Thursday, November 15, 2007

Scarbo Speaks! Pink Navy Listens, Becomes Convinced of the Wisdom of “Pistol”-Whipping
















Don’t worry, possums. We took plenty of notes and will be toiling madly on our addled recap tout de suite. However, we couldn’t let the morning pass without giving some kind of award to the best, choicest, lowest-hanging-fruit speech of the night.

We were treated to the spectacle of Miss Kit “Pistol” Scarbo do-declaring, “‘Kit Pistol’ is kind of like my Mark Twain.”

Our eyebrow twitched. Where could this possibly be going? Sure, we were impressed by the literary reference, but our minds raced to complete her thought—was a Huck Finn reference forthcoming? Folksy wisdom? Scathing wit?

Nah.

“It’s my alias.”

Oh. Well, we knew she didn’t exactly look two fathoms deep.

“Or sharp as a pistol,” agreed Miss XaXa.

(Oh, and Kit, possum, Mark Twain is really more of a pen name or pseudonym, but don’t let that stop you.)

Really, though, we spoke too soon, for there was, indeed, folksy wisdom to come.

Wearing a little number from the Courtney Love for Blowup Dolls Collection—



















“Oh, come on,” said Miss XaXa, “it looks more like a costume from a tv sitcom, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?: The Early Years.”

—Be that as it may, Miss Scarbo proclaimed, “I believe that the clothing that you wear represents who you are and life is too short to have on a bad outfit.”

As soon as the words were out of her mouth, we looked at Miss XaXa and promptly hit the ground. When the lightnin’s a-comin’, you don’t want to be the vertical one.

“Good God,” we said to Miss XaXa from our crouching position. “If life is too short to have on a bad outfit, this woman’s lifespan must be measured in minutes.”

“Out of the mouths of Baby Janes,” Miss XaXa gnomically replied.

Alas, lightning did not strike, and this is really a pity. No, possums, no; it’s not what you think. It’s just that we foresee we’re going to have trouble telling her and Sweet P apart—was it really wise, oh producers, to have two tow-haired punk chicks on the same season?—and we were just hoping lightning would take care of that little matter for us.

Oh well, perhaps next week. Lightning may not strike twice, but we can always hope it will strike once.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mrs. Vreeland Declares

Possums, in the spirit of "Why Don't You?" Wednesdays, which will continue, and in honor of a very dear friend, we will also occasionally bring you bits of memos Diana Vreeland wrote to her Vogue staff, and which we think will put you in the right frame of mind. Without further ado:

August 16, 1967
Re: Hair

I think it is really essential that you all re-think these terrible looking curls next to the face...we agreed long ago they look dipped in salad oil...they also look like poor white trash people with hair all broken off and they can't get the front to the back...

I am all for the cut around the face as you know--that is to say down the side of the face to give a good clean guiche...

But, I really don't think we ought to carry on with these awful-looking curls--they do nothing for the clothes and nothing for the girl--it all gets depressing...

I assure you this association with people with broken hair, no hairdresser, no money, no vitality--and the will to live is gone...

Pinking Shears at the Ready, or Apocalypse and Anticipation












Possum (or, one hopes, possums), we will, indeed, be covering Project Runway 4.

There was never any doubt, of course, but perhaps we ought to explain the absence of posting. Due credit ought naturally to be given to the tedium and rigor of real life, including those pesky wildfires you may have read about.

But, really, possum, it isn't real life that you read us for, so let's cut to the chase.

Aside from simply needing time to let our claws grow back, we confess that all this while we just couldn't bear to go on the Bravo website and be faced with that damned countdown clock, ticking off the days, hours and minutes until the premiere of PR 4.

We were having none of it, for, as a matter of principle, we refuse to be browbeaten into enthusiasm, but this seemed somehow more egregious than that, as if it were nothing less than the Second Coming. Talk of the Second Coming inspires in us either a) jokes about the refractory period or b) a desire to wear our favorite tee shirt, the one that says, "Jesus Is Coming! Look Busy!" So you can see how this sort of apocalyptic vibe wouldn't really work for us.

And really, this does a disservice to Project Runway itself. How can it possibly live up to such hype? What if Tim were one of us, just a slob like one of us, just a stranger on the bus....

"Oh, honey," Miss XaXa interrupted, "if Tim Gunn isn't on the bus, no one is."

And that, possum, is the Gospel truth. Welcome to Project Runway, Season 4.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Pink Navy Recommends: Design Flaws in the Human Condition

Well, possums, if Bravo can engage in an orgy of promotion tonight, why shouldn’t we?

And so, we’d like to tell you about Paul Schmidtberger.

Paul is a droll writer friend of long standing, and our friendship has, at various times, involved Jean-Paul Gaultier’s hand, Lenny Kravitz’s favorite falafel, the Père Lachaise cemetery, and Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven (though, bien sûr, not all at once).

And now the bitch has gone and gotten a comic novel published. And by Doubleday, no less.

And did we mention that Publisher’s Weekly described the novel as “a promising debut about love, friendship and anger-management” and “an assuredly entertaining romp”? Like we said: Bitch.

Paul, one of the funniest people we know, hails from deepest, darkest New Jersey. Schooley’s Mountain, to be precise. As Paul notes, that’s near Hackettstown, which “is famous because the remains of a wooly mammoth were discovered there,” transported to Harvard, and given the misnomer “Harvard Mastodon.” The mastodon, Paul assures us, was “the last candidate from Hackettstown to get into Harvard.”

Paul himself went to Yale, then did the whole Lost in Translation thing in Japan before Sofia Coppola made winsome, quasi-comedic, Tokyo-based anomie fashionable. Then, of course, he cornered the market in anomie by going to work for an international law firm that was like the collective hallucination of Stanley Kubrick, the Marx Brothers, and the now-deceased Supreme Leader of Turkmenistan.

Paul’s travails at the law firm ended thus: “Typically, the decision to leave a law firm is one that’s undertaken after careful consideration and reflection. In my case, the firm made things easier by firing me, marching me downstairs, and throwing me out onto the street. Me and the apple I'd been planning to have for a snack that afternoon. Hey, thanks.”

And now, Doubleday has published Paul’s first novel, Design Flaws in the Human Condition. The back of the book tells you all:

Set in Manhattan - the conniption capital of the world - a riotously funny and fresh debut novel about anger, infidelity, and friendship.

Through a hilarious series of events, two strangers find themselves railroaded into an anger-management class, where they soon become fast friends. Iris is there because of an eminently justifiable meltdown on a crowded flight, whereas Ken got caught defacing library books with rude (but true!) messages about his former boyfriend - the boyfriend that he caught in bed with another man on the same night he got fired from his job proofreading in a law firm.

Needless to say, Iris and Ken were cosmically destined to be friends. What follows is a strikingly original comedy of (occasionally bad) manners as Ken enlists Iris to infiltrate his ex-boyfriend’s life in the hope of discovering that he’s miserable. And Iris reciprocates, dispatching Ken to work himself into the confidence of her own boyfriend who she suspects, is starting to stray. But what if Ken's ex isn’t crying himself to sleep? What if he’s not the amoral fiend Ken wants to believe he is? And what should Iris do when her worst suspicions start to come true? Exactly how perfect do we have the right to expect our fellow human beings to be?

Anger, betrayal, loyalty, and friendship - Design Flaws of the Human Condition explores these universal themes with wisdom, compassion, and a wickedly irreverent sense of humor.

And did we mention Paul is single?

The current issue of Out magazine had this to say:

“Debut novelist Schmidtberger’s take is very funny, and his hilarious observations about contemporary urban life, from its escapable therapy-speak to the damage done to the skyline by Donald Trump, play well alongside this ultimately sentimental story about the virtues of friendship. ... Schmidtberger’s wryly wrought characters lend authenticity to this confection of a summer novel.”

Doesn’t it sound like just the sort of thing to get you through the dog days of summer (or the rainy days of summer if you’re on the East Coast) and boring patches of Top Chef?

So get thee to Paul’s website, and to Amazon or Barnes & Noble or your local book emporium and get thee a copy. And write to Paul and let him know how much you liked it, and maybe, just maybe, he’ll explain about Jean-Paul Gaultier.

And now, as an amuse-bouche from Amuse-Biatch, to whet your appetite, here is the first page of the novel:

PROLOGUE. In Which the Peace and Tranquility of Manhattan Are Disturbed by an Unusual Meteorological Phenomenon.

Helvetica Carlyle, née Fahrtstaller, had never gotten a cab that quickly in her entire life, and Helvetica Carlyle, it has to be said, was an extremely demanding woman.

Was being the operative word.

At thirty-two feet per second, it took only about 3.8 seconds for her body to plunge from the seventeenth floor of her Park Avenue co-op down onto - or more precisely, through - the roof of the taxi that had just pulled up to the awning outside the building. The cab driver, one of three Bangladeshi brothers who shared a single studio apartment, a single driver’s license, and a single counterfeit green card, panicked and clawed his way out of the car, leaving the passengers, a well-dressed elderly couple, sitting face-to-face with the corpse. They exchanged a long look before the wife finally sighed, leaned forward, bent back what remained of one of Helvetica’s ears and peered behind it.

“Oh, that lying little such and such,” she said. “She did have work done.”

Friday, April 13, 2007

Absence makes the heart......















Oh Possums! Please forgive our silence!

Contrary to public opinion, we have not:
1.) fallen victim to the Matt Lorenz drinking game and entered rehab
2.) joined (formerly Teflon) Don Imus in a crusade to bring civility and non-meanness to the airwaves
3.) joined the rogue gypsy bunch known as the "Travelers" to escape the wrath of Alexis Arquette

This Miss is completely covered-up (as we say in the South!) planning a permanent relocation back to California and Charlus is in the middle of an extended business trip.

We will see you all (y'all!) next week. Oh, how I love to make Charlus cringe with my abuse of the written word! Well, that's what happens when the "hourly" are in charge!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Bravo Representative Looks Into the Future, Sees Pleather, Misogyny, and Fat Feet

We feel old this morning, possums. And it's not just the hangover from hell after playing the Matt Lorenz Drinking Game last night.

Well, maybe it is, because we have begun wondering whether, pace Michael Kors, bitchery isn't a young man's game.

