looks EXCELLENT, ladies. No way the judges will notice those unfinished edges!) These two must be on the chopping block – because the focus is really on them.

And….. the reveal!

I think the Dining Room is ugly. The table is cool, the walls are strange. That wood wall looks like a sauna in the corner. Genevieve likes the wood. Genevieve is wrong. Candace likes the whole concept. The girls and I are going to have to agree to disagree on this room. (Really looks like a sauna in the corner.)

NataLee and Tashica’s master bedroom is next. Ummmmm, it looks OK from far away. You can see what they wanted. … don’t look too close, it’s a hot mess. Genevieve‘s mouth is on the floor when they start doing close ups. How is it that they didn’t finish one project except painting the walls? They had almost three days, right? When they tell Vern their budget was $10,000 he actually said “No Way!” He was aghast. Candace is embarrassed for them. Such a bad unfinished room. NataLee is playing the sympathy card, ‘I worked so hard I was shaking and sick.’ Gen saw right through it. "You didn’t eat and you got sick." Done. Also I’m noticing that evidently SEARS might not sell curtain rods, either.

Jen and Jason on one of the other bedrooms. Ummm, it’s OK, the animal heads are funny, and I LOVE the letter wall. The room looks unfinished? Vern wants to know “Where did the money go?” The Astroturf rugs were $700. Gen exclaims, “You’re foolish”. Ha Ha . Candace called them obtuse. Ha Ha. Vern doesn’t want excuses. Jen looks defeated, Jason looks misunderstood.

Third bedroom. I think it’s pretty. At least it’s finished. The beds are made with real bed linens, the walls look pretty cool, the curtains are actually hung properly (maybe SEARS does sell curtain rods?). Candace loves the lush quality. Gen thinks the focal wall is unbalanced. Vern doesn’t seem to like it too much.

Living room. Antonio and whoever. I actually like it and I didn’t think I would. Huge Room. Candace likes it. Gen doesn’t like the composition, window seat by itself, chairs by themselves. Wants conversational area. Time for Antonio to fess up to the geese, and Vern LOVES THEM. The girls who worked with Antonio are pissy over those geese you can tell. Hey, I myself thought they would look like ass. I have to say, it looks WAY better than I would have thought.

Now the judges deliberate. I kind of hate that we don’t’ know who they are talking about.
When the contestants come back out, Clive announces that the Living Room and Dining Rooms were the best. Please go wait in the green room.
Jany and Torie (the bedroom that I liked)… you executed well but played safe. You may also go wait in the green room.
Jen and Jason (the overprices Astroturf rugs) you are safe, just barely.

Which leaves NataLee and Tashica.

NataLee‘s show has been cancelled. Really, thank God. She should go.
Tashica is happy happy happy she gets to stay.

Next week is kitchens! Kitchens are usually awful, so it’ll be good!

(all design pictures property of design star, and can be found HERE)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Selective Reality Introduction


I plan to concentrate on two shows on this blog: Design Star and Project Runway.

Season 4 of Design Star (which I mostly like) will premier on July 19th.
Season 6 of Project Runway (with which I have a love/hate relationship) begins on August 20th.

I have followed these two shows since their inception. I think they encapsulate what "reality television" should be:
1) they are contests, like long drawn out game shows. I like that.
2) there is unscripted snark. I love that.
3) they are edited, so it's not like watching home movies - - they only show you the stuff they think will entertain you. I thank them for not wasting my time on boring stuff.
4) they have a creative bent. I have a creative bent. I am not qualified to DO either show myself, but feel entitled to share my own untrained opinion with the world. I think that is what the internet does best.

I'll see you after the premier of Design Star!