Lucius was a tattoo artist I met at a war protest (they had free hot dogs) in Austin, TX. His body was covered in tattoos, he sported a spilt “snake” tongue, and had holes in his earlobes held stretched open with what looked like hip-hopper Bentley rims. At first I was very afraid, only because this type of person usually wants my type of person dead or in serious pain, but Lucius made me laugh, and that’s all I really ask for in a friend.
He would rant on about the government’s secret brainwashing missions, the Man holding down the little guy, and America’s piggish consumption habits. I would sit in the audience and watch him perform these rants like beat poetry to a single guitar strum weekly in a run down loft space on South Congress (Kill Life/Blood Tree was my favorite) and I have to admit, he had me going for awhile. One morning, as I stood in line at Starbucks, I questioned my existence. Am I just feeding the Man’s machine? Is plucking my eyebrows just another way I try to homogenize myself for an ignorant, shallow public’s consumption? Is George Bush a lizard? As I looked out the store window a Range Rover pulled up and out popped Lucius in his green and black uniform. That hypocrite! One of the greatest spokespeople for the movement works at Starbucks and drives a RANGE ROVER?!? I calmed down and realized I was relieved. Who wants to live in a world where poor people are just as good as rich people and there are no massive soul sucking chain restaurants around? I can live without a lot of things in life, but I will never ever give up my God given American right to a daily Venti Iced Non-Fat No Whip Two Pump Mocha.
This week, Top Design taught us garages aren’t playgrounds. Crate and Barrel kind of sucks, and Che Guevara didn’t wear a LIVESTRONG band. Gay Dad starts off the show with some lispy complaints. The Judges’ comments last week still smarted, and losing first place to Carisa, whose room literally fell apart, added to the sting. Even gay guys hate getting beat by a girl. Now that the fake smile is completely gone and the true whiny Mary has unabashedly come out to play, I find that I am starting to enjoy Gay Dad. When he says “Miss Carisa beat my ass on that one!” with sibilant esses hard enough to crack the camera lens, I giggle. Girrrrrlllll. He’s one Delta Burke reference away from officially being on my good side. It’s also really awesome seeing him do his interview next to the butt plug vase. Set decoration or missing piece to the Gay Dad puzzle? You decide.
Carisa is as shocked as the rest of us that her hot pink hellhole from last week won. She says she had been packing her bags to go. That must have been a quick pack, since from the looks of it she only brought three outfits. The PA s on this show must be doing laundry every day. Horrible plaid jacket aside, the close call seems to have humbled her a bit. I hope this doesn’t mean she won’t be wandering around in circles babbling complaints while spraying down half-naked hot guys, because frankly, that’s all she’s got goin’ for her right now in my book.
This week’s challenge is quite possibly the lamest yet. An annoying family has been given a new GMC Acadia. In return, they have agreed to let Top Design ruin their garage. A GARAGE CHALLENGE? Seriously? Next they’re gonna be designing recycling bins. The garage is so packed full of crap, there’s no room for the new GMC gas guzzler, so the task will be to design a beautiful, functional space to showcase the family sellout bus. Gay Dad takes one look at the pack rat nightmare and pees a little in his pants. He is horrified at the crap stockpile and says the only solution here is a lit match. LOL, Gay Dad. Keep it up.
To make it worse, each family member gets to weigh in on what they want the Garage to look like. It’s only the fifth episode and the Designers are taking orders from five year olds for the second time. The husband wants a space for the kids to play in and do their homework, but he also wants to showcase the new hideous car. The wife wants storage and a home office, and the kids want a stage to do their plays on. This is probably the only stage in America these homely toothless little monsters will ever be allowed on, so I hope the Designers can give them what they want. I know, I know, I sound like I’m getting soft, but the image of innocent no-talents choking on gas fumes and slipping on oil leaks brings out the believer in me. I’m using this image next time I’m stuck in traffic or fired from a job. Thanks for the soul glow, Top Design!
When the subject of colors is brought up, the family spouts off about 11 shades of ugly, leaving the Designers perplexed, afraid and alone in the world. I hope this family is here for all future challenges, just so I can see this look on Goil’s face every week.
