HGTV Design Star Has Returned – White Box Episode Crazy As Usual

If you’re like me, HGTV Design Star managed to sneak up on you recently, and that’s because you don’t actually watch a whole lot of HGTV. And, if you’re like me, now that we have two episodes gone, you’re really missing Clive Pearse. Nothing against new host Tanika Ray, although if you look at the show’s homepage and try to find her (down on the left with a tiny picture), you may get the impression they know Design Star without Clive just feels weird.

At any rate, we just had the White Box episode, and it has proven to be the measuring stick it always is. Some designers still manage, somehow, to make utterly boring rooms, and some stood out as the ones to watch. It’s always been the episode where viewers find out who they want to cheer on for the rest of the show, and who is going to be needlessly taking up space for a few more weeks.

Now, Design Star isn’t something I’d usually give a lot of attention here (though I am rather a fan), but the White Box episode has made me curious about what thoughts others are having about this crew of contestants, and who has gotten out of the gates best. Some of the rooms on this episode were pretty cool, but we naturally have to factor in the idea that making a futon into a plane doesn’t necessarily translate into the skills required to be a great designer, or have a show I want to watch.

I’m also curious about how viewers are liking this episode generally. Are we loving the new “mentor” angle? Is anyone checking out David’s Vlog? Are the judges being a bit more odd this time around? Maybe it’s just me, and maybe the editing is putting an unusual spin on things, but so far I’m just not getting the judges.

Most every criticism they’ve put forward sounds to me like I could easily see them saying the exact opposite. Vern at one point called someone out for putting a little robot knick-knack somewhere, as opposed to something like a clock, and it stood out to me as a random, and meaningless, criticism that was a desperate attempt to explain a general dislike that really has no explanation. If he’d had a clock there, it wouldn’t have changed anything, and Vern would have just said, “Really? A clock? That’s as creative as you get?”

Sure, it’s a subjective world, but it never used to feel like the judges (especially Vern, who is just bizarrely snotty now) were just throwing out, “Pfff… Don’t like it.”

Is it just me?

Where are you on this season?

Did the right room win the White Box, and did the right room lose? I think the right room lost –

But, I’m not so sure about the winner.



It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t love it.

At any rate, let me know what you’re thinking about the show, tune in Mondays at 9pm, and check out some videos, including a sneak of the next episode.



Marc Eastman
Marc Eastman is the owner and operator of Are You Screening? and has been writing film reviews for over a decade, and several branches of the internet's film review world have seen his name. He is also a member of The Broadcast Film Critics Association and The Broadcast Television Journalists Association.

Must Read

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Review

Once Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist gets to the point where it kicks off its shtick, it became somewhat difficult to keep track of...

Mad About You Review – The Buchmans Are Back?

The return to old shows, in the sense of actual continuations, is a strange new twist in the catalog, but one that...

The Mandalorian Review – Star Wars Gets Favreaud

As Disney+ hopes for a huge initial push, it is placing a lot of stock in not only Star Wars, but Jon...


Lost In Space Review – Family Sci-Fi Is As Tricky As It Was 50 Years Ago

Netflix wants to know if "family adventure" can be upgraded, especially since the genre never managed much in the first place. It looks like it can, but it's a genre that can't expand its demographic very far.

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Review

Once Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist gets to the point where it kicks off its shtick, it became somewhat difficult to keep track of...

Batwoman Review – The Dark Knight Universe Gets Darker And More Personal

The CW's DC world has managed long-term success in a realm that seems especially tricky to negotiate. That success dictates that new...