Houston: Mulberry Hill Lane

February 12, 2004 AD*

(*Date of rant, not episode. Objects in mirror are uglier than they appear.)

April 11, 2005 AD: Missy - a homeowner from this episode who you will be introduced to in a few paragraphs - has found this page and kindly sent me some feedback on a few of my thoughts. Missy's words are in green italics just on the off chance that you might miss them.

Jumbo and miniature: Andrew Dan-Jumbo (who I last saw being abused by Chayse what's-her-face on While You Were Out) is this week's guest carpenter. Though, this surprise (since I hadn't seen last week's teaser) is nothing compared to the homeowners. It introduces them in one of the space shuttle mockups at Johnson Space Center. And, while the female homeowners are fairly short, something about the angle in this shot makes them look almost dwarfish. The men are saved any gnomish comparisons by the fact that they're seated at the mockup's controls.

Homeowners: David and Michelle and their master bedroom. It's a white, large, plain room with a ceiling fan that's soon to be removed, no doubt.

George and Missy and their master bedroom have a slightly less plain master bedroom. George expects to be satisfied in two days' time. I guess Frank's working on his room, not Hildi.

Paige, being more honest than normal for the key swap, says "You know all those things you wished for and all that stuff... it really doesn't matter."

Secret commercial, take one: Hildi and her typically black wardrobe are using some of the dinkier parts of David's workout equipment as George and Missy arrive.

Hildi's talking about dividing the room into a "seating area" and a bedroom area. Last time she did that was on the Cardboard Nightmare. I'm scared, hold me. She's also talking about the TV looking different when it comes back. She's gonna paint it. I know it.

Meanwhile, Frank uses his own baldness as a cover for commenting on George's baldness. (There's a picture of the now-bald George when he had hair.)

Notice that it's only bald people who can comment on baldness without looking like twits?

During the high-speed room removal, Frank finds a snake (fake or recently-dead, I'm hoping fake) under the bed. The psychosexual implications are staggering.

Monochromatia: Hildi's using a gray wall paint, Frank's using green-gray for the walls. Both are using white for the furniture. The only color for Hildi's room is coming from purple fabric, while Frank's getting his from a sickly brown-gold accent paint. (Getting his what?)

A small argument breaks out over Frank's accent paint: Frank says it's "peanut butter/gold", and you can almost hear the virgule. David says it's brown, and Michelle disagrees with David but doesn't explicitly agree with Frank. Me, I thought peanut butter was brown.

(I'll resist my habit of mentioning Laurie even when she's not on. (Rereads.) Oh, damn.)

David and Michelle completely ignore Frank's comments on what color it is and start a dispute that consists entirely of "George loves brown!" and "George hates brown!"

Frank cuts them off with "Well, it's just gonna be an accent, not a room-filler." Now he seems to be conceding it's brown.

You know, this is not the first time recently I've seen two sets of homeowners who seem to know nothing about their so-called neighbors. Are some people so desperate to get on the show that they're willing to ally themselves with a pair of unknown but equally desperate locals?

Missy writes: We really did/do know each other very well! Our children were best friends for about 4 yrs and we spent many a Friday, Sat & Sunday BBQing and drinking beer and taking road trips to the beach and other near by places.

Random thought: The closed captioning for those Swiffer commercials starts with "Whip It" music plays. Question: If you're deaf, how would you know what "Whip It" sounds like?

Question two: Why am I using the captioning? I'm not deaf. (Answer: Someone's chosen to use the phone while I'm trying to watch, though. Thing is, I get so involved reading the captions that I miss the action.)

Inky-dinky parlez vous? Turns out George is Cuban, meaning he and Hildi have a language in common. This leaves Paige without any sort of snappy retort, since she can't understand the conversation. Man, if only they were talking about her.... Then again, I don't speak Spanish, so maybe they were.

Why they paint in zig-zags: I've never understood why painters on these shows don't do straight vertical lines when painting, since I find that their sweeping (to the point of being zig-zaggy sometimes) grandiose gestures often leaves the wall looking like it was, for lack of a better term, painted patchwork fashion.

But Frank claims the straight up-and-down technique leaves a "running streak", whatever that may be.

International relations: Hildi calls Andrew "Jambo", which is about an inch removed from two different racial slurs that I know of. But I wouldn't be surprised if Hildi was simply oblivious to that concept rather than being outright malicious.

She justifies not calling Andrew by his name by complaining that "Andrew Dan-Jumbo" is too hard to say. She then goes on to recite her full name, "Hilda Maria Santo-Tomas" with such a thick accent that Charo would be flummoxed, claiming that since Andrew doesn't call her that, she shouldn't have to call Andrew by his full name. She seems to forget that no one else calls her by her full name (or even her first name, Hilda) yet she doesn't call Paige "Pinky LeRoo" or something.

Andrew wants to call Hildi "Broom-Hilda". Ooh, that's good. Score one for the visitors!

