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.