We pondered this as we read the Assistant's Blog on Bravotv.com and discovered, in the timeless tradition of Bette Davis in All About Eve, that there is always someone younger and bitchier. And he nests like an asp in Bravo's bosom. Get a load of this:

"Everyone has an Achilles heel when it comes to members of the opposite sex. Women like Andrea vex me." [We suspect he's seen 300.]

"Oh, dear Carisa. What can I say? Every reality show needs a villain and she graciously stepped up to the plate this season. She's a classic archetype that exists in every group of friends, everywhere for all time. Once a summer, she'll paint her toenails fire engine red and go salsa dancing with her girlfriends. Her plump feet screaming to break free from their pleather straps. Her face will get flushed with each successive mojito and the volume of her voice will escalate as the night rolls on.

If she wins "Top Design," she'll do all of the quintessential slight taste of fame missteps. A geeky guy from high school will come up to her at a bar. As soon as he turns around, she'll roll her eyes and say, "Ew. Gross." She’ll talk loudly on her cell phone in public and make sure everyone is painfully aware of how stressful an interior designer’s life can be. “We needed those door frames five days ago. I CAN’T WORK LIKE THIS!” Ugh, I can see it all too clearly. And her penchant for horizontal striped tops? Don't get me started. Can someone please talk to her about that?"


Ugh indeed. Or, as the kids say, Wow, just wow. (Or, as Miss XaXa put it, "Dayum, boy has issues.") Do you see what we mean, possums? Because we have no trouble calling Carisa a bitch, but we would never call her a fat bitch.

Oh, and maybe because of (in spite of?) his being half Puerto Rican, the Assistant's "mojito" and "salsa dancing" cracks about someone named Carisa Perez-Fuentes are just precious, adding a delicious soupcon of potentially self-hating racist condescension to the delicate blend of misogyny and disgust at the overweight. Neil LaBute would be proud. Freudians, start your engines!

Frankly, we can't imagine why he's no longer working as a lawyer.

Never Mind. THIS Is the Official Photo of the Matt Lorenz Drinking Game. Most Tags Still Apply.





















And if you're not passed out from playing the Matt Lorenz Drinking Game last night, you might have a wee hair of the dog that bit you after seeing just how "fashionably" thin Matt is, and after you learn from Kelly Wearstler's blog that:

"Poor Matt lost 17 pounds during the course of the competition; 17 pounds! Who knew stress diets were so effective?"

Miss XaXa concurred--"Bitch is gaysting away"--and sipped her Bloody Mary.

This Week's Official Photo of the Farrah Fawcett, Er, Matt Lorenz Drinking Game, Which Nearly Gave Us Alcohol Poisoning


Wednesday, April 4, 2007

“Why Don’t You?” Wednesday

Well, possums, it’s our penultimate Wednesday with the decorating wisdom of Diana Vreeland, and we certainly hope it has been valuable and useful for you.

And so, without further ado, Why don’t you…

* In a white room drape the enormous bay window with machine-embroidered broderie anglaise dyed bright green, and held here and there with black pailletted butterflies?

* Clutter, not pile, on a Chippendale butler’s tray table all the newest books, some flat, some on their ends, some like fans?

* Have your telephone-message pads, scratch pads, and menu cards all the same, such as white with red printing and initials or blue with navy blue?

* Put on the guest-bathroom shelf a set of medicine spoons and at least three glasses? One is never enough.

* Give a new note to your sitting-room by introducing a Victorian chair upholstered by Jansen in bright emerald green cotton, buttoned in white with little white chenille earrings on either side?

* Or place beside a low sofa Jansen’s little Victorian table of polished metal encrusted with a collection of precious shells?

Monday, April 2, 2007

First Reaction: “Bland Hotel,” Starring Goil “I Don’t Vant to Be Alone” Garbo

It’s hard to believe, possums, but for possibly the first time in memory, it was minutes before we were able to take a drink pursuant to the rules of the Matt Lorenz Drinking Game.

We first had to sit through the usual blather about how they’re down to the final four, and Andrea’s statement that it was always a “huge goal of [hers] to make it into the final four.” It makes no sense; why the final four as opposed to the final three, or the final two, or, indeed, the winner? Color us a little incredulous.

At last, the designers are driven to Santa Monica, and the Viceroy Hotel, decorated by Kelly Wearstler. Matt nearly hyperventilates, telling us, “I pulled these images out of a magazine, and now I get to see all of it in person.” We snicker. It isn’t as if we were expecting the Kelly images that Matt pulled out of a magazine to be from Playboy. We take our first well-deserved drink.

Uncle Todd is waiting for the designers, along with guest judge Linda O’Keefe, director of design at Metropolitan Home Magazine. Dressed in black and having apparently dyed her hair with cherry Kool-Aid, she is working a sort of Vivienne Westwood does Run Lola Run personal aesthetic. “Don’t you mean Run-Down Lola?” asked Miss XaXa rhetorically.

“I would like to be just like her,” says Andrea. Well, possum, keep hitting the hair dye and you’ll soon have what you want.

The challenge is to design “a high-end suite focused on today’s travelers’ needs.” Unlike the subject of fine dining, Goil knows a thing or two about hotels, having been in a few of them.

But there’s a twist! The rooms will have to be based on one of the four elements.

Just as in the Bacardí challenge, when he spelled out what the five senses are, Uncle Todd can’t help but do the same for the four elements. We roll our eyes—it’s not as if we’re dealing with the four humors, or the seven wonders of the Ancient World here. Perhaps this is a sly commentary by Uncle Todd on the state of the American educational system?

Fate decrees that Carisa gets “hot air,” Matt gets “what’s in the water?”, Goil gets “where’s the fire?”, and Andrea gets “what on earth?” Andrea is suitably distressed, reassuring us (and herself?): “I’m not earthy, I’m not crunchy.”

When he draws fire, as it were, Goil confesses, “My initial thought was, ‘disco.’” But of course. We always think of The Trammps and disco infernos, too.

Of water, Matt says, “I think it was meant to be; I’m a Scorpio, it’s my sign.” We’re quick with the trigger finger on the bottle, but we got nothing. Water Boy is determined to keep us dry.

“Wait,” says Miss XaXa. “A straight guy who knows about astrology, and knows that he’s a water sign? Hmmmm.”

“Maybe he’s a Mormon.”

“Do Mormons believe in astrology?”

We find it as profound a question as, “Do androids dream of electric sheep?”

A quick bitch through Wikipedia gives us this:

“…water signs are characteristically intuitive, imaginative and deeply emotional (unlike the shallow emotional character of fire signs). Water signs are believed by astrological theory to often possess a much more penetrating insight into the true nature of other people than other zodiac signs: they are supposed to be remarkable in their ability to judge people. Water signs are seen by astrological theory as sensitive (often hypersensitive) people, and to possess a great desire to help others. Although they are not seen as intellectually weak, water signs are occasionally referred to as mute signs because they supposedly rely so much on non-verbal communication rather than logic. At their worst, water signs are supposed to be withdrawn, secretive, possessive, and pessimistic, often withdrawing into their own private world rather than facing difficulties. They are also often unforgiving if injured or even slighted.”

Hmmmm. Judging by the previews for next week, Carpenter Sarah is in for a doozy of a time.

The designers go back to the PDC to design and shop. Matt stares (quizzically? provocatively?) at a water bottle laid flat in his palms. “Is it enough for a drink?” asks Miss XaXa. We fear it’s not. But then he says “grasping our element,” and we take a quick sip.

Matt then tells us, “I think everyone does have their unique design style. Mine just happens to be better than the rest.” Mee-ouch! Certainly doesn’t sound like a “mute sign.”

After a design-and-carpenter-and-shopping montage, during which we are not allowed a single drink, we find ourselves back at the loft residences, where Matt and Carisa are discussing their designs for the hotel rooms. Alas, they’re not asking Goil for his opinion or input, and he turns to the camera and says, in his husky, Swedish-Thai accent, “I don’t vant to be alone.” Actually, he stamps his foot and complains that the others are not perceiving him as a threat.

Based on the extraordinarily-deceptive-even-for-Bravo preview—what with Goil’s cries, whirring saws, and blood on the 2x4’s—we were expecting Goil to demonstrate just how much of a threat he is: Saw meets The Shining—“Here’s Goily!” Alas, it was not to be.

Andrea flashes a metaphorical thong of bitchiness by saying, “I hope somebody tanks.” Finally!

It’s Day 2, and Carisa is already badmouthing Carpenter Carl: “Carl does not play well with others.” We begin to feel sorry that we’re not playing the Carisa is a Bitch Drinking Game. It does take that little something extra to be so condescending about a man 20 years your senior.

We get to wet our whistles soon enough, though, as Matt confesses, “I’m a total floor snob.”

“Gayest line ever,” exclaims Miss XaXa.

“Well, for this episode, at any rate,” we caution.

“Let’s make it a double, then,” says Miss XaXa, “just in case we don’t get anything else.”

Carisa tells Matt his room looks like a nursery, Matt calls her a bitch, and we take a drink. (Sure, straight men call women “bitches” all the time, but the inflection on this occasion was drink-worthy.)

When told of Carisa’s comment, Andrea concurs, “That’s a bitchy thing to say.” Which the editors immediately undercut by having Andrea bitch to us that, honestly, she’s surprised Carisa’s in the final four. We love it. In terms of bitchery, this is more than merely flashing a thong; it’s lifting her top and flashing us for Mardi Gras beads.

And then Andrea tops herself, worrying that her room looks like “a bad Smurf Neapolitan thing.” To which we say, That’s not nice, Andrea. You’re taking quips out of the mouths of hungry bloggers.

Carisa has warned us that this is not The Carl Show or Top Carl, but it threatens to turn into EdTV as Matt’s carpenter, Ed, cuts his finger on the circular saw, dribbles a little blood on the 2x4, and is taken to hospital.

Matt frets because Ed has cut his finger, telling us repeatedly how upset he is. Finally, he says that if he has to go home because his carpenter cut his finger, so be it. It sounds nice, but if you parse it out, it would actually blame the carpenter for his loss. According to the preview for next week’s episode, he seems to be making the same argument to Carpenter Sarah. Very interesting. It’s the water sign all over again.

