The Realm of The Archon presents:

Ten Thousand Words on One Hundred Grand

A rant on the Trading Spaces $100,000 special

Ground rules: For people coming from my main site who haven't seen Trading Spaces, here's the standard rules.... Two couples (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) swap homes for two days, with the intent to redo a room in each other's houses. A designer (one per home) plans the room, one carpenter does wood-type stuff for both designers, and the host lends an extra (and extra-perky, if you've ever seen Paige Davis) set of hands every so often. The homeowners are the main on-screen labor and the local color.

As evening falls on the first day, the designers leave for the night, but leave behind "Homework", tasks the homeowners must complete before the next day.

At the end of the show, the host chats with each designer while the camera pans around the redone room. This is followed by the reveal.

Just after the chat, the respective couples go back to their homes for the first time in two days and see how their own room (unseen until this point) has changed. This last bit is called 'the reveal'.

Ground hopes: Ideally, the designers do something the homeowners want. Ideally, there are no wars, either. So, most of the designers use the room as a showcase for their egos, their design 'experiments', or proof they need to seek psychological counseling.

Unbalancing the budget: There's also a budget of $1,000 per home. But this one time the game has changed somewhat. The budget is $50,000 per home ($100,000 total, hence the title), and my main worry is that you can buy some pretty freaky stuff for that kind of money. Another change to the rules is that each designer has their own carpenter.

Partners in crime, part one: And in this corner, designer Laurie Hickson Smith (Hickson optional, maiden(?) name), and carpenter Ty Pennington.

Laurie's a sweet Southern redhead, until you see that the sweetness is as superficial as her hair color. She seems to have a deep-seated phobia about blue and green paint, since she pretty much only uses yellow, red, and brown. She never calls them that, though. She dubs them some obscure shade of yellow/red/brown, which somehow makes them not yellow/red/brown. While still reeling from this logic, she'll bury you in toile or some other exorbitant fabric. As a defensive reaction should you ever find yourself cornered by her, sing some Lizzie Borden (anything from Deal with the Devil should do it) or any other metal band with Satan- or even pagan-themed lyrics. I'd think that Falconer's Enter the Glade would work nicely too. It should cause a reaction with her Southern Christian roots and cause her head to explode. Don't worry, no jury will convict you if you show them the swatches she brought along.

(In case you haven't figured it out, Laurie grates upon my soul. I'll be reacting accordingly. My cursor has been dipped in vitriol and is ready to go. If that makes me a jackass, so be it. Speaking of jackasses....)

Ty's a class A jerk, though when you're surrounded by psychos, that can often be a good thing. Bets as to if his jerkiness is scripted, a defensive reaction to his coworkers, or just innate can be placed at booths one and two. As a carpenter, he doesn't have as much command over the dark forces of design as Laurie. So, if he ever corners you, just have a frying pan or something to whack him with.

Partners in crime, part two: And, across the lawn and in the other corner, are designer Doug Wilson and carpenter Amy Wynn Pastor (Wynn non-optional, seems to be part of her first name).

Doug can be interesting, though I haven't seen much of his stuff. (Fate, intermittent viewing, and all that.) However, as long as I'm being vindictive, let me point out his most memorable idea: the "Prison of Love" bedroom. It looked like a prison cell. It had a bench made of toilets. It was one of his high concepts. And I think a person would need to be pretty high to want to sleep in that room for a night. I have fantasies of running Doug over with a zamboni. I don't know why, I just do.

Amy Wynn's the un-Ty. That's all you need to know.

And the Oscar doesn't go to... Ah, Laurie and fifty times the money. Expect fifty times the drama queenery. She'll probably have at least one orgasmically joyous squeal before this is over, probably while fondling fabric. Though, considering how authentic she normally is, she'll probably fake it.

Okay, on to the show....

The battlefield: Plymouth, Massachusetts. Paige (the host) explains this in the intro and follows it up with a loud scream about the money they're spending for this special, "One hundred THOUSAND DOLLARS!" Oh, dear Lord, I get the feeling she's gonna be screaming more than a porn starlet in the next two hours. She also mentions how the homeowners don't know yet that there'll be a $50,000 budget. I also get the feeling she's gonna be saying that a lot in the next ten minutes.

Part of the opening is Laurie and Doug giving decorating advice to some time-shifted Pilgrims. Fortunately, the Pilgrims are only actors, because real Pilgrims would probably have the decorating duo in the pillory with their ears nailed to the wood. Laurie's violating dress codes (circa 1620) and Doug is, let's be honest here, Doug. If they didn't find something to hate after one or two episodes they wouldn't be trying hard enough.

This is followed by a shot of Amy Wynn and another Pilgrim sawing a log with a two-person saw while Ty tries to look busy. Ty suggests a cordless saw. Well, that's kind of what it is already.

The trenches: The room Doug will be abusing is a kitchen/dining-room/living-room combo. Which is, to my eyes, gaudy and cramped. And this stuff is new? Cripes. Homeowners: Tina and James.

Laurie's victim room is a long but not terrible-looking living room. Its main problem is that it looks, well, really really lived-in. But I'm being polite. I don't like it much, either. Homeowners: John and Barbie. (A blonde named Barbie. They're all blondes, aren't they?) They also have dogs, so Barbie doesn't want anything "too fancy", because she has animals. You got Laurie in there, you know that?

I'd drive this car into a wall if it weren't for the other people on the road! Ah, Laurie and Doug go shopping. Laurie, being the wonderful person she is, is backseat driving, saying she knows how to get to Beacon Hill. She follows this up by proclaiming to the first set of ears she sees (an antiques dealer) that Doug's driving is not up to par. She also gets the vapours (at least, that's what it looked like) when telling the dealer that she's responsible for half a hundred grand in cash. Antique dealer immediately tries to sell her everything in arm's reach. He knows his customers, that's for sure.

You've watched this show before... right? Ah, one of the homeowners has already mentioned that she wants to keep her beloved floor. And already I hear both carpenters talking about their Designing Overlords replacing the floor. It's already shaping up to be a regular day at the races.

Decadent: In the process of moral or physical decay. Laurie buys a $2,800 chair and squeals that she's "sooooooooo decadent!" She also mentions that she has carte blanche, "No one to hold me accountable!" for what she does. (Calls up a screencap of the homeowners.) Yep, it's just a regular day at the races, all right.

Ads without the commercials: Only Ty, Amy Wynn, and a camera crew could walk into a Home Depot and get help instantly. Ty, ever the gentleman, asks to be helped find the bathroom.

Ty-dor the Burninator: Ty (who, driving a toy car in another scene, spun out) supposedly blocked the fire lane of the Home Depot he went to. Math time: if the wood he's looking at (and wincing about the price) is $529 per square foot, and there's about 100 square feet in the store, how much will the lawsuit for just that lumber be if the place burns down?

Ad executives. They execute ads. During the commercial, we see Sony Vega ad number one. Remember that.

The Perkinator: Paige explains the rules, and looks to be about to burst before she mentions the $100,000. When she does mention it, there's much excitement and Barbie accuses Paige of being "full of it". If you mean full of perkiness, you're right. Meanwhile, Tina's vocabulary has devolved into "Stop it! Stop it!"

I died in your arms tonight: Laurie, ever the master of the subtle, tells the newly-arrived homeowners that she is "Dying, I am dying for you!" Evidently Tina doesn't want Laurie dead - against the wishes of a few audience members, one would think - because she continues her litany of "Stop it!" in between other, more meaningful, words. Laurie also claims she's shaking, and she holds out her hand and shakes it to prove it. (Holds out hand and shakes it.) Damn, so am I. Hard to type with one hand, though.

