And so begins our garage sale montage, with pairs of Top Designers trying to navigate the streets of Los Angeles in search of furnishing goodness. As someone who navigated many of those streets during a multi-year hitch in L.A., I can say that the only thing less interesting than driving on them is watching other people driving on them. And the only thing less interesting than that is to hear Carisa's socio-economic commentary on the locals: "This is a lovely neighborhood," she says, in that eye-rolling "I really mean the opposite of what I'm saying" way that's so hip with people these days. "We're going to find three dirty mattresses and a ping-pong table." So whatever happened to using using interior design to "Alter the life and the environment of people who don't have the financial means to alter their own environments?" Does that only apply to people without financial means who live in nice neighborhoods? Or were you just feeding us bullshit? Goil and Felicia are the first to arrive at a garage sale, and Goil uses his "Goil-as-in-gargoyle" shtick to introduce himself to the proprietress -- she doubles over laughing, even as Goil tries to get down to business. Maybe she does laff-track work in her spare time. Soon other designers are on the scene, grabbing as many consoles and 70s-era chairs as their arms can carry. Michael expresses confidence in his own purchases, and, because this is Michael we're talking about, dismisses the selections of others -- in this case, Carisa: "Carisa's pieces are kind of clichÃ©d. The white plastic chairs with the orange upholstery -- there's nothing truly unique or high-end about it." Which might be a more scathing critique were they not confined to shopping among other people's leavings.
Erik seems to be getting into the spirit of things, haggling over the cost of a chair and table: "I don't know many designers that start out with their million-dollar budget or their high-end budget, so you have to be creative from the very beginning... you have to work with what you got." Goil and Felicia have moved on to another yard sale -- it's worth noting that this time around, Goil doesn't introduce himself, lest the Goil-as-in-Gargoyle line reduce yet another unsuspecting garage sale operator in a puddle of laughter. Felicia, meanwhile, is having a hard time with both the $500 spending limit and the hand-me-down selection -- "This challenge is a little different from what I'm used to," she concedes. Maybe unfamiliarity explains some of her selections, like the bolt of neck tie fabric she's enthusing over; the fabric in question looks like it could be made into neck ties you'd give to a father that you had a complicated relationship with. Felicia's so rattled by the prospect of grabbing furnishings at a yard sale that she doesn't even laugh when Goil dons a skirt and dances a little jig. And if you can't laugh at Goil dancing a jig, there is no hope for you in this world. We get our first sighting of Matt and Andrea -- he's picked up an outdoor dining set for its clean, straight lines, and she's grabbed a leather suitcase that she plans to stick on a wall and some old doors that will be turned into tables. Pretty sure that's not the intended use for any of those items, but okay. And then there is Ryan -- poor, dumb, irritating Ryan: "I basically found a bunch of junk at the garage sales -- upscale junk. I have to alter all of it, and make it my own thing." So you're going to find a way to make the junk annoying and off-putting, then? Because I'd certainly recognize that as your unique stamp. With just 20 minutes left to shop, Goil says he grabbed chairs and a chandelier and "things I can alter." Felicia, meanwhile, has talked a gentleman into parting with his grandmother's afghan for $25. Not to jump ahead or anything, but this is going to be looked back upon as the Top Design equivalent of purchasing a cursed monkey's paw from a Turkish street bazaar -- it probably seemed like a hell of a good idea at the time.