Top Design
Life's A Beach

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Goil had best tune in for the premiere episode of America's Next Top Cabana Boy, as he professes to not to know exactly what a cabana is. The hottest spot north of Havana, if Barry Manilow is to be believed. But perhaps Matt's voice-over explains things better: "A cabana is a retreat when you're on the beach, and just a place you can get away and have some privacy." So think Superman's Fortress of Solitude, only more tropical and with servants standing around with mojitos. Todd tells the designers that they'll start building their cabanas at the Pacific Design Center, but that they'll complete them tomorrow on the beach. As in past episodes, the Top Designers seem a little bit too surprised by this revelation. Cabanas? Beach? Build? Todd Oldham? What a country! Michael, for one, is cautiously optimistic. Not only does he know what a cabana is, putting him a critical step ahead of Goil, he's actually designed one. So, for those of you checking Michael's resume: painting skills, no; cabana-designing, yes. Yours has been a varied and interesting work history, Michael.

Ah, but there's one last twist -- the cabana must be designed for a child! Raised by an Arquette! No, no... that's not right at all. Instead, it's a team challenge, and team membership is determined by the resort destination postcard contained in the designers' respective prize packages. Team Tahiti features Andrea, Felicia, and master cabana craftsman Michael. Team Miami is comprised of Ryan, Carisa, and the cabana-ignorant Goil. Team St. Tropez brings together Matt, Erik, and Elizabeth -- their thoughts on cabanas are unknown at press time. Todd tells the three teams they'll be judged on originality, ingenuity, and just how well they incorporate the destination on their postcard into their design. Oh, and also some random, arbitrary shit they'll probably unveil at the last second if the first two episodes are any indication. Teams have 30 minutes to sketch, $2,000 to spend on fabric and materials plus another $3,500 to shop at Pier One Imports. (See, Target? Pier One knows how to play ball with Bravo.) While one team wins Top Design honors for the week, the six people not in that group run the risk of being sent home -- except for Erik, who has immunity and can spend the rest of the episode swilling scotch and hassling passersby if he wants. Elizabeth and Matt, his two teammates, are understandably troubled by this realization.

Sketches, ho! Team Tahiti seems to be off on the right foot, by building a structure that's raised off the sand, similar to the huts raised off the water in their postcard. Elizabeth has taken charge of Team Miami, and that's just fine with Matt: "With three people on a team, we all can't be leaders." And with one of those teammates immune from elimination, who better to land in the judges' crosshairs if things should go pear-shaped than the person who led us into ruin -- am I right, Matt? Elizabeth, meanwhile, has decided that the "how well you incorporate the postcard destination into your design" aspect of the judging criteria is for the birds -- she's ditching Miami's Crocket-and-Tubbs pastel color palette in favor of something darker. Hear that, Miami -- you do not like teal and hot pink anymore; from this day forward, you're a black-and-darkish-maroon kind of town. Goil is following up last week's maquette escapade by building something out of pencils, sandals, paper, and drinking glasses. Oh man -- he really doesn't know what a cabana is. Oh, it's just a model? My mistake.

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Top Design

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