Thursday, January 18, 2007

editorial note

Notes on the Bravo Top Design Contestant Biographies

I provide these annotations as a service to the viewers. The Bravo biographies are very sugar-coated. The problem is that if our opinion of the contestants is too idealized then the initial episodes -- when we discover what they are really like -- can sometimes be traumatic. Thus, for the emotional well-being of the fans, I have provided some exegesis of the biographical texts Bravo has posted for the Top Design contestants.

In these glosses, I've raised questions about some improbably assertions. I have queried terminology that seemed vague or odd. And I have tried where possible to translate certain phrases -- red flags and euphemisms -- that might not be caught by the untrained reader.

I am sure that this is only scratching the surface but hopefully it will provide us with a more nuanced view of these personalities before the show starts, preparing us, in some small way, for the lunacy ahead.

ultra fab

Click here to read the note on the purpose of these annotations of Top Design biographies.
Design style: Architectural Ultra Modern
FOR "Ultra" READ "Flaming"

. . . he was handpicked by Robert A.M. Stern
I’ll bet he was.

Goil loves to win.
Unlike other people who enjoy being left in the dirt.

Self-described as “small, spicy and fabulous"
Isn't that nice.

Goil is known to stand his ground and confront his challenger face-to-face when conflicts arise.
Is he a designer or a chow chow?

enough with the punk

Click here to read the note on the purpose of these annotations of Top Design biographies.
Design style: Bull in a china shop
Does he leave a stain on the carpet? Do people actually want a designer who ruins their stuff?

He considers all of his education a blessing because he comes from a small industrial town in Ohio where great opportunities were a luxury. He is extremely appreciative of what he has and is not afraid to do whatever it takes to be successful.
READ: He has a major chip on his shoulder.
I’m reminded of Stephen Colbert’s discussion about being the son of a turd farmer.

He works 24-hours a day
READ: has some sort of manic disorder,

and describes his personal style as “half Henry Rollins, half David Lee Roth, with a sprinkle of Evil Knievel.”
It’s Evol. That is a fairly unhip attempt to sound hip. We're getting into Jeffrey territory (PR3). (Honestly. I forgot Jeffrey’s last name but don’t remind me of it the sooner it is out of my mind the better.) At least Ryan doesn’t dress like he’s in Spinal Tap.
Advice: please for the love of god, get the David Lee Roth part removed. A good podiatrist can take care of that.

Prediction: This one has issues. May be prone to fits of uncontrollable rage. Alert the nearby medical facilities.
Style : modern bold and cultural
bold = forces her style on clients
cultural = I’ve traveled so I'm cultural
Andrea has shared her expertise with the world in several television programs. Married with two boys, she is part Swiss, speaks four languages, and is in the process of learning two more.
How specifically is she in the process of doing this? Will she be bringing her tapes with her? Does she study the languages every other day or does she split her study time each day? This sounds like total bullshit.

Underneath all the proven accomplishments, Andrea is a self-proclaimed punk rocker, and she prefers to live by the fringe and often dyes her hair pink.
Part Swiss AND a punk rocker?! Fuckin’ A.

I hardly have to point out that if you think dying your hair pink makes you punk -- or proves that you live by the fringe -- then you have pretty much proven that you are not.

I already went through this with Jeffrey (PR3) my friends. These people are too young by at least a decade to have been punk when punk was still around. They were barely in school at the time.

There seems to be some confusion between the word "punk" and the word rebellious. Or even just idea of not always being in the mainstream. It's getting so ridiculous that the word has practically lost all meaning.

the babies

Click here to read the note on the purpose of these annotations of Top Design biographies.
michael, 23
Profession: Owner of Michael Adams Interiors. Education: Attended Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.) and Parsons School of Design. Hopes to eventually earn a degree in decorative arts from F.I.T. Michael grew up on a farm in Western Massachusetts before moving to New York City to follow his dream.
Where does a farmboy get the money to attend two private schools and open his own company by age 23?

Michael will tell you, “I'm polite. I'm kind and I'm very understanding. But, push me too far and I will totally burn your house down.”
Call the police honey. We’ve got an arsonist on the premises.

Translation: I’m a total suckup and any conflict is always someone else’s fault.

This brat needs a good spanking before he is booted off this show as quickly as possible.

carisa, 26
Design style: Clean and modern
Does anyone have a style that is messy?