But Ed is just fine, and comes back, leading to this touching dialogue, worthy of Shakespeare, or Cameron Crowe:

Ed: Matt, I’m back. You’re gonna still have me?
Matt: Would I want anyone else?

We swooned. We sighed. We drank.

We drank a good deal more once we saw Matt’s room. Lucite tables?! Is there anything gayer than that? Lucite is right up there with sequins, gold lamé, and mirrors as a gay material par excellence. And wouldn’t you know it? Matt incorporates mirrored side tables, too. It shows that Matt is thinking of the high-end clientele for the room, since the side tables are perfect for cutting lines of cocaine.

Carisa was right. The room does look a little like a nursery, but a nursery in space, since it reminds us of that room at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey, where (spoiler alert!) David Bowman turns into a baby. (Incidentally, Keir Dullea, the actor who played David Bowman, is the subject of one of our favorite Noël Coward quips: “Keir Dullea, gone tomorrow.”)

Carisa is very confident about her own room, and being the great historico-political theorist we’ve come to love, she quotes President Bush as she says that she’ll be “shock and awed” if she gets sent home.

She doesn’t get sent home, but she does lose to Matt, in whose room the judges, according to Jonathan, will be having a slumber party (be sure to share the fairy dust on the mirrored table, boys and girls!) Poor Goil gets sent home by Jonathan Adler, is embraced by Todd Oldham, and then bursts into tears. If that isn’t the definition of Disco Inferno, we don’t know what is.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Carisa DeVille Too "Close" for Comfort?















As always, trusty on-ship photographer Ensign Laz has obtained the photographic evidence of what previously we had only suspected. And using his telephoto lens he found the most shocking evidence of all: Carisa obtained the white part of her coiffure after scalping Carl the Carpenter!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

This Week's Official Photos of the Matt Lorenz Drinking Game



Is Carisa a Bitch Who Kills Puppies While in Diet Coke-Fueled Rages?















We've heard a lot of things about Carisa Perez-Fuentes, but this was a first for us. And yet, that is what the Assistant implies on his blog -- well, except that it's more attempted murder than actual murder of puppies. See for yourselves:

Crazy moment #2 involved Carisa and a puppy. Our Production Coordinator [had] just bought a brand new "Puggle" puppy two weeks earlier. It's a mix between a pug and a beagle. [...]

Anyway, he was cute as hell and [...] lived in a cardboard box in the office with a blanket and a wee pad. He made the rounds, mostly suspended in thin air, and was loved by cast and crew alike.

Around 3:30 p.m. on elimination day, a horrible, puppy shriek filled the air. Something was wrong. Very wrong. I ran down the carpeted hallway of the PDC and saw Carisa, with her mouth wide open. She'd dropped the puppy the equivalent of ten dog stories and he was lying on the floor motionless. Luckily, he lived. Let's just say it wasn't the most endearing thing she'd ever done.

Truth be told, Carisa was already on thin ice with her handlers...and this didn't help. Right around episode 6, she'd started to display "diva like" behavior. Stories began to circulate about gruff demands for Diet Cokes (I NEED one like ASAP, ok!?) and other similar offenses....


Gruff demands for Diet Cokes? Well, perhaps she thought her demands for a Diet Coke wouldn't be taken seriously unless a puppy's life hung in the balance. But truthfully, we have a hard time getting worked up about this. And it's not just because we're cat people rather than dog people. It's more a function of our practical nature. Really, how are you supposed to make a coat out of puppies if you don't kill them first? Think about it. A coat of living puppies w0uld truly be a Cruella DeVille maneuver.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hair Soft as an Easy Chair: "Angels in America" Meets the 1976 "A Star is Born"

“Why Don’t You?” Wednesday

It's Wednesday.

It's Diana Vreeland's day.

What more can we say, possums?

And so, without further ado, Why don’t you…

* Trim the beige quilted satin petticoat of a dressing-table with two wide flounces of black lace, mounted with big flat jet beads?

* Line the shelves of your closets with old-fashioned sweet-smelling grass matting, as Herman Patrick Tappé has done in the closets of his shop?

* If you are tired of your pine farmhouse furniture, paint it white picked out with gold, and with red satin ribbons tie little cushions of leopard plush on the chair seats?

* If a guest arrives at your house after a long motor trip, have the bed turned down and lay out a white shantung dressing-gown tailored like a man’s and monogrammed with your own particular monogram on the sleeve, so that she may rest while she is being unpacked?

* Remember to put an eye-shade on your guest’s bedside table, as the chances are the sun will wake her up?

* Have your cigarettes stamped with a personal insignia, as a well-known explorer did with his penguin?

* When you are buying black in any material, see that it is very black?

Breaking News: Husband of "Deeply Cynical Truth-Avoider" Jonathan Adler "Grab[s a] Ball-cock"

Oh come on, possums, cut us a little slack. We've been gone for a bit, and our other headline was going to be "Jon's Problems with the John," so we think that what we ended up with is really quite restrained by comparison.

And no, this is not another tale of marital dissolution in the ranks of Bravo reality-show judges.

Instead, from today's edition of The New York Observer comes news of what head judge Jonathan Adler has been up to, and it doesn't sound quite crappy. Apparently, Jonathan and his merry Mary mari, Mr. Simon Doonan, had a recent stay at the Canyon Ranch spa in Lenox, Massachusetts, a city once inhabited by Edith Wharton (we'd pay good money to read Simon's version of The House of Mirth). From Simon's column:

When the john in our suite started spontaneously gurgling and overflowing, I surprised my husband with my knowledge of plumbing. I sloshed through two inches of water, removed the back of the toilet, grabbed the ball-cock and saved the day.

Recalcitrant toilets aside, my Jonny and I had a lovely weekend at the legendary spa. Canyon Ranch remains a great winter getaway, not just for New Age truth- and wellness-seekers, but also for deeply cynical truth-avoiders like myself and my Jonny.

We wonder what truth Jonny is so desperate to avoid.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

First Reaction: The Cook, the Editor-in-Chief, the Hollywood Regency Wife, and Their Potter

Self-indulgent, self-important apologies, possums, for our silence during the past week, and thank you to those of you who wrote in to inquire whether our bodies were to be found at the L.A. morgue with the heel of Alexis Arquette’s Nine West peau de soie pump lodged in our skulls.

Alas, it wasn’t anything that John Waters, merely the wren-brown call of duty and work obligations.

So we’re late to the party this week, and will consequently have to make this quick and dirty and a little disjointed, but bear with us. (Also, our apologies to Peter Greenaway, but with Eric3000 claiming the best recap title of the week, we had to stretch.)

We took our first drink, completely unrelated to the Matt Lorenz Drinking Game, when we realized that this episode meant one week less of having to hear that blasted opening theme. The episode began with a voice-over from Matt himself, saying, “Jan Brady” (in mocking reference to Goil’s meltdown on the last episode), and the drinking game was on. “Jesus,” said Miss XaXa. “I think Liberace sounded more butch.”

Goil tells us that he’s “just desperately hanging on to the competition,” which we take to mean that he’s desperately hanging on to his sanity, and it shows, as he has another meltdown later in the episode.

Matt proclaims himself Marcia, and Michael says he himself is more like Cousin Oliver. We were about to drink during Matt’s speech, but Miss XaXa wouldn’t let us. “Please,” said Miss XaXa. “No self-respecting gay man would be caught dead in those socks.” We reluctantly put the bottle down.

Given the state of epistolary culture in our society (where, as Eric3000 intimates, Tyra Banks is our Madame de Sévigné, the U.S. Postal Service is in financial straits, and TyraMail is as close as most people get to an actual letter), it is no surprise that the designers are terrified when a “letter from Todd” appears on the kitchen table.

(And while we’re ranting about the state of our society, we’ve been wondering of late whether we ought to bemoan the fact that we live in a country that cancelled Arrested Development or celebrate that we live in a country that produced Arrested Development in the first place. Given that we’re “glass half empty” people, the answer should come as no surprise. Then Miss XaXa reminds us that, given our drinking habits and the Matt Lorenz Drinking Game, we’re really more “glass fully empty” people.)

Indeed, the designers’ terror is palpable, and is emphasized by the camera work—ominous, Hitchcock-worthy close-ups where the letter threatens to take up the whole screen. Perhaps 1950s horror films would be a better comparison, with the letter growing in menace as if it were the Blob. You’d think it was an audit notice from the IRS, or that Todd is sending the designers anthrax. We were shocked when Goil managed to pick up the letter from the table. “You mean it’s actually normal-sized?” asked Miss XaXa.

The letter, allegedly from Todd, displays excellent penmanship, as well as perfect grammar and punctuation (commas inside quotation marks and everything!). The text contains some cliché about how people in Hollywood say, “Let’s do lunch,” and tells the designers that a car will be by to pick them up for lunch. Goil is as baffled as if he had to interpret the Book of Revelations—“What does it mean?” However, Michael comes through with a feat of near-Talmudic scholarship—“It means that there’s a car coming, and that we’re going to lunch,” or words to that effect.

And lunch it is. (Though with some of the glassy-eyed, vaguely beatific stares, you might think it was luncheon on the grass, but since Padma Lakshmi is not around, this is simply scurrilous and unfounded speculation.) Andrea puts on tight capris and geisha sandals, and they meet Todd for lunch at Norman’s on Sunset Boulevard, which Todd shillingly and laughably dubs “one of L.A.’s premier eateries.”

(Jonathan Gold, of LA Weekly and Gourmet praised the restaurant’s “Floribbean” cooking—e.g., French toast piled with seared foie gras—but, unsurprisingly, the restaurant is now closed. Really, who wants, or expects, luxury food from a place called Norman’s? It sounds too much like a diner. But we digress.)

Goil treats us to a little syllogism: from his understanding, Sunset Boulevard is fabulous, and Norman’s is on Sunset Boulevard, so Norman’s is fabulous. Goil, possum, we think that, in terms of fabulousness, you may be confusing Norman’s on Sunset Boulevard with Norma (Desmond) of Sunset Boulevard.

