So, first there was Project Runway, a show that was surprisingly good because it was actually a merit-based competition about talented (and entertaining) people designing clothes. It was entertaining, creative, and gave you a real appreciation for the art of clothing design. Then came Top Chef, which was for all practical purposes “Project Kitchen”. While not quite as successful as Runway, replacing designers with chefs was a formula that mostly worked.
Now there’s Top Design, a show that should be great – after all, it’s Project Runway meets HGTV – but is only remarkable for how unengaging it is. The show’s challenges have lacked the creativity from the previous shows, not that it would help considering that the first episode’s obvious kitsch-centric challenge went over the head of every contestant. Not that it really matters, though, since the designers haven’t really made themselves stick out as much as the contestants on Bravo’s other shows.
The worst part of the show by a mile is the camera presence of Todd Oldham, who seems to have learned everything he knows about hosting from Mr. Show’s “Blind House” sketch :
Also, it should be pointed out that there’s a special level in Hell for people who come up with catch phrases like Top Design’s “See ya later, decorator”.
So, with Top Design stumbling towards its finale, I can’t help but dread Bravo’s next attempt to cash in on the Project Runway formula, Shear Genius. Is there really an entire season’s worth of challenges to be made out of hair styling? Compared to the other three shows, it seems sorta limited.
If Bravo insists on beating the Project Runway formula to death, I hope they do a series set in the fine arts world next. I’d love to see painters struggle with a sculpture challenge. Or see some jerk-off insist that they don’t have to have any technique because their work is “conceptual”. Or a challenge that takes everyone to the Crayola factory. Or one in which they have to paint something that’s meaningful to them, only to find out the real challenge is to see who can sell the most t-shirts of their painting. Or a commercial illustration challenge in which the contestants have to redesign a corporate logo or redesign the packaging for some product they find abhorrent. Get a dozen pretentious assholes together like that and you know it’s gonna be a good show. The winner gets a gallery show and a feature in Juxtapoz magazine, the loser has to pack his brushes and go.