Framework Episode 7: Common Sensibility

BK in the workshop on Spike's Framework.
Framework (Photo: Spike)

The common denominator in this week’s Framework challenge is the client: Common.

Only six builders are left on Framework, and we have another team challenge. The task: interpret what a demanding client says he wants into what he actually wants. As an added bonus, the role of the demanding client will be played by host of the show Common. To be fair, he isn’t all that demanding: if you go with a chair or chaise it should be comfortable, if you go with a display item is shouldn’t be a bookshelf or TV stand, and whatever you make shouldn’t be ugly. There are some finer details about wood preference and color schemes, but overall the requests aren’t that challenging.

The teams—picked by last week’s winner Rahil—were Freddy and Lacey, Jory and BK, and Rahil and Jason. No matter how the teams ended up sliced and diced, the same dynamics would have been in play:

  • Freddy: He believes everyone is standing in his way/trying to destroy him.
  • Lacey: Time management problems.
  • Jory: Everyone is standing in his way.
  • BK: Time management and execution problems.
  • Rahil: Everyone hates his guts.
  • Jason: This may be me reading to much into his facial expressions, but he is so over it at this point. In fact, if he gets any more over it, Jason will escape Earth’s orbit.

Freddy and Lacey attempted to make a super comfortable chair, but it ended up becoming a poorly upholstered, squattish rocker that was too wide for normal usage. Rahil and Jason made a chaise lounge that was a little too upright with an arm that was neither ornamental nor functional. It kind of reminded me hard plastic seating on public transit.

The winning piece was Jory and BK’s wardrobe, despite several cosmetic flaws. During the critiques, BK owned up to being responsible for several of the flaws, including mis-measuring the base and causing a two-hour rebuilding delay. Despite winning the challenge, BK was sent home for once again violating the second rule1 of craftsmanship: measure twice, cut once.

This was a fairly standard episode for a show of this style—a middling contestant knocked out in the middle of the competition. We’ve seen this sort of setup many times on Top Chef and Project Runway. So, yay, Framework has finally calmed the F down. However, there is a structural issue I can’t seem to wrap my head around. Is Framework actually achieving its goal of finding America’s Next Top Craftsperson?

The reason I ask is because there hasn’t been a challenge yet with a 100% completion. This week’s episode came the closest: each team had a functional piece to present, but maybe only one piece (the wardrobe) was above 90% completed. Part of the problem could be that 24 hours to build may be too short. I can’t really speak to that as 48 man-hours to work on a single piece seems sufficient to someone who doesn’t do this for a living or hobby.

Also, there isn’t a clear sense of what could be fixable and what falls into points of no return. For example, the arm of the chaise was wrong, but it isn’t like Rahil or Jason could just bend it into a more functional shape—that’s not how wood works. It would be interesting to understand the reasoning behind the choices going into the designs, rather than hearing defenses when those choices become failures.

Ultimately, it seems like the show hasn’t been finding the best, just winnowing out the non-best.2 There has been very little competition week-to-week for top honors, which shouldn’t be happening on a show like this. I’m curious if that is an element that can be fixed or if it is an unfortunate byproduct of the contest.

The good news for Framework: the competition hasn’t crossed the point of no return, so let’s see how this plays out.3

  1. The first rule being “WHERE ARE YOUR DAMN SAFETY GOGGLES?” I sorta miss shop class.  
  2. I don’t want to say “worst” since even the worst designs presented were more than I would be able to accomplish.  
  3. My guess: Rahil and Lacey will be the next two to go and the final will be against Jory and Jason with Freddy whining from third place.  

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About Mike McComb 654 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