Gender mirrors: Both male homeowners seemed reluctant to join their wives in the Big Excited Designer Hug.

Don't they make sauce? Product placement alert: Doug's putting in Pergo floors.

Crooooooooooooooowbar! Tina and James try to pry their neighbor's TV out of an armoire, but it's wedged in tight. Much endeavoring finally frees it of its moorings. My evil side wanted to see them use a crowbar, but they didn't, I guess because it's, you know, a bigass expensive TV. Damn, the destruction quotient will be surprisingly low this episode.

Meanwhile, Doug unloaded some new cabinets. Woo! They'll destroy the old cabinets! No one can use old cabinets! Woo!

Grrr! Hulk angry! Hulk run fingers though hair and sigh and say Hulk is confused! Laurie will, she claims, have a major hissy fit if the carpet is glued. It isn't, so we're saved a song and dance, and instead subjected to a song and dance about putting down maple floors. She's shaking her hands again too, but with both hands. (Tries it.) TYPUNG WITGH NOSE HARDF.L.

Prrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrybar! Mark, Nathan, and John. No, they're not apostles, they're Doug's team of friendly Home Depot Product Placement At-Home Services helpers. Wow, between the extendible pointer stick he's been using to point at things, the name "Operation Sophistication", and his army of builders, he's going to be wearing a general's outfit for the designer chat at the end of the episode. They've also got a pry bar! MANLY DESTRUCTION TIME!

Airhead vs. Gasbox: Laurie (to her vast and abyssal disappointment) can't change the gasbox fireplace, as it would take too long. Given the shoddy-work horror stories you hear from some former Trading Spaces victims homeowners, I wonder at replacing it anyway. I can see the headlines now: "Plymouth obliterated in fireball. Homeland Security hunting Al-Qaeda agent codenamed 'Laurie Smith'."

Drawer Wars: Okay, first the 'Amy Wynn and Ty fight for the router bit tool drawer' gags were funny, but they rapidly got severely creepy. I don't even want to know what the hell's going on with those boxer-short-like abominations Ty whipped out - Is that a thing to make it look like your ass is hanging out? - but I'd like to have words with someone over it. Painful words.

Though I wonder at Amy Wynn's qualifier that this is the first time she and Ty have crossed paths "as carpenters". I'm secretly hoping it means that the next Trading Spaces spinoff will be Trading Spaces: Highlander. You know, Amy Wynn's walking down a dark alley, then there's that weird sound as Ty steps out of the shadows, they have a flashback to this scene, then they pull out swords and try to hack each other's heads off. (If it ever happens, my prayers are with Amy Wynn. Oh, wait, I'm agnostic. Okay, my vitriolic words of hatred are with Ty, then.)

Heeeeeeere we are, born to be kings.... Well, I guess this Amy Wynn vs. Ty arm wrestling is as close as I'm going to get to an epic battle at the end of which there can be only one. Paige breaking it up is hardly epic, as well.

Spank me, I've been a bad bad boy.... Paige took to slapping guys on the ass this episode. First was Ty (though she missed and got him closer to the kidney) when he made a final play for Amy Wynn's tool drawer. It must have been spontaneous, else I'm sure Ty's scriptwriter (he must have one, no model-turned-carpenter could think up this much dialogue) would have put in some cheap-shot comment about enjoying the spanking.

Her second victim was a homeowner, John (who's working with Doug), but she seemed to mean it as encouragement as he walks off camera to do some work. He seemed to take it as encouragement, as I heard an off-camera "Woo-hoo!" just a few seconds after the slap. I presume the delay was John quickly checking to confirm that Paige, not Doug, had slapped him.

I'm so disappointed I want to bust up something! They didn't bust up the cabinets. Paige is as disappointed as I am. Seems that John, not content with getting his home done as he works here, is taking the cabinets for his garage. Aww, boo. Recyclers be DAMNED!

On tonight's Trading Spaces, Ty helps Laurie get in touch with her inner pimp: At least, that's what it looks like as he gives her his pimp-flavah massive "$$$" ring and matching dollar-sign neck weight during their discussion of the new mantle for the fireplace. "Yeah, just cover your wedding ring with that." Evidently he's not trying to make her look like a single madam as much as externalizing her desire to spend and spend and spend. Well, he's on the right track then. I just didn't realize that Laurie's internal desires looked so much like a homey wit' bling-bling. There's got to be therapy for that.

Evidently, the bling-bribe was enough to blank Laurie's mind of good ideas: Ty gets to design the entertainment center. It cantilevers. Sounds interesting. Though, if a new viewer tuned in while he was describing it in detail and how it'll tie into the room, they'd be wondering why the designer's wearing a tool belt and who the woman in the gaudy jewelry is.

Oh captain my captain: Doug's got a war room set up. I tell ya, he's going to be Four-Star General Doug before this is over.

Oh my God, he's got a wall-sized chart. And Paige is calling it brilliant. For Hastur's sake, don't encourage him!

He's also summoned Mark, an electrician, from the misty deep. His army is expanding with each passing minute; before long no mortal will be able to stop his reign. The electrician is going to install lights (recessed fixtures) around the fireplace.

Wait a minute, that's Mark the electrician, John the homeowner, and Mark, Nathan, and John the unrelated three-man Home Depot collective. Man, this is going to get confusing.

No, it's not yellow. It's a dark light off-off-yellow. Laurie first seems to be admitting to the fact that her paint palette is, well, limited. "You know, I try to fool everyone, and it's like... naaaah." Yellow. It's going to be yellow.

"I don't see this color as boring. It's a beautiful rich color and I'm using the wrong tool to try get the can top off with...."

No, you're using the right tool wrong. I can see the lid moving almost an inch off the can on the far side. Since the paint stirrer she's using is just going to get covered in paint anyway, she should just stick it in the can at the boundary between the open part of the lid and the stuck part, and twist.

As she reveals the paint - which is yellow - she fires the first salvo in her regular battle over the exact color. "I know it looks more yellow there" - That's because it is yellow! - "but it dries a really kind of earthen...." An earthen yellow maybe?

James seems to have seen the show before, as he mumbles something that sounds like "It dries...." like he's going to say "It dries yellow." but trails off.

Laurie, undaunted by my muttered insults and James's nebulous comments, continues. "It's called 'Chestertown Buff'."

Sounds like a porn star.

Our Yellow Du Jour has 37 results in Google, it's so popular. Laurie paints some on the blue wall, so we can all see the glory of not-yellow that she's seeing. On the wall, it looks yellow. So yellow, in fact, that even she's forced to admit it. "And on this blue, it's looking really yellow." No, my dear, it's not the blue that's making it yellow, it's the yellow that's making it yellow.

Tina tries to be consoling and compromising. I don't think she's seen much of this show before, then. She says "I think Barbie wanted yellow. I mean, we can say yellow, okay? We can say buff, but it's yellow."

But Laurie's not done yet, no sir. After closing her eyes (to avoid the damning yellow evidence, I presume) and tensing up like she's just stepped into something disgusting, she says "No, but it's not yellow! Eeeee!* Let me go get the swatch; this is gonna drive me crazy, it's not y'all."