(Jonathan Adler offered the winner of the week’s challenge a $2,500 gift certificate to the Jonathan Adler stores (poor Ryan is probably kicking himself; here was his chance to win some vases), but we hereby offer Goil a gift certificate good for two months in the Pink Navy Gay Finishing School, which is located—where else?—in Mary-land, just like Annapolis. By God and Glinda, Goil, possum, when we’re done with you, you’ll know what a cabana is, and you won’t just be able to quote from My Fair Lady, you’ll be Eliza Doolittle. On her blog, Margaret Russell wrote that someone ought to take you out to restaurants, and by George, we’ll do just that.)

Todd, wearing a blue-striped sweater, informs the designers of their new challenge—to design a chef’s dining room for an unnamed, internationally renowned chef. The challenge is up Andrea’s alley, since she teaches restaurant design at Otis College of Art and Design, and Michael tries to narrow down the field of potential chefs: “Julia Child is dead; we know it’s not her.”

Goil again declares himself “a bowl-of-noodle kind of guy,” and gives us yet another opportunity to promote the Pink Navy Gay Finishing School. Speaking of which, watching Matt at the chef’s table while they lunch makes us consider nicknaming him Toothy Tile (for those of you who ever read Ted Casablanca’s gossip column), but it was his eyebrows that made us drink and ponder, “Good God, is Jonathan Adler’s eyebrow twitch contagious? And is Kelly immune because of the Botox?”

The designers are informed that the mystery chef likes the Arts & Crafts aesthetic (which should have been a big hint, as the chef turned out to be Tom Colicchio of Craft, Crafsteak, and ‘wichcraft), but it is Carisa who really puts things in perspective, telling us that Arts & Crafts was “this whole, you know, thing that happened in the 20th Century.” We start applying this formulation, and are delighted with the results: World War II / Watergate / Vanilla Ice’s career was this whole, you know, thing that happened in the 20th Century.

The designers are given $40,000 to shop in the PDC, and are allowed to use Yahoo.com for their “tableware needs.” But of course! That’s what we use Yahoo.com for. No wonder those crap Top Design features have been appearing on the Yahoo! front page.

A montage of shopping, the best part of which is Matt asking a shop assistant, “Are those tops reversible?” Miss XaXa squealed in delight. “Make it a double, baby,” she said to us, as we filled her glass. And Matt, possum, if you’d attended the Pink Navy Gay Finishing School, you’d know that the correct term is not “reversible” but “versatile.”

Miss XaXa was cutting limes for the tequila when she heard Matt talking about installing a leather floor, and how it would look “really hawt.” Caught unawares by the subject and the Paris Hilton inflections, she had no choice but to drink straight from the bottle.

The designers did a little unintentional shooting of their own feet, with Michael describing his own project as “simplistic,” and Carisa describing herself as “plastic, colorful, and artificial.”

Todd, meanwhile, channels Judy Garland while worrying about the “clang, clang, clang of these pots.” Unfortunately, we can’t get the song out of our head: “‘Clang, clang, clang,’ went the trolley….”

Then Matt tells us that he’s “trying to think outside the box.” Miss XaXa laughed so hard while trying to drink that she dropped her glass, and we couldn’t look her in the eye as she muttered, “Isn’t he better off adopting the Taco Bell slogan?” She had to get another glass when, later on, she heard Matt say, “Well, you wanted to lay tile,” “I was going to take all of this off and cover it with plastic,” and “drapery treatment.” We hate to expose her like this, but she passed out from the final bout of drinking when Matt kept talking about how his room was inspired by a “dark, wooded area.” Her last words were, “Where are the ‘rest stop’ signs, the state troopers, and Jim McGreevey?”

She thus missed Matt talking about his wife and daughter, during which we refrained from drinking. And she missed guest judge Tom Colicchio and his bare ankles, and his admission that he loved leather, and his praise of how Matt “worked the leather in.” All of which is just as well, as it might have led to alcohol poisoning.

She also missed Jonathan Adler’s weekly groaner (“This week’s challenge was delicious”) and the call and response between Jonathan’s eyebrows and Goil’s (it’s contagious, we tell you). She missed Kelly turned out as a Gibson Girl cum Restoration fop. And she missed Margaret’s laugh line about Carisa: “I love banquettes, but hers is a little bit big.” It made the judges laugh uproariously, and we think we know why. There’s nothing inherently funny about the line, so why the laugh? Well, because it sounds like Margaret is talking about Carisa and her derrièrre. Now let’s be clear. Of course, Margaret wasn’t actually talking about Carisa or calling her fat or J.Lo-butted. It just sounded that way.

Miss XaXa also missed Andrea winning the challenge, and Michael being sent home, but by passing out, she missed the most important story of all. Granted, given Bravo’s shenanigans during Top Chef and Clippergate, we may be a little prone to donning the tinfoil hat, but we think we’re on to something. We’ve read that Michael has a twin brother, and we suspect that, as with Folger’s Crystals, he was substituted for Michael somewhere in the middle of this episode.

The proof? In the second half of the episode, “Michael” looked more put together than usual, in a flattering shirt and tie. When Carisa complained to him about her carpenter, she was wearing leggings or stretch pants, and not a single nasty comment passed his lips. He simply didn’t take the bait. That’s not Michael. During the judging, he refused to answer the judges’ question as to which contestant’s dining room he wouldn’t eat in. He simply refused to be catty. Again, that’s not Michael. And after he was “latered,” during his final interview, he was conciliatory and mature, and talked about what he had learned, and about “living happily ever after” in a “bubble of splendor.” WTF? This is either splendor on the grass or it’s not Michael. We’re convinced it was the Good Twin. J’accuse! (Or should that be, “Nous accusons!” ?) Well, either way, you get the point. We demand answers. What say the Minions?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

“Why Don’t You?” Wednesday

Well, possums, Spring has sprung, and on Wednesday to boot, and in our own Rite of Spring, we turn, as ever, to earthy goddess Diana Vreeland for suggestions on better living through sheer fabulousness. In honor of Spring, today’s edition is dedicated to all things floral.

And so, without further ado, Why don’t you…

* use up a long ugly table by cutting the legs off short? Pickle it, put it against the windows and litter it with ten or twelve square glass vases of every size, filled with every kind of fresh garden flower.

* if you have a shining parquet floor, have potted cinerarias of every color of blue, banked around the sofa at one end of the room?

* pin edelweiss on your little white boater, as Suzy does?

* whitewash a pair of old linen-closet steps and use on a porch for finger bowls and jars full of flowers or as a child’s bedside table for a lamp, books, and pencils?

* wear a gold flower stuck with an infinitesimal watch?

* put gloxinia in beautiful white porcelain jardinières as Sirie Maugham does in her King’s Road house? They come in exquisite Aubusson colors and are superbly decorative.

* wear yellow diamond flowers in your ears, a flower clipped to the hole of one ear, another flower clipped to the top of the other?

* remember the beauty and smell of white stocks in the garden and in the house?

* consider for your beauty, the creams made by Brother Carolus of Salzburg, who is an apostle of the Apollonian Creed, which advocates bodily beauty as the first duty to God? The creams are made of Alpine herbs and flowers.

* look up the deep mauvish-pink rose which came out in Paris at the time of the devaluation, optimistically called “Better Times”?

* get from Floris their wonderful rose mouthwash?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

First Reaction: When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Bacardí Limón

Possums, in honor of this week’s sponsor, the official drink of the Matt Lorenz Drinking Game is not tequila but, rather, Bacardí Limón, which seems rather fitting, since the company’s logo features—wouldn’t you know it?—fruit bats.

We begin with Carisa doing a little obligatory exposition, reminding us that we are halfway through the season. Wait, half is like “middle,” right? Does that make it middling? The midway point of these reality competition series is very important, of course, because it is then that the sleep deprivation, overwork, isolation from the world, confinement with the other contestants, and (as we see this week) access to alcohol combine to create their own form of magic—the catfights, the breakdowns, the Brady Bunch allusions.

In the usual example of Bravo Hubris™ that becomes Bravo Foreshadowing™, Erik tells us, “I’m in the final six, and I’m ecstatic about that. I’m pushing through and seeing how far I can go. My goal is to be here till the end.” Our favorite part of this is not the inevitable result of such pronouncements (similar to the way characters in Lifetime movies always seem to invite leukemia or a drunk driver at the wheel of a city bus whenever they announce how happy they are to have found the long-lost daughter they gave up for adoption after their daddy made them give up the baby when they were teenagers and their unfeeling husbands pooh-pooh’d the importance of the search). No, our favorite part is that Erik tells us he’s “ecstatic” in the most matter-of-fact, sensible, nice-Chicago-boy tones you can imagine. Paging the Pointer Sisters! We can’t wait to see “hysterical.”

Comme d’habitude, the designers are gathered in the “Plaza” of the Pacific Design Center, which, being big and blue, is commonly known as the Blue Whale. Todd announces their next challenge, a party for Bacardí Limón. Excuse us; we seem to be mispronouncing it. Apparently, it’s “BaCARdee LeeMAWN.” And then Todd’s always-freaky voice-over: “Hosted by Elle Décor.” (We’ll get to how odd this really is, but later.)

But the Archangel Todd bears glad tidings indeed, telling the designers, in reference to the place where they are standing, “This is the exact same place where Elton John hosts his annual Oscar bash. So you’re starting out on sacred ground.”

In an episode that had its share of good lines, this may be our favorite. Like the designers, we had no idea that Todd was the Sister Wendy of the PDC, or that we were on such sacred ground. Istanbul that was Constantinople has the Blue Mosque that was the Hagia Sophia; West Hollywood has the Blue Whale that is the Fagia Sophia. And that fountain we’re always seeing shots of, it must be like the spring at the Shrine of Lourdes (Ciccone-Leon); unfabulous pilgrims come from far and wide to be healed by its waters, or to pray at the Blue Whaling Wall. The lame leave lamer, with a penchant for bad hairpieces, magenta suits, near-bankruptcy, royal funerals, and catfights with George Michael. Oh, and does that make the rival Vanity Fair Oscar party at Morton’s, a hop and a skip away, the equivalent of the Church of England?

The BaCARdee LeeMAWN party will be a team challenge. Matt tells us, with slightly odd, Yodian syntax, “These team challenges I’m so completely over, because you have to deal with a bunch of crazies on your team.” We take a drink. (The Matt Lorenz Drinking game has grown so sophisticated, and we have grown so bibulous, and Matt has grown so gay-acting, that we take a drink whenever he speaks or laughs.) And then we see him standing next to Erik, both in matching yellow-green tote bags. Totes fab, totes faggy. This deserves two swigs.