Ryan isn’t havin’ it. He instantly hates this family, hates this challenge, and hates tacky shirts. Wait a second, scratch that one. He still loves horrible neon clothing, but he’s not going to make any effort for this challenge. That worries me, because without his “effort”, his designs might actually work and I want this asshole GONE. The Designers have two hours to build models of their designs before they have to show them to the Annoying Family. Whoever the family chooses will not only be the team leader, they will win immunity. Andrea pulls out all the stops. Her model has a stage, storage, an office, and even a catwalk where the loft was. The kids were already salivating over the possibility of running around on the un-railed second story loft when Andrea threw in a swing to show she’s in it to win it. As she constantly reminds us with tears in her eyes, Andrea is a mother of small kids, so I’m kind of surprised she would design a room where there’s even a chance of a kid falling off the second story or swinging right into the Acadia’s windshield. There’s a lot of child endangerment going on in this episode and I’m starting to worry about Andrea. It’s always the nice ones who drive their kids into ditches or drown them in the bathtub. I’m just saying.
Is someone having trouble at home?
Carisa presents the Annoying Family with a black box that’s marked with chalk. They look at it sideways (where’s Felicia when you need her?), and Carisa asks them if they think it’s cool. They politely nod and smile at her empty box, and Carisa tells us “When I showed the kids my model, they were like ‘Woooooooaaahhh!!!’” Uh, no they weren’t. Crazy bitch.
Ryan’s big idea is to half the garage with a wall. One side for the car, the other side for an office. He ignores the stage and play space completely and tells the parents he suggests getting rid of all their extra baggage, including their toothless theater brats. Ryan is really playing the intellectual this week. We know he’s smart cuz he wears a LIVESTRONG band and puts his finger on his chin. When he tells the family they need to “accession”, I almost fall out of bed. That bastard almost made me spill my Haagen Dazs. He has to go.
Goil has decided to give the kids exactly what they want. The set for Les Miz. He has rolling ramps, a rolling stage, and floating walls. All he’s missing is an ensemble of dirty poor people and Patti LuPone. As usual, his design is completely useless in the real world, but really cool and unique. As one of the little girls pulls out a pencil to take notes, I “aawwwww!!!” and feel a stab of guilt. I’m sorry I called you a toothless no talent, little girl! You’re adorable! Oh, no. Don’t smile. Shit. I hate her again. I’m sorry I just can’t help it.
Sean Hayes and Gay Dad both bore me to tears, and the family seems to be with me. The look on Annoying Mom’s face when they get to the Wiggum kid is hilarious. He talks and talks and talks. He pulls out color samples, sketches, and a vision board. Sliding panels! Flowing draperies! Rolling benches! The little boy’s reaction to Wiggum’s hyperventilating and hysteria had me on the floor.
The girls (naturally) voted for Les Miz, but the Annoying Parents chose Andrea’s little kid death trap. Ok, it’s your choice, but if the room comes out anywhere nearly as dangerous as it sounds I’m calling Social Services first thing in the morning. Andrea will be the team captain and foreman and will not be able to get eliminated today. The Designers get to choose their own carpenters now and Carisa goes first for winning last week. I am pretty impressed that she chose Taylor Hicks over Hot Carpenter, but am glad that Gay Dad will have another opportunity to grow as a homosexual when he snatches him up. He admits to not knowing much about Hot Carpenter, but the guy looks very talented.
Andrea puts Ryan in charge of “floor art” and I am suddenly very scared for the children. Let’s just hope he’s over his crushed glass phase. The Wiggum kid shares fabric duty with Sean Hayes and starts rallying for “deep, royal purple”. Oy. Here he goes again with the purple. He tells us later that he never would have chosen those colors, which proves that he will be nasty and back stabby about anything, even his own ideas. Carisa is put in charge of the office and finishing touches and Gay Dad gets the hideous task of organizing the mounds of trash currently residing in Annoying Family’s garage. At least he has Hot Carpenter to help him through. I hope they are outside. And it’s hot.
When Andrea does an onsite walk-through, Annoying Parents are waiting for her with a dilemma. They’re not happy enough with the free car, dump removal and kiddie death trap. Would she mind remodeling the shed, too? I’m surprised these two didn’t put the left over carpenters to work on the landscaping. Andrea stays calm with them, but freaks out on the phone with Gay Dad. The office is in the shed! The office is in the shed! Code Red! Carisa, prone to hysteria and theatrics, runs around Crate and Barrel pointing at things and bossing employees around like she was trying to stop a terrorist attack. I get that this is TV, but we’ve all been to Crate and Barrel. Pick out a plastic chair, a plastic desk and some plastic filing cabinets and be done with it. Nimrod.
The Designers work their butts off and get the space in decent shape pretty quick, which is pretty impressive considering they had to deal with the Wiggum kid and Carisa. Judge Wiggum takes time out of his busy day to find Carisa lazy and uncooperative and the Jury agrees. She is sentenced to rolled eyes from her peers and verbal bitch slaps from Judge Wiggum Kid, to be carried out immediately and throughout the rest of the hour. Dismissed! Wiggum takes a few more minutes to wander around and diss everyone around him to any camera pointed in his general direction. Ick. Don’t you have some hideous drapes to sew somewhere?
