For a quarter at a garage sale, you could buy a Malibu Barbie. For no money at all, you could develop a complex. For several million dollars, you could buy an apartment complex overlooking the ocean in Malibu, California, develop a reality show that takes place on the grounds, and there you have The Complex: Malibu. Why renovate an apartment complex, when you could drive eight couples to the brink of insanity? Were they insane in the first place? What is the sound of one seagull taking a crap on your power tools? Let me then direct you to the season premiere of The Complex, where eight competing couples are up against the drywall and all questions lead to "splat."
The premise: 16 upright-walking humanoids, in dimorphous pairs, renovate four apartments. In their terraced apartment building, angled up along a hill, they are divided into Upper and Lower Complex, i.e., two teams of four couples each. Although two couples are assigned to each apartment, all couples must ultimately work as a team. Each week they are given a challenge, a room to renovate. At the end of the challenge, a panel of experts will assess the apartments, one determined as adding the lowest value, one as adding the highest value to the complex. The team responsible for that lowest-value apartment will then have to evict one of their couples. When four couples are left, they will be on their own and responsible for one of the apartments. The couple whose apartment ultimately adds the most value to the complex wins. They earn the profits from the sale of all the apartments, which will occur by public auction.
Barbies and Barneys
The title song is "Burning Down the House" by the Talking Heads. That should tell you something of what the show's creators have anticipated for their new reality drama. We'll find they've chosen a delicate blend of sweet, seemingly peaceful people and blunt, hot-tempered people. Not only do we expect that couples will fight with one another, we expect they will fight among themselves. The creators have taken a lesson from The Amazing Race: choose couples based on their "Will they really last?" factor.
Let's meet the band. Please note that the title given them in quotation marks aren't mine; that's how the couples are introduced in the credits. When the producers chose "The Rednecks," a stereotype, for Scotty and Sam, I was half-expecting they'd call Brad and Lew "The Gay Guys." Rather, they're termed "The Boys," which--though at first makes me think of the male apparatus--made me happy that the attention was taken off the easy stereotype.
1. Erik & Jayna, "The Artists": 32 & 28
2. Scotty & Sam, "The Rednecks": 32 & 30
3. Barney & Rose, "The Seniors": 67 & 64
4. Dave & Ana, "The New Yorkers": 26 & 27
5. Brad & Lew, "The Boys": 37 & 39
6. Carl & Kim, "The Controllers": both 30
7. Steve & Nicole, "The Fiancees": 28 & 27
8. Sanyika & Monique, "The Renovators": 24 & 26
To learn more about the contestants, please visit the discussion forums on each of the couples.
In the limos en route to the apartment complex, Sanyika & Monique and Steve & Nicole learn they share Apartment One, aka Unit One. Steve and Nicole are, at first, intimidated by Sanyika and Mo who have already "flipped" (i.e., renovated and sold) one time, while they've only worked on small tasks/projects. Scotty and Sam meet Erik and Jayna. They'll share Apartment Two. Jayna says outright, "We gotta shake hands now. Don't go freaky on us." We see a shot of spiky-haired Sam, who gives a tight-lipped smile. Ah, anticipation. Kim and Carl meet Brad and Lew. Apartment Three. Kim already quips about bonding now and making it to the Final Four. Lew, in an aside, says, "Kim's so dominant--that's one of the things we have to work with."
Barney and Rose meet Dave and Ana. Apartment Four. They learn they're all from New York City. They discuss their decorating styles. Barney says he prefers a "Western" style, which to him means holsters, spurs, and chandeliers. Dave says he prefers "Contemporary." In an aside, Dave and Ana get all age-ist on their a**es. Ana determines the 20-year age difference to create a style problem for them. 50 years, Dave exaggerates. Now, all older people don't have poor taste. Barney and Rose, though, are old people from Long Island which, arguably, is another planet inhabited by alien life forms. They coat their homes in webs of plastic and drive Buicks the size of, well, a Buick.