(*To translate that "Eeee!" into written English: That's "Eeee!" as in "Eeee! This is unpleasant!" not "Eeee! A MOUSE!" or "Eeee! We're finished!" A bad, but not scary, eeee.)

Tina, getting sick of Laurie's avoidance of the painting (and the writing) on the wall, points at the yellow and says "Laurie, yellow." as if she was introducing them to each other.

I'm thinking they're going to need to add a tenth circle to Hell just to accommodate the bad Trading Spaces designers.

Another one! Doug has hired an "artisan" named Ron. Doug explains how he hires art groups to do artistic work for all his high end clients. I'm sure that will put Barbie at ease, once she goes home and learns that Laurie hasn't hired anyone so far and is burning time arguing about yellow. Speaking of which....

And another one of these too.... For every hired hand Doug summons, Laurie has an insistence that it's not frickin' yellow. (Not that she'd ever use such words herself, no....)

Paige has appeared to echo Laurie's sentiment that it that it needs two coats. However, Paige says they need it just to make sure it's really, surprise surprise, yellow. I wonder at the fine precision with which Laurie reaches the end of the sentence "It's Chestertown Buff, it is not..." just as Paige chimes in with "And it looks..." so Paige and the homeowners' shout of "Yellow!" simultaneously drowns out Laurie and ends her sentence.

Laurie, in response, throws a miniature foot-stamping tantrum. "No it's not, it's BUFF!" She follows this with a giggle, which reminds me of a Usenet troll who follows a flame with a smiley face, so you can never quite tell if he's insulting or just tactless.

I do hope her one-year-old son Gibson is watching, he'll learn some great tips for being a brat just by watching Mommy! Then we'll see a toddler strong enough to hoist his mother with her own petard.

Ahhh! Prison of love flashback! No, it's not quite brown-gray enough, but Ron explains they'll be putting a blue-gray plasterish/paintish product on the walls, which will then be speckled with the same stuff to make a textured wall. Doug does the first coat (using a roller), then Barbie does the speckling (using a brush). The speckling looks nice.

Paige fault: Laurie seems to have conveniently forgotten that $1000 of her budget (she thankfully has $1500 left, I was so nervous) is going to Paige, to take a homeowner shopping for the "Paige Gift", an item of the homeowner's choice that the designer will have to use in the room. My suggestion to Tina and James: $1000 of vivid green paint, or one of the other colors Laurie can not use as a main point of her designs. Oh, and a can of stock-standard yellow, just for comparison purposes.

Laurie, feeling the money slipping out of her fingers, bites her finger in thought about how to spend her last $500 before Paige grabs it. Apparently, Paige already has some ideas about where to take the homeowners shopping. She says it's to Laurie's liking. Laurie ain't buying it.

Where's the red-hot eye poker? Or the cyanide? The going-to-commercial bumper was a shot of Ty smothering Amy Wynn with the creepy boxer shorts. In the immortal words of A.K. Swift: "Watch me vomit!"

Speaking of vomiting.... Sony Vega ad number two. Remember that.

Oh, and doesn't the ditty in the background of the "E-Bay bidding" Earthlink ad sound like the Moon Patrol theme?

The Howling: Tina and James talk about how lucky their neighbors are to be scoring all-new furniture. (And your old cabinets, sister.) Tina, however, mentions that they have a big ol' "Marmaduke" dog (That's the kind of animals they have?) that was allowed on the old furniture. Oh, I'm sure that $2,800 chair is going to have high resale value when, instead of something like Laurie's dainty little hips, it's going to have a giant mass of slobbering dogflesh parked on it. And don't forget whatever fabric Laurie's got in mind for this room.... James wants to sink their $1000 gift into a good gate.

Meanwhile, Paige springs her Paige Gift on John and Barbie. I notice she doesn't stress the "Has to use it in the room." thing. Or indeed, even have Doug around.

Ty vs. Ty: A shot of Amy Wynn. Something sails in from off-camera and hits her, eliciting an "Ow! That one hurt!". I was sure it was Ty, but instead it's Doug proving he can be a bastard, too.

Doug is getting Amy Wynn to make a table. The table of her dreams. Dougie boy, the table of her dreams is prefab. Though she does caress that wood really lovingly. Hordes of men watching want to be that wood.

The table will be six by three in mahogany and maple. Amy Wynn promises to have the building of it done tonight, so it can be finished up tomorrow - evidently the crew doesn't have the planer needed to tackle the job.

Doug's army of teamsters vs. Laurie's seamster: Finally, Laurie's first sign of hired help, Daniel, appears. Or, more accurately, Laurie drags Tina into the dank basement-cum-sweatshop where she's trapped the poor man. He's a "professional 'stitcher', is what the correct lingo is for a man". So, what is it for a woman? A stitchress? A stitchrix? A stitchrice? Or could it possibly be a 'stitcher' as well? It all sounded like she was stressing that he was a man. He's a man, we could tell, he looks like one, he can sew, big deal, let's move on.

Tina has been taken into the dungeons so she can iron.

Appliances are better than entertainment: Doug speaks to the homeowners about their Paige gift. They're leaning more towards home entertainment, surround sound, etc. Doug is steering them towards kitchen appliances. Did the man not budget for them, or what...?

Dougby and Pokey: Doug is still tapping and poking at things with his little pointer, from Amy Wynn's wood to the cabinets. He's also demanding to be saluted by his Home Depot charges, now.

One of the Home Depot people, who I'm calling MarkNathanorJohn, mentions (at Doug's repeated proddings for a realistic ETA on getting the cabinets done) that it'll be a few hours "as long as we don't have any more interruptions".

Doug asks MarkNathanorJohn if he's implying that Doug is an interruption. MarkNathanorJohn denies it, but homeowner John turns quisling and says that MarkNathanorJohn is indeed implying that. Looks like John's jockeying for the position of Trusted Lieutenant.

So Laurie carries a headshot of Doug with her wherever she goes? Well, at least it's not a headshot of Frank.... Laurie is hiding her face behind a monochrome headshot of Doug (very attractive picture, I must admit, in that noncommittal guy way of admitting another guy looks hunky). She's doing this as part of a complex and entirely nonscripted subterfuge focusing on stealing Doug's electrician away to do her electrics work.

The gag, while tired, isn't as bad as it sounds because this is all shot via the Paige Cam. Laurie, who usually looks at least kind of cute, tends to look like a fish on the Paige Cam. For most of this Paige Cam moment, we can't see her face.

Think of all the unborn nuts that died for this mantle! Ty has busted out a new walnut wood mantle for Laurie (from a photo of a similar mantle). Laurie says that, despite the haste, it's the most beautiful thing she's ever seen. Well, use good wood instead of MDF, that happens.

Also, working with the Banyan logo looming over him probably reminds him of his evil corporate masters. You do not displease the evil corporate masters, for they are subtle and quick to downsize.

I, for one, welcome my evil corporate masters! It's the damn general they appointed I have problems with: Amy Wynn speaks to the Paige Cam for a moment on how, despite only working on one house, it feels like four because of all that's going on. She also fondles the wood again. Mahogany. I'd fondle it too.

Doug seems to have strange ideas. Doug wants to stain the mahogany black. I know nothing about wood, but Amy Wynn (getting stressed over the whole affair) sounds like she's on the right track when she explains the following: Doug wants the wood dark, but doesn't seem to be thinking that finishing it is going to darken it to begin with. Staining it in addition is just going to make it look like they painted it black. The wood grain will be lost in the blackness.

