Top Design
Life's A Beach

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Color Me Bad

While Carisa cuts off her nose to spite all of our faces, Felicia, Ryan, and Erik are going to town at the local Pier One. Felicia espouses a less-is-more philosophy for this challenge, as in "less tchotchkes, more implements for drinking." As we're treated to shots of Erik taking more of a more-is-more approach, he confesses that he's "always up for spending money, so I was excited to go do it" -- an attitude that will serve him well when someone else is writing the checks. Ryan, meanwhile, is equipping his cabana with lots of pillows, a couch and chair set, a mirror, and "a city of candles" that are sure to come in handy on all those cold, wintry, wind-free days at the beach. Yeah, I'm aware that it's a bad plan, too.

Things are pretty uneventful at the unknown hardware store whose stock ticker symbol is HD -- there are only so many ways you can show people grabbing for lumber, after all. So this gives us an opportunity to peer into the very deep thoughts of Goil, who thinks there are a few too many chefs poised to spoil this particular pot. "I like working in individual challenges a lot more," he confesses. "In a team, it's hit or miss with me." Nobody tells Goil Amornvivat where he can and can't put a pepper. Nobody.

Back at the Pacific Design Center, the fabric shoppers are awaiting the return of their teammates and discussing the hot issues of the day. Today's topic: Ryan is a jerk for going to Pier One instead of me. Our keynote speaker is Carisa who just will... not... let... this... go. "I tried to stop [Ryan]," she tells Michael and Matt. "And I didn't want to be an asshole." Well, you're doing a bang-up job of it, carping at the guy behind his back. "Ryan's a little on the fringe," Carisa voice-overs. "And maybe he doesn't have a really great understanding of how to really put a room together and make it harmonious and beautiful." Yeah, I don't see how anyone would come away with the impression that you're an asshole after this. Asshole.

If you were harboring any doubt that Ryan and Carisa will be participating in this week's John-and-Michael-esque throwdown, chase those thoughts away. Because Ryan doesn't even time to shake the Pier One dust off his feat before Carisa jumps on him about his choice in pillows -- too loud, she says, while he looks like he's choking down the urge to put one of those pillows to good use. "We've chosen these colors that look like the flag of France," Carisa voice-overs, "and he just missed it." Well, the French don't seem like the type to hold a grudge over something so picayune as aesthetics. Ryan doesn't think the pillows he selected are "too painfully." "It's not horribly painful," Carisa concedes in what can only be a called a pained tone of voice. And that inspires Ryan to defend his artistic vision in the only way he knows how -- forcefully and with no thought of persuasion. "I don't want to make it like grandma's living room," he says, suggesting that Carisa most certainly does. Carisa points out that St. Tropez is classy. "There's topless women in motor boats, man," Ryan counters. Yeah, but classy topless women. Like in those magazines that have articles on setting up your own hi-fi system interspersed between the nudie spreads. Ryan thinks Carisa's being a little too conservative and points to her last two designs as proof. Helpfully, the Top Design producers include a cut-away to last week's Jungle Room of Serious Injury to put the lie to that assertion. "You think my last room was conservative?" Carisa asks some what rhetorically. "Compared to my sensibility, yes," replies Ryan, unclear on the concept of rhetorical questions. Carisa responds with an eye roll; that just encourages Ryan to keep on digging. "Think about my rooms," he says. "They're like 'bwrowl!'" in which the 'bwrowl' is supposed to sound like the opening lick of an early ‘80s Van Halen tune, though to me, it sounds more like a chicken being slowly murdered. "And your rooms are like... " Ryan pauses here because he can't summon up the appropriate sound effect to convey "dull as dishwater." Carisa tries to interject that she's a conservative designer, prompting Ryan to ask her if he can complete his thought before she interrupts him -- this always smoothes things over in heated debates, I find. And by "always," of course I mean "never." Goil can't get back from the hardware store to subdue these two with a couple of well-placed whaps from a two-by-four fast enough.

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