The couples have no idea what they're in for. The limos drive up. They retrieve their luggage and look up: "Yeah, baby!" We see one of many aerial close-ups with the speedy zoom: terraced balconies canted along a hillside overlooking the Malibu coast. But the excitable little renovators and decorators walk into each of their units and discover wall-crumbling crackhouses from hell. "It's cosmetic, it's cosmetic, let's not panic," intones Monique, and panic they do. Layers of dust, plaster, dirt. Old mirrored walls, wood paneling, falling off. Decaying carpeting, stuck doors, slime brown showers, peeled-off paint. I wouldn't doubt that an old apartment building might boast old carpeting or multiple layers of paint on the walls, but. Remember strategically-torn, strategically-washed jeans? Oh, those are still around? Well, these apartments are of the designer torn jeans variety, beautifully messed up for our viewing pleasure (and for the contestants' hyper-shock).
The couples rise like phoenixes from the crackhouse whorehouse creamed cremated ashes of disintegrating wannabe celebrities and crumbling coke-sniffing society-types slapped on with silicone attachments (or, at least, that's what the producers might have us believe), and they emerge on the open-air balconies, dramatically terraced like a giant's stairwell and arrayed with tools like a recapper's mixed metaphors. Craftsman! Sears! Behold, our sponsors. Ooo, the leather tool belts, the planers, the skill saws, the socket sets, the cordless drills!
Steve says that no one'd normally have that many tools, unless they're taking on a huge project, which causes me to doubt his abilities. I know carpentry hobbyists and avocational house renovators with triple that amount, and they seem to occasionally finish, say, a shed or a coatrack or a little kitchen shelf. What the contestants don't have, though, are all the trappings of the tool-collectors' lifestyle, the six doors leaning up against a garage wall, the multiple drawers devoted solely to files or drill bits, the mostly empty cans of paint or wood stain, the mostly-sniffed glue.
The contestants, not even on Day One of the competition, spend the day cleaning. This is the time that I warn you, since you may be reading with me for the season, about my limited tool vocabulary. I can name a few things and understand their function, but forgive me if I call the majority of tools "thingie" or if I make up my own approximate words. I'm open to being edumakated, so please send a correction, like, "Shayla, no that thing you called a bench is actually a sawhorse--get it right, b*tch." But, please, don't call me b*tch, at least not unless you slap me first.
So, Scotty in safety glasses breaks through mirrored walls with a lance. Carl and Kim cart off big pieces of carpet matting. Erik pulls up floor planks. Barney, ever the foreman, dons a protective yellow hat. Up and down flights of stairs, the crew take out loads upon loads of trash. Some make many trips; Rose makes only one. Although she's on the bottom floor, she's four flights of stairs from the dumpster. On her terrace, she celebrates her one trip with a cigarette, because when you can't get enough oxygen to make it to your apartment, it's best to then coat your lungs with arsenic and tar.
In Unit Two, Sam asserts, "No, I'm not domesticated" and says that Scotty will do all the cleaning, since she's wearing 2 1/2-inch heels. Jayna operates a push-broom in a dress. Sam tells us how much she likes Jayna, a preview of upcoming attractions (read: the Psycho shower scene). Upstairs, Sanyika pushes dirt around with his little latex gloves. He says that, because he sweats at the drop of a hat, it looks like he's doing a lot of work. In Four, Lew suggests that Rose, while everyone else is working, could make food. Rose is pissed. It's not enough that she has to bring her index finger and middle finger, tightly clasped, to her mouth and then back into the wind, then back to her mouth, then exhale, then look out at the ocean, then glare accusingly at Kim, such that she burns at least 200 whopping calories and 205 if her eyes twitch. To be asked to cook when she's not working is anathema to her, and she vows to not cook after tonight. Mischievously at the grill, she flips the burgers with a scraper.
The lights go down on our Malibu Barbies and also our maladroit Barneys and Betties. We see the dimming orange glow on a much-nicer Spanish Mission-style mansion across the way, the suspense violins crescendo-ing in typical FOX reality TV fashion. Hire a new musical director already. Not every show must sound like Joe Millionaire is about to copulate in the woods with Sara.
The Beginning of the End
Nighttime, and the Upper Complex team embroil themselves in the first of many design disagreements. Sanyika asks them what features would add value to their apartments, and Scotty replies "crown molding" to the agreement of all but Jayna. She says that in the "really cool" magazines, not just Architecture Digest, one wouldn't see crown molding. She says, "To me it screams middle-class." Sam, in an aside, tells us that Jayna sounded so condescending that it made her skin crawl. To Jayna at dinner, Sam says that the tone of her voice sounds "contradicting." Jayna defensively responds, "Tell me how so I can understand. Tell me how." Sam then refers again to the tone of her voice, to the way Jayna says things, whereas Jayna explains that she's only putting in her ten cents while she can. I'm just delighted that someone has taken inflation into account, because two-cent antes can't win you a decent hand these days.
