Top Design
Garage Band

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Instant Car-ma's Gonna Get You

"This week's challenge was about functional design," Jonathan begins. "And we saw a bit of that. But we saw some dysfunction, too." See what he did there? He took that nice thing he said and turned around and made it mean by using the opposite word. That is why Jonathan Adler gets to sit on a stool doling out these witticisms and the rest of us have to sit here and take it. The first thing the judges want to do is talk to Andrea privately about each Top Designer's individual contributions to the project -- there's this wonderful shot of Carisa giving a "Huh? Uh oh!" reaction edited in there -- and by "privately," they mean in front of the cameras while the other designers wait, squirming, outside the White Room. Jonathan wants to know how Andrea feels about the design and execution of the room: pretty all right, she says, "but it could have been pushed maybe another 20 percent."

Kelly wants to know what the Bells thought: if their "wows" in the flashback of them walking through the garage with Jonathan were anything to go by, they seem more pleased with it than Andrea turned out to be. The kids love the impractical swing in the middle of the garage; the parents are more impressed by the storage space. The shed does not debut to those kind of rave reviews; "I'm seeing it for the first time, and because I don't really have a designated workspace, it's probably sort of better than nothing at all." I don't know about backhanded compliments but that sounded a whole lot more tepid than "wow." Ah, but let's get the opinion of the most important member of the Bell Family -- the all-new GMC Acadia ("The Acadia: We didn't start invading countries just so you people could start conserving fuel all of a sudden!") Pa Bell is able to drive the Acadia into the garage without any mishap -- "The Acadia: Now entirely parkable!" -- which produces a round of applause from the rest of the Bells and Jonathan. They must go crazy when someone successfully parallel-parks.

Back to the White Room, where Jonathan wants to know about the big blank wall in the back of the garage. Inexplicably, Andrea starts talking about how Matt was in charge of the organizing, and Carisa was supposed to do the styling but worked more on the office. I guess, in an indirect sort of way, she's suggesting that Carisa shirked her styling duties to devote her energies to the greatest workspace-that-used-to-be-a-shed in all of recorded history, but it seems like a round-about way to get to the point, especially when she says that Ryan was charged with doing painting and graphics. Kelly was very surprised that Ryan didn't do something more exciting with the walls, given his constant protestations about what a shit-hot artist he is -- she might have put it more diplomatically than I just did. Andrea said they wanted to do more graphics, but only got the wheel tracks painted onto the floor. So what was Ryan doing, Jonathan wants to know; a whole lot of nothing, Andrea implies. "Ryan was really rushing around," she says, "but he's a bit scattered." Ryan couldn't be more doomed right now if he changed his name to "Titanic," but the judges decide to continue the charade that there's still hope for him. Margaret asks if the dog bed could have been less fancy requiring fewer resources; Andrea fingers Goil as the culprit and concedes Margaret's point. The "Throw Your Fellow Contestants Under the Bus" fun continues when talk turns to the color palette -- the kids suggested it, Andrea says, but Michael chose the actual colors. That's going to be quite a surprise to him. Andrea is asked her thoughts on Erik: quiet, focused, worked well, she replies. And the slacker? Andrea does not hesitate to name Carisa, "because she isolated herself in the other room. If she would have been in the main room just doing those two walls and putting things up, there would have been a huge difference." Alternatively, the person in charge of the project could have put her foot down when asked to incorporate the shed, but that goes unsaid. Instead, Kelly wants to know if Andrea raised her voice to bring Carisa in line; Andrea did not. "Did you hit her?" Kelly asks, and everyone has a good chuckle at the thought of someone getting slapped around over a reality TV show contest. And here's where I have to call shenanigans on Top Design: If you remember last week's promo for this episode, it featured the clip of Kelly asking about the hitting, followed by a shot of Matt and Carisa staring angrily at one another. The implication you were left with was that Matt had beaten her with a sock stuffed with oranges or some such outrage, when in fact, nothing of the sort ever came close to taking place. Even for the truth-challenged realm of television promos -- which can make carnival barkers seem like fonts of honesty and plain-speaking -- that was pretty sleazy.

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Top Design

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