Todd pops in to tell the Top Designers that time keeps on slipping, slipping into the future. And so we see a flurry of activity, most of which involves Ryan painting his not-a-room-but-an-art-project. "You got this one in the bag, my friend," Erik tells Ryan. "I'm scared of success," Ryan mock sobs. One of these guys is horribly wrong. (Hint: It's Erik.) And you know what else is horribly wrong? Michael's room. It's not the color that's wrong, though I could see where some people might object to the purple-and-yellow look he has going; rather, it's the partridges that have been painted onto the wall. Unless you're designing a room for Reuben Kincaid, painted partridges seem like they'd crack the Top 25 in the Big Book of Bad Design Ideas (with a forward from Kelly Wearstler's wardrobe advisor). As Todd gives us the countdown, we watch Goil frantically pushing a mattress into the hole he's carved in his floorboard, Andrea sweeping up her room, and Carisa talking about how close she is to freaking out. I guess that clip of Carisa could have come from any point during this challenge, really. Anyhow, time's up -- everyone, go spruce yourself up so that the judges aren't sickened by your grime.
Commercial break: You know that GM Acadia ad where the different car parts fly magically across the L.A. skyline to a dreamy cover version of "I Melt With You" only to assemble into the bland pleasantness that is the new Acadia in this wide open area with a gorgeous view of downtown Los Angeles? It's taken me several viewings, but I finally realized that this is taking place in the Dodger Stadium parking lot. I was thrown by the lack of bumper-to-bumper traffic and blinding sea of taillights.
When we return to the White Room, the Top Designers are line up and listening to Todd's recap of the past 20 minutes -- design a live-work space, spend $1,200, hit garage sales, yadda, yadda, yadda. It seems to me that if Top Design were to ditch the interminable refreshers as to what just happened, we'd have a lot of extra time on our hands for things like judging. Speaking of which, let's meet the judges. You know them, you love them, you're baffled by their decisions -- Jonathan, Kelly (who apparently experimented with a fork and an electric socket seconds before the camera rolled) and Margaret. Oh, and this week's mystery judge is Joe Stewart, which is terrific because I think he's great on The Daily Show. Huh? Joe? Really? Well that's another matter entirely -- this Joe is a set decorator whose work has appeared on a lot of shows we don't recap around here ["One of which was Friends, which I believe completely disqualifies him from being able to judge anything about a twelve-by-twelve space, since the only space that small on that show was Phoebe's cab." -- Joe R] Oh, and he also designed the White Room at the Pacific Design Center. Which, save for the judges' stools, is completely barren. So that must have been an exciting 90 seconds for him.