Down in Lower Complex, Kim, ever-watchful, informs her team that she saw the upstairs team plotting. She says that they, too, have to stick together. Rose, outside, bitterly tells us that Kim has been the center of the group and that someone who talks that much shouldn't be trusted.
The little renovators get ready for bed. Scotty bemoans the possible lack of soap or a bath. Sanyika wonders what good is praying and crying when crazy people live under you. They put down tarps, blow up air mattresses, and tell their innermost thoughts to the cameras. Nicole worries about the Unit Two couples and their differences of opinion. Jayna says that she needed to represent the ideas that were true to her. Rose, again outside with cancer-stick, says that "it's me and only us two against the world." She cackles phlegmily. Ana muses about how an apartment could be valued at $800,000, and Dave excitedly adds that the winner would get the proceeds from all four. "We know at any moment we'll cut their throat."
The Green Marker of Peace
Day One. 6:42 a.m. The sun above some rocks. A seagull on the shore. A wave washes over some kelp. The contestants crack open their eyelids, make coffee, brush teeth. A mail tube arrives at each of the units, and the teams convene. They had cleaned, mentions Nicole, but had no idea what their task was.
Challenge 1: Master Bedroom
1) Budget: $10,000 for each unit, $3,000 of which is a Sears gift card, and the rest is cash.
2) Leadership: each team chooses a Property Manager (which I'll abbreviate as PM), who'll have a final say on all team decisions; they can be democratic about it or not.
3) Transportation: one car per team and one pick-up truck will be available for both teams, but the property managers will negotiate the time slots for the teams' use of the pick-up.
4) Timeline: 5 days, 120 hours
The challenge begins now. In Lower Complex, Dave nominates Kim to be the PM. Lew agrees that Kim is perfect for the job. Brad says, "Done." Aside, Dave affirms his choice, because nominating Kim gave her a sense of power, "even if it was just figurative, in her mind." In Upper Complex, Sanyika suggests that Monique can handle the money, and everyone agrees with Monique as choice of PM. "I'll do my best to serve you," she diplomatically offers. Kim and Monique negotiate for the pick-up slots and Monique walks away with all her first-choice slots. They both act as if they've gotten away with something: Monique is happy to not put her team through rush-hour traffic, while Kim confirms that her team will hoard all the last-minute truck-use slots.
The teams get to work on envisioning their plans for the rooms. The Unit Ones make their choices as fast as a Malibu breast could flash silicone in the morning sun. Monique would like privacy around the bed area. They decide on a four-foot wall divider near the door area. Nicole is happy, and Sanyika votes with a resounding "Beautiful, beautiful." Downstairs, the Twos are at odds. Jayna suggests a "weird planter thing," goldfish bowls, and "modern, upward things." Sam, gotta love her except when she's yelling, makes all these quick, squirmy talking-to-herself faces, as if "what the f***?" was a novel and she was reciting it at high speed. The couples disagree on colors, on the size of baseboards, and with 115 hours to go, they take their ideas outside for a design meeting about Unit Two.
Erik shows off his drawings of bookcases. He wants the room to look like it belongs to someone knowledgeable, and it all sounds well and good, but his manner of describing it seems to send off everyone's "Am I stupid?" alarms. We see the team look at Erik with totally dumbfounded expressions. The Twos argue for awhile until Monique brings out the talking stick and everyone, with furrowed brows, totally force out their politeness. Aside, Sam says, "I'm not two, man. I'm not two. I don't think I need a marker to speak."
In Unit Three the two couples are completely organized and kind to one another. They all like dark-stained bamboo, and Kim is happy about Lew's offer to build little boxes for the walls; one will serve as a frame for a TV. Brad takes notes on a large budget sheet. Downstairs, the Fours conflict. Barney wants a chandelier, but Ana kindly offers that a chandelier, if someone doesn't like it, would be costly to replace. Rose suggests cedar closets, and, aside, Dave is annoyed that Rose and Barney keep referring to renovations they've already done "in their own home or camping trailer." Rose again threatens to go home.