The teams are Carisa, Michael and Matt on Team Dis’ and Andrea, Goil and Erik on Team Function. Put ‘em together at a BaCARdee LeeMAWN function, and you get Dysfunction Function, that’s your junction.

Continuing the slight Star Wars feel and demonstrating his very steady grasp of 1970s American cultural tropes, Goil tells us, “Since I got here, the one person I wanted to work with is anDREA. She’s like a better model of me. Like I would be R2-D2 and she would be R2-D345. She’s many, many models ahead of me.”

Todd tells us that BaCARdee “describes themselves as being sensorial.” So that’s where that came from. And like a good teacher, he defines the word indirectly, telling them their design will have to involve the five senses, which he then has to go and list, because we might not know what the five senses are.

Long montages of the designers preparing their designs—Goil referencing Dorothy Draper, Michael shuddering at the thought of “a Disney World of lemons,” Andrea telling us she wants their party tent to resemble a “supermodel party in Iceland.” It’s also not the only time Andrea references parties in Iceland during the episode. Does Reykjavik have a reputation as a party city or a supermodel breeding ground that we don’t know about? Has Andrea watched Die Another Day one too many times?

More montages to demonstrate that three may be a perfect number, but it’s also the most unstable number, always turning into two primes, two against one. In this case, it’s Matt and Michael against Carisa, who, paradoxically, is butcher than both of them put together. And we have Andrea and Erik against Goil. It’s a bitchfest.

Before sending them out to do their tasks, Todd tells the designers, “To help you out with communication, we’ve hooked you up with some phones.” Hey, Todd, as Margaret Russell herself says in her blog, how about hooking them up with some therapists? Maybe that would help them with communication.

Erik and Carisa go fabric-shopping. Matt and Goil go to Wolfgang Puck Catering to pick out hors d’oeuvres. And Michael and Andrea go to a party rental store. Of course, they go in style, in a new! 2007! GMC Acadia! And again, the camera snakes lingeringly over the logo on the car’s curves.

At the fabric store, Carisa peruses—what else?—fabrics, at one point asking, “Are these flame resistant?” We stopped breathing for a second, and Miss XaXa said, “Meow! Is she talking about Matt and Michael?” But then Erik helpfully explained that in California, the law requires flame resistant fabrics at outdoor events.

At Wolfgang Puck, Goil is introduced to the wonders of caviar and truffles, and is endearingly overwhelmed: “I am used to a small hole in the wall in Chinatown. And so this food is all very foreign to me?” Realizing that she’s got a couple of live ones, the Wolfgang Puck lady preens to them about how truffles are thousands of dollars a pound. To which we wanted to say, as Edina Monsoon once did, “You only work in a shop, you know. You can drop the attitude.” Then Goil asks, “Can I take some to-go bag?” And we said, “Good for you, Goil.” Gauche? Perhaps. Understandable? You bet.

Andrea lets it slip that the party is where the staff of Elle Décor is going to be hanging out. Ah. That explains a lot. It may make sense (to someone) for Elle Décor to host a party for a lemon-flavored rum, but a party in the middle of the afternoon? Not hardly likely, as someone we know used to say. So it’s two tents for staffers and hangers-on to hang out (and on) for a bit in the afternoon (who’d say no to free booze and free Wolfgang Puck catering?) while the show is filmed.

Actually, Erik seems to put his finger on the matter when he compares it to “kind of like a Polish wedding in the backyard of Mom’s house.”

After repeatedly talking over Carisa and putting down her opinions, Michael, abetted by a giggling Matt, tells Carisa, “We all should be able to express our opinions without being talked over and put down, and that’s something you’re having trouble with. So please just step back and breathe.”

Wow, just wow.

We hadn’t thought about it before, but Michael is entirely wasted in the design world. His true calling is politics. He’s like a younger, thinner Karl Rove. Need someone to insinuate that John McCain fathered a black baby, or that triple-amputee Vietnam War veteran Senator Max Cleland is a coward and a supporter of terrorism? Michael’s your man. Forget Todd Oldham; we want Michael negotiating with Iran on the enrichment of uranium. After all, if anyone knows about going nuclear, it’s Michael. We hereby withdraw our endorsement of Todd Oldham and propose Michael Adams as Special Ambassador to Iran.

Todd does his supportive walkabout, discussing his “casket concerns” with Carisa and Matt. (Don’t worry, Todd; we’ve got issues with mortality, too.) More footage of Andrea and Erik ignoring or being condescending to Goil. Erik does get off a rather nice line (and as with a lot of what Erik says, it’s all in the delivery and the accent): “Yeah, hang on there, Spartacus. Everybody remain calm.” It becomes even funnier when we see Goil in the White Room sporting a sort of vest that looks very much like a Roman leather cuirass.

(“Shouldn’t we take a drink?” asked Miss XaXa.

“It’s cuirass, not queer ass, and Matt didn’t say it, so no, we can’t drink.” Miss XaXa looked suitably disappointed.)

It turns out Matt had the idea of hiring go-go dancers for their party. We took a drink, which was difficult because we were snickering. Alas, it turned out to be female go-go dancers, and Michael was in charge of hiring one.

Getting on the phone with the danseuse, Michael chases away the carpenters, so the professional shimmy-er wouldn’t be frightened by thoughts of banging and hammering. Tactful as ever, Michael immediately casts aspersions on her ladyship, telling her that he wants her classy, well, “as classy as a go-go dancer could be.”

Matt sends Carisa to make sure Michael isn’t “putting [the go-go dancers] in gold, gaudy stuff.” Carisa—aka the woman with whom we’d most like to play poker—can’t keep her reactions out of her face. Michael summarily dismisses her, pointing a terrible, damning finger at her. He then makes a scene, accusing Carisa of making a scene while he was “on a professional phone call.” And he pursues her with more of the same, again stressing that it was “a professional phone call.” For the sake of argument (the Michael Adams motto?), let us assume that phoning a go-go dancer counts as a professional call, but just how professional is it to tell said go-go dancer that she isn’t classy? But hey, that’s why we’re blogging and not plotting to have U.S. Attorneys fired.

It’s the next day and time to set up the party tents on the homo-hallowed ground of the PDC Plaza. Andrea and Michael go shopping for flowers, and Andrea buys “furry” flowers. More footage of Goil being ignored and seething as he risks life and limb, including the crushing symbolism of being nearly crushed by one of Erik’s wooden wall components. (Apropos of nothing, Goil has great calves.) Goil is especially peeved at being ignored and overlooked because he is some kind of “halfling—half human, half carpenter.”

It’s time for the judging, and we meet guest judge Ben Bourgeois. Been bourgeois, done that, so we won’t snicker, but Ben’s claim to fame is organizing said homo-hallowed Elton John Oscar party, which, we suppose, makes him the equivalent of Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, and whoever built the cathedral at Chartres.

Jonathan—trying, as always, not to be self-consciously cute—greets the designers thus: “Hey, party people.” The judges will go down to the tents and join the party to appraise the designers’ work, but, in perhaps the saddest words Jonathan has ever uttered, the designers “will have to party from afar.” Then, again trying not to be self-consciously cute, Jonathan says, “It’s time to partay!”

At the after-party in the White Room, everyone has had time to spiff up, including Erik, whose shirt cuffs are undone and at a rakish angle. The judges first address the Matt-Michael-Carisa tent. Kelly, who—surprise, surprise—is a daughter of South Carolina, tells them that her favorite “assessory” was Doc Holiday, the objectified black “doorman” at the entrance to their tent. Ah yes, doesn’t everyone think of black men as accessories?

Matt reveals that they were originally going to hire go-go dancers, but opted for the bouncer because the team felt the go-go dancers “might come in distaste.” We definitely took a drink.

Michael takes credit for the variation of sitting arrangements, which struck us as rather funny, since, during the design process, he had—using his self-proclaimed expertise as a resident of New York, attendee of such parties, and expert on the BaCARdee LeeMAWN aesthetic—shot down Carisa’s idea of sitting arrangements because “people at these things don’t like to sit.”

Michael then admits as how “sometimes being a little nicer is better.” Carisa can’t help interjecting, “And you’re the spokesperson of nice?” Why, yes, Carisa, and that’s why we want him as Special Ambassador to Iran.

Kelly asks if the team had high-fived as a whole, and Michael and Matt perform a high-five that is utterly horrifying to behold, something out of “Men on Film” from In Living Color.

Then the other team airs out its laundry. Andrea gets taken to task for her flowers, Erik takes credit for the overall vision, and Goil complains about Andrea and Erik excluding him and becoming “a kind of club that I cannot join.” This leads to a debate on Confucianism versus Western individualism between Goil and Jonathan. Or maybe it is Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 they are debating, where if you are a team player you lose for not being an individual, and if you are an individual you lose for not being a team player.

While the judges deliberate, the Stew Room is indeed stewing. Goil bursts into tears, saying that he felt like Jan Brady. Andrea apologizes for being a leader. And Michael, of all people, puts his arm around Goil. In the White Room, Jonathan calls Erik “an old-fashioned decorator,” which, coming from him, is a left-handed compliment indeed. Margaret “Quip-O-Matic” Russell (there’s a reason she went to Brown) drops her bon mot of the week: “Flowers shouldn’t be furry.”

Team Carisa-Michael-Matt is declared the winner, and Matt the individual winner, so he will have an extra hour to complete the next challenge. Bravo Foreshadowing™ bears fruit as Erik, having taken the credit for the failing design, is sent home. Goil begins to cry, and Margaret surreptitiously gets a little verklempft.

In the design room, Todd continues with the left-handed compliments, praising Erik’s “old-school skills,” and confirms what scientists have known for a while: “the designer gene is in your DNA.”

Well, that definitely explains a lot.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Exclusive! Andrea Keller Reveals Diet Secrets, Blows Lid Off Underground Reality-Show Barter Economy!

No wonder the bitch is so thin.

As she reveals to Fishbowl LA, during the show Andrea Keller was “living on G-star energy drinks and M&Ms.”

