Team Tahiti exults in its win -- "We get to go to the Viceroy and have a girl's weekend, all three of us," Andrea says of herself, Felicia, and, curiously, Michael -- and Jonathan turns to the unhappy task of crushing someone's hopes and dreams. Well, unhappy for the crushee anyway -- Jonathan seems like he's in a pretty good place with it. Erik is reminded for what seems like the 63rd time this episode that he's immune from elimination; the remaining five are left to squirm during the commercial break.
If the contestants find that unbearable, at least they don't have to sit through the AARP ad in which small children harangue me about not hanging the Greatest Generation out to dry over Social Security.
When we return, Erik is directed to go stand with Team Tahiti in the Lives To Fight Another Day line. Goil is told he can stay as well; it is very clear from the way the judges spared Goil from any of the invective poured upon Team St. Tropez, that they think he's just the bee's knees. Carisa is the next to be told she can stay -- guess teamwork wasn't that much of a consideration. For those of you scoring at home, that leaves Elizabeth, Matt and Ryan on the chopping block. Jonathan asks the three of them to step forward so that they're 18 feet away from the judges instead of the customary 20. Jonathan reminds Ryan that he could have tweaked the furniture to fit the spirit of the cabana but didn't: "We expected more from you." Elizabeth is told her cabana was the least successful, presumably because it was functional and didn't promote the spread of melanoma. Matt gets a scolding for disappearing in the challenge and not making his voice heard if he disagreed with the choices his teammates made. However, Matt can stay. Jonathan turns his attention to Elizabeth: "Goodbye," he says, sparing Ryan from elimination. You see what Jonathan did there -- he zigged when you thought he was going to zag. You expected a fastball so he threw you a curve. You gotta love how Jonathan Adler is always keeping you on your toes.
Well, Elizabeth doesn't love it -- not one little bit. "I think we successfully achieved a good, solid design," she says in a post-elimination interview. "That last comment was bullshit. Quite honestly, the color wasn't the worst color. It just wasn't." Even the comforting words of Todd Oldham, who credits Elizabeth for giving it her all, cannot diffuse her obvious irritation: "I appreciate the opportunity. I just wish I didn't go out with 'ugly colors.' Fuck. What a statement." I can understand her frustration -- not about the colors, which were not very pleasant to look at, but about the judges' decision process. Let's set aside the fact that they awarded the top prize to a beach shelter that offered no shelter. Let's also take them at their word that Goil's structure was innovative (it was) or that Carisa should have been allowed to stick around (mmmm... not really). That leaves us with Ryan, the guy who didn't alter his furniture to fit the design and who squabbled with one of his teammates; Matt, the guy who sat back and let everyone else make the risky design choices; and Elizabeth, who, while making an unfortunate decision about color, at least took the lead. I can't help but feel she's getting eliminated for asserting herself, while someone like Matt is being reward for passivity. The lesson, I think, is as true today as when Homer Simpson first articulated it: never ever try.