And now for my favorite part. The Judging. Kelley Wearstler’s dropped the crack ho clown look this week, and I have to say, I’m disappointed. She looks gorgeous and only slightly desperate to look like she’s still in her twenties. It’s hard to knock someone for wearing those goddamn skinny jeans when they’re so…well, skinny. Damn you, Haagen Dazs! I want skinny jeans! Today’s Guest Judge is Mark Rios, who is an architect and landscape designer. It’s kind of offensive that they make the landscaper the Guest Judge for the garage challenge, but I guess it’s not easy finding a reputable Garage Artist to sit in.
As the Judges look over stage and the curtains, the Wiggum kid brags to us about his color choices, saying he truly listened to the kids and gave them what they wanted. But uglier. Ryan painted the niches on the stark back wall white and pinned black fabric at the top to hide the plastic filing cabinets. Pretty lame, but he doesn’t care if the Judges like him or not. “I can walk back to the slum that is the art world tomorrow and be perfectly happy.” Then please, by all means. The slum needs your vision, you tard. Carisa spent all day working on the shed, which is really funny because it turns out to be the size of a walk-in closet. She painted it white and threw some horrible plastic furniture and bright yellow boxes everywhere. She smiles and says the room couldn’t possibly look any better just as the camera pans over a pair of tacky old lady figurines. Have I mentioned today how much I love this show’s editors?
In the White Room, the Judges set aside some alone time with Andrea. Before asking her to betray her fellow Designers, they show her the tape of Annoying Family’s reaction to the garage. They are mostly thrilled. The kids love the stage, the dad loves the storage, and the mom…isn’t so about the shed office. She gives it a dirty look, one thing Annoying Mom has down flat. She says it’s better than nothing, and the dirty look stays on her face. I’m surprised she didn’t ask for another free car to soothe the pain.
Jonathan starts with the blank back wall with the curtains pinned over the niches. Andrea gives Gay Dad credit with the organization and Carisa with the decoration. She’s very good at not saying anything negative about Carisa, which is impressive for a reality show contestant. Kelley wonders why there wasn’t more art and graphics, and Ryan gets the reluctant blame. His floor graphics were just two long grey tire tracks and the walls were blank. I know I give Ryan a lot of shit for his rebellious teen geek thing, but in the words of Annoying Mom, “It’s better than nothing”. I’d rather see him glue glass shards to the wall and paint everything neon than paint the room white. Andrea says they only had time for the grey stripes, but the Judges press her for more. What was Ryan doing the whole time? She says he was rushing around, but maybe he’s a bit scattered. Another opportunity to sell someone down the river is gone. So this is what happens when nice people advance in reality competitions. I’m blowing bubbles with my spit right now.
Jonathan doesn’t get Goil’s rolling dog bed, but he’s most disapproving of the curtains. The Wiggum kid chose the purple, and Jonathan is not surprised. Andrea admits that the curtains are dark and somber (instead of saying the Wiggum Kid is a horrible human being and should be started on fire), and moves on. Close up on Kelly Wearstler. Yikes. It amazes me that someone who puts so much time into getting dressed would walk out of the house with ratty ass hair like that. Come on, Bravo. Spring for a hot oil treatment every once in awhile. Kelly asks Andrea who the slacker of the Challenge was, and Andrea has to say Carisa, because she isolated herself in the shed office all day. Kelly tries to probe her for drama (“Did you raise your voice? Did you hit her?” LOL) but Andrea won’t budge.
As if sensing there’s absolutely nothing happening in the White Room, Michael decides to turn the holding room into the Judge Wiggum Kid’s Court set. If anyone was going down, it was whoever in charge of the styling…Carisa! Where was she all day? She was MIA with no communication. Carsia clutches her Voz water bottle and denies it, but Judge Wiggum Kid doesn’t let anyone off the hook! She did nothing while Gay Dad labored over piles of clothes drenched in squirrel pee and the work she did do sucked it. Guilty of not being a team player! Sentenced to snaps, head rolls, and bug eyes, to be carried out immediately. Judge Wiggum kid has a new Baliff, and Goil plays the part with aplomb. BTW, when are those white belts going to go back out of fashion? Isn’t it time, people?
