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October 6, 2015

Top Design: The Blogs vs. Top Design: The Show

by Julia Ward, posted Feb 18th 2007 3:07PM
Top Design castI said I'd give Top Design three weeks, and I did. I watched - hoping the show would overcome its lackluster start, its disenchanted host, its odd judges and its warmed-over design challenges. It hasn't. Whether it's because the airwaves are saturated with home design shows or the constituent parts just don't make a very compelling whole, Top Design has turned out to be a labored, self-serious bore, which makes it all the more surprising that the show's accompanying blogs are candid, funny and, well, everything Top Design isn't.

Top Design's website features not 1, not 2, but 7 blogs. Each of the judges and host Todd Oldham keep a blog. The guest judges keep a blog. Designer Bryan Thompson keeps a blog. Even one of the show's production assistants keeps a blog. Bravo has taken the Rashomon approach to Top Design's online presence. With seven different people holding forth on how they really feel about the weekly results and on their behind-the-scenes experiences, readers are treated to a no-holds-barred look at the show and at television production in general - what's real, what's fake, what hits the cutting room floor, why that freaking yellow pepper keeps showing up, etc.

Head adjudicator Jonathan Adler, who appears oddly-mannered on television, is a far more compelling personality online. He's part-bitchy queen, part-cultural literati with a lack of pretension. Too bad the producers haven't allowed his sensibility to inform the actual show. The same goes for the production assistant, who some commenters have called mean-spirited, but I think is pretty damn funny. Let that kid run the show. Seriously, I never thought I'd see the day when a show's extraneous, promotional material was more entertaining than the show itself, but at least that means Top Design achieved something other than introducing the phrase "see you later, decorator" into the vernacular.

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Hey Bluefly.com has tshirts designed exclusively by the TOP design cast! Very cool check it out!

April 02 2007 at 3:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have watched all four episodes of the show. I think that the premise is good and interesting; however, I have been very disappointed in some of the decisions the judges have made. I'm no designer, so maybe I'm not tuned in to what they are looking for. For instance........the episode with the cabana. I agree that the colors for Elizabeth's were way off, but I do think that her team was the only one who actually made a functional cabana.......one which protects from the sunlight. Isn't that what a cabana is supposed to do? She got the boot for colors, and then the very next episode Michael was criticized for his colors(and he's still there). And why did Carissa's room win when the biggest complaint from her client was not enough space; I thought that Matt's room was the best.
Sorry to see Felicia go....

March 02 2007 at 5:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really enjoyed Top Chef and Project Runway, so when this came up, I thought it would be worth catching as well. So far, I think they're off to a slow start. And I have to admit, not only do I disagree with the judges (they liked the design of a room with a swing and sand pit?!), I'm not sure I'm really crazy about most of the designs thus far. The whole thing is really subjective though.

At least for the cabana challenge, they finally got out of the studio. I'm still hoping they fix up a real house or location.

But, I'm thinking the show probably won't have a season 2, not at least without radical changes. Todd Oldham is just okay. It's as if they don't know quite what to do with him. The judges are, for the most part, bland, and too complementary to one another.

And with the limited time for design (2 days thus far), I'm seeing half-finished creations that really don't look all that great.

Top Design is thus an interesting idea poorly executed.

February 19 2007 at 6:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I said i would give this show 3 weeks also, and its just plain boring. All they have to choose from is furniture from the one place? If i have to see another giant neon glass piece of fruit i will throw up. these "diarama" designs, that are limited to the tiny spaces in the studio have gotten old. As designers they must be going mad, they want them to "think outside" of the box, yet have sentenced them to design around the same darn box week after week. Lets see some real rooms, thrift store design, other furniture places, designing for real people because i seriously cannot relate to paying 5000 for an end table.

February 19 2007 at 9:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sadly, David, a choice in cable providers is like asking, "Would you rather have the toenails pulled on your LEFT foot or your RIGHT foot?"

I, for one, would answer, "Whichever, as long as Comcast isn't involved."

February 18 2007 at 11:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I wanted to try this show out but my crap cable provider, cough Charter cough, dropped Bravo from what I got. This is America and I don't have a choice for cable providers?! Give me a break.

February 18 2007 at 7:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I like the show, but then again I am completely hooked on Bravo reality shows. I watched Design Star, Changing Rooms and House Invaders, so this fit right in . I've loved Todd Oldham since MTV's House of Style and Jonathan Adler's a cutie. In fact I like this show enough to create a fansite. I'm always looking for new sites to link to. Come join us at http://community.livejournal.com/topdesign_tv/

February 18 2007 at 4:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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