Saturday, March 10, 2007

purple haze

Regarding the purple curtain situation, as I've said earlier, in this episode the judge' biases and blind spots are starting to get more and more blatant.

It was ridiculous the way the judges got so breathless over Erik's little curtain: "It was so
fresh!!!! Like they'd never seen a cream and black roman shade before.

Furthermore, the girls liked the curtains. Those customers were far more satisfied than
Goil's customer (i.e., the dog). In this case the judges should have just left Michael alone: the curtains were beautiful, useful and functional; he did what the leader asked him to do; and he provided what the client wanted. Instead the judges (as discussed in a previous post) should have made Goil stand up there and defend his doggy wagon.

Then there is the matter of accusing Michael of spending too much time working on the curtains. Those curtains were a lot of work and they were the most aesthetically important part of the garage especially since Ryan didn't create any art. There was even a rumor spread -- by the judges! -- that Michael may have focused so much on this task because he was flirting with the tailor. So does that mean that Goil had a crush on the dog?

For the record: Michael's appearance on Watch What Happens and subsequent postings on Pink Navy (utterly delicious!) put this matter to rest.

I'm wondering if the judges have some sort of allergy to aubergine. Have they ever liked any one's use of that color? Or do they just associate that color with Michael and because they have it in for Michael they don't like the color?

Michael's color choice may be based on criteria other than the one that the judges accuse him of (i.e., that he just likes every shade of grape that he's ever seen). Honestly, could they BE any more condescending? Why don't they just make him wear a helmet and call him a REtard while they are at it? In fact, there may be a reason that demonstrates Michael's professional skills.

Maybe Michael picked that color because it was the color Mr. Bell was wearing earlier in the day? Consciously or not -- an astute designer would register those kinds of things.

I'm sure that if Matt had made the curtains would they have lavished praise on him as having a
keen sensitivity towards clients and color (See: why matt can do no wrong).

NOTE: I have noted in an earlier post "accentuate the positive" that Jonathan Adler's blog was less snarky this week but when it comes to Michael: it is still sour grapes.

The final problem has to do Andrea's leadership, and in some ways, her integrity (although that is not a reality tv show value where the idea is to do what ever it takes to win). Here's the deal: Elizabeth had to take the hit for colors that weren't entirely her choice. And she got kicked off for this. (Although that was probably a trumped up charge just to get rid of the boring decrepit old lady in her forties. Yeah. Speaking of purple: someone who threw parties for Prince's Purple Rain tour couldn't possibly be very cool or hip or interesting.) But I digress.

In this situation Andrea had immunity. It was really quite small of her not to take responsibility for the color choice. She had to know that blaming Michael for that shade of purple -- which was not entirely his fault after all [added 03/12: see the quiet one for evidence] -- could have gotten him kicked off the show that night.

NOTE: Yes, I've been defending the boy a lot lately (although I was not an immediate fan). Lest anyone think I'm in danger of sounding like one of Michael's minions, let me be clear: I'm nobody's minion. (He can be mine, however: mainly shades, banshees, that sort of thing. It's better than cleaning out garages -- or picking up after the the hell-hounds of hades -- but unless you get an Elysian appointment it isn't very glamourous work. Of course I'd find a good place for him in the organization. Hell needs a lot of redecorating.)

Friday, March 09, 2007

why matt can do no wrong

There is something in that far off look in his eyes . . .

He reminds me of someone . . .

An old boyfriend?

Let me think.

Blond hair, blue eyes, light emanating from around his head . . .

Oh, now I remember:

Head of Christ, Warner Sallman, 1941
(for more information click on the painting)

There 's just something about a man with a trim beard and a beatific glow . . .

accentuate the positive

Since I was harshing on Jonathan Adler last week I want to point out that I liked his blog this week (Jonathan Adler's Blog). In fact I actually thought parts of it were very funny. He seems to have toned down the snarkiness and so his comments come across as more fair and less mean-spirited. He sounded less condescending (and didn't do as much of that faux folksy talk either).

