A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
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?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love design
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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