Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Third Impressions - Tbone's Take

I will admit right up front that I was probably the most skeptical amongst our team regarding Top Design. I feared we would be subjected to an inferior effort as Bravo continued to milk the reality competition cow. Interior design shows have been done to death on cable. When this show was first announced, we even ridiculed its proposed title, coming up with much better suggestions on our own. In my mind, this show was clearly headed for doom.

And now, after just watching the rough cut of Episode 1, I must come clean.... I loved it! Here's why:

- The show's premise is more similar to Project Runway than Top Chef in that as a viewer, you can judge the contestants designs simply by looking at them. The inability to actually taste the food on Top Chef has always been a hindrance. Here, you can fairly pit your opinion against the judges. Disagreement and controversy are sure to ensue!

- The cast seems more professional and mature than any of those from PR and TC. There is hardly any swearing in this episode. Some may view that as a deficiency. I see it as a refreshing, welcome change.

- Yes, of course there is drama. But it seemed more natural and less contrived than what we've seen on PR lately. For this episode, at least...

- Todd Oldham works in a combination of the Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn roles, serving as host and mentor/advisor. He does not participate in the judging, giving him free rein to express his opinion while evaluating works in progress.

- Much like PR, I found the process of watching talented people create something beautiful from scratch fascinating.

- Echoing Laura K and Scarlett, the judges are absolutely fabulous. Kelly Wearstler is fun and insightful. Margaret Russell brings the requisite amount of snooty attitude one would expect from the editor-in-chief of Elle Decor. And Jonathan Adler is poised to become the star of this show.

- The first challenge is fun and involves a "celebrity mystery client" that is a doozy!

All in all, I think this is a show that PR fans will be able to get behind and enjoy. It shows great promise with an impeccable panel of judges, an experienced and talented cast and a premise that will hopefully continue to showcase the design over the drama.

From skeptic to enthusiastic supporter, I now appoint myself as the conductor of the Top Design train. All aboard!