Before Ryan can be dragged off to the re-education camp, Goil is hustled in to show off his design, with the stage that slides through one of the walls to the outside. "So that your neighbor can see you put on a play," Goil says. I bet that's very high on the neighbor's list of ways to pass the time -- "Look, Myrtle. The Bell family is doing a staging of Peer Gynt over by their garage. Grab a pitcher of iced tea, and we'll watch the first couple acts." Erik's plan involves curtains that can be pulled across the width of the garage to create a stage area when the car is elsewhere. And when the car is in there? I guess the kids can put on a production of Grease, with young Avery cast as Kenickie. Matt's presentation is so uneventful that the editors devote all of eight seconds, four of which deal with his plans for the loft. And then there's Michael whose presentation about using sliding panels to obscure the loft and incorporating a yellow-blue-red color palette is so elaborate that Todd has to warn him he's running out of time. And that forces Michael to rattle off plans for a pinboard desk, chairs for the kids, indoor/outdoor carpet, and rollout bench in a voice that makes him sound like the fast-talking guy from the old FedEx commercials. It's not Ma-Bell-staring-daggers-at-Ryan funny, but it's still amusing.
Time for the Bells to review the scale-model recreations of their garage. Pa Bell likes the openness, but isn't so keen on having the stage as a permanent fixture in the garage: "While the girls are really into it now, they may not be four or five years from now." If that happens, you can go on another reality show, one that undoes all the horrible things done to you on your initial reality appearance. We can call it Repair-ations or some such thing. And yes, seconds after typing that sentence, I filed for a copyright. We'll make a mint on undoing the Trading Spaces abominations alone. Hmmm? The Bell's opinions on the other designs? Do you really care? Oh, all right. The children really like Carisa's design; the adults not so much, and the casters are to blame. And Ryan's design? "He told us we had to get rid of a lot of our stuff," Pa Bell says. "It's not something that I would choose, frankly. In fact, I'm going to go out and buy more stuff, just to show him what's what." While that last sentence wasn't actually uttered, I have no problem believing that it was precisely what happened after filming wrapped for the day. Matt's model receives as little attention from the Bells as it did previously from the editors. The kids like the colors Erik picked for them; the parents note that of all the designs, it devotes the most area to the stage -- this does not seem to please them. Goil's sliding stage of wonderment wins raves, but his plan to get rid of the loft makes Ma Bell's face go wrinkly with disapproval, almost as if the same goons she's planning on hiring to rough up Ryan will give Goil a going-over for his temerity. Michael's design seems to have won over the crowd, from the layout to the color choices; but Ma Bell points out that Andrea's proposal offers more flexibility in terms of storage space. At least after the Bell family deliberations, I've got a pretty good idea on which direction they're leaning -- the signs and portents point to Andrea, with Michael or maybe Erik sneaking in upon further review -- which is more than I can say for the regular judges on this show. That a group of rank amateurs can be brought in off the street and reach a decision with greater clarity than the expert panel charged with doing this on a regular basis says something about the kind of production the Top Design folks have put together -- and it's not something I expect them to be putting on their resumes.