It's time for Todd's weekly check-in, or as it's known around here, The Time When Todd Stops Reading Off Cue Cards And Actually Interacts With Others Like A Human Being. Weekly check-in is probably pithier. And for those of you who are used to seeing positive, encouraging Todd whenever he visits with the Top Designers, you're in for a shock during his Team Miami stopover -- he does not like what they're doing with the colors, not one little bit. "My only wonder," Todd says, before a pause so pregnant you could produce triplets, "is if the judges will... understand... ." "How we incorporated Miami?" Elizabeth asks, completing the thought. "The colors just aren't Miami," Todd agrees. He encourages Team Miami to think extra long and hard about their color scheme. Whereas you or I might take this as a sign to call an audible -- after all, if Todd Oldham can't be bothered to say anything nice about your color choice, what chance do you have of winning over the Snippy Amigos who judge on this show? -- Team Miami decides to stick to its oddly colored guns. "Your first idea is usually your best idea," Erik reasons. Or the idea that dooms you to a life-time of recriminations and second-guessing. At Team Tahiti, Michael is making a homemade mattress. What -- to sleep on while everyone else does all the work? That was my first thought, too, but, as it turns out, this is part of the design plan. Todd is impressed and offers Michael a pointer on running a few basting stitches through the mattress to make for an easier fit with the slip cover -- if NBC's One To Grow On" campaign included public service announcements about sewing techniques, this is the sort of handy advice you would expect. Over in the stew of palace intrigue that is Team St. Tropez, Ryan, Carisa, and Goil tell Todd that everything's going great. This seems like a fib. They also confess to knowing as much about St. Tropez as Goil does about cabanas -- think mad money, Todd advises. And this sets Carisa off on another fit of Ryan-fueled second-guessing: "I'm worried that [our design] needs to be St. Tropez, it needs to be elegant, chic, and it's one of the richest places on earth. We need to be true to that and true to ourselves as well." Elegant and chic are going to be a bit of a stretch.
We follow up one of my favorite staples of the Top Design format -- Todd Time -- with one of my least favorite recurring bits -- the Out-of-Nowhere Rule Twist. This time around, the Top Designers are told they can alter any piece of their Pier One furniture to fit the beach locale -- that's fair enough. Less cool is the new surprise time constraint -- they have to finish their cabana by midnight, a scant four hours, and 50 minutes away. Not only do the cabanas have to be 100-percent completed, they must also be 100-percent disassembled so that they can be moved to the beach. Oh, and speaking of the beach, since there's no electricity there, the designers and their appointed carpenters will have to re-assemble everything with hand tools or battery-powered devices. Now, do all of that will standing on one leg. While whistling a Richard Rodgers tune. And none of that Rodgers and Hammerstein stuff, either -- I want Rodgers and Hart. But nothing from Babes in Arms. Are those enough wacky conditions for you? Good.