Kim, as PM, loses trust in Unit Four and chooses to intervene. Rose gets offended for the 2301899th time, since she prefers to have things her way. Kim suggests that the bed be put in a little alcove, and Rose says that she was thinking of that, too. Lew expresses concerns that the Threes will spend much of their time helping out the Fours, since they're not as skilled with construction work.
110 more hours to go-o-o...I want to be sedated. The Twos continue to fight. Scotty wants a ceiling fan, but Erik can't imagine romantic and ceiling fan in the same room. The Threes below them hear them fighting, and Kim keeps towing the "stick together" line. Lew, aside, expresses affinity for Kim and Carl, but says that, when the time comes, they'll want them gone. Dave, also with game-face, says that he'll be fake like plastic to make sure he wins.
Complexes (the Other Kind of Complexes)
7:06 a.m. and 74 more hours. Somehow we lost 36 hours, but Sam, who says it's Day Two, confirms that Malibu is a gigantic tear in the fabric of space-time and 36 hours can go by completely unaccounted for. Anyway, if it's Wednesday, that means they have until Saturday at 9, but that's not true because their challenge ends at noon, so you can have 7:06 a.m. or 74 hours but not both. Someone is screwing with these numbers, and it very well could be me.
In Unit Four, Rose returns from some morning shopping. She has bought a cheap little plant and a lamp that looks like a vase, which sets off Ana's poor taste alarms. In Unit Two, Monique says there's no more time for debating. Erik says he'd like stripes of color and that he wants to make his final color choices. Sam, befuddled, says that Erik picked his colors last night. Scotty doesn't want them to argue over colors when there's still so much to do.
69 hours left. Barney comes upstairs to consult with Lew, and we see a little segment acknowledging that everyone is okay with Brad and Lew being gay. Lew said that, at one tired stage, he called Barney "hon." "Me and him work together like me and you," Lew mentions to Brad about Barney, and Brad agrees that Barney is himself in 20 years. All very cute and eye-of-the-storm.
1:48 p.m. and Sanyika returns from his shopping trip. He says, "Great trip" to Mo and they kiss. Fly over Malibu and across the hills and we see Jayna and Sam's little coupe. While at Sears, Sam accuses Jayna of giving her attitude. Jayna defends that she was just checking out prices. Sam wants them both to communicate and feels like they're not on the same page. You know, you probably can envision the rest of this she-said/she-said, so I'll stop now. They fight. They fight a lot.
Back at Apartment Two, their partners fiddle with a partial ceiling frame into which they'll pour sheet rock. Erik guarantees that this low overhang near the bedroom's entrance will trick us into thinking that the rest of the ceiling is very high. Something is high, yes, and it's definitely not the ceiling. The camera-person makes a point of closing up on a weak point in the framing, the screw not enough to keep it from collapsing in the middle, and this is all really dumb because Erik seems to spend the rest of the day on a ladder with a cordless securing the very same frame.
At Sears, the cats have just left the building and Sam's "woah, woah, woah" is not enough to hold back the full shopping cart, which rolls off the curb, proceeding to let loose two cans of paint which splatter all over the lot. "That was the funniest, stupidest thing I've done yet," says Jayna. Sam is coldly silent. They pick up the cart from the edge of the curb, and Sam goes inside to find a manager. She's too good of a person for this torture, she claims. Jayna continues to laugh it off and say that Sam will laugh about all this later, and Sam does not think any of this is funny.. Jayna adds, "I hope I did my one dumb thing and I'm done," which is of course a nice way to test the gods and foreshadow many more dumb things.
Sam doesn't want to help. Jayna puts on gloves and sets up the hazardous spill kit. She waxes about how "beautifully absurd" this is, and Sam again is silent. What truly is beautifully absurd is that the two tones of creamy paint looked better on the asphalt than Unit Three's eventual paint job.
The women return, and the guys are still working on the ceiling frame. Sam rails about their five-hour parking lot clean-up and Jayna's spill. Erik plays the Just an Accident card and tells Sam to chill out, who then unleashes bile, and I have to quote her on this: "I'm fine, dude. I'm not mad at her. Don't talk to me that way. I am not mad. I can talk how ever I want, but she should've looked where she was going, so don't ever talk to me that way." Sam then walks out. Now, in an in-person situation, if someone talked to me like that, I'd have just tuned out the words and concluded, "This person is mad." But, on TV, it's kind of like Sam was channeling Erik while she was yelling at him, although he was silent. Let me pose this as a "what if?":
Sam: I'm fine, dude. I'm not mad at her. Don't talk to me that way. I am not mad.