But that’s not all. Due to being sequestered, unable to shop or stray, the contestants turned to each other for the things that mattered the most:

“Each of us had brought things so we shared a lot, trading mint julep face mask for eye cream, giving little haircuts.”

Our money’s on Matt as the original owner of the mint julep face mask.

Jonathan Adler, Lavender Lover?

The commenters on Pink Navy have bandied about one or two theories about Jonathan Adler's hair, but the people who write in to Gawker are clearly of a different order, as witnessed by this tip a reader sent in:

"i run a nursing home in denver so i rarely come across anything tipworthy. however, one thing i know is elder hair and i believe jonathan adler had a lavender wash in his hair last night on top design. eighty is the new forty?"

What say ye, Pink Navy sailors? We say, Only his hairdresser knows.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Paging Edward Said: Who Maid Goil Cry?














Far be it from us, possums, to set the cat among the pigeons (a euphemistic way of saying "stir up sh*t"), but something is making us a teensy bit queasy, and it ain't the smell of cut lemons.

So picture this (it's actually quite easy to picture, since it's part of the bonus footage on Bravotv.com). It's the night of the first day of this week's challenge on Top Design. The designers are back in their "loft," drinking Bacardí Limón, and then playing party games, with Matt asking "if" questions.

After Matt and Michael more or less call Carisa a slut (but we'll get to that later), Matt asks Carisa, “If you were to be granted one wish, what would it be?”

After Carisa answers, Michael interjects. “See, you know what my one wish would be? For Goil to get U.S. citizenship.”

There is uproarious laughter from the cast members.

The camera pans to where Goil is cleaning the kitchen table and looking flushed. Is he laughing? It’s hard to tell, but he looks uncomfortable to us. Erik throws his arms around him and says, “As long as he keeps cleaning, we won’t send him back.”

Goil says something that we couldn’t understand over the laughter, but which sounded defiant, albeit jokey, and goes upstairs.

Matt asks Erik, “If you could change one thing in the world right now, what would it, what would you alter?”

“What would I alter?” repeats Erik.

Goil’s voice is heard from upstairs: “Michael’s face.”

Michael: “Goil’s mad at me. I was trying to help him.”

Unidentified Male Voice (Erik?): “You really hurt his feelings.”

Michael: "I wish for U.S. citizenship."

Erik: "Go up there and give him a kiss and you make up."

Michael: "He tried to do that with me last night, I don’t want to do it again."

Charming, n'est-ce pas?

Now take a look at this passage from this week's edition of The Assistant's blog on Bravotv.com:

Speaking of sad, ready for the tearjerker line of the season? Goil talking about Andrea and Erik. “It was a club that I cannot join.” Awww, present and past tense mixed with a foreign accent and tears!?? Are you kidding me? Is there anything more endearing? Goil has this weird pseudo-Elvin-android-Tamagotchi quality about him. I LOVED his other gem about Andrea? “I’m like R2D2 and she’s like R2D345.” That’s pure gold.

Honestly, if he walked onto the Planet Endor, I think the Ewoks would lose their minds. Put another way: If giants owned humans as pets, Goils would be a very popular breed. “Smart and playful–but don’t feed them after midnight. Otherwise, they sob uncontrollably.”

Naturally, we're not accusing anyone of racism. After all, those Asians, they're so cute and small and endearing. They're pets. They have accents. They're all, like, emotional, like that chick in Madame Butterfly who kills herself (that is, when they're not inscrutable math machines). Or when they're maids.

Remaining Designers Mourn Felicia Bushman in Their Own Way















Possums, we nearly wept ourselves at this. (Do notice that "p," as it were.)

On Bravotv.com, there is a gold mine of bonus footage, including two minutes of Matt and Carisa painting and giggling and squealing. Actually, Carisa was preparing to paint. Matt was painting and giggling and squealing.

In the midst of this, Matt felt the pang of loss that one feels when thinking of departed comrades. He decided to pay "latered" contestant Felicia Bushman an encomium:

"I miss Felicia walking around in her high heels and skirts." Which is exactly what a straight man would say.

Carisa was similarly wistful: "Jesus Christ! Fucking Prada. Who paints in Prada?" Which is exactly what a straight man would say.

"And then the aliens!" continued Carisa. "That whole thing threw me off, with the Scientology. That shit freaked me out. I knew they had aliens, dude, I knew they had aliens. Crazy. "

Requiescat in Prada, Felicia, possum. May we all be so fondly remembered.

Pink Navy Word of the Day: Sensorial

Possums, far be it from us to look askance at people using two-dollar words, but we have to admit that we shook our heads in confusion and fear during last night's episode as Gay Uncle Todd pronounced the word "sensorial."

First of all, in light of what happened to Jonathan Adler last week as he tried to pronounce "socio-political," we were worried that Todd, too, might suffer a mini-stroke. Gay Uncle Todd did just fine, though.

And then we thought, "Sensorial?" WTF?

At the risk of being hoist with our own petard, this seems a case of using an uncommon word for its own sake. (It's, of course, entirely possible that "sensorial" is a term of art in the design field, but we doubt it. There has to be footage of Goil admitting he doesn't know what the word means, or of Todd preempting this by telling the contestants what it means. We'd stake our nonexistent souls on it.)

"Sensorial," Merriam-Webster will have you know, is a variant of "sensory," and means "of or relating to sensation or to the senses." So, you know, why not just use "sensory"? Is this a Gunning for Timhood by Todd?

The problem is that "sensorial" and even "sensory" seem like such vague, almost non-sensical terms to use as directions for a party, along the lines of "digestive" or "adjectival." Yes, they're adjectives, but they don't really tell you much.

Perhaps the people who, in playing with their Roget's, came up with "sensorial" meant "sensuous," which Merriam-Webster defines thus:

1 a: of or relating to the senses or sensible objects b: producing or characterized by gratification of the senses : having strong sensory appeal
2: characterized by sense impressions or imagery aimed at the senses
3: highly susceptible to influence through the senses


In addition, Merriam-Webster includes a note stating that "sensuous implies gratification of the senses for the sake of aesthetic pleasure." Doesn't that seem more the idea?

Perhaps they were worried that people nowadays have a difficult time distinguishing "sensuous" and "sensual." Bravo, afraid of the sensual? Say it ain't so.

But what do we know? For a moment, when we first heard "sensorial," we thought of "censorious," which the Encarta dictionary defines as "highly critical: inclined or eager to criticize people or things."

Hmmm. Wonder why we thought of that?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Pink Navy Presents the Official Photo of the Matt Lorenz Drinking Game, Brought to You This Week by Bacardí Limón

Because Pink Navy Can't Resist an Easy Ally Sheedy/Andrea Keller Joke





















Fortunately for us, neither could reader "Frita Fondle," who sent us this picture. Call us paranoid, but we suspect that's a pseudonym or maybe even a drag name. Anyway, Frita, liebchen, danke schön. Our favorite part of this? That the L.A. Times actually gave the film a rave. Who knew?

“Why Don’t You?” Wednesday

Goodness, possums, how quickly Wednesdays come and go. Here we are, halfway through our season of Wednesdays, and, according to tonight's episodes, it's party time. Accordingly, this week's Super-Sized dose of the outré wit and wisdom of Diana Vreeland focuses on how to throw a good shindig, and how to be a good guest. And so, without further ado, Why Don't You...

* Build beside the sea, or in the center of your garden, a white summer dining-room shaped like a tent, draped with wooden swags, with walls of screen and Venetian blinds, so you will be safe from bugs and drafts?

* Use Battersea enamel saltcellars as ash-trays?

* Use a gigantic shell instead of a bucket to ice your champagne?

* Serve individual Pfirsich Bowle, which is peeled peach in a chilled glass with ice cold Moselle or Rhine wine poured in? Marvelous at tea time.

* Remember how delicious champagne cocktails are after tennis or golf? Indifferent champagne can be used for these.

* Consider your guests who diet and those who, through sheer curiosity, may want to know what is ahead of them, and have menu cards at the table?

* Realize that everyone really hankers for a toothpick after a good meal, so have blatantly on your table quill toothpicks as you would cigarettes?

* At a supper party, have each little table covered with round, floor-length table-cloths? Each cloth of three separate colors—Dresden blue, pink, and yellow, each flounced like a petticoat and each table quite a different combination of colors, with contrasting colored candles in high gilt candle-holders.

* Shop at Woolworth’s for little Scotch plaid arrangements called Hi-Jacs, made to slip on your cold drink glasses to keep the table from spotting?

* Sweep into the drawing-room on your first big night with an enormous red-fox muff of many skins?

* Go to a ball in a grey fox coat mounted on grey velvet?

* Carry a long diamond rose with a sponge in the heart of the petals to waft your scent as you go?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Jonathan Adler, Chubby Chaser?





















When we groggily checked out Towleroad this morning, we nearly fell out of our chair at seeing a photo of Jonathan Adler with a bear.

Miss XaXa's first reaction was, "Jonathan is leaving the Queen for the King of Queens?" (Sorry, Simon. Miss XaXa's got quite a tongue on her, but if Helen Mirren can be the Queen, so can you.)

Alas, further investigation revealed no cause for scandal. As uncanny as the photo is, it's not of Jonathan. That's his twin brother, Adam Sandler, up there with Kevin James, and this is the poster for the film I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, about two heterosexual firefighters who pretend to be gay and get married for the insurance benefits.

So we can all breathe a sigh of relief. The verdict on Jonathan Adler remains the same: gay, no chaser.

Pink Navy Public Service Announcement: This Is Your Brain on Polysyllabic Words

Possums, all of us at Pink Navy (Charlus, Miss XaXa, Ensign Laz, and mascot Albertine) care deeply about your health and well-being.

Sure, we may appear thoughtless, frivolous, légers. But we have consciences. (Somewhere, perhaps stowed away with the exercise bike under the bed.)

And we were radicalized during last week's episode as we witnessed lead judge Jonathan Adler having a mini-stroke as he courageously brought himself to pronounce a word that selfish, Hawaiian-shirted anarchist Ryan had thoughtlessly dropped into the discussion like a Molotov cocktail into the champagne punch: "socio-political."

