Okay, so Matt won. Can I go now?
No? Well, thenâ¦
The final challenge awaiting Matt and Carisa is to design a loft in downtown Los Angeles. So we're freed from the tyranny of three-walled rooms in the Pacific Design Center for this last go-round at least. That's something.
Matt and Carisa's mystery clients? Why, themselves. They have a budget of $162,500 and two months to plan out a loft of their very own. If you are wondering how a six-figure budget and ample prep time represents a "challenge" -- at least one that's not preceded by the phrase "not very much of a" -- join the club. Perhaps the challenge was to sit through such a meandering, anti-climactic finale. Oh, there's the usual "drama" -- Carisa's crew has to lug all her stuff up six flights of stairs and her black floor gets a little scuffed up, and Matt frets that the tile in his kitchen isn't going to get installed in time even though it does. Pretty standard stuff. Even the usual Carl-Carisa bickering has lost a little of its usual zing.
So both spaces turn out to look pretty much okay. Me, I preferred Matt's room, but maybe you found Carisa's space more to your liking -- we both could probably rattle off compelling reasons for our choices. And indeed, the normally acid-tongued judges seem to be generally pleased with both finished products. Carisa is lauded for turning in a "fun, stylish, and bold" design while Matt is heralded, as always, for his chic aesthetic. It comes down, Jonathan Adler explains, to Carisa's "exuberance and life" and Matt's "order and serenity." And order and serenity take home the prize becauseâ¦well, nobody ever explains why Matt won. Which is fitting, when you think about it. After all, when you've gotten nearly every other detail about your floundering reality show wrong, why not go with a finale where the rationale for picking the winning is never actually articulated. Way to be consistent, Top Design. At least you had that going for you.
So Matt wins the treasure trove of prizes, Matt's carpenter Ed gets a $10,000 bonus thrown his way courtesy of one of the sponsors, Carisa takes comfort in the fact that she's the best darn Carisa that she can be, and Carl realizes that even if he doesn't get the $10,000 carpenter bonus, at least he need not fear the torments of the grave after this experience. And me, I get to never, ever talk about Top Design again.
Now if someone from Bravo would kindly loosen my leg irons, I'll be on my way.
Previously on Top Design Without Pity: Well, we get a three-minute recap of the entire season. So wait then -- what the hell have I been doing the last nine episodes? Anyhow, people come and go. Things are designed. Judgments are rendered. Everyone -- you, me, the contestants, Bravo -- realizes that we've made a terrible mistake. And for what? Frippery. Trifles. Vanities. Or, to put it another way, an Elle DÃ©cor spread and Dining by Design invitation, a GMC Acadia, and $100,000. And now the faces I've wronged are floating up before me: Lisa! Goil! Carisa! Ryan! Felicia! Matt! Andrea! John! Elizabeth! Michael! Erik! Heaaaaaaaaaather! If saying cruel things about you in the course of recapping your forgettable antics is a crime, then declare me guilty.
Anyhow, enough existential angst -- we've got a Top Design winner to crown. "Going into the finals," Matt voice-overs as he dresses for the last challenge, "I don't know what to expect." This is the most laughable statement I've heard in Top Design's inglorious history. If there's one thing about this show we should realize by now, it's that it doesn't throw you too many curve balls: 1) There will be a challenge, probably with some twist. 2) The contestants will freak out about the challenge. 3) The contestants will go shopping, freaking out about their limited budget and/or selection. 4) The contestants will build stuff, leading to more freak-outs, arguments with carpenters, and optional maimings. 5) The judges will say things that may or may not reflect upon their final decision. 6) Someone will win. It's like the five stages of grief, only every stage is anger. Matt vows to face down all the challenges that are thrown at him; now why didn't the 10 Top Designers eliminated thus far think of that approach? Carisa is just happy to be in the finals, mostly because it allowed her to learn things about herself. The big discovery? She's pretty darn terrific -- just ask her: "I knew that I had talent, and I knew that I had an aesthetic sensibility. I've just become more aware of the fact that I can actually do these things." Or have Carl do them while you yell at him about it -- either way.
With the smile of a man who knows that he'll soon be free, Todd Oldham breezes into the Top Designers studio at the Pacific Design Center to lay out the terms of this final challenge -- they'll be designing 1,700-square-foot lofts located in downtown Los Angeles. Yes, the Top Designers are finally getting sprung to design real four-walled rooms in a real building that isn't the Pacific Design Center. Hooray! For the first time, we're finally moving out of the realm of impractical theory and into the rough-and-tumble world of impractical practice. And this time, instead of designing the space in a couple of days or an hour or two or while Todd is off getting himself a cup of coffee, the remaining Top Designers will have two whole months to come up with a working plan and then five days to implement it. Two months, huh? This recap is going to command some serious overtime dollars; I only hope I remember to pad out my TiVo recording. Matt and Carisa will get $12,500 for materials and $150,000 to play-spend on PDC furnishings for a total budget of $162,500. Um... Bravo? So long as we're tossing around a bankroll of that size like it's parking-meter money, I'd like to just mention that your humble recapper wouldn't mind getting his hands on that kind of filthy lucre. For that level of scratch, I'd even pretend to like your roster of shows. "This week's Workout sure made me feel the burn... OF ENTERTAINMENT!" You think about it now. $162,500 is a small price to pay for witticisms like that.