Carisa attended a special design magnet high school where she studied design for three years as well as fine arts.
READ: Not sure when the Civil War happened.

chi town boys

If we are lucky we will get to hear some great midwestern twangs. I'm especially hoping that Matt the Minnesotan and John the Chicagoan will come through for us on this.
Click here to read the note on the purpose of these annotations of Top Design biographies.
Design style: Casual elegance
Snore. Someday I want someone to say that their style is Formal Crudeness

Without even a high school diploma,
READ: Not sure what Civil War was.

A big personality ... there's never a dull moment when he's around
READ: total drama queen

... compares himself to George Michael
READ: has been arrested for having sex in public places.
Hometown: Comfrey, Minnesota, currently resides in Chicago
Married at 22.
Those Minnesotans. They get to work early on everything.

Design style: Current contemporary that's livable
As opposed to – outdated contemporary that’s uninhabitable?

Matt says his biggest accomplishment is the playhouse he spent three years building for his daughter.
That’s a cause for concern.
Hometown: South Bend, Indiana, currently resides in Chicago. Education: Briefly attended Indiana State University and studied design at Ball State University.
Erik gets points for going to the university with the gayest name ever.*

Design style: Creatively client-focused
Whatever. All designers do this don't they?

Erik says, “a true designer is always looking at things to put their stamp on.”
He was the one who drew the mustache on Wendy’s picture of her daughter.

*More fun facts about Ball:
  • Ball State was endowed by the company that makes the glass canning jars. (I use the Ball jars every year when I make preserves. I like the ordinary Ball jars with the old logo on it. I don't like the newer ones with all the cutesy fruit and quilt designs.)
  • David Letterman went to Ball State.
  • Ball State is in Muncie Indiana which has been used by sociologists as a representative of the most normal, average place in America. It’s the Peoria of Indiana. Just think about that for a moment. It's kind of a Midwestern koan.

la women

Click here to read the note on the purpose of these annotations of Top Design biographies.
Felicia grew up as part of a very spiritual family in Los Angeles.
What does this mean? They were Holy Rollers?

A self-proclaimed health nut, Felicia has completed 15 marathons and now does triathlons.
READ: high-strung

She says: “I approach design like a marathon. I don’t stop until the end.”
Prediction: Will annoy others with her exercise and diet routine

… has a master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology [READ: New Age hoo-ha] from University of Santa Monica

Design style: Creative and eclectic
This pretty much includes everything so it is basically meaningless.

Elizabeth realized she wanted to be an interior designer when Prince gave her money to design the after parties for his Purple Rain tour.
Okay. That is actually pretty cool.
Lisa owns her own firm called Interior Obsession in Beverly Hills, California, where she says she works all day and all night.
What is it with these people? Don’t they realize that insomnia is a sign of a severe psychological problem? Obsessive Compulsive Disorder comes to mind.

Casting note: Lisa looks like she might be a reasonable and sociable person with her own unique personality. But reality tv show producers have an appalling attachment to casting and/or editing stereotypes. And once again we have the token black woman. God forbid there should ever be two. So according to the script she should be a bitch because for too long the man has kept her down and it improves the ratings.
Design style: Historical and progressive
Does that mean that her design style is from the progressive era in history?

Heather is extremely passionate about design as a whole and chose interior design due to its ability to affect thousands of people, whereas a couture dress only has the ability to affect one.
READ: Blow it out your ass Project Runway.

two terms

...continuing under the topic of how everything would be ever so much better if I were in charge...

Here are two terms that I really hope I don't hear on Top Design:

1. window treatments
What kind of treatments do windows need other than washing? Moisturizing? What do these treatments entail? Are they for a serious condition? This phrase annoys me. It is completely unnecessary. What is wrong with curtains? drapes? shades? The first person to use this term should be automatically kicked off the show. Via defenestration.

2. embellishments
The way that this word is put into practice among crafters "to embellish" actually means "to festoon." Embellishments are small bright objects that are especially appealing to obese women with bad perms who use the words "scrapbook" and "journal" as verbs. If someone is using a hot glue gun then there is a good chance that they are embellishing. If someone is embellishing an item, this is a good indication that their creation has reached the point of no return. They should discard it and start over. But first they have to write "less is more" on the chalkboard one hundred times.