Erik: I can talk how ever I want.
Sam: But she should've looked where she was going, so don't ever talk to me that way.
See what I mean? In that moment, Sam, frazzled and exhausted, channeled Erik while she was fighting with him. Erik had an out-of-body experience, possessed Sam, and argued with her within Sam's own mind. Were you to see Sam's facial expressions when she silently curses, you'd know that this wasn't the only time that Sam became a psychic medium for the purposes of heated dialogue with her own self. Gotta love her, though. Half the time I expect her to, in large volumes of spontaneous poetry, predict the fall of Troy, but then I remember that that was many years ago and the only legacy for Troy is the prophylactics industry.
May I Peek at Your Unit?
But, time is not linear when you have a complex, which is why it's actually lunchtime for the Ones, even though Jayna and Sam spent a few hours after 1:48 in the Sears parking lot. While eating, Kim walks into their apartment to ask where the truck is. The Ones do not know. Steve, as if seeing an apparition, says, "Did she just come in our unit?" Outside, the Ones wonder how Kim's peek at their unit (heeheehee) might have impacted their game. Nicole worries about it, thinks that the Lower Complexes might steal their privacy wall idea. She is obviously suffering from delusions of grandeur.
Kim returns and tells Brad, Lew, and Carl about Unit One's privacy wall. Carl thinks that's a terrible idea. Kim agrees. Brad asks them about what else they'd done, and Kim says that the wall is all that they've done. Did she really intend to get the truck keys? Kim answers, to the camera operators, that no one else said they were getting the keys, so she had to figure out where they were. She mischievously smiles and shrugs.
In Unit Four, they'd ordered a vanity, but when the delivery guy arrives, he puts together a desk. When the Fours request the delivery guy take the desk back, he refuses, since he has no more room. Barney confesses that he's now "shoveling sh*t against the tide." If I have any readers out there who could care to explain to me the origin of that saying, I'd appreciate it. Does it have to do with tending horses while sailing? I don't get it.
Unit One's next problem is that Sanyika bought two different types of floorboards. After having laid down the first type, Steve notices that the next plank is nothing like the first set. Steve says that Sanyika and Mo are the weakest link and that he has to avoid telling Sanyika every single step. Instead, Steve seems to offer gentle guidance which doesn't seem to sit right with Sanyika anyway, and Sanyika expresses dissatisfaction.
58 hours left. In Apartment Two, the couples are at each others' throats and Monique calls in for reinforcements. The walls are still not cleaned, sanded, primed, and painted, but Erik just wants to start painting. "You tell me you want to paint this?" asks Scotty when pointing to a dirty, textured wall. Erik says that, because it's an eggshell texture, you could paint right over it. Then, he discusses what he's going to do next with their leviathan ceiling frame, i.e., bane of their existences. Scotty gets pissed off, because Erik keeps saying "I, I, I. . ." Scotty's anger, unlike Sam's, is quiet and off-to-the-side. Sam thinks Scotty should tell Erik he's mad at him, but Scotty remains cool and stoic.
Monique, still problem-solving Unit Two's war-torn household, decides to micro-manage them. Without any understanding of what they're up to, she assigns each person a wall. She then says she'll now spend half her time in Unit Two. Jayna, aside to the cameras, expresses her embarrassment. Sam, aside to the cameras, says she felt like she was in kindergarten. Before she leaves the unit, Monique says (a good example of how she speaks to the Twos): "Just want to make sure we're clear--this is Scotty's wall."
"We're clear," Scotty responds obediently.
55 hours left. Monique is sitting up in bed. "What?" Sanyika asks her.
"I don't know if I can do this. . .manage this process," she says through tears. I'd agree there. Monique, I can tell, is a genuine and good-hearted person, but leadership takes more than making sure that no one is arguing.
New day, whichever one this is, and I'd posit that it's Day Four. Steve and Sanyika are sanding the ceiling. Janya, out on the terrace, makes breakfast and decides to avoid all blow-ups. Scott wants to go spend some money, but his better half is still accounting for the receipts and add up what they have. She was up until 6 a.m. and says she didn't have time to calculate what they had left. Scotty thinks she's blaming him for falling asleep. Jayna and Erik, in contrast, are shown as B-roll, and they seem to be getting along. Jayna playfully puts duct tape on Erik's mouth. Scott again asks Sam for money, to which she responds that he should kiss her a**.
