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David Boyd ...
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User Reviews

Surprise by chewing the scenery
4 November 2003 | by (Illinois) – See all my reviews

This is one of a whole slew of home/room/personal redesign shows that populate and repopulate and endlessly re-re-re-re-repopulate cable and satellite channels way, way up the dial. The originals for many of these shows can be found on BBC-America.

Fortunately or not, I've become familiar with all of them at my wife's insistence, and after having seen them for well over a year now, I can actually tell the difference between some of them.

For example, Trading Spaces ginally Changing Rooms, on BBC] is an hour long and is hosted by Paige Page, though she goes by her maiden name: Davis. While You Were Out is guerilla redesign, is also an hour long, and has been hosted by three different people in its two-plus seasons. The highlight of this show was when the second host[ess], Theresa Strasser, was confronted by a combative surprisee, and she claimed to be Paige Davis. Inside humor for The Learning Channel.

Surprise By Design is also a guerilla make-over show, but it has the unique advantage of being only a half hour long. Unfortunately, the producers of this show have felt the need to compensate by doubling the hosts. So while While You Were Out is an hour long with one host, Surprise By Design is a half hour with two hosts. The host/hour density remains the same.

In While You Were Out, the host doesn't pretend to know what he or she is doing, and they bring in a designer from their stable, and the host becomes a gopher, a furniture mover and a painter; in Surprise By Design the hosts are the experts, and in order to get the guerilla redesign accomplished, they pull in a whole cadre of gophers, furniture movers, and painters from among the surprisee's family and friends.

Meanwhile, the hosts -- Robert Verdi and Rebecca Cole -- spend the first twenty-five minutes of every half-hour show trying to impress the gang of imported manual laborers by mugging for the cameras, making stupid jokes, giggling incessantly at each others' stupid jokes and basically annoying the snot out of the viewer with their vapidity. After the final commercial break, the surprisee comes home to find a room full of friends, strangers and television cameras, and Robert and Rebecca spend 45 seconds seriously describing how they did what they did.

The sparse denouement is not worth the oppressing "look at me giggle I host my own cable interior design show giggle giggle everything I say is witty and charming giggle giggle giggle".

For guerilla home makeovers, watch While You Were Out. You'll double your time commitment, but you won't be anywhere near as annoyed after you're done. giggle giggle.

giggle.


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