Back in the White Room and time for a grillin’. Gay Dad is proud of his organization job cuz it was really haaard, but Guest Judge Rios bursts his bubble by reminding him that he showed no creativity in how he organized, and his finished product didn’t look composed at all. Gay dad drops the smile and gulps hard. Goil calls himself Andrea’s Mini-Me and giggles awkwardly for way too long at his lame joke. Scared? You should be. Don’t forget what happened to the last Mini-Me on this show. He compensates by bragging about the dog bed, but Jonathan dismisses him with a severely unattractive Jonathan look and moves on to Ryan, who shovels the first mound of dirt for his own grave by asking to say something first. Awkward pause. Jonathan looks down at his cards for an answer. Ryan has said some really insensitive things about Decorators and he apologizes. Another awkward pause and another pulled face from Jonathan. “So what was your creative contribution?” Ryan said he didn’t do much. He would never take a Garage Job just for the money. He’s an artist, not a loser interior decorator. You see, Ryan has a socio-political interest, and he was morally apposed to a family with so much stuff. He tried to talk them into getting rid of all their belongings and cleansing themselves of their selfish yuppie attitudes, but they wouldn’t listen. Oh, Ryan. Interior design is all about useless stuff and selfish yuppies. Doi. Kelly tries to move away from his ideological horseshit and asks if he maybe thought of any cool colors or graphics for the design, but Ryan can only say he suggested wider stripes on the floor. Ooh, I’ll bet those stripes symbolize the straight and narrow path of the misguided, shallow Annoying Family. I wish I had the money to hire Ryan so he could build me a room where I could just sit and think really, really deeply.
Jonathan asks Erik why he said yes to the Wiggum kid’s misguided fabric choices, but Erik takes the high road and says he liked the curtains. Margaret gives him a loving look for not being a jerk, and Jonathan compliments Erik’s window treatment, calling it “fresh”. Shockingly, the Wiggum kid blames Andrea for the funeral curtains the second he gets the chance. It was her color palette and he did everything he was told. No one buys this, because we all know this kid a conniving bitch ass. They also aren’t having Carisa as she nods her head furiously and insists that she worked hard. She turns to the other Designers and says “Right?” but no one looks her in the eye. LOL.
The Judges send the Designers back to the holding room to have some private time. Matt is let off the hook for his bland work because he had to deal with all of Annoying Family’s crap, but Goil’s dog bed isn’t so lucky. Kelly points out that no dog wants to be on anything that rolls, and I put my dog on my office chair and spin her around to prove Wearstler right. I love her that much. She sticks up for Ryan again and I feel betrayed. Margaret isn’t going to sit quiet this time. She says “Where was the art this week, Kelly? You’re charmed by him, but where’s the art?” Kelly looks down and mutters out a half assed “following orders” defense. Is she sticking up for Ryan because she wants to be consistent or because she really believes he’s got something? If he is spared this week, I’m turning on Wearstler and never coming back. I can be consistent too, Kelly!
The Judges all agree that the Wiggum kid chose the hideous grape curtains, and Margaret said they should have just been left out. Carisa was obviously lazy and didn’t help in the garage at all, but at least she had a point of view. In the end, Ryan is sent packing and I stand and cheer. As he hugs the other Designers and advises them to “fight the power!”, his exit interview rambles on. He’s not surprised that his work isn’t appreciated by the uptight, conservative judges. The two vertical stripes in the garage were way too controversial for them to wrap their minds around. He’s a soicio-political artist, and he doesn’t find anything transcendental in a vase. He’s happy to return to fighting in the trenches like a true creator. If Ryan showed any kind of skill or artistry, this speech would have been very inspiring. But in his final neon Tommy Bahama’s shirt, it’s just very, very sad. See ya later, drecky skater!
The previews for next week are juicy. Carisa calls Michael a bleeping bleep (sounds like f-ing faggot to me) in the White Room and Goil cries and yells at another contestant. I’ll be there.
So what do you think, dear Readers? Did Ryan get the boot too soon? Does Carisa have a pact with the devil? And will the Wiggum kid ever back up his ego with a decent design?
Ronnie Karam has been with TVgasm since 2006 , which has given him the opportunity to make fun of hundreds of TV's most loved and hated reality whores. His plan in life was to be Julia Roberts but that plan was stolen by, well, Julia Roberts. He'll get you one day, JULIA ROBERTS!! When not making himself giggle for the gasm, Ronnie performs improv and sketch comedy at IO West in Hollywood a couple of times weekly while using the lovely California days to audition for commercial roles such as "ADORABLE MEXICAN UNCLE". Seriously. He would like to thank Jesus, Buddha and Xenu for the blessings they've bestowed. The writers here are the best around, and he's honored to be associated with them. Find video archives at CankleTV.com, or follow on Twitter @flipit