Doug's ears don't seem to be burning red during this: He's with his electrician as the fellow installs the last of the halogen ceiling lights. Doug plays with the dimmer a bit.

Maybe he can sense the approach of immortals: Ty, sensing James's approach, turns and greets him without any obvious cues that James should be there. For his next trick, he gets James to saw a piece of wood.

Ty then goes on to show Laurie his sketchbook page devoted to the cocktail table he's doing. I'm glad that the camera angle allows us to see inside the sketchbook and confirm it's a picture of a table: Laurie gasps with such intensity at the sketch that, if we couldn't see it, we might wonder what else Ty's been sketching.

Appliances are better than entertainment redux: So this is why Doug doesn't want his people spending their $1,000 Paige Gift money on entertainment. There's a Sony Vega 42 inch plasma TV sitting in a trailer outside. Surround sound, computer that is integrated with the whole mess if Doug is to be believed, the whole shebang. How good's the security on these shoots, and any idea if they're doing another $100,000 episode?

John's thought on the boxes of expensive technology? "Good thing this is going to James, 'cause I wouldn't be able to figure it out." (Blink. Blink.) Come ON! You're a guy! TV-related toys and the obtaining thereof are a point of honor for most men! You should be on your knees praying for one of these things! You sissy!

Of course, I wouldn't want one either, I'd rather a bigass monitor for my 3.06 GHz Pentium box, but I admit my sissiness. And my geekiness.

This promo of sorts was, all in all, a convenient way to do an in-show Sony Vega plug to match the ones we've seen twice so far in the ad blocks.

In unrelated news, apparently John "won the coin toss" (which was also off-camera... hmm) and is going out with Paige to hunt down the elusive Paige Gift. Barbie is disappointed that she has to stay home while her husband gets to go out with Paige. Good thing she missed the ass-slapping and the "Woo-hoo!" a while back, else she'd be more than just disappointed. I also notice that John is not so worried about his wife staying home with Doug and all these burly Home Depot construction workers. Oh ye of much faith.

Add an ad rant: I don't like screaming babies in ads. But this Stainmaster Carpet one really gets me: Daddy puts his incessantly screaming baby on the carpeted floor while he grabs a stuffed animal. Baby falls asleep instantly. As they plug the comfort of the carpet, a disclaimer fades in at the bottom of the screen: "It is recommended babies not sleep on their stomachs."

As someone watching with me said: "It is recommended babies not sleep on their stomachs, but this one isn't ours so we don't give a damn."

Zoooom! The show roars back with a shot of Ty driving a souped-up golf cart, shouting to female pedestrians*, and passing a van reading "The (Something) of Mark Connolly".

(*The sound has been muted for the musical back-from-commercial sting, so I don't know what he says.)

Kid in a candy shop time: Laurie's so happy about something that she has both James and a camera crew in tow as she approaches it. It's a truck.

In the truck is furniture.

And on the furniture is... fabric! Laurie expresses her love for the fabric, and begins caressing the first piece visible through the shipping plastic.

She continues by giving a plug to the furniture maker and explaining how she chose the fabric for the furniture. (Of course she wouldn't accept stock upholstering!) She lovingly details, with appropriate closeups, how the yellow in one piece ties in to the yellow of another piece.

Question: Why are these two pieces of furniture covered in pale yellow and yellow/acid green stripes, when the walls are, by Laurie's insistence, not yellow at all? Why are the chairs not Chestertown Buff? Or camel? Or any of one of Laurie's odd paint names? Why? Because she loses herself in the description of the fabric and doesn't catch herself using the forbidden word.... YELLOW!

The prices she quotes, at James' request? $4900 for the sofa, $4200 for the love seat, $3900ish for a chair, and somewhere between $1600 and $2600 (Laurie's lost count) each for two other chairs. Custom fabrics have their price.

Doug abuses the peons and appeases his masters: During Laurie's furniture lovefest, we cut away for the following bits:

1) Amy Wynn shows her progress on the table to Doug. They argue about the completion time, ending with Amy Wynn's "Fifteen (minutes) AND YOU'RE NOT STAINING IT!"

2) Doug and his pointing stick meet with MarkNathanorJohn. MarkNathanorJohn explains how they're installing the new cabinets and how he just, because he's a nice guy, knocked together a piece of conduit so a floor vent that was useless under the old floor cupboards will now redirect out into the kitchen. Doug says how much he loves MarkNathanorJohn's work. The gods of Home Depot smile and nod and see it is good. They promise to give Doug another slave to push around.

3) Amy Wynn shows Barbie how to do mitered edges with a chop saw.

Get moving or I'll plant another one on your ass! Paige and her slapping pal John are off to blow $1000. And they're off in a stretch limo. Paige notices that John seems nonchalant about the limo and the $1000 cash Paige is brandishing. Of course he is, he's got Paige in the backseat with him and he's therefore automatically kicked into "suave" mode. I mean, Paige in the backseat of a limo with lots of cameras, what more could a guy want?

For the rest of this shopping trip, I'm calling John "Spanky".

Ty shows more of his sketchings to women: Tina's learning about the table that makes Laurie gasp. Tina, in contrast, is gasp-free.

Meanwhile, Barbie's not an apt pupil at Amy Wynn's chop saw. The blade stops halfway through a piece of wood and the machine starts screaming like a banshee with its leg in a bear trap. Amy Wynn has Barbie stop and explains what happens when you put too much force on the handle. Barbie, supposedly wiser for the lesson, then starts up again and the screeching starts again. Reacting to the "too much force" screeching, she puts both hands on the handle and starts using twice as much force as before. Now commences Amy Wynn shouting "TURNITOFFTURNITOFFTURNITOFF!" over the blade's unholy rasp. The blade off, she calmly (I don't know how) says "You've got my saw a little angry."

Well, the saw might be angry, but I don't think it's the saw that's probably seeing visions of twisting this Barbie doll's head until it comes off.

Ty packs his wood and Tina into a vehicle to go on a quest for heavier hardware facilities.

Guy doing gal things: Shh, it's a Best Buy. Shhhh! Paige and Spanky arrive at a Best Buy, a fact that is only apparent if you see the reflected logo and the occasional in-store sign. I'm guessing they didn't pay enough ad dollars.

Now, we see Spanky's fantasies about going out with Paige dashed hopelessly against the rocks of reality. While she is a woman, and he a man, there's still something separating them: She's a woman, and he's a man. A woman and a man who are shopping. Paige starts to mull over the relative benefits between a toaster and a toaster-oven, while Spanky just wants to grab the first thing that looks like a toaster and go. Paige, being the good hostess, gives in easier than any self-respecting woman ever should.

Gal doing guy things: She's out with Ty. Shhhh! While on their field trip to the Magic Land of Big Routers, Ty - referring to himself in the third person - corrects Tina's misconceptions of a high-tech router, which he claims is not so much like a "funky saw" (in Tina's words) as it is like the Terminator.

Insert your California recall joke here.

However, Ty quickly defers to the Keeper of the Router for more complex info. In this the Keeper fails, basically regurgitating Ty's words but with more jargon and less action movie references.

Guy doing gal things, part 2: It's a bust. And stop looking at Paige's! Paige declares the shopping trip "a bust". Now we know Best Buy didn't pay much. But Spanky has an idea! A Playstation for the kids! Imagine playing that on the bigscreen TV! Paige says, "Oh, dude, you are thinking!"

What he hasn't thought of is that there's going to be a holy war over that TV when the parents want to watch cable and the kids want to play Crash Bandicoot.

Gal doing guy things, part 2: What-what-WHAT? Ty discusses something with Tina over the router noise. It sounds to me like "I feel the goowa bafudgeit! 'Cuz I fava mudgeit! Az az a beautiful thing!"

Tina responds with "Take a walk down to my house next!"

I think Ty's talking about how you can make beautiful things with a large budget.

Nepotism! Doug has hired an old coworker (well, an old manager, I think - Doug used to work in his shop) named Chris to help Amy Wynn do some wainscoting work. Doug kisses Amy Wynn to accelerate the work. Chris declines a similar boon.

That's a lovely wainscoat: So, of two pronunciations of 'wainscoting' I found in all the dictionaries I checked and one I found only in a few, they went for the rarer one. Okay, fine.

I hear "Postal 2" is really good. Let's get that. Ah, the wonders of choosing a game to go with the PS2. After Paige and her pal show their incompetence at playing, Spanky grabs a game and says "This looks like a kid's game." An incredibly scientific way to do it, compared to, say, the rating. Paige says it looks more like a kid's game than, say, (Paige grabs semirandom title) "this". Some rewinding and fastforwarding later and I realized it was Everquest! Bwa-ha-ha! A great plug for the Evercrack Elven Princess and her twin Boobs of Fanboy Attraction +5!

Paige, happy about their reasoned choice of game, lets out a scream. No doubt the other customers, who I'm sure are even now being held in the far side of the store by TLC security goons, were happy to hear her whoop of ecstasy.

Lil' Miss Eloi visits her pet Morlock: Laurie gasps, either because her basement stitcher has finished the gold table skirts he was doing, or because the Paige whoop in the last scene deafened her. "Oh, it's so great!" Definitely the skirt, then.

Seeing one finished, with yellow-gold topper fabric, elicits a further half-moaned "Oh, that's lovely." I said it, there's an orgasmically joyous squeal coming up.

Are they wearing seatbelts? With 770 dollars left after buying the PS2 - It was only $230 after taxes, with a game? - Paige and Spanky discuss their next stop. Spanky, clearly trying to recall the line from memory, says: "What about Home Depot has a... a... home store!* Home STYLE... store! And it's all high-end appliances... uh, or hi-high-end** things for your house." He then adds a hastily-mumbled, "We can go there."

*Paige quietly starts to prompt him before he catches himself.

**He gives the PS2 box he's holding a slap to emphasize his point - or his frustration - here.

Poor Spanky, Paige is making you work for your new cabinets. In all fairness, though, Paige's angst-ridden look, supposedly as she was weighing advantages of the 20 minute one-way trip to the Home Depot store, followed by a desperate "STEP ON IT!" to the limo driver, was only nominally more authentic and far more annoying than Spanky's hack job on the Home Depot line.

In another dimension, Doug pushes "Barbie Doll" into some sewing, so she "steps on it" and zips through about $5 of the 75-dollar-a-yard silk curtains in an instant. Doug admonishes her and speaks menacingly of messing up 300 dollars in silk. Now all Barb has to do is tick off Paige and she'll have aggravated the entire holy trinity of Designer, Carpenter, and the Perky Host. Poor girl, television life isn't treating her well at all.

Though, if Doug's using 75-dollar-a-yard silk for drapes, what's Laurie going to do to trump him? $200 per yard?

And another thought: If Doug's so worried about the silk, why's he drinking right over it?

Meanwhile, with the competent female homeowner.... Ty, now back at the house, takes a break from the cocktail table of routing wonders to show Tina how his master plan on the shelving system goes. After much moaning and groaning, he fits the entertainment center shelving system into place on the future wall mount. They don't exactly slide as much as they can be yanked out of place and stuck into a slightly different horizontal position. But hey, better to have a snug fit than to have all your CDs fall out of the shelf. He also called down the routing magic on the shelving system, to make fine horizontal grooves into which CD jewel cases fit.

Tina reiterates her desire to get Ty in her house. Then he says "Are you crazy? There's no room for me over there!" Oh, great. Now Tina knows about the Legions of Doug ravaging the land while she was locked in the basement with a stitcher.

I went to the World Expo in Montreal. It was way cooler than this. Paige and Spanky pull up in front of the Expo Design Center. I thought they had the wrong place until I saw the relatively tiny writing "A Home Depot Company" under the name.

Between his manly shopping technique and his admitted lack of technology skill, he goes for the blender that, as Paige says, just has an on and off switch. My blender's older than I am and it has more features than that.

We now pause for a break from the Spank & Mindy show.

Back home, Barbie is angry (heh heh) that Paige and Spanky are off having fun. Doug turns the screws a bit about the money, the limo, Paige.... Hey, I'd rather him off in a limo with Paige and a thousand dollars than him off alone in a limo with a thousand dollars. Paige is not a woman now, she's a woman who's shopping. Whole 'nother being right there. She's about as sexy as a dead fish to an average guy right now.

Doug turns the screws a bit more, invoking the work "perky". Because you know that every screaming tryst is described as "perky". Spanky is doing all the homework tonight. Bad, bad Spanky.

We now end our pause.

Paige, showing her perkiness, attempts to buy much of the store before realizing her budget won't hold. She screams a bit too. I hope Barb didn't hear that.

After the commercial, and with darkness lurking outside the windows, they arrive home. Doug struggles with the video game title "Jak and Daxter", renaming it "Jak and Dax. Ter." Barb hopes they have more than that.

Paige: "OF COURSE WE HAVE MORE THAN THAT!" I was hoping she'd say they blew it all on champagne, a hot tub, and some strippers. But it's a family show. Not that Paige dresses all that much heavier than the Everquest babe. (Though Paige has never been chained to an altar, much to the dismay of some of the fanbase.)

Doug seems to be expecting more than six(ish) boxes. When there isn't, he falls back into diplomat mode and says "Well, that's a lot! Cool-cool-cool-cool."

Paige is $68 under budget, by the way.

It's sunny again! Ty drives out to see Amy Wynn. He uses, of course, his super golf cart. He almost goes into the same spin he did with a toy car at the top of the episode. Amy Wynn has enough faith not to dive for cover, the fool. The two carpenters commiserate about their workloads and exalt at the Real Wood they're using. Amy Wynn explains Doug's desire to abuse the mahogany with ebony stain. Ty, being Ty, says "Ebony and mahogany? Ain't that a song?" Sadly, Amy Wynn doesn't belt-sand his face off.

It's dark again? Paige announces the fading daylight, which has started to fade after its brief stint of being dark, then light again. The second-shift Home Depot people are putting Doug's floor in. He berates Spanky - sorry, "John" - for being out all day with Paige.

Laurie shows off her maple floors. Cinnamon-colored maple floors. Brown, who'da thunk it? Though it does look nice.

Homework: General Doug's two conscripted grunts will be painting the ceiling while the Home Depot hirelings do the floor. That strikes me as a dance and a half, unless everyone learns how to wall-walk.

Laurie wants her people to install the floor. Oh, wait, she's just kidding! A four-person Home Depot crew are doing the floor. In reality, the homeowners need to polyurethane the wall-shelf thingy and paint the molding for the room.

Paige confronts Doug on the wood staining. He refuses to discuss it, for he is the General. Except he can't tell the difference between home and Home Depot anymore. Paige says they're both delirious. The legions are probably considering relieving him of command. Doug obviously hasn't discovered the trick of mainlining some caffeine crystals. If it doesn't kill you, you'll stay up for weeks! Oh, and father mutant children.

Paige also uses the super golf cart to drive Laurie home, or to whatever temporary domicile is serving the role thereof. When Laurie lists the day's achievements, Paige responds with "No! Get out!" and stops the cart. Laurie finishes talking and gets out of the cart. Wow, I didn't think Paige really meant that figure of speech literally. Abandoning Laurie in the middle of nowhere with nothing but a camera crew, floodlights, and whatever transportation the camera crew's using? How will she ever get home? What a heartless bitch.

No-drip paint roller: Barbie and John discuss the painted ceiling. They have faith in Doug, even though they think it's weird to paint a ceiling. Woah, that's saying something. It's saying something else that John's using a clean white roller to paint the ceiling gray. Tiring of this feat, he also helps install the crown molding.

The son of Appliances are better than entertainment: Paige, with an umbrella and in different clothing from the day's filming, springs the free TV/speakers/etc. thing on James and Tina. Wow, I guess self-confessed tech-illiterate John is getting a fancy-schmancy TV as well.

Paige calls Tina "Dude!" but forgets that the Dell Dude and his ilk made that bit of vernacular gender-neutral. She says "I just called you both dudes! I am delirious!"

Maybe we should relieve her of command. I know this guy named Joe who's got hosting experience.

Paige then springs the computer surprise as well. Tina responds with "Cut the s---!" and is wise enough to realize that she's going to be getting similar surprises. James, after Paige leaves, suggests asking for even more stuff, since everything they've thought of so far has been included. Ah, wise homeowner wants to milk this for all it's worth.

Day 2. Well, Day 1.9999: Doug, in more informal duds as well, gets to lug the still-perky and still-informally-dressed Paige into the half-finished room (at 2 AM) to check the paint job. He sees spots on the ceiling. I think he's just seeing spots, period. He sends Paige home for her beauty sleep. Maybe he is seeing spots and thinks she's got acne or something.

Barbie says that Paige doesn't need beauty sleep. Doug kisses Paige on the cheek. Paige says, dreamily - because she's about to fall asleep - "I feel more beautiful already!" and leaves.

First Amy Wynn, now Paige. My God, I'm getting jealous of Doug. Someone shoot me.

Over at Casa Del Maple Floor, one of the friendly hardworking Home Depot people (who work all night on things for everyone, I'm sure) semi-jokingly decides to take a five hour coffee break. His head's probably on a pike at Home Depot's corporate HQ right now.

Paige, feeling somewhat useless with the pile of trained professionals around, finally goes home. Her meandering speech makes me think the left side of her brain (or her scriptwriter) has already gone to sleep.

Whatever she's taking, I want some. Paige, inhumanly perky as ever, shows up after 3 hours of sleep to start Day 2 proper.

Laurie, upon seeing the floors, sits down on them and starts.... What? Oh, no, don't do the splits. Don't do them, don't do them don'tdothem don'tdothemdon'tdothem ARRRRRRRGH! Well, not quite the splits, but whatever it was, it was neither ladylike nor within my range of comfort. Fortunately, the marble fireplace isn't large enough for her to sprawl on.

Doug finds his charges looking at some electronics and the instruction manuals of said electronics. John claims there's no English instructions, only French. You know he just burned the English ones so he wouldn't get stuck having to read them and put the stuff together.

Jester romances: Now that Doug's army has apparently left and is wantonly redecorating the countryside, I'd like to entertain you with a bit of purple prose.

She, with gentle and adoring touch, caressed her one true love. She recited her love's virtues in detail, for all to hear. She took this symbol of perfection into her arms and proclaimed with a breathy voice that "This, this is drapery."

Yep, Laurie's drapes have arrived. And I defy anyone to write a more accurate description of Laurie's behavior in this scene.

Oh, by the way, this scene also introduces Greg, the second of Laurie's fabric wranglers - compared to Doug's, say, none - one she probably had in an outsourced dungeon.

As her newest (and only second, not counting the floor labor) indentured slave hangs the drapes, Laurie lays some carpet, custom cut by a firm in her adopted home town. It looks faintly like a large Tetris piece.

Doug's timing is way off. Maybe he needs a new belt. Doug is actually seeking Barbie and John's okay for something. Seems that he doesn't like the tile on the fireplace and would like to put some marble up. Considering that he inpergonated the tile floor against the homeowner's previous wishes, I don't think he should start seeking permissions at this late stage.

Nice legs. Amy Wynn's working on the table legs. Paige has turned traitor and is saying staining the table won't be so bad. Perhaps General Doug threatened to have her shot...

... and probably with the nail gun he's using to nail the wainscoting onto the wall.

We love Greg. We want to give Greg a medal. As Laurie's giving one of her trademark Speeches About Things She Doesn't Know Much About, she says "The pleat up top - he did the pinched pleat because...."

Greg interrupts her. "Gathered."

Laurie responds with a sideways glance and a terse "Thank you." before continuing her lecture on how the drapes have gathered pleats to make them contemporary and informal. She ends with, "So these are real relaxed" - suddenly she speeds up her speech - "Italian-silk-drapery-that-cost-six-thousand-dollars!" She also twitches like she's fighting a desire to do the Funky Chicken.

Just because he doesn't remember it doesn't mean he won't miss it! Doug, Paige, and Barbie sit on the floor and start unwrapping the various kitcheny accouterments Doug bought. So many he's lost track of what he bought.

Paige, perhaps still a little mentally fried after only 3 hours of sleep, starts playing with some contraption that looks like wooden spoons tied together at their middle. Not garnering enough attention with this, she grabs a bowl and inverts it, not noticing that there was something inside. The net effect of this is that she dumps one tissue-covered and possibly-fragile object onto another possibly-fragile object.

Doug has the horror-followed-by-a-short-tempered-scolding reaction you'd expect of someone in his shoes. Then Barbie pipes up and says, in a tone I haven't heard since my last encounter with an elementary school tattle-tale, "She's just trying to get you over budget. She's gonna break it!"

Ladies and gentlemen, we have the hat trick. First Amy Wynn with the saw, then Doug with the sewing machine, now Paige with the accessories. She has put in a solid attempt at ticking all three of them off.

As it was, the dropped object was just wooden bowls and nothing else seemed damaged.

Just a bit more fabric... Laurie's got Tina and James working on reupholstering kitchen-type chairs. She tries to freak Tina by acting like Tina staple-gunned her finger.

Wait 'til you get back to your house and see the drapes. You'll have an embolism! Doug shows the difference between a $1,500 high-end lamp that he got from someone in the same building as his art studio and a $65 thrift-shop purchase. Not much, the way he's talking. I guess he doesn't want to buy from that person again.... Barbie gasps at the $1,500 price tag.

Paige and Barbie prefer the expensive one. Just on the color, I have to agree. Though $1,435 seems like a big markup just for the difference between icky mustard yellow and sky blue. Oh, and don't forget the expensive one's teardrop upper half, compared to the other one's cylindrical upper half. And the jangly things.

Doug has kept at least one of his legion for the second day: The artisan named Ron who's painting some plasterish modern-art thingy on the wall.

Flee from the market: Laurie shows off her mass of accessories. Tina says it looks like a flea market. Laurie says it's far more expensive than a flea market. Yeah, but it still looks like a flea market. Laurie: A $100 tchotchke is still a tchotchke.

As if in response to this, she whips out a 19th century sunburst Italian mirror. Tina asks how old it is. Laurie instead tells Tina when she thinks it was made. "It's probably late, late 1800s. Like 1890, probably turn-of-the-century."

Excuse me, but if it was turn-of-the-century wouldn't it be a 20th century sunburst Italian mirror?

James, as he's done all episode, notably with the chairs, allows Laurie her big moment: He asks the price. About $1800. Man, she likes that number. Dates, prices, if it's not in the 1800 range it's not worth it. The inclusion of fabric, of course, requires an incidental 500% markup.

You've never asked for one before, why start now? Doug decides, once the countertop is in, to take the unprecedented move of asking someone (namely, Barbie) for an opinion. She doesn't like it. Surprise!

Though, for once, I agree with Barbie completely. A pattern (marble, granite, etc.) would look better than solid white.

Doug, performing another marvel in a day already full of wonders, explains his reasoning: "In order for me to put a quality countertop in here and not go with a laminate, the only thing available is Corian Glacier White."

So, was this a cost issue, an inventory issue, what?

"Give it a chance, because what's going to happen is, by the things you put on the countertops and accessorizing it, and we throw in pops of color, it's all gonna work. And, and, it's gonna... we'll put some life into this place, okay? I think in the end you're gonna like it."

I translated that as saying "It might be a pig, but we haven't put the lipstick on it yet." Whatever you put on it, it's still gonna be a stark white countertop. You can't bury it all!

Geometry for rank beginners: Ty moves bits of the cocktail table around semi-purposelessly as Laurie looks on. Ty seems to be going for a cube.

No spanking, so we'll pop some bubble paper. Paige, cruelly snuffing out bubble paper bubbles, declares that the time has come for Tina and James to begin the elusive Paige Gift hunt. Tina and James want to get a whole home entertainment library. Paige seems unimpressed.

Tina wins the onscreen coin toss and will be off on the hunt. Damn, no cheap sex jokes this time.

Happiness is a warm gun. Give one to Doug. No, wait, give it to ME! The place that Amy Wynn took her magnum opus, the mahogany table, to be sanded, took over 3/8 of an inch - almost A HALF AN INCH - off the table, so now the nails that she punched into the bottom of the table are showing through the top. Doug wants names and addresses of the perpetrators. At least, until Amy Wynn points out that she needs to tap in all the nails, leaving an ugly pattern. After that, Doug just says they won't see it after he stains it.

Yeah, except there's still a bunch of nails sticking out the bottom of the table! I want Doug's name and address, then. Oh, wait, I have his name.

Also, because abusing the mahogany with stain wasn't bad enough, he has to rush-job it and stain the maple along with the mahogany, something Amy Wynn can't guess at the outcome of. Doug admits that he doesn't know either. Amy Wynn looks about as ticked off as I would be if I spent two days on something and had someone come along and want to screw around with it in ways even HE doesn't understand.

How many butchers did you have to kill for that, then? Members of Doug's army are rubbing butcher's wax on the walls for reasons I fail to understand.

Speed up! Speed up! Make pizza out of the cameraman! The limo from the shopping trip yesterday artfully stops in front of a cameraman who's busy catching Tina's first glimpse of the limo.

Yo, yo, yo! Ty 'State' Pennington is in tha hizzy! Word! The pre-commercial bumper is Ty, confirming my suspicions, in full purple and leopard-print gear, including the bling-bling ring and phat necklace from yesterday. He looks like an extra from Pimps at Sea.

Speaking of whoring.... Sony Vega ad number three, not counting in-show product placement.

Rewind time: What? An ad for the hundred grand show? I'm WATCHING IT! Oh, it's the encore. I idly observe that they had a black limo in the ad, and a white one in-show. I'm also reminded of what a total goddess Amy Wynn is when she's not dressed in butch carpenter gear. Now, we need to see about not dressed, period.

Awwwww. Tina gets all choked up about the wonder of all that's happened.

Gun! I want the freaking gun! Doug, with Barbie at his side because Amy Wynn's probably in the fetal position somewhere, is not happy with the "professional" sanding on the table. The staining has made obvious what looks like abrasion lines from the sanding.

But, unlike Doug, I'm also unhappy with the staining: It looks like someone took a flamethrower to the table.

(Meanwhile, Ty's masterworks, the great-looking shelves and fireplace mantle, are being installed.)

Doug decides to get the stain off the maple, then tape the maple up LIKE HE SHOULD HAVE DONE IN THE FIRST PLACE, restain any unstained mahogany, then oil-rub the whole table.

Doug: I hope Birnam Wood marches to your house and kicks your ass!

Ewwwww. Tina sets Paige up for disaster by using this logic: $1000 divided by $20/CD or DVD = 500 items.

First off, no one in the same universe as the RIAA pays that little for a CD newer than 1995 vintage. DVD's ain't cheap either.

Second, taxes.

Finally, $1000/$20 = 50. Looks like Paige is gonna be the one being told she's gone overbudget for a change.

As they stand at the checkout, Paige (the light going on) imparts this last bit of wisdom on Tina. Paige has a future career in government budget balancing.

Tina asks the cashier if they can start over. The cashier says yes. The cashier is being paid to say yes. Tina says, cryptically, "Only favorites!" So you were going to buy movies that your neighbors hated...?

Hey, it pays better than 'housewife': As the shelves go up and Laurie plans the tchotchke invasion, she asks Ty how they'll ever go back to their real jobs. She hastily adds "of Trading Spaces".

Ty says "Oh! I thought you meant maintenance."

This would be a nice way of firing someone. "It's the best thing you've ever done. Oh, by the way, pick up two weeks' pay and clear out your locker. Security will escort you out."

Woah. Doppelganger moment. Paige speaks to the limo driver briefly, giving him a few seconds on camera to brag to the family with. (Looks.) Woah, man, he looks like an older version of this guy I worked with last year! Same hair and everything! HEY BUDDY! YOU KNOW A GUY NAMED J.C. McLEAN?

MarkNathanorJohn MarkNathanorJohn, who's really Mark, helps put the fridge in. Despite homeowner John doing all the pushing, Doug ignores him to appease the Corporate Gods and proclaim that "The new black is orange!" (Orange as in the Home Depot shirt color.) The Corporate Gods have to have this one explained to them, for they think it's some kind of African-American reference.

Run Laurie over! Run a production assistant over! For God's sake, RUN SOMEONE OVER! Paige and Tina get back, still riding in the limo, as Laurie and James look on. Whereas Laurie's usually wailing while Paige talks of budget overruns, now that the shoe's on the other foot...

... Laurie's still wailing (about time constraints) and Paige is still talking about budget overruns. Some things never change.

Maybe we could get together on weekends and you could take orders...? Guys? Guys? General Doug's army finally disbands. Doug makes some cryptic comments about the marble for the fireplace.

It's universal because it's larger than the universe. Laurie and Paige put a giant painting on the mantle. "It's kind of a universal painting, 'cause it's a landscape, but yet it's got an abstract(?) quality...." I think it overwhelms the fireplace.

Paige uses the phrase "Kick it up a notch." Emeril's gonna kick your ass, Paige. BAM!

General Doug and his last two soldiers are holed up in a tent in Plymouth.... Doug says it's playtime! Whee! Time to move the furniture in!

What? Doug's got one kinky idea of fun.

Holy Hell, she said "Heck"! Laurie discusses missing marble (Oy vey.) and says she knows she didn't put it in her car because it's "heavy as heck". This deserves its own item. Well, no, but I thought of this next headline and couldn't pass it up:

You lost them a long time ago, honey. Oh, it's singular. Never mind. After some fairly muted agonizing (for Laurie) about her lost marble, Ty comes along and reads his lines admirably, 'accidentally' implicating Doug in naughtiness. Paige asks if Laurie's being set up. Laurie says no. Obviously not, since we've tripped past the land of probably-scripted into oh-boy-is-this-fake. Laurie goes on the hunt for Doug.

Doug is outside hiding a tile cutter and tossing marble away from said cutter. Laurie sneaks up behind him - he should borrow some of Ty's magic early warning system mojo - and confronts him. The most memorable part being when Laurie says "You can run, darling, but you can't hide!" That's not memorable, what's memorable is that Doug is bobbing up and down (hiding tile) and yet she seems to keep her eyes locked on where Doug's head would be if he weren't bobbing. Is the cue card guy over there or something?

The Realm of The Archon vs. The Land of Laurie: The bloody battle for supremacy continues. James, unable to play sounding board for Laurie's price-tallying ways, announces that the lamp shades Laurie bought are ninety bucks a pop. Tina says "Well, James, we're living in the Land of Laurie and that's chump change." Best quote all episode.

Laurie slips Doug the tongue: That'll keep you reading. Well, actually, she grabs his face, sticks out her tongue, and makes a raspberry noise. Apt punishment for stealing marble tile, to be sure. But given the amount of saliva that can throw, I think it's close enough to count as an intimate gesture.

Paige, of course, comes along and deflates Laurie's balloon by mentioning the electrician thing. Laurie and Paige run away laughing. Doug is left alone, confused and angry.

When will the hurting stop, Paige?

But that scene was great entertainment. Compared to the Ty/Amy Wynn battle, anyway. Watching Doug nonchalantly toss marble around was a deep and profound experience of high quality that the people of the world should be forced to see for their own benefit.

Quickies: Memorable moments from the final assembly montage:

1) Ty and James hook up the TV, DVD, etc. Except they don't use any cables. They never use any cables on shows like these.

2) Laurie putting the Italian drapes, mirror, and chair all in one convenient place for unity. That, and so Marmaduke can ruin them all with one badly-aimed leap.

Munchies! Ty, ever the gent- oh, used that line before. Ty makes to bust open a bag of chips all over Laurie's springfall-fresh room, all while scuffing the coffee table with his shoes.

Doug, on the other hand, finally hangs the massive lampshade he bought at the top of the episode.

Paige announces that time's up while roaming around alone in the dark with a flashlight. I guess Laurie got her back for that golf cart incident. And if not, I want to find a way to blame Laurie anyway.

The before and afters make one thing obvious: The rooms swapped colors. The kitchen that used to be heavy on yellows and other bright colors is now blue-gray. The blue-gray living room is now yellow. Chestertown Buff, sorry.

Repeated jokes and old puns: Ah, the pre-commercial bumper where Doug's got Laurie slung over his shoulder. If you're expecting some joke about Doug having Laurie all over him, then you're going to be disappointed. Not because I'm above that, I just couldn't think of one to trump the tongue joke.

But is Laurie wearing something under her shirt or is that her unnaturally pale back I'm seeing where her shirt rides up?

Chit-chat time: I'll tell you, after two hours of Laurie in that one outfit, the red sleeveless number she has on for the chat is a welcome change. Man, and I thought I was pale.

Incidentally, Ty's cocktail table is neat. A bit busy for the room, but neat.

Oh, and the price of the fabric for the curtains? $120 per yard. I knew she'd beat Doug. Only way to trump silk is to grab an imported bolt of Italian fabric.

Final budget: $49,300. That lost $700 pains Ms. Smith greatly.

My opinion on the room? Laurie standard, only more fabric-obnoxious. Cluttered. Pieces are, for the most part, nice individually, but the room can't handle 'em all.

The flowers that vanish right at the end of the stop-motion room redo is a nice touch, too.

Reveal? Big deal: Did Barbie look not-terribly-amazed when she first opened her eyes? What part of the room was she looking at?

John notices the TV. He's trying to redeem himself, good boy. Paige takes the opening to explain that Sony donated the TV and related rigging - it wasn't part of the budget. Sure as hell hope they donated the wires too.

Overall reaction: Amazed. Laurie and Ty hid in the kitchen and watched the reveal. Their opinion? Laurie thinks they loved it. Ty's more pragmatic: "Who wouldn't?" I think he means the cash amount spent, not the design itself. But the statement's ambiguous enough that I give him points for rare diplomacy.

Oh, damn, I can't hate him now. Ty's comments to Laurie at the end, during her hand-clasping "I'd do that room over and over again; I wouldn't change a thing." gesturama, were wonderful. He asks, "You wouldn't cut down on a few of the knickknacks?" That and his sarcastic comment on how the room needed "one more piece of furniture" redeemed him. He's back in my good graces, but if it was between him and Amy Wynn, I'd still support her chopping his head off.

Hate transference: On the other hand.... Judging by her "it won't fit" response to the "one more piece of furniture" comment, Laurie didn't notice Ty was being sarcastic. His simple "Oh, I know that." was amazingly diplomatic, more so than my "He's being sarcastic, you brainless mass of Italian-fabric-draped ego!" or something to that effect.

Let's see what he's cookin' up tonight. Today. Just right. The kitchen's nice, except for the countertop. Say what you will, the white cupboards plus the white countertop and the halogen lights is just too much. Something needs to be gray, or something a little less bright and stark. Even white with some pattern.

I just realized that they moved the stove. Man, that's gonna be a hard room for the homeowners to cook in for a while. Oh, and will the silk drapes survive that close to the cooking area?

And while on the subject of drapes, I'd like to put in a vote against drapes that drag on the floor like this. You can not make a drape that drags look good!

The table still has shades of flamethrower abuse, though some magic has converted it from godawful to tolerable.

Four chairs, no couch. None of them pointing at the TV, which is high over the fireplace and you'd need to crane your neck to watch it. Or lie down, which you can't, because there's no couch! Smooth move, Doug. Just had to get one of those "aesthetic" unusability tricks in there. Paige nails it when she says the flatscreen "Looks like artwork up there!" Translation: You didn't want to get artwork, and you didn't know where to put the TV, so you killed two birds with one stone.

Final budget: $50,000 less $28. That's impressive. It would be far more impressive if he'd bought a painting for the fireplace and stuck the TV somewhere else. Like where that "artisan" pal of Doug's was working. Two days and all he did art-wise was three rectangles of paint? What the hell am I missing here?

The living room of the kitchen/living/dining room combo is a bit cramped, which makes me think that Doug does two-and-a-half rooms for Laurie's one.

Reveal? Bigger deal: They like the room. A lot, it seems. Tina notices the kitchen's change in floor plan right away. Paige doesn't seem to (or want to) pick up on it and just keeps talking about the new stuff.

Doug and Amy Wynn like the warm glow of large amounts of money and Real Wood.

Final verdict: I'm not fond of either one, but mostly for usability issues. Though I wasn't fond of them before, they at least looked like you wouldn't come out of them with neck cramps. We'll say okay job because of the low incidence of fatal screwups.

Well.... I do hope you enjoyed these ten thousand plus words, but if you didn't, at least take comfort in my wonder at your reading the whole thing. Goodnight!

Beat a hasty retreat to the main page.
Run along home.

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