Television has a funny way of manipulating images. It has occurred to me that -- given that JA is considered to be a genuinely likable person -- it probably never occurred to him that television audiences would actually find some of the contestants even more appeal ling. Furthermore, his treatment of some of them combined with his own apparent high self regard would then make him one of the more unpopular figures on the show. Of course this is not just about his own manner not hitting the right note but about the way he is being edited. Nonetheless, this must put him in a rather unfamiliar position and I doubt it is what he intended.

Anyway, there are two parts of his blog this week that I really like:

1. He has a very funny paranoid riff on hantavirus in garages (here, and here).

2. His take on Ryan is not only spot-on but totally hilarious.
I’ll start with the positives. He is a …… He is a …….. (thinking…..) He is a person who considers himself an artist. (Read the full ryan section here.)
Every time I read that line it makes me laugh.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

in goil's perfect world ...

... everyone would live in white boxes with wheels on them


I like Goil. How can you not?

But this one-note of his is really getting old. We are halfway through the show and I'm still seeing white boxes. I don't think he is a decorator/designer. He's an architect. He's talented and bright and has a strong visual sensibility. But I'm starting to think he just doesn't have the skills -- perhaps not even the interests -- it takes to do interior design. I want to see him stay on the show because he's a delight to watch. If he won -- that would be great -- but he should go into business with a good decorator.

The judges biases and blind spots are starting to get more and more blatant. This works to Goil's favor as they never seem to find much fault and when they do it doesn't really count much against him. For example, there is the matter of the rolling dog bed that Goil spent most of his time working on in this past challenge.

I'd like to point out that dogs don't want to be on wheels (unless it is in a car with their nose out the window): they want to chase after wheels. Now don't write me and tell me that you have a toy dog that your kid dresses up and pushes around in a doll stroller all day. I'm not talking about those pocket pet dogs that you can put in your purses and carry around: they were bred as "toys" so they don't count.

Dogs are den animals. They like places that are like dens: covered, private, safe spaces of their own where they can retreat without the threat of being rolled out and attacked by predators such as little girls who will dress them up in outfits and make them play the unicorn in their fairy princess plays, or little pirate boys who will careen around with them in the raft on the rolling high seas until one or both of them barf.

My point is that, in a sense, Goil was more of a failure than Carisa in terms of wasting time not helping out while working on something that completely failed to meet the client's needs. I think that Goil deserved to be up there with Carisa this week, getting more criticism for the problem of his single-minded focus on what he was doing over the needs of the project as a whole.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

bravo's blog bile

or what ails top design and what might help clear its system

A couple symptoms of the problems with Bravo's Top Design can be found in two of its blogs: Jonathan Adler's and The Assistant's who both seem to have discovered how to pleasure themselves with the critic's stick (all puns intended). They've realized that it is easy to get a reaction by just waving it around at people (if not bludgeoning them with it). This saves them from having to use any thought let alone subtlety.

* * * *


I really want to like this guy but he's sapping my strength.

One reason for the discordances in the show is that, for obvious reasons, it ends with the judging. The imperiousness of Margaret Russell, the snarkiness of Jonathan Adler, and the looniness of Kelly Wearstler can be amusing but they can also hit some rather off notes.

The latest posting from Jonathan Adler describes his views towards Michael as being "charitable" versus "less charitable." It strikes me as being a difference between "uncharitable" versus "mean-spirited."

What goes around comes around.

If I'm feeling charitable, I imagine that Michael wanted some decorative motif for his room and, under time pressure and suffering from exhaustion he just chose those birds and moved on.

The less charitable me has hypothesized that he's insane. In any event, it was a bad idea, second only to them colors. I suppose he could have thought that the birds were a kitsch gesture and that it would be cute.

Re: kitsch, I've often been accused of being a kitsch-enthusiast, which is totally untrue -- I actually hate kitsch. Pink flamingoes on the front lawn? No, merci. But, in the hands of some creative mavericks, traditional kitsch iconography transcends its kitschiness and becomes fantastic.

For instance, I have a giant poodle lamp in my bedroom that's so big and well-crafted that I couldn't say no. I have series of clown pictures that are intricately crafted in wood marquetry and they are so brilliantly designed and made that you really can't argue with them.