28 hours to go. Lew helps the Fours build cabinets. He rubs up against Dave's style, though, which is a lot of ego and very little know-how (read: superiority complex). Mo has to tell Scotty and Sam that Sanyika drove off without any money. Sam states the obvious, that Mo should go take him some money. Mo says this to Sam: "Very smart. You're so smart. Oh, you're so smart." I can't really tell the tone. Mo may have been trying to joke around with Sam though Sam didn't notice. Or, perhaps Mo was being sarcastic and demeaning. In either case, Sam just stares at her, most definitely occupied with visions of large wooden horses.
Lew and Brad hang a little box to frame a flat-screen TV, Nicole paints, Kim lays down flooring, and Monique works on paint trim. Mo describes the scene as mayhem. Then Tyler, our show's host, arrives. At Unit Two, he tells Erik and Scotty to turn off their power tools and meet him outside. Tyler has a separate meeting with each team on the terrace. He gives them their 24-hour warning. No exceptions or extentions. He tells them, though, that the Property Manager will have no vote in the eviction process. They'll all vote for the couple they want to evict. The panel will determine which apartment adds the least value to the complex, and the team the apartment belongs to will lose. If their team loses, the couple that team has voted for will leave the complex. When Mo, the Upper Complex's PM, hears about this, she puts her head in her hands and says she doesn't want to think about it now. When Kim, Lower Complex's PM, hears about her lack of vote from Lew, she moves his hand and says jokingly, "This is what you're gonna write."
The full moon passes overhead. Night. 15 hours to go. Steve speaks with Scotty in some lit stuccoed corridor outside. He tries to form an alliance with him. Steve wants to vote out Erik and Jayna. Although the Twos fought the whole week, Scotty is still undecided, he tells us in an aside. He doesn't know whether to vote out Erik and Jayna or Sanyika and Mo.
Strategizing happens among the Lower Complex teammates. Kim had told Dave that the Threes would be voting out Rose and Barney. Dave then tells Rose and Barney about Kim's intentions. The Fours seem to form an alliance and agree to evict Kim and Carl. In the meantime, Kim walks right in on their discussion. Rose backpedals and says this intelligble morsel: "So let's finish that and then get going on the other thing."
"And then we only have to do the bed," Dave answers trying to cover-up that they were plotting.
Kim just silently listens and then walks away. Dave completely knows that Kim knew they were planning something. Kim, upstairs, tells the Threes that she overheard the Fours talking about whom they'd be voting off, but she didn't hear which couple they said. This is why ultimately Kim needs to form an alliance with Sam, who possesses otherworldly powers of hearing.
11 hours left. The Fours don't even have most of their items, which they can't get until the next morning. Erik paints colorful vertical stripes on Unit Two. I begin to crave sticks of gum.
Inspection Time in Shangri-la
88 minutes to go. Nicole removes pillows from the plastic and tosses them onto the bed. Sam looks for drywall screws. Scotty holds up the side of a cabinet with his head and can't go after the screws.
39 minutes to go. The Threes say they stayed up until 3 last night. They muse dreamily about what if the upstairs couples don't finish their rooms.
Up at Two, Sam wants to read the instructions for the tall cabinets. Scotty doesn't. In Four, Rose is on her hands and knees cleaning the wood floors. Steve alerts everyone to brush all the crumbs into corners and under the rug. Nicole erases something off the paint. Tyler blows his horn, and time's up.
Now the couples must wait outside while the panel of experts inspect the rooms. The only other person allowed in the apartments is the Property Manager for that team. Apartment One looks like a teenaged girl's dream-come-true bedroom. The word "Dream" is painted above the french doors. The color scheme is white, cream, yellow. The curtains look like a breezy white muslin. A TV sits on a side table. And the bed hides behind the privacy wall, a cute TV tray resting on one corner. David, a real estate broker, likes the paints, but says the room borders on looking "multi-colored." Lourdes, a designer, says she likes the camouflaging of the bed, but she notices the little wooden slat masking the transition from floorboard to stone tile. Jason, an architect, says the privacy wall isn't finished, not flush in places, that the molding needs a second pass, and that the baseboard filler piece is a "no-no."
