Top Designers check in, but they don't check out in a hotel-room challenge this week. Specifically, they have three days to build a boutique hotel suite with one of the Four Elements as their theme. Carisa gets Wind, Andrea gets Earth, Matt gets Water, and Goil gets Fire. Nobody really does a bad room, but nobody really turns in a good one either, so if you're guessing that it comes down to the winner getting the easiest theme and the loser getting the hardest, you are officially one step ahead of Jonathan Adler and his unfortunately dressed design harem.
About the only thing eventful that happened in this episode is the ongoing relationship between the Top Designers and their carpenters. Specifically, after another week of working with Carisa, Carl the Carpenter now sports that same 100-yard stare that Vincent D'Onofrio gets right before he shoots R. Lee Ermey to hell in Full Metal Jacket. Even so, Ed -- Matt's carpenter -- probably has the worse week, when he leaves a large chunk of his thumb on a table saw during the construction phase. No, wait. Scratch that. Carl had the worse week -- thumbs will eventually heal.
In the end, Matt wins the challenge because designing a room around water is ridiculously easy. Goil is sent home because who wants to spend any time in a high-end hotel room that conjures up images of fire? Oh, Goil -- beautiful swan. We will always remember the special brand of frantic crazy you brought to the Top Design proceedings. Whether it was sobbing that the other designers were ignoring you or moaning that you put more of your heart into your design than anyone or jokingly suggesting that you needed your competition one designer at a time, your antics made the show much more interesting, if a wee bit unsettling. We shall think of you every time Carisa screeches a command at Carl.
In Kelly Wearstler news, Kelly has a bitter argument with her hair. The hair wins.
Previously, on Top Carl... er... Top Design: Carisa hates on Carl. The judges hate on Michael. Guess whose opinion mattes more? As Michael is sent home, Andrea wins the challenge and a $2,500 gift certificate to one of Jonathan Adler's stores. But that prize pales next to the treasure trove of trinkets -- magazine profiles! fancy cars! U.S. currency -- awaiting whoever wins the coveted-since-early-February title of Top Design.
Top Designers, roll call! Nixed! Goil! Carisa! Nixed! Nixed! Matt! Andrea! Nixed! Nixed! Nixed! Nixed! Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiixed! You take the good, you take the bad, you take 'em both, and then you have... Top Design.
We open with Matt reposing in the Top Designers' loft and predicting "we're gonna do something weird today." Weird, as in designing three-walled rooms that serve no practical purpose and wind up judged on some ill-defined, ever-changing scale? Or weird, as in building something interesting? Because, at this point, I'm dubious about the latter, and I have seven instances of the former already under my belt, thanks. Nevertheless, Matt and Goil agree that with the contestant pool whittled down to four, the producers of this little competition could come up with something really weird for the remaining participants to do. "Rebuild the [Pacific Design Center]," Goil jokingly suggests. We said "weird," Goil, not "badly needed." In other news, Goil tells us that he feels bad about finishing near the bottom of the pack, and Andrea expresses pride in making the final four but stresses that she's not ready to go home just yet. You may recognize these sentiments as virtually the same ones expressed during the opening segment of last week's show. Now seriously, I understand the later-rinse-repeat nature of most reality programming, but Top Design takes that repetition to a whole new level. It's like I'm reliving the same terrible experience over and over again -- like Groundhog Day only without any laughs. Which I guess would make this that Taye Diggs show from earlier this year.
Hey, here's something different -- instead of heading off to the Pacific Design Center, the Top Designers find themselves at the Viceroy Hotel in beautiful Santa Monica. "City-smart and by the sea," its Web site proclaims, the hotel "fuses classic sophistication and contemporary chic to create a thoroughly modern and uniquely luxurious... beach boutique hotel" that's perfect for your next business trip, vacation, or reality TV show location shot. Before your next trip to Santa Monica, book a room at the Viceroy -- and be sure to make arrangements with your bank for a line of credit so that you can swing the room rate. On the plus side, the Viceroy is designed by Kelly Wearstler, so as a guest, you'd get to see first-hand how Kelly spends her time when she's not loading up on the latest fashions at StripperMart, the one-stop shop for vision impaired exotic dancers. Anyhow back to the show: the Top Designers are met at the Viceroy by Todd and apparently one of the Bangles -- no, not Susanna Hoffs; one of the other Bangles -- after spending far too many years playing biker bars. "We've chosen the Viceroy because it illustrates a very simple fact," Todd says. Write us a check and we'll talk you up on our TV show? "Smart interior design has become the key element to a guest's experience." That, and the contents of the wet bar. And with that, Todd introduces us to the Bangle-gone-to-seed seated to his left -- the design and architecture director for Metropolitan Home magazine, Linda O'Keefe, who will also serve as the superfluous guest judge this week. "Linda O'Keefe," enthuses Andrea. "She's amazing, and she's cool, and I would love to be just like her." You know, I will just have to take your word on that, Andrea.