Take a look at the disturbing video. But we warn you, as redundantly as they would warn you on the Today show, that it is quite disturbing.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Fortunately, Jonathan survived to cock an eyebrow and "See you later, decorator" another day. But he might not have been so lucky. We daren't imagine what might have happened had Ryan been discussing dialectical materialism.

We began hearing reports of other victims. One fellow suffered a mild seizure trying to pronounce "nuclear," but did fine at the cosmetics counter with "Shiseido" and "alpha hydroxy." Another chap of our acquaintance was watching Funny Face and, foolish boy that he is, he tried to repeat after Audrey Hepburn when she started discussing “empathicalism” with Fred Astaire. Boy, does he have a funny face now after the resulting stroke.

Over the weekend we attended the memorial service of a dear friend who was tragically taken from us during a viewing of Mary Poppins by that word that we cannot even bring ourselves to type. (Someone else was struck down for pronouncing chaise longue as “chase lounge,” but that was just divine retribution, so we don’t really count that among the statistics.)

Possums, why do you think no one ever says Goil's last name out loud?

Is it the number of syllables or the seriousness of the word that causes the difficulty? Scientists are unsure, but they're looking into the matter. So what's the next step? Fundraisers, research, grape-and-banana ribbons.

And above all, public awareness. Abbreviate, possums, or, rather, make words short. And don't discuss serious things. Keep it light, and keep it safe.

Matt Lorenz: The French Have a Word for It

















During the judges' tête-à-tête-à-tête-à-tête, we do remember Jonathan Adler saying of Matt, “He totally took on the maid role very, very enthusiastically.”

However, until we saw this photograph snapped by on-ship photographer Ensign Laz, we had no idea just how enthusiastic Matt could be.

Normally, we'd worry, but heck, if you're going to play a role, you might as well go whole hog.

No-Members Only: Pink Navy Gives Guest Judge Alexis Arquette What She's Always Wanted

Possums, today we continue our fine tradition of showing you the judges’ naughty bits, or at least showing you Albertine’s chapeau’d coyness covering the judges’ naughty bits.

Having shown you Kelly's Playboy cabana, we now turn to guest judge Alexis Arquette, memorably described by Ryan Humphrey as “Iggy Pop in drag,” though an argument could certainly be made for “Anthony Kiedis in drag.”

Although we have agreed our entire lives with American Express that membership has its privileges and pleasures, possums, from what we know, guest judge Alexis Arquette seems to be in agreement with Groucho Marx in wanting a club with no members.

As we mentioned previously, we have been fans of Alexis since her boy days, and now you can see why. If you want to see the unexpurgated, un-Albertined, completely and totally NSFW version of the swing and the sandpit, possums, feel free to click here, but don't say you weren't warned.

(When Miss XaXa found out that, as with Kelly, Albertine would be our fig leaf, Miss XaXa turned to us. “Do you realize what we’re doing?” asked Miss XaXa, channeling the Lady Chablis (and probably a glass or two of unladylike Chablis). “It’s taking the ‘candy’ from a baby Arquette.”

“Um, actually, he’s not the youngest Arquette. David is the youngest, so, punnily enough, it’s Courteney, um, Cox who took the baby Arquette’s ‘candy.’ Hence little Coco.”)

So, possums, didya look? Well, it will make it easier to understand our next point, which is this. Although it goes without saying that we agree completely with the notion of "her body, her choice," we nonetheless can't help feeling that just as youth is wasted on the young, so is...well, never mind.

We should also mention that we were a bit unnerved when we saw this bit in Alexis' Wikipedia entry: "On February 26, 2007, Alexis was a guest on The Adam Carolla Show. Danny Bonaduce, a co-host, asked Alexis if he had a wang. The question, and Alexis' refusal to answer sparked an argument between Carolla, Bonaduce and Arquette, ending in Arquette storming out of the studio and violently pushing sound equipment at them as she was leaving."

So if you don't hear from us for a few days, look for a bloodied, size 12 Nine West pump next to our lifeless bodies.

Monday, March 12, 2007

These Boots Were Made for Hawking: An Andrea Keller Photoessay




























Our thanks to Ensign Laz and to reader A.B., who first pointed out Andrea's uncanny similarity to Christopher Robin and sent in the pictures to prove it.

Margaret's Milkshake Brings All the Boys to the Yard














Well, possums, leave it to on-ship photographer Ensign Laz to come up with the goods, or, rather, goodies. And we're, like, they're better than yours.

As promised, we took a closer look, and Margaret Russell is indeed wearing jeans. And though they're not ripped, she is. Boy, is she ever. Frankly, we're even more scared than before.

Especially since, when we look at this picture, we still feel that unaccustomed tingle, and find ourselves thinking of Diane de Poitiers and Henri II, of Deborah Kerr in Tea and Sympathy. Years from now, when we speak of this....

Saturday, March 10, 2007

First Reaction: Et in Acadia Ego

Possums, we love the fact that the show's editors waste no time and get us going on the Matt Lorenz Drinking Game toot sweet. (Dear God, are we turning into Jonathan Adler with the Franglais?)

At any rate, as soon as we heard Matt say, within the opening 30 seconds, "being in the top two did make me feel much better," we had our first tequila shot of the night. We had barely downed the tequila when Matt added, "Even though Miss Carisa beat my ass." It doesn't take Miss Cleo, possums, to tell you that that was worth two additional shots.

One minute in, and three shots down. This might turn out to be quite a buzzy little episode after all.

The castaways are once again gathered on the beach while the cute polar bear tells them that this was all a social experiment. Oh wait, wrong show. It's not a beach; it's the South Lawn of the Pacific Design Center, and while cute, Todd Oldham is no bear. The social experiment part still applies, though, and the show is still lost.

Todd tells the designers that their next challenge will be "a family affair in more ways than one." We're expecting Sly and the Family Stone on the soundtrack, but, as usual, Bravo is too cheap. The designers, quite understandably alarmed by Todd's grinning emphasis on "family affair," ask, "What does that mean? Family room? 70s disco groups? Incest?"

The answer is even worse. A new! 2007! GMC Acadia! pulls up and disgorges the Bells—Isaac and Patty, their dog Mac, and their children, Dora, Bea, and Avery. Immediately we sense a problem.

Names are very important, possums, and frankly, the dog's name is a tad unoriginal, quite unworthy of a J.D. Salinger family. And animals with boring names turn into boring animals. Dora, Bea, and even the goyish-y Avery are a bit more J.D. Salinger, but nonetheless problematic. Of course we are not blaming the children, as they are the victims, but Patty "Ma" Bell (two puns for the price of one!) ought to realize that names can have far-reaching consequences. Naming your children Bea, Dora, and Avery more or less condemns them to, respectively, lesbianism, marriage to a dentist from Sherman Oaks, and USC.

Todd (you see what we mean?) breaks up our rumination on names as destiny with another peculiar metaphor: "Often the most successful design comes when aesthetics holds hands with functionality." Not only is this a little jarring, but it seems inaccurate and unduly chaste. As far as we're concerned, successful design comes when aesthetics gets to third base with functionality.

The Bells have a new! 2007! GMC Acadia! and the challenge is to design a garage around it. So, apparently, you can't design around a cat, but around Acadia is just fine.

Miss XaXa considered taking a drink every time the word "Acadia" was uttered, but knowing Bravo's shamelessness and tirelessness in matters of product placement, we feared for her liver and dissuaded her. She also noted a further problem with the Bells and their Acadia. "As if!" Miss XaXa harrumphed. "People on the Westside, especially people like the Bells, would never buy a GMC Acadia. It would have to be a Range Rover or a Mercedes M class, or at the very least a BMW X5. Who does Bravo think they're kidding?"

And, indeed, there is something a little suspicious, a little too-good-to-be-true about the Bells. What are the odds of finding a telegenic, affluent, demographically correct family who just happens to own the very car that will be awarded as the prize on your reality show? Exactly. As the Assistant points out on his blog:

[O]riginally, Episode 5 was intended to be an individual challenge. The plan was to find seven identical garage spaces for the contestants. As the date got closer, however, it became clear that finding the perfect space wasn’t that easy. It was a Goldilocks dilemma: either one space was smaller than the others, didn’t have as much light, etc ... all of which raised serious fairness concerns. With two days left and no location locked down, we had to reconfigure the challenge to make it a group effort. Now we just needed to find a garage. After countless phone calls and heartfelt pleas, we were finally rescued by the Bells at the eleventh hour. Needless to say, it was a REAL close one.

Curiouser and curiouser.

Anyhoo, the designers are dismayed by the photographs of all the excrescence of American consumerism jammed into the Bells' garage. Matt tells us, "Get me a match, and, like, that's the solution to the problem right there." Try as we might, we couldn't find anything gay about the statement; even the Fiddler on the Roof joke ("Get me a matchmaker, get me a match") fell flat. Accordingly, no drink on this one.

As the Bells are describing their wants and needs to the designer, Bell père slips and calls the Acadia a "new car." Tsk tsk. How did Bravo's normally eagle-eyed product-placement Stasi let this one slip past?

When Carisa asks the Bells what their favorite colors are, little Avery enthusiastically answers, "Pink and blue!" We turned to look at Miss XaXa. "I think we have a live one," said Miss XaXa. Carisa didn't help matters by saying that the garage was going to be a "rainbow room."

Dora tells the designers that she wants a theater, perhaps unaware that it's likely to be Bea (as in "Bea Arthur"), or, for that matter, Avery, who ends up in the theater. It is Ryan's considered opinion that the Bells simply want too much stuff in this garage, and that, indeed, the Bells have "a bunch of stuff they should throw out." Matt agrees that the Bells and whistles have to be brought under control: "Someone has to take charge." Take a drink.

Todd informs the designers that the winner of the design challenge will also win immunity. The designers are to make models (or maquettes) of their proposed design to present to the Bells, who will choose the winner. Sadly for us, Todd neglects to channel Tim Gunn and therefore does not say, "Maquette work!" Fortunately, Carisa self-consciously quotes the Gunn of Never-wrong directly: "Make it work!" Matt says, "I haven't made a model for years. I'm not into making models." Take a drink.