Next is Apartment Two's inspection. The low overhang, which seems to have track lighting, is above the entranceway. A bookcase divides the low-lying bed from the door. It has square slots which are filled in some places with basket-like drawers. Two tall metallic cabinets abut (heehee) the TV. The wall boasts orange and green stripes and framed prints. I'd call it Dwell magazine meets Pottery Barn. David thinks the room is too busy, noting the baskets, cabinets, mirrors. Lourdes does, too, noting the quilts and stripes. She does like the bedding. Though Erik thought the ceiling overhang tricked your eyes into thinking the rest of the ceiling was high, Lourdes maintains the opposite. Jason notices a thready wall edge. He also vetoes one of the corner tables.
Apartment Three is clear, open, and classy. The bed dominates the room and sits atop a white area rug. Two nightstands border the bed on top of which sit two red-shaded chrome lamps. A wooden sculpture of the Buddha sits in one of the nightstands. Green boxes, which match the trim and the french doors, frame a picture and a TV. David would like more space in front of the bed and a larger TV. Lourdes appreciates the celedon green in the paint, as well as the lampshades and chrome lamps. Both Lourdes and Jason do not like that the floor board continues up as a base board. Jason also denounces the wispy, curtain rod which doesn't go well with the nice wooden valence across the top of the doors. He notices that the underside of the nightstands aren't painted and points out the little slat holding up the wooden box around the TV.
Apartment Four boasts a big wooden cabinet surrounding a bed, lit by hanging Scandinavian lamps. A circle-motifed carpet is placed diagonally from the entrance door leading to the sliding glass door. A big TV stands on a side table, and two undulating metal shelves sit diagonally along one wall. David notices the big cabinet construction and says that plywood and Malibu don't go together. He tells Kim that they should be setting the bar higher in Malibu, but that her team has actually lowered the bar with this room. Lourdes says the hanging lamps aren't functional, since someone could sit up in bed and hit their head on the lamps. Jason says that he likes how the bed sits low, but that where the bed meets the table needs to be flush.
At night, the couples cast their ballots and head to the lumber yard. The lighting is blue-green and dim, and the set looks like an open warehouse or the backdrop for an MTV video. Tyler welcomes the couples to the lumber yard and tells them that one couple's stay at the complex will end tonight. First he congratulates them for transforming their apartments "from uninhabitable to unbelievable." Then, he tells them what they each spent on their rooms.
He tells them that the money they didn't spend on their rooms will go toward their next challenge. And, he says that the panel determined that the master bedroom adding the most value to the complex is the one in Apartment Three. Before mentioning which apartment added the least amount, Tyler then attends to the eviction votes. Scotty and Sam, your teammates admire your abilities but they think you're frustrating to work with. Erik and Jayna, you have great ideas but poor execution. Both couples have been spared. Sanyika and Monique, you took control when needed but lacked attention to detail. The Upper Complex has put Sanyika and Monique up for eviction. Steve and Nicole aren't discussed.
On to the Lower Complex, Carl and Kim, you have shown impressive leadership but your teammates don't trust you. Barney and Rose, your teammates love your work ethic but question your taste. Carl and Kim have been put up for eviction.
The two teams put up for eviction are invited to say their piece. Nicole cries. Monique is shocked, seems to think that Scotty staged telling her that he and Sam would vote for Erik and Jayna. Scotty says that it's not what she thinks. Kim says she's not surprised that she's put up for eviction. Rose pipes up that Kim delivered the first punch. Kim asks Rose what she's contributed to the complex. Rose retorts by saying she's contributed only what Kim has let her contribute.
After commercial, we learn that the master bedroom adding the least value to the complex is the one in Apartment One. Steve and Nicole look embarrassed. Sanyika and Mo are asked to leave.
At their apartment, they pack up their things. Mo feels burned, given the workload she took on. Sanyika also feels that and thinks that sometimes you don't know people. He has a good attitude, says, "Life happens and you go on." He writes, "Sanyika and Mo were here" on the walls, and they leave the complex. As with seagull crap on the terrace, so are the days of our lives.
Next time on The Complex: Malibu: Everyone yells at each other. New mental disorders are uncovered.
Thanks for joining me on this, the very long season premiere. If you have any comments, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org