Sometimes it's the things in questionable taste -- inappropriate, vulgar, or a little kooky -- that make a room memorable. Diana Vreeland once said, "A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. No taste is what I'm against."

Anyway, whatever. That still doesn't make them birds okay.

I don't need to demonstrate how this is self-contradictory and hypocritical -- and others have already drawn attention to these problems (pink navy, top design blogger). The internal logic of this passage is utterly non-existant. Thus when we get to the alleged conclusion: "Anyway, whatever. That still doesn't make them birds okay" -- asserted as if he has proven some point -- we can only respond with a resounding WFT?

By the way, I'm officially sick and tired of his faux folksiness, e.g., the use of them phrases that use them down-home dialect constructions. I might be able to enjoy this cutesy verbal decorative kitch as endearing if his manner were not so utterly condesdencing. There is something in his manner that belies such a sense of superiority towards (if not also a complete ignorance of) people who actually speak this way.

* * * *

NOTE: -- please read my reality television recommended reading as a reminder of the way that I am discussing the personalities on the show (especially "for the record.") I think of the judges as personas -- characters invented and performed for a television show. There is a difference between Jonathan Adler, the Top Design judge, which is a role played by the actual person Jonathan Adler. How much the two have in common I do not know. However there are two things that are proven to be strongly personality-altering--both consciously and unconsciously: being on television and having power over other people, such as being a judge.

* * * *

the toad

If Jonathan's blog shows an off note, this blog moves us from sour into foul.

I want to know why Bravo is paying this guy to write a blog? He isn't like the judges who are talented people whose opinions count for something. He's not funny. He's not likable. He's just obnoxious.

He reminds me of those boys in junior high school who didn't really do anything -- they weren't smart or popular, they didn't do sports, they weren't dorky nice guys; they were just a little band of brats who went around tormenting people: spreading gossip, insulting people for their weakness (making fun of the fat kid, the kid with bad acne or thick glasses). They were toadies for popular kids and bullies who had no respect for them.

His latest blog gives us gossip that could end up getting one of the cameramen fired. He tells us about the people on the show he dislikes. He informs us about the designs he dislikes. He wrote an ignorant description of Elizabeth when she was kicked off that was totally inappropriate. (Who died and make him the king of what was cool? Of what was hip and who was out of date? Does the world want to know that a little shit like him thinks women over the age of forty are old fogies?) He is even snide about the judges.

The contestants, he tells us, "can annoy like nails on a chalkboard." Well cry me a river. It's your job to deal with them.

It is really rather bizarre.

What is the point? To undermine the show and the cast? To make himself seem important? Even though he has no apparent talent or knowledge of design he can make himself sound like he's as big as the judges and the cast because he can cut them down as an official voice on the Bravo TV web site?

He isn't a blogger like those of us out here doing this for fun -- and for free. We don't actually know these people--we aren't saying anything that is personal--we are talking about this as a television show--as a type of fiction. Plus, and this is the important part: we are doing this not because we are employees but because we are fans.

* * * *


Which just reminds me, by way of contrast, of Rucker. I suppose because reading his blog you got the sense that the show was fun (and a lot of work and a pain in the ass and kind of insane). He was also incredibly funny. He wasn't mean-spirited and nasty about the show and the people on it. The worst he ever did was shrug his shoulders at the camera when Vincent had his fluff and fold tantrum. That moment, that gesture, says everything about reality television. That may go down as the most hilarious moment in reality television. Ever.

* * * *

What can be done?

mr todd

On Project Runway Tim Gunn's voice plays an important role setting the tone. The problem is that there isn't enough of Todd's voice in the show. That is a big mistake. The other personalities just are not likeable enough to carry the show.

Todd had a successful show on House of Style. He has a quirky manner but it really grows on you after a while. We need to see more of him. Maybe it isn't too late for the last half of the season to be edited in order to bring out more of Todd's voice, which is funny, genuine, and smart. It may not be as histrionic, pompous and over-the-top as reality television likes, but it is what Top Design needs to keep it from sinking in the mire of its own bile.

University of Virginia Health Sciences Library
* * * *

Finally, am I being mean-spirited myself? Perhaps. (Do I contradict myself?)

Nonetheless, I prefer a scalpel to carrying a stick.