Ellen's Design Challenge

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Ellen's Design Challenge TV Poster Image
Not enough Ellen in mild furniture design competition.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

It's a competition, but the focus is on artisans creating quality furniture design and function. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some designers are easier to work with than others. 

Violence & Scariness

Mild disagreements sometimes break out between contestants and carpenters. Occasional minor injuries.  

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Wayfair is a show sponsor. HGTV Magazine and other design and furniture logos visible. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Furniture designed for alcohol storage sometimes featured. Wine bottles shown. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ellen's Design Challenge is a reality competition show featuring contestants who design and create furniture pieces to win prize money and a magazine spread. It's mild enough for tweens who are interested in design, but on occasion there are some small disagreements between participants that cause tension. 

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What's the story?

Created by Ellen Degeneres, ELLEN'S DESIGN CHALLENGE is a reality competition that pits six furniture designers against each other for chance to win a  $100K cash prize and a magazine spread. Hosted by Jay Montepare, the series pairs contestants with carpenters as they compete in a variety of 24-hour-long furniture design challenges. A panel of judges, including design experts like Amanda Dameron, the editor-in-chief at Dwell Magazine, and guest judges who range from interior designers to gallery owners, evaluate their work. The designer who comes up with the episode's weakest creation is eliminated each week. The winner gets the prizes and major kudos from Ellen. 

Is it any good?

From building refined craft cabinets to designing chairs with flair, the series highlights some of the thinking that goes into furniture that is both functional and aesthetically unique. The special materials and carpentry skills required to produce these pieces are also highlighted. 

The focus on single items of furniture, rather than interior design, sets this apart from similar types of shows. But outside of that small tweak, the show follows the same basic competition formula as any other reality design series. Ellen's brief appearances feel more like a gimmick than a contribution. But you'll find it entertaining if you like these sorts of creative contests.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of reality design shows. Is it the challenges? What they make? What would you create if you had the chance to compete?

  • Families can also talk about creative careers. How do these people turn their passion into something that can make money?

TV details

For kids who love design

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