A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Both good and poor sportsmanship are on display, with the latter getting more airtime. Competition brings out the worst in some players, with insults and backbiting popping up occasionally.
Some mild expletives: "ass," "damn," etc.
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Products & Purchases
Design, like fashion and fine food, is an elite business, and the focus is on luxury goods for wealthy clients. Lots of product tie-ins: GMC cars, LendingTree, Elle Décor magazine, Sleep Number beds, and Todd Oldham's designs.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some brief shots of social drinking in the contestants' dorms.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, like most reality shows, this one makes the most of personal conflict and nasty competitiveness. The designers' personalities range from sweet and ambitious to grumpy and backstabbing. Because the design business is focused on wealthy clients and expensive materials, the show inhabits an elite world. Parents may want to remind kids that most people can't afford the furniture or decorating expenses featured on the show.
Is It Any Good?
As in so many other competitive reality shows, the contestants all live together for the duration of the show, so that not only are viewers privy to their design talents but also to their abilities to create and withstand conflict. Top Design can be thoroughly addicting. Watching the contestants compete in challenges (like designing a room for an unknown celebrity client) is captivating. Viewers watch as the players sketch their ideas, choose furnishings, assemble the pieces, and present their final products to the judges for critique, all within a set time limit. It's all interesting material that offers a peek into a creative and challenging world.
What makes the show less than ideal for younger viewers is the emphasis it places on personal conflict -- and the nastiness that emerges as the competition progresses. While contestants do build camaraderie and show examples of good teamwork, some make disparaging comments about each other, and lots of camera time is spent on personalities that just don't mesh. Older tweens and teens interested in interior design, decorating, and fashion will find a lot to like. But parents may want to preview shows to determine whether the focus on competition and interpersonal drama seems appropriate for their kids.
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