Oddly enough, Hildi's so desperate that she actually seems to be close to begging for some carpentry projects, including a giant headboard. You'd think if she was that needy for woodwork, she'd be more careful about dissing the guy who's working with the wood.

Just to be flip, I'm using Hildi's full name from here on in. Except with random diacritics.

International relations 2: Frank, unlike Hildá Mariá Sánto-Tomás, seems to like saying Andrew's name.

One of his big projects, a headboard, is composed of picket-fence bits. Looks like Frank's back in the country after his flirting with Bavaria and such recently.

This is Híldà Márîà "never leave an appliance unpainted" Sãñtõ-Tõmãs, you know. Missy tells George that she thinks the white-painted furniture will look cheap. As if on cue, the Designer in Black herself lugs the TV out. I'm not surprised. Missy is, though, since she swears in obvious horror. At least, I think that's why she swore - Hïldå Mãrîä Sãñtø-Tömãs' rapidly failing grip on the TV (And she's bracing the picture tube against her knees! Eeep!) could be another reason. George goes on painting merrily. Missy tells George to take the TV and he finally realizes that |-|1Ld4 |\/|4r14 $4... ah, sod this for a game of soldiers. He finally realizes that Hildi's close to dropping an expensive appliance and springs into action.

The TV safely(?) down on the ground (and painter's tape over the picture tube), Hildi accidentally drops a paintbrush on it.

After Hildi leaves, Missy continues her comments against white, now directed at the TV.

Concepts one does not want even suggested: Hildi needs a sink and a chair. The kitchen might be a good idea, but for some reason Hildi heads for the bathroom. I don't care if the lid's down and she's fully dressed, I don't want to see any designer on this show sitting on a toilet.

Roadkill express: As Frank paints some furniture, he realizes something's nestled under it. Turns out it's the cat. I know there's a niche there for the cat to fit in fine, but just seeing the lower half of an animal sticking out from under a large object is disconcerting.

Frank shows off his Enron budgeting course: His budget apparently straining, Frank finds a mirror that the homeowners had stashed, unused and even wrapped.

Elsewhere Missy and Andrew do some carpentry on the bed they're making, putting an MDF front on the wood base. Missy loves the nailgun, Andrew promises to leave it behind. (Hey, not his show....)

This explains the whole man/power tools thing: Elsewhere from elsewhere, Frank and David are distressing some furniture. Frank sits astride a bench and runs a sander across it, then he gets a smile more distressing than the bench looks.

As if that weren't enough of a trip into the merry land of what turns Frank on, he excitedly tells David to "Try this!" When David reaches for the sander, Frank says "No, get on the bench and do it!" He goes on to talk about the really cool sensation.

David likes the feel of vibrating wood between his legs as well, and says it's "Not even legal!" Frank emphatically agrees.

Man, now I know what that stewardess who walked in on the two pilots undressing felt like.

And, to top it off, the next shot of them is waist-up only, even though a wide two-shot might be better. Not saying that anything weird happened waist-down, it's just that they're not doing anything to dispel the image. Excuse me, I need to go scrub my skin raw. And my brain.

Missy writes: Franks wife Judy was at the set all 3 day (they are local here and it's rare she gets to be there with him) she is beautiful, use to be a runway model. David was taking video for us at our house and caught Judy on tape and asked her to say "Hi" and said something like "this is Judy Frank's wife" and one of the crew steps in and says don't film Judy she hates to be filmed. But Judy pipes in, "That's OK no one ever believes Frank is married anyway" LOL

Oh, you don't know Hilda: Andrew mentions that "Hilda's outdone herself" with the headboard, which will be covering most of one whole wall. If he could see the giant lampshade she's assembling out of flashing, he might not be so quick with handing out comments like that.

Hildi's next step in the amazing giant headboard is installing buttons to make a quilted pattern.

Family-friendly fun. Finally. Frank and Michelle (while David's off riding the barely legal bench, I'd presume) are doing a nice project to showcase the artwork that George and Missy's children have done.

His ears aren't red: Paige comments on Hildi's use of "Jambo". One cut-scene away, Andrew Dan-Jumbo does a nice hidden shelf with Michelle. I love those things. They appeal to my esthetic sensibilities. (Listen to the hypocrite talk about "esthetic sensibilities" when not a yard away there's six wonderful glass shelves held up with strong but ugly stock gray brackets from the home improvement store.)

Shoot her, shoot her now! Time to staple the fabric to the giant headboard. George puts a few staples down carefully, making sure they conform to a regular pattern. Showing that her motto is "Quality is job #26", Hildi takes the gun off him and fires it into the headboard as fast as she can. Since she's not in a good position and too lazy to move, the further she gets from herself the less the staples are lined up. In fact, they look more like they're down in a cissoid pattern than in any straight or regular line. The cameraman doesn't get close enough to confirm this.

Missy writes: I realize Hildi has a reputation but she truly was extremely warm to us. She was very concerned about our welfare and even though she doesn't seem to care if the Home owner will like some wacky project she does she IS very concerned that whatever it is it is done right. She is very much a perfectionist, and wants things done right. As far as the staple gun incident goes, George was being a slow poke, you have to admit and we were under some pretty strict time constraints because it was the end of the day and she still had to go shopping.