The designers present their models and designs to the Bells. Andrea's design appears to be an amalgam of Ryan and Goil, in that it incorporates a catwalk and a swing, as well as a stage for the Bell belles' amateur theatricals (a production of "The Lonely Goatherd" directed by Gay Uncle Todd?). Carisa seems to have a two-word imperative on her mental Post-It: "Slay Bells." "Is it cool?" she cheesily prompts the baby Bells, and then tells the camera later, "The girls were like, 'Whoa!'" Um, Carisa, no disrespect to Joey Lawrence, but the girls were probably like, "Whoa! Stop feeding us lines."

During his presentation, Ryan mentions something called "neeches." And then he does it: "I suggest getting rid of a lot of stuff." As he tells the camera, "I told the family straight up; they need to de-accession. They need to get rid of some things."

The Bells are not happy. In fact, they're horrified. Or, as Edgar Allen Poe puts it,

Hear the loud alarum bells –
Brazen bells!
What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells!
In the startled ear of night
How they scream out their affright!
Too much horrified to speak,
They can only shriek, shriek….

Well, maybe not that bad, but not far off. By the look on their faces, you would think Ryan had escaped from Bell-vue, or suggested selling the children into white slavery or, worse still, had announced the closure of Starbucks.

During Michael's presentation, little Avery kept stealing glances at him, as though looking at the Ghost of Chrismukkah Yet to Come, as though thinking, "So this is me in 15 years?"

So who won? Ask not for whom the Bells tolled; they tolled for Andrea.

Then it was the carpenter cattle call, though, alas, not shirtless. As the winner of the last challenge, Carisa had the first pick, and she chose Carl. We salivated and held a glass of tequila while waiting for Matt's choice. Would he choose Jared, or the one with the dime-sized nipples but whose name we can't remember? Alas, it was a case of reverse psychology, as if he knew we wanted him to pick one of those two, and he went with Ed instead. So, no drinky for us.

Finally, it's Erik's turn, and, as he tells us, "I was at the bottom of the choosing pool, and ended up choosing Jared." Two drinks for us. Oh, wait. Never mind. There's no "Erik is Gay" Drinking Game, is there?

There's a lot of blah-blah as Andrea Helvetically and competently organizes her team and uses the word "mauve-y." We seem to remember Goil's t-shirt as having some sort of Jackson Pollock-y appliqué at the neck, though perhaps he just cut himself shaving. Come to think of it, though, it looks an awful lot like Erik's serial-killer artwork on the last challenge. And there's footage of Ryan being helpful and subdued, promising, "Whatever needs to be done, I'll be doing."

Erik and Michael go shopping for purple fabric, and Carisa and Matt go to The Container Store. Andrea goes to visit the site while wearing her boots, which we love but also hate because they remind us of a character from children's literature that we've spent weeks trying to remember but can't. It's not Pippi Longstocking. It's not one of the Five Little Peppers. It's not Harriet the Spy. We can practically see the illustration in our mind's eye, right next to Wordsworth's daffodils, but the name will not come to us. Maybe it's from Charlotte's Web. Any ideas, possums?

The Bells pull a surprise on Andrea. In addition to the garage, the designers can also use the toolshed as part of their design. Andrea calls Matt at The Container Store. "Hello?" he answers uncontainedly. We take a deep drink. Trust us; you have to see it.

The work begins, and the garage is full of crap. We feel, in our near-drunken haze, as if we have switched the channel and stumbled on TLC's Clean Sweep.

Michael helps Matt to fold up an inflatable swimming pool to put in a storage container, but not before cracking, "It's like trying to put Carisa in stretch pants."

"No, he di' in't!" cried Miss XaXa. "I will beat him down with my shoe," she added, channeling Vivica A. Fox. "Hell, I'll take his ugly boat shoes and beat him down with those. Why is it that the gay boys always go after a person's weight? It's like the first insult. It makes no sense. Dammit, zaftig girls are always the first, and sometimes the only people, to befriend the little faygellahs in high school, and this is the thanks they get?" (As the first person in her suburb to own a black Malibu Barbie, Miss XaXa has experience in being an outcast.)

It should be noted that after the broadcast, on "Watch What Happens," Michael apologized, saying there was no justification and that it was rude, and that he came from "a family of full-figured women." Nevertheless, ouch.

It should also be noted that the gangly, stretched-out Matt laughed uproariously at the original crack. It was an unexpected sound coming from him, worthy of being catalogued in Amélie--one part hyena, one part drag queen, one part Chicken Lady from Kids in the Hall, and frankly, the gayest thing we've ever heard. We finished off the bottle on the strength of that laugh.

Then the judges arrived to do their inspection. Kelly was looking shockingly tasteful; always trying to keep you on your toes, that one. It hardly seemed possible, and we'll have to look at footage more closely, but it rather appears that Margaret... was... wearing... jeans! She also wore rather a fetching top whose provenance "stylist" Paris Libby failed to identify for us. And then, when Margaret was inspecting Goil's dog bed on wheels, we got a cleavage shot. The back of our neck prickled, and we felt ourselves flushing, and thinking stammeringly of Diane de Poitiers and goblets. Were we Gallic, we should have mopped our brow with our mouchoir and let out a low and throaty whistle. Ah notre p'tite Marguerite! Ah the damnation of Faust indeed.

When we recovered from the éblouissement of Margaret's poitrine, we found that everyone was back in the White Room. We heard Jonathan Adler talking about function and dysfunction, revealing himself to be a good Structuralist. Appropriately enough, he was attired in a Lévi-Strauss product along with a jacket and heirloom tie. The judges interrogated Andrea by herself, and all we could do was admire her strappy, surprisingly girly shoes. Well done, Andrea.

Kelly, again looking surprisingly tasteful (we don't get thrown off the scent so easily, Kelly; don't you worry), asked about the Bells' reaction to the renovated garage. The Bells were ringing for Andrea and her Goil. We watched footage of Jonathan, Patty, and the carillon (Bea, Dora and Avery) clapping as Isaac successfully parked the GMC Acadia in the garage, though not before the camera lingered soft-core style over the Acadia logo on the vehicle's gleaming grey curves. We must say, though, that we can imagine few things more emasculating than being patronizingly applauded by one's family and a homosexual potter for one's parking ability.

When discussing Carisa's work, Kelly asks Andrea, "Did you raise your voice? Did you hit her?" This, of course, raises the near-certainty that Kelly is itching to yell at Carisa and slap her, which is rather delicious when you think about it. Miss XaXa has an even more delicious theory, which is more fantasy than theory: Kelly is displacing her desire to yell at and hit Margaret.

Meanwhile, in what Margaret Elle-même dubs “The Stew Room,” a catfight is in progress. Michael basically tells Carisa that she hasn’t done any work, while Matt was picking up “stuffed animals drenched in squirrel urine.” Carisa denies it, takes off her glasses, and looks ready to stab him in the jugular with them, à la Bourne Identity.

Instead, she replies that there were too many cooks. His comeback? “Don’t be a cook, be a sous chef.” Sorry, Michael. Wrong Bravo show. We can see why Raggaydy Andy paired you with Top Chef hostess Padma Lakshmi on “Watch What Happens.” (Also, a sous chef is higher up than a cook.)

We hate to sound like a 17-year-old girl, but all we remember about guest judge Mark Rios is—kinda cute, big schnoz, nice shoes (oh, and where the hell did a guy like him get that surname?).

It’s Ryan’s turn before Grand Inquisitor Jonathan “Perkymada” Adler and the Holy Shes. A surprisingly contrite and docile Ryan apologizes for his “socio-political” rants and for being unfair to the design profession. Not that this does him much good. After all, it is customary to say an act of contrition before one’s execution. He did, as it happens, commit the unforgivable sin—telling the Bells that they ought to get rid of some of their possessions. (Of course, when Matt threatens to do it with a match, it's somehow more palatable.)

Margaret’s hair in this and other episodes has looked to us a little ancien régime--a touch of Madame Du Barry, a soupçon of Madame de Pompadour--and in her reaction to Ryan’s Jacobite crime, it instantly made sense. You might have thought la foule was standing outside the gates of Versailles with torches and pitchforks. We do know this, though. If ever the tumbrels come rolling, we definitely want Margaret on our side. Had Margaret been present at the Bastille that fateful Quatorze Juillet, the French Revolution might well not have happened. She would have calmed the mob with her icy stare and sent them home, asking, as she did on this week’s episode, “Where was the big idea?” And it is this quality that we love about her.

Left alone in the White Room, the judges don't mince words. Of Matt, Jonathan says, “He totally took on the maid role very, very enthusiastically.” We would have taken a drink, but it was a comment about Matt rather than by Matt, and besides, the bottle was empty by now. Of Goil's dog bed, Kelly says, “What dog likes to be on wheels?” We would have made a crack about a bitch on wheels, but Dennis Hensley of Outzonetv.com beat us to it.

Then the judges discuss Ryan, the original apple of discord. The word “socio-political” causes Jonathan to cough up a fur ball and seems to induce a mini-stroke that had us quite worried. There, there, possum; stay away from the polysyllabic words.

And then it's Hera versus Aphrodite. It's a measure of Margaret's alabaster anger that she even uses the word "hell," as in, "Where the hell was the art?" Relishing every word, as if popping individual beads of caviar, Margaret says to Kelly about Ryan, “Where was the big idea, Kelly? He always has a big idea. And you've been charmed by them. And he didn't have anything.”

Our favorite part of this indictment was the notion of Kelly's being charmed by Ryan. We couldn't figure out whether Margaret meant this à la Saturday Night Live (“Kelly, you ignorant slut”) or à la Rita Moreno in West Side Story (“A boy like that...”). Either way, it was delicious. We'd try to describe how delicious it was, but we'd end up sounding like those yogurt commercials starring the chick who plays Alice on The L Word.

Ryan is sent to the guillotine (did we see Jonathan knitting?), and his wry parting words are, “Alright, kids, fight the power.” We found this rather droll. He didn't seem terribly upset to go. It's a wonder the body politic of Top Design took so long to expel him like a kidney stone.

We'll leave the last dangerous, heretical, radical words to Ryan himself:

“I feel like interior design should be an event. I don't feel like it should look like everything else -- standardized, homogenized, catalogued. It's tough for me to find any sort of transcendental anything in [pointing to the Jonathan Adler merch behind him] a vase.”

Et in Acadia ego indeed.