Framework Episode 3: Junk Genius

Wesley drills down on Spike's Framework
Framework (Photo: Spike)

The Framework builders have their adaptability put to the test in a genuine unconventional materials challenge.

This week on Framework, the 11 builders were tasked with designing pieces using the essence of unconventional materials, such as springs, tennis balls, forks, and bungee cords. I’m all for unconventional material challenges and their ability to test adaptability, and the execution of this one was a step in the right direction for the show. During the initial critiques, the most common refrain from Common, Brandon Gore, and Nolan Niu was to not be so dang literal with the items. For example, Jess was given metal lunchboxes and pitched a bench that was essentially a stack of boxes. Instead, she was advised to consider all the metal she has access to in her items.

However, the judging did not follow this advice, which was maddening. Jason, who was given compact discs, discovered the film on the discs could be scraped off and created a glitter effect for a table featuring the discarded pieces. The piece was functional and was hardly a literal interpretation of the original materials. However, the win was awarded to Jory, who designed an indoor hammock by stringing bungee cords through a wooden frame. Though the hammock was more pleasing to the eye than Jason’s table, this doesn’t seem like a stretch in terms of how to use the cords in designing furniture. BK’s duct tape covered chainlink fence chandelier, Rahil’s fork-in-wood chandelier, and Craig’s PVC…spring? were considered failures. If the over-emphasis on Craig’s ADHD throughout the episode didn’t tip you off, his functionless piece sent him home.

Overall, this was a much more tolerable episode of Framework than the previous two outings. Freddy, the primary source of jackassery so far, was in the weeds this week despite giving himself copper wire as his material. However, the editing problems highlighted last week still exist. I think the problem is that the show is trying to give equal time to all the participants. I can understand the impulse, as most reality show editing is heavy-handed enough that there is very little surprise in terms of who wins, who goes home, and who will be sticking around longer than they should. However, with 11 contestants and three judges, that’s a lot of characters to pack into a 42-minute story. What’s worse, as Curtis pointed out in an interview, there are a lot of filler contestants still in the mix.

This week’s episode gives me hope that the show is figuring things out. I’m not 100% sold, but I’m still sticking around.

Other Observations:

  • From Mooch: “Take a shot every time Common says adaptability.”
  • Something can be ugly, something can not be functional, but if something is ugly and non-functional you will be going home.
  • Calling three people out when the judges are voting makes no sense. This episode featured the first split decision, but there is no sense in being dramatic when one of the eligible candidates has 0 votes when the final vote is cast.
  • We aren’t learning much about technique, which is something I was hoping to get out of Framework. Perhaps this will come about when there are fewer contestants requiring airtime.
  • I think Common envisions himself as the Emperor from the Japanese version of Iron Chef. I’m half-hoping he will start a challenge with a slowly-delivered monotone “allez cuisine.”

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About Mike McComb 656 Articles

Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it “TV Camp.” After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: mike@whatelseison.tv