Paige is on sale! Paige is on sale! Get your checkbooks, guys! Paige helps David and Michelle paint the headboard fence pickets. David says he's going to have to "sell it" to his neighbors as "bed and breakfast" style.

Paige says "You sold me. I'm trying to think if there was ever a time I've been to a bed and breakfast where it wasn't romantic."

Mmmm. Nothing like a thin-walled bedroom of someone else's house to inflame my passions.

Homework: Hildi can't assign as much homework as she likes, since Andrew has to disassemble said homework - the bed - drag it in, and reassemble it. So, instead, her puppets must prime and paint the window-seat thingy that Andrew did bring in. Get the buttons on the headboard, get the fan down, assemble some furniture Hildi purchased. Is that all?

Hildi's taken to calling Andrew "Jamebo" now, since it's so much easier to pronounce than "Andrew". I want the poor man canonized for having to put up with this.

Frank wants a rug for the room vacuumed, the picket paint-job finished, the cabinet Andrew built painted white with peanut butter doors. (Sounds like a fairy tale. "The white cabinet with peanut butter doors.")

He also wants a ceiling fan put up, so the show has, for once, an even ceiling fan balance sheet.

Day 2: Now it's "Jamboo". Hildi volunteers to help Andrew work on disassembling the bed.

The next Andrew scene features a worried-about-the-time-crunch Frank. As if in vengeance, Andrew stopped working on the bed and went to help Frank. Frank, when he realizes Hildi's in a crunch as big as his, laughs evilly and does a spritely little dance.

White sale: George and Missy are now painting the giant flashing lampshade, seemingly on one of Hildi's whims. Hildi's white paint whims are getting on Missy's nerves.

Once the lampshade goes up, Missy announces she likes it even less than the TV now, since people might bump their head into it. I have to admit, it is obnoxiously large. I understand that's so it'll be in proportion to the headboard, but that just means that the headboard is obnoxiously large.

You're no spring chicken either: David and Frank are assembling a chair. David makes fun of Frank and senior citizen discounts. Frank defends them and David relents, saying "I wish I could eat that cheap!"

Moscow. Where do these people get the money? Hildi, never one to not put her own indelible stamp on a room, is making an art project with pictures she took in Moscow.

The Revenge of Dan-Jumbo. Andrew goes to help Frank again. He's disassembled the bed for Hildi, but he hasn't finished reassembling yet.

Finally, with seeming minutes left, Andrew finally deigns to finish putting Hildi's bed together. It's rush-job painted, so much so that even Hildi gets down and dirty. Er, painty.

Time's up, take two? Paige leaps onto Hildi's bed to announce that time's up. Methinks that wasn't the first take - the commercial bumper features Paige rolling off the bed and clutching her elbow, like her funny bone got hit by something. Well, at least she's laughing about it....

Final analysis: I'm not in love with Frank's room, though it's not bad. I don't like the "peanut-butter" and white furniture, and I'm not much for the rustic look, so the distressed picket-fence headboard is lost on me. I do like the shelves with the hidden supports that are attached to the pickets, though.

I love the quiet elegance of the "gallery" they made for the children's drawings. It's nice, it's changeable at a later date, it's flawless.

The dresser-type piece Andrew built to fit onto the highboy looks nice and fits in well with the furniture of the room. I just hope it's attached firmly. The color scheme - other than that peanut butter affair - is nice as well. Cost: $992.53.

George and Missy like it. Missy's on the verge of tears - the art gallery puts her over. They leave for the other reveal before she gets too teary.

Missy writes: Just wanted to say the colors in my room are actually very nice and you were right on about the artwork my kids did, it is the best in the room.

Speaking of which.... The thing that gets me about Hildi's room is that it looks even starker than before, and it was pretty sparse to begin with. The headboard utterly dominates one wall, the window seat and window treatment commands (to a lesser extent) the opposite wall, but the other two walls seem empty, with just some white picture frames and flimsy white furniture to (unsuccessfully) draw the eye away from the wall. Cost: $983.52.

Hildi's reputation precedes her: Michelle's already swearing before she opens her eyes, and the name "Hildi" seems to invoke another outburst.

When they open their eyes, they both scream and hoot and holler. David loves it, while Michelle just seems glad there's no barnyard materials on the walls. David calls the white TV "Willy Wonka-ish". Everyone hugs, David asks everyone to leave, so he can be alone with either his wife or the sander, I don't know which.

Either way, it's an, er, happy ending.

Go back! Back I say!

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

This site and everything on it are Copyright (C) The Archon 1999 - 2005, unless otherwise noted. So there.
Trading Spaces is owned by these Banyan people, or something. TLC's got something to do with it, too. I don't own those. If I did, I'd shake Andrew Dan-Jumbo's hand. That "Broom-Hilda" comment was great. Images used without